Half way up a step ladder with his head partly shrouded in a nose teasing malty steam, it was easy to spot Joachim Zeisel at his Tacoa brewery and restaurant in El Sauzal. The twin copper fermenting tanks were like a vision of the promised land, Tenerife still has the ability to surprise and delight me, and finding this home brew heaven between Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz filled me with a heady joy.
As a former CAMRA (campaign for real ale) member back in the UK I had visited several breweries but I was to find that few could match the dedication and sheer ingenuity of this mechanical engineer and master plumber from Berlin. Joachim has six regular brews with three on at any time so I started with a Clara, a blond pilsen like brew, as I surveyed the large restaurant area that takes up most of the premises that was opened way back in 2001. Colourful ornate steins lined the shelves behind the bar and several people were tucking into ample portions of a fusion of traditional German and Canarian food.
They say behind every successful man is a good woman and Tenerife born Teresa Quiepo Garcia can take credit for relocating Joachim’s skills to a hot and dry land not naturally associated with brewing. “We met in Berlin where a friend got me involved in a project to convert railway viaduct arches into business units” explained Joachim.
“I couldn’t believe he wanted to make a micro brewery in one of these small arches, I had no knowledge of brewing but added my technical knowledge to his and we fitted it out and got it working well, I became hooked on the brewing process and its challenges. After losing my job, Teresa wanted us to move back to north Tenerife so with little chance of getting an engineering job here we decided to use my new skills and Teresa’s catering background to open a restaurant and brewery.”
At this point of his story I had to get a top up and plumped for Cobre, the smooth rich brew that Joachim was working on when I arrived. Joachim gave me the guided tour and I began to realise the extent of his talent, every inch of space was utilised from the combined cold room to store the beer and food to the home made heat exchanger serving the vats, and a vast storage area beneath the building where the special ingredients lived.
- Tacoa Clara – a blond beer with a pilsen aroma. Strength 4.5 %
- Tacoa Cobre ““ copper coloured, smooth with a taste of malt. Strength 4.5 %
- Tacoa Negra ““ dark beer, malt taste, strong in alcohol. Strength 6.5 %
- Tacoa Trigo ““ wheat beer with a hint of banana. Strength 4.5 %
- Tacoa Light ““ refreshing session beer. Strength 2 %.
- Tacoa Fiesta ““ Brewed for special occasions from a traditional recipe used at the Munich Beer Festival. Strength 5.5 %
Sacks of malt from Bamberg, an 1879 founded German brewing favourite, rubbed shoulders with packets of hops from Haller Tam, another byword in German brewing. There was even a home made steam cleansing room where the barrels are given a thorough spruce up before re-use, it’s a very eco friendly business, the used malt is fed to some very happy local pigs. The beers are made strictly to Germany’s famous purity laws of 1516 which prohibit additives and preservatives
Not sure how that happened, suddenly my glass is empty, better try the third brew on, Negra, dark and full of promise it delivered a strong malty taste. Ranking alongside the best of UK ales from my past, this was worth the excursion on its own. If I lived closer I would have took advantage of the bottled carry outs or party service barrels of 20 or 30 litres. Maybe another time I will bring reinforcements to try the tempting metre of beer, 11 jarras (pints) for the price of 10. Joachim brews 500 litres of each beer at a time so there’s plenty to make the regular Friday live jazz nights go with a swing. As I downed another farewell Negra my mind was already planning future trips to treat my taste buds. Cheers.
Tacoa Cerveceria & Restaurante
Carretera General del Norte 122,
38360 El Sauzal
Tel (0034) 922564173
Open 1pm to late every day except closed Mondays.