Brewed in collaboration with Beancurdturtle Brewing, it’s easy to understand why a sea turtle might be on the label of 29 Daniel from Mateo & Bernabé, a brewery based Logroño, La Rioja, Spain. As for the name and the number, 29 Daniel is brewed in honor St. Daniel, a ninth-century Catholic martyr whose feast day is April 29.
Labeling of this sort is standard for the Spanish brewery, with patron saints and associated date references being used in the names of all of their products – 7 Fermín, 11 Bernabé, 21 Mateo, and 25 Santiago. Based on 21 and 11, you’ll notice that the name of the brewery is drawn from saintly inspiration as well.
Daniel was originally brewed in November 2013, after which the beer spent 11 months aging in La Rioja red wine barrels. It made its debut this past New Year’s Eve at the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas, Texas, a city which just so happens to be the home base for the brewery’s distributor, Sublime Imports.
The beer is billed as a robust porter, though if you ask me that particular aspect of 29 Daniel is far more subtle than the stylistic name implies. While I do get a fair amount of roasted malt character in the finish of the beer, other elements that went into its creation are far more forward to my taste.
In terms of flavor and aroma, I pick up notes of red wine grapes and other dark fruits, along with fresh bread, ground pepper, chocolate and a little bit of funk. There’s a certain richness to the beer, certainly, but I can’t help feeling like something is missing.
On that note, it all comes down to drinkability. Define that term however you like, but to me it’s all about the texture and feel of a beer. As to how that applies to 29 Daniel, I’d prefer softer carbonation to begin with, something that was forewarned I suppose by the bottle gusher I experienced upon opening. Beyond that, though, I think this beer needs more body. That, and I would have liked it if the flavors had lingered longer into the aftertaste. There’s some warmth and bitterness on the back end, but by then most of the flavors have all but faded away.