Cerveja Musa created one of the first Portuguese craft beers that I tasted–at Ground Burger, in the Saldanha district of Lisbon. I went on to incorporate a couple of their beers into my Tryanuary 2018: Portugal series–including an evening block party featuring the Lisbon Beer District in Marvila.
Suffice to say, I’m a Musa fan. For the holiday season, they debuted a cocoa milk porter (Ale Is Love) with a candy-cane stripe on the label, no less, that I had to try. And given that their taproom has grown to feature music (a foundation upon which the brewery was launched) and an increasingly inviting environment–it felt like a good time for a visit, and a dive into a few more beers I hadn’t tried yet.
We picked a Saturday in mid November, and arrived right after opening time at 13:00. Before we even contemplated the board, I ordered the Ale Is Love half pint (3 euros), and my partner in crime had his favorite, the Born In The IPA (2,50 euros). (It’s one of mine too–probably my favorite Portuguese IPA.)
The Ale Is Love rings in at 6,5% abv and 23 IBUs, though it tastes a little edgier to me than the low IBUs would indicate. Would this go well with a candy cane? A peppermint stick? You be the judge, but it shows dark chocolate on the nose, and a delicate chocolate continues on the palate.
Stephen let me have a sip of his Born In The IPA in exchange, so I could revisit its lovely florals and citrusy tastes. It’s so smooth, it doesn’t register the 70 IBUs it has, backed up by 6,5% abv. Check out the Born In The IPA soundtrack on Musa’s site. Cue the guitar-ripping solo…
We decided on a tasting tray (7 euros) accompanied by a bowl of Musa Mix (a peanut/cashew/spice blend) to take me through four more of the beers I had not yet enjoyed. From lightest (in body, more or less) to darkest, here they are…
Musa still featured the Oktoberfest collaboration beer it produced for the fall with nearby Cerveja Lince and Dois Corvos. So I began with this biscuity, mouth-filling märzen-style beer. It comes in at 5,8% abv, and 25 IBUs, and provides a refreshing beer you could, indeed, enjoy from giant mugs.
The next lovely, the Dino NEIPA, is also a collaboration, with Colossus Brewery in Porto. A bit hazy, per the style, with lots of tropical aromas and a bit of passion fruit and banana on the palate. At 4,0% and 40 IBU, I could drink this all afternoon. Ahhhh… but I moved on.
Next up, the Cafe d’Ale Mar, an intriguing coffee red ale. I’m not normally a red ale aficionado, but its big creamy head hid a cascade of light coffee aromas, and a lighter body than you normally get when you see “coffee” advertised in a beer. Very smooth at 6,0% abv.
Finally, the Nut Brown Ale, a guest beer from Cerveja Lince–and I recalled as I tasted it that I had enjoyed it at the festival in January. It was definitely worth another round away from the craziness of that party. In fact, it became the most memorable of the tasting tray–to me, the brew smelled exactly like the circus peanuts candy that I loved growing up in the Midwest. While Stephen identified it as bubble gum, the aroma and flavor evoked that candy and quaff of Dr. Pepper. I found this charming.
Next time we visit, we’ll try some of the salgadas or tostas they offer as a further snack…and revisit our favorites and make new friends. Rock on!