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Beer Review:
Lisbon, Portugal
By: George Zhen

August 18, 2005

(Lisbon, Portugal) - Sagres is a Portuguese coastal village of some historical note located on Cape St. Vincent on what is the most southwestern extreme of mainland Europe. Prince Henry the Navigator is said to have built his renowned school of navigation in this town during the 15th century, and many explorers and seafarers, from Christopher Columbus to Sir Francis Drake, have navigated the surrounding waters. Considered the Cape Canaveral of its time, Sagres was the launching pad for the era of discovery that bridged worlds new and old.

Sagres the beer isn't nearly as bold or as daring as these intrepid explorers, but it would serve well as a dependable dockhand on a long voyage. The initial reaction this writer had when pouring and drinking this beer was that it lacked significant character. The color and head had offered no distinction. Crisp and clear, this beer poured lightly and effortlessly. Hops? Not nearly enough to survive a real nautical voyage, that's for sure!

But here's the thing: It's lack of character is its character. The writer realizes that strong beers with distinctive characteristics are more interesting, but this is a case where the blandness, the lack of traits, the absence of definitive flavor becomes less bothersome and in fact welcomed over the course of consumption. Strange? We thought so, too. As the bottles dwindled, phrases such as "I wouldn't kick it out of bed," and "This isn't that bad a beer," were overheard. This speaks to the drinkability factor, which is evidently pretty high in spite of the lack of describable qualities.

Sagres has a 5% ABV rating, which also lends itself to being more drinkable. After a few of these, the drinker will feel fine and the next day will be as clear and as crisp as the beer itself. Since it has no real overwhelming hop or malt taste, you can serve this beer with just about any dish without fear.

Drinking Sagres is like exploring the wonders of the backyard pool: Nothing surprising, but refreshing nonetheless.

Beer Tasting Scorecard
Attribute Score
Head 2
Color 2
Taste 3
Flavor 2
Effect 3
Overall Score 2.4

For more information on Sagres, visit their website at

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