Hijos de Rivera - 1906 Reserva Especial
Serving Temperature:40-45° F
Suggested Glassware:Flute, Pilsner Glass, Mug
This Helles Bock from Hijos de Rivera presents a true to style medium amber hue with crystal clarity, topped with a plentiful head of off-white foam that laces the glass as we drink it down. On the nose, look for a blend of malts and hops, leaning more towards the malts. We picked up central toasty, bready notes augmented by moderate caramel tones and a bit of nuttiness, and all overlaid by a dash of earthy and lightly spicy hop character. The story continues on the palate where those notes of toasty bread and caramel form a round and super smooth core, and there are some flashes of dried fruits as well. The hops come through with an herbal, spicy edge while offering a moderate level of perceived bitterness, balancing the light residual malt sweetness and drying the beer in the finish, which lingers with a bit of caramel and spice. For food pairings, the brewery recommends grilled salmon, blackened mahi, sushi, BBQ lamb, slow roasted pork, smoked chicken wings, smoked cheeses, and warm salads with nuts and seafood dressings. Cheers!
The story of Hijos de Rivera starts way back at the end of the 19th century. Jose Maria Rivera Corral immigrated to Cuba from Spain in 1870, and then eventually settled in Mexico where he opened a grocery he named La Estrella de Oro (The Star of Gold). In 1906, a few years after returning to his homeland of Spain, he founded a brewery in La Coruña, an Atlantic port city in Galicia, in northwest Spain, and north of Portugal. It was quite a bold investment considering beer culture in Spain was nowhere near as pervasive as in more iconic beer countries like Britain or Germany. Inspired by his old grocery store, he called his brewery La Estrella de Galicia, and though the company is known today as Hijos de Rivera (Sons of Rivera), their flagship beer still carries the name Estrella Galicia.
In the 1920s, Jose's son, D. Ramon Rivera, took the helm of the brewing company and initiated a modernization of the brewery, including mechanization. At a time when beer was still not particularly popular in Spain compared to other beverages, he became one of the country's first certified Master Brewers after studying in Hamburg, Germany. Under his guidance, the brewery's production increased as their beer became steadily more and more popular.
The Spanish Civil War and World War II created a decade and a half of dark times for the brewery, just as war did for so many other breweries throughout all of Europe during that time. But, by the 1950s the company had entered a new period of modernization and growth. In fact, by the '70s the original brewery had simply become outgrown, so in 1972 brewing operations – now controlled by the third generation of Rivera family brewers – was moved to a new, larger facility which remains their home to this day. The original brewery does continue to operate and is a landmark symbol of the company.
Now in the hands of Ignacio Rivera, the fourth generation of his family to run the brewery, the appropriately named Hijos de Rivera has become a beer icon in Spain while turning their attention increasingly to the global market. In fact, they recently invested in a nearly one-third stake in Ireland's Carlow Brewing Company, another family-run brewery we were pleased to have featured previously. We hope you enjoy the interesting and malty 1906 beers from Hijos de Rivera that we bring you this month as much as we did. ¡Salud!
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