Category Archives: travel

Mahou versus Cruzcampo

Madrid’s own beer is called Mahou – and it’s bloody brilliant. At least, one form of it is, as there are three basic types and a shandy version:

Mahou Clásica – the original version lager, which is cheap and horrible
Mahou Negra – which is a dark ale
Mahou Mixta – a lemony shandy, only recently introduced to the market
Mahou 5 Estrellas (5 Stars – pictured below) – a 5.5%abv lager

Now, your beer snobs will tell you that Mahou is just a basic pilsner and will use pejoratives like “inoffensive – bland – gassy – insipid” etc., but that’s because beer snobs are fat, North European losers who only mix with other people at CAMRA conventions. To really appreciate the brilliance of Mahou you need to drink it in ice cold cans on a typical sunny Madrid day with your mates. Then its true genius comes out, because it goes well with tapas, friends and lots of talk, which as any self respecting Spaniard will tell you is the whole point of life.

I love Mahou and Mahou loves me. It never gets me horribly drunk but it does get me lovely and tipsy. I can drink it all day and still party all night. It’s refreshing, has a hint of maltiness both at beginning and end notes, it’s available everywhere and IT’S GOT 5 BLOODY STARS ON THE TIN, so there. And as an added benefit, by drinking Mahou you get automatic membership into the cult of madrilenismo.

In the city, Mahou has but one competitor. Yes, you can find the odd San Miguel and sometimes people will drink a Corona or two, maybe an Amstel or Heineken, but the only other beer with any wide distribution is Cruzcampo. Below is a picture of the Cruzcampo mascot. He’s called Gambrinus.


A pilsner at 5% abv, Cruzcampo comes from Seville and isn’t bad at all. I drink it when there isn’t any Mahou, and as there is almost always Mahou, that means I drink it rarely. But it is Spain’s biggest selling beer and like I say, it isn’t bad at all, especially when sold as draught.


Things to do for free in Madrid

I can’t believe I haven’t come across this website before today. MadridFree is a daily updated site featuring the latest exhibitions, concerts, special events and other cool and interesting stuff that you can do in the city FOR FREE. The site has an English section too, although it’s clear that most of the articles have just been put through a translator program.

Each event is illustrated with a photo and there is a categorised list for easy navigation to the event type of your choice. You can also subscribe and get the latest events auto-fwded to your inbox / twitter / facebook account etc.

This site is going in my sidebar. Muy bueno!

Madrid on Video

A 5 minute, unnarrated documentary video available at Vimeo, featuring scenes, locations and people in present-day Madrid, all shot with a handheld digital camera. The author has captured moments from all over the city, from Metro stations and trains, in the centre and the suburbs, on the roads and in the parks.

THIS IS A HISTORY OF MADRID from Miguel Maldonado on Vimeo.

The Interactive Visitors Centre at Ciudad Grupo Santander

A promotional video by YDreams” about their project , “El Faro” Visitors Centre, built for Santander Group’s financial complex at Boadilla del Monte on the outskirts of Madrid.

I think it’s quite funky and am hoping I get an invite someday.

Show Me Spain

Have just discovered an excellent personal blog about living in Madrid written by “A midwestern girl who married a madrileño and now her life is changing…”

It’s well written, has some good photos, and is fascinating to compare with my own experiences, as a foreigner, living in this great city. Some of her observations totally match with mine, while others open up a new perspective or show, perhaps, a deeper understanding. Excellent stuff.

Diesel in Madrid

The Diesel store in Fuencarral. The shop also has a ‘magic mirror’ that enables potential customers trying on any items to see how the clothes look from the back as well as from the front.

Diesel store in Madrid

A Proper Football Match

There is a fantastic report on a lower league football match (AD Alcorcón vs Real Madrid Castilla) in the Spanish leagues at the European Football Weekends website which I wanted to alert any readers to. Wry and evocative, it also has some great photos that really capture the essence of the day. Please check it out