I lucked out at Luzi Bombon


I am a country girl by birth and now a bona-fide city girl by choice. However, the downside of living in Madrid means that I now rarely see greenery on a daily basis (unless you count the succulents that I ‘try’ to keep alive in my humble abode). But on the flipside, being an urban dweller gives me access to some the fanciest places to eat, with the best part being that they’re often right on my doorstep.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Restaurant Review

Whilst I love a Netflix binge like most millennials, I still relish any given opportunity to don my gladrags and go out for a proper slap up dins. So dress up I did when I headed to Luzi Bombon with a suitably stylish friend in town, and wowzers did we enjoy a veritable feast from beginning to end.

Luzi Bombon isn’t located in an area of Madrid that I often frequent, i.e. it’s not within walking distance of my apartment. I had to treat myself to a taxi (partly due to the vertiginous heels that I was tottering about in) but it’s undoubtedly central enough to appeal to both locals and out-of-towners alike.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Review

What struck me first were the wall to wall photogenic diners – you won’t just be salivating over the menu if the evening I visited was anything to go by. The clientele was as upscale as the perfectly mixed G&T that I was sipping on within minutes of arriving – a G’Vine incase you’re interested.

It’s a sexy venue; possibly the slinkiest of all the Madrid based Grupo Tragaluz offerings with low lighting casting an Insta-worthy filter over my dining companion. Now until recent years I’m not ashamed to admit that I had relatively simple tastes – but due to external influencers in the form of more adventurous friends, I am starting to pride myself of never saying never and giving anything a go. In that spirit, I sampled as much as was humanly possible whilst wearing leather and not wanting to be forklifted out of the venue.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Restaurant Review

The stand out star of the show was the giant ‘fruits de mar’ platter that caused the table to groan under its sheer weight. Recommended by the waitress who clearly knew her stuff, it was a-ma-zing and has turned me into a complete crab convert. Obviously it’s not the kind of thing that I’m whipping up at home, which gave the whole meal an even greater sense of occasion. Even as a novice foodie, I have told every man and his dog about that platter and now I’m urging you to hotfoot to Luzi Bombon and do the same.

Dinner doesn’t come cheap but if you’re looking to impress aka maybe bag a second date with the object of your affection, Luzi Bombon is a fab place to pull out all of the stops. As someone who’s rarely lured out of her barrio, Luzi Bombon is well worth the cab ride and gym class that you’ll undoubtedly need to do the following day (in order to burn off every savoured calorie). If seafood platters and pretty peeps are your jam, Luzi Bombon is the (meal) ticket for you.

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  • Facebook
  • Address: Paseo de la Castellana 35
  • Phone: 917 02 27 36
  • Metro: Rubén Darío



Bar Tomate – modest minimalism at its best


Eight years ago I took the plunge and upped sticks to move to Madrid (or Madders as I now affectionately refer to it). The city was in the midst of a financial crisis so bleak, that people went out for a solitary caña rather than cañas – or so it seemed and so I was told.

Fast forward to 2017 and the city feels as though it’s booming once again. Not a week passes by without a new opening, a Mercado of some sort throwing back its doors and the now oh-so-popular weekly After Brunch events.

So in such a crowded marketplace how do you stand out? Well, having the kudos of being part of the Grupo Tragaluz alumni doesn’t hurt, which is why Bar Tomate has proven to be one of my fail safe favourites over the years.

Bar Tomate by Naked Madrid

Located in the increasingly well-heeled and chic neighbourhood of Chamberí, which coincidently is one of my favourite Madrid barrios, Bar Tomate ticks all the boxes offering breakfast, lunch, dinner *a rare find in a city where siesta culture can result in a complete shutdown during certain hours – never ideal if you’re prone to getting hangry!

The vibe is rustic and Mediterranean with the emphasis on simple, fresh ingredients and classics cooked well.

Bar Tomate by Naked Madrid

I went along for dinner on a Friday night and chowed down like a Queen – decisive isn’t my strong point so what was sampled read like an A-Z of deliciousness; ranging from breaded asparagus, chicken tacos, jalapeño spiced shrimp and a burrata the size of my head because, quite frankly, what meal isn’t improved with the addition of cheese! This was naturally all chased down with an array of cocktails that made for an interesting walk home.

If simplicity is your thing I can’t recommend Bar Tomate enough. From the minimalist décor to the unfussiness and ease of the service, Bar Tomate’s strongpoint comes in its lack of pretentiousness when in reality, it has everything to shout about.

Ditch the flats for an evening, as when the DJ appears (as he does on both a Friday and Saturday night) you’re gonna want to get your groove on. Guys, I’ll leave that up to you.

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El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Authentic Asturian Oasis


Tucked into the Mercado de San Fernando is a tiny piece of Asturias. From the queso gamoneu to the blue-and-yellow flags marking their territory on every spare inch of the bar, you’ll feel like you’re really there.

El Guaje de Lavapiés is a sidrería that offers some of the most high-quality Asturian ciders, cheeses, and cured meats Madrid has to offer.

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Rafael, the owner, is known around town as “El Guaje,” a term used to refer to someone younger than you in Asturias. El Guaje opened up shop 10 months ago, and is happy with his success, although his dream is to open a full-size restaurant.

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

Is the space enormous? No. Does it have wifi? Also no. But what it does have it much better: delicious food, good prices, and no big chain of production and distribution—everything comes straight from our northern neighbors and is grown and made naturally.

Here you see El Guaje’s tosta con membrillo y cabrales—toast with quince paste and blue cheese produced by rural dairy farmers and cured in natural caves (€3.50).

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

Of course, you can also buy these products in bulk to take home and enjoy later.

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

But if you’re like me, and nothing hits the spot like a good craft beer, El Guaje’s got you covered, with a selection from Caleya of pale ales, IPAs, ambers, etc., as well as your trusty Estrella and Mahou.

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive in time for the show—there’s an open space at the center of the market, which happens to be right in front of this bar, where they put on dancing shows, plays, and other cultural events.

¡Puxa Asturias!

Information

PS: Right in front of El Guaje is another one of our favorite stands, Mercado de Lisboa. Check it out!

 




New Cucos, a family-style restaurant in Arturo Soria


Sometimes when I go out to have lunch or dinner I can’t  help but think that an important part of customer service is missing. So when I had dinner at New Cucos with my friend, when we went outside afterwards, we could only say how well we were treated and what a wonderful dinner we had.

New Cucos is a family-style restaurant in the neighborhood of Arturo Soria. This closeness and warmth can be seen in the way Juan (the owner) treats everyone who works there, as well as all the customers who are having dinner or lunch.

The restaurant is located on the quiet street of Arturo Soria. It is a large space with a perfect covered terrace for more intimate dinners or larger celebrations. The terrace provides a very cozy place where you can talk quietly without being bothered by the next table, and then there’s also a smaller and equally cozy interior. The first day we decided to sit in inside, as Real Madrid was playing and we wanted to see the match. The second day we sat in the covered terrace, great decision.

The Food

New Cucos has a simple and traditional menu with very good quality ingredients. The portions are generous, in fact, the most popular dishes on the menu are large sharing platters; these can be great among a group of friends, or even just for two.

First we went for the warm burrata salad with cherry tomatoes. It was simply delicious. Great quality, never tried the burrata and I have to say I totally loved it.

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Burrata Salad

Then we decided to try the spring rolls with vegetables and prawns – a highly recommended and delicious dish as well.

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Spring rolls

By the time we had to eat our third dish, we were already full, but how can you say no to a plate of ravioli? These were filled with pumpkin and cheese sauce – simply spectacular and very rich. In fact the second time we went we couldn’t help but order them again.

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Ravioli

The second day we also ordered a delicious mixed salad. For me, nothing beats a well-prepared mixed salad.

Salad

Salad

As for the rest of the menu, in addition to the dishes to share, they have a small selection of fish and meat dishes. I have to say the South African ostrich burger looks delicious.

Prices are very reasonable. The first day we had three dishes, three glasses of wine and two beers for 47 euros. The second day our bill came out to 33 euros.

I’d also like to highlight once again that we received fantastic service both times we went; the staff was attentive, asking if everything was fine, and very importantly, without putting any pressure on us to leave. That sort of thing is very noticeable and makes your dinner even better.

Nothing else to add, New Cucos points out on Twitter: “eat and drink in an oasis” And I couldn’t agree more.

So, “Mucha mierda” (or “break a leg”) to Juan and the rest of his family. I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon!

Info

  • Where: Calle Arturo Soria 84
  • Metro: Arturo Soria
  • Tf: 913774039
  • Twitter
  • Monday to saturday 11 to 1.



Zoco Comidero: Eat well and feel great at Madrid's first (and only) flexitarian restaurant


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I don’t eat meat, but one of my life rules is: never go to a Vegetarian restaurant.

I’ve been jaded by too many poorly thought-out ventures where the food is created from fear of meat rather than love of veg. Vegan and vegetarian cuisine has existed all over the world for millennia, so where did the culinary black hole come from and why has it left us in such a veg-hating dark age feeling hungry and dehydrated?

Last week, a friend of mine recommended veggie-friendly Zoco Comidero and I might just have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Rarely do you come across a restaurant with this much respect for food. The concept: flexitarian – a primarily vegetarian diet which occasionally includes meat or fish. In other words, there’s something for everyone.

No longer does the vegetarian friend have to eat a racion de patatas bravas for dinner, or the carnivorous friend have to suffer through a fish-less fillet or a tofurkey burger (a what?).

At Zoco Comidero, the menu is hugely varied and every dish is put together professionally. Everything on your plate hit the kitchen worktop raw and intact and has been prepared freshly with no external influences.

We kicked off Tuesday evening with a kale and kiwi smoothie, an arepa stuffed with an almond-based vegan cheese and chlorella pesto (a delicious black seaweed pesto).

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Feeling healthy yet? We shared two tostas: one with goat’s cheese and a juicy baked tomato and the other with a generous portion of beetroot-marinated raw salmon and homemade mustard. For mains we had a risotto made with kamut (an ancient large wheat grain), and prawn chop suey.

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This was all underlined with a trio of deserts: an intense gooey dark chocolate brownie (the secret ingredient: avocado), quinoa ‘cheesecake’ and a face-twisting lemon curd.

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By now the word “healthy” is in the background. Exotic flavours, textures and presentation of the food resonates more than anything else. I love Marbell’s zen and her way of transmitting it to us urban wildlife through edible flowers and doses of colour.

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This is Marbell, the brains and owner of Zoco Comidero

Zoco Comidero is just off the beaten track but in the real heart of Madrid’s old town. The restaurant has an elegant interior with low lighting, good music and a bonus view of the palace. There’s also a fun downstairs lounge which gets going on weekends. Every Saturday and Sunday, Marbell tries to organise a chilled bit of live music from 10:30 pm onwards so stick around after dinner for good DJs and Venezuelan bands.

Info

  • Address: Calle Moreria 11
  • Metro: La Latina



Chiringuito de El Señor Martín, top quality beach bar in Sol


The landlocked city of Madrid is supposedly home to the country’s best quality fish and seafood. Why? Because Madrileños say so! Opinion aside, it’s true that fresh fish from all coasts of Spain are shipped to the capital on a daily basis and one restaurant in Sol has taken full advantage: Chirignuito de El Señor Martín, located on Calle Mayor.

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

Chiringuito means ‘beach bar’ in Spanish, hence the restaurant’s beach-chic feel and menu featuring a variety of fish and seafood platters. During summer, this chiringuito gets even breezier when it opens its glass doors onto Calle Mayor and becomes one with the sidewalk. During winter, the restaurant also expands its menu to include heartier seafood stews and rice dishes.

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

James and I had the pleasure of having lunch here on Wednesday. When you walk in, you see the fresh fish on display, which comes straight from El Señor Martín, a high-quality fish market inside Mercado de San Miguel (and where the restaurant gets the other half of its name).

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

You can see right into the kitchen, where you’ll find the tattoo-covered chef, Beltrán Alonso. He and the waiter kindly explained each menu item to us, as well as the innovative cooking techniques they use and the origin of their ingredients. So without further ado, here’s what we had…

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

To drink, we started off with two glasses of champagne, which came with a tapa of camarones, baby shrimp that are caught using sustainable fishing methods.

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

Our first sarter was ensaladilla rusa, a traditional homemade potato salad with baby shrimp and fish roe. This is on their permanent menu and it wouldn’t be a real Spanish fish restaurant without it!

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

Our second starter was very innovative: gambas con dos cocciones y ajo morado de las Pedroñeras, twice-cooked shrimp with black garlic. It’s important to note that the black garlic they use is the best in Spain (if not the world, according to our waiter). The flavor of the shrimp was completely distinct and absolutely delicious.

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

Our third starter was our favorite: calamares. This is one of the most typical dishes in Andalucía and here, it’s not only good quality (fresh from El Señor Martín market) but also prepared in extra virgin olive oil, like everything else on the menu. It was so fresh, light and satisfying. You have to get this when you go here no matter what.

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

For our main dish, we had arroz meloso con corvina salvaje (rice cooked in broth with wild sea bass), accompanied by two glasses of albariño (Galician white wine). I really loved this dish. The sea bass was cooked to perfection and the rice had a delicious flavor to it. I couldn’t have been happier. To top it all off, we had cheesecake!

Chiringuito de El Señor Martín by Naked Madrid

If you’re in Sol and looking for some of the freshest fish in the city, as well as a mini-trip to the beach, this is your place!

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Marisqueria las Chalanas, Asturian Cider and Seafood in Plaza España


Despite its absence of an ocean, delicious and affordable seafood can be found in Madrid for those who seek it. My friend Jacqui brought the existence of Marisquería las Chalanas to my attention, praising it for its attentive staff and the quality of the portions. With my interest piqued, Jacqui brought myself and our companion Nanor to this location on a Saturday night in order to nibble on sea critters and drink Asturian cider.

We arrived early and perched ourselves at a table in the bar area and later received lingering glances from standing patrons keen to usurp it from us. For this reason it’s pivotal to arrive before the crowd; deshelling shrimp and crabs without an adequate surface to rest the plate is an uphill battle.

The bar area offers specials where generous raciones of seafood cost 5€ with 6 glasses of cider included. We ordered two of these, the first being 1/4 kilo of cold shrimp and the second being a dignified king crab, to share between the three of us.

Marisquería Las Chalanas by Naked Madrid

Marisquería Las Chalanas by Naked Madrid

Our alert server kept our cider glasses full and was empathetic to Jacqui’s needs as a celiac; he was proactive and double-checked with the chef that none of our plates were exposed to gluten. In addition to these portions we also ordered garlic prawns and Mussels a la marinara off of the restaurant menu.

Marisquería Las Chalanas by Naked Madrid

Marisquería Las Chalanas by Naked Madrid

By the end of our meal we were indulgently full and content, all of the food pictured here cost 34€ in total. As we adjusted our coats and scarves to leave, the vultures pounced to claim our little table as their own. I recommend this establishment for celebratory occasions, parent visits or for private rendezvous for those entangled illicit trysts because the likelihood of crossing paths with anyone you know here is low.

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La Pecera, Affordable Fine Dining at Círculo de Bellas Artes


Fancy a decadent meal in a regal setting that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet? We found it! El Círculo de Bellas Artes is one of Madrid’s most emblematic buildings and its street-level restaurant, La Pecera, serves a top-quality menú del día every day of the week for just €15 (€17 on the terrace). It includes a starter, main course, drink and coffee or dessert, with a variety of dishes and vegetarian options to choose from. And to top it all off, you’ll be enjoying your delicious meal in a stunning dining room with beautifully painted ceilings, elegant chandeliers and excellent service.

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

James and I went on a Monday for the menú del día and we’re still amazed that you can get such a fine dining experience for only €15 a person. I kept thinking I wished I’d brought my parents here each time they’d come to visit. Like myself, I’m sure a lot of people walk by La Pecera with its outdoor terrace and fans in the summertime, and assume it is too exclusive to go in. Wrong! Prices are similar to what you’ll find at almost all nice restaurants in Madrid. But you just can’t beat this magnificent setting…

Now on to the food. For starters, I had the arroz caldoso (rice in broth) with clams and shrimp, and James had the pasta with sautéed vegetables and cuttlefish. Other starters that caught my eye were the homemade salmorejo, ham croquettes, lentils and duck magret salad… good thing I just went with the waiter’s recommendation or else it would’ve taken me ages to order.

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

The arroz caldoso is prepared in an individual pot and with a deliciously flavored seafood sauce. The portion was generous, so I was happy my main course was also fish. James’ cuttlefish pasta had a surprising Asian flavor, something he loved but didn’t expect given the more traditional setting.

For the main course I had the smoked salmon with vegetables in a coconut sauce, another unexpected mix of flavors.

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

But I must admit that James’ main course took the cake: the Carrillada Ibérica (Iberian beef cheeks) with apple quince jelly. The meat was so tender it melted in his mouth and the sauce was so flavorful that all James could say was, “Oh, wow.”

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

All the desserts are homemade and included in the menú del día. James had the apple pie and I had a semi-cold yogurt with a reduced Pedro Ximénez sauce. So good.

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

As we were leaving, I asked the waiter if there’s anything else we should try. He told us we had to come back for the breakfast menu, which features a range of options, from the standard toast and freshly-squeezed orange juice to a full-on British-style breakfast and American-style brunch.

At night, the restaurant holds live jazz concerts and its bar offers an impressive selection of over 400 bottles of liquor; all to please local and foreign palates at a reasonable price, within a gorgeous space that’ll make any day feel like a special occasion.

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

So before or after your next visit to a museum along Paseo del Prado, or shopping in the center or whatever brings you and yours to Madrid, you’re in for a treat!

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

La Pecera at Circulo de Bellas Artes by Naked Madrid

Lastly, I can’t end this article without reminding you that El Círculo de Bellas Artes has one of the city’s best rooftop bars, called Tartan Roof. Make sure to pop up to take in the view, visit its restaurant (just book ahead of time) or enjoy a cocktail.

Info

  • Website & Facebook
  • Address: Calle Alcalá 42
  • Metro: Banco de España or Sevilla
  • Phone: 677458448 / 913 605 400

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Martina Cocina: Cosy Coffee Shop in La Latina


A few years ago breakfast in Madrid rarely consisted of more than a cafe con leche in one of the more traditional tapas bars. Nowadays the coffee shop scene has really taken off, and it’s becoming more and more common to see  quirky little cafes offering brunch, iced coffees and other less traditional options. 

Martina Cocina by Naked Madrid in Latina

Martina Cocina fits perfectly into this category. It’s situated in the La Latina/Tirso de Molina area, where you can find a whole host of cute coffee shops. My friend Elefteria and I went on a Thursday morning, hoping for brunch and a good place to catch up. 

Martina Cocina by Naked Madrid in Latina

The cafe is dotted with people working on their computers (they have wifi), reading, or having breakfast with a friend. The ambience is fairly calm and quiet, and you can choose to sit on the communal bench in the middle of the room, or to tuck yourself away at the back on the cushioned sofa. I guess Martina Cocina has gone for the “shabby chic” look, with bulbs hanging from the ceiling from rope and an eclectic mix of distressed wood furnishings. The look works, and the vibe reminds me of somewhere I would find in my hometown of Brighton.

Martina Cocina by Naked Madrid in Latina

 

The cafe only serves brunch on Saturdays, but we still managed to have a great make-shift brunch, as the cafe has a fairly wide range of breakfast options. Each day they make a selection of different quiches and empanadas, and we ordered one of each as well as the more traditional pan con tomate and some yoghurt and fruit. Elefteria is a vegetarian and there were plenty of options for her to choose from. All of the food was good, and we would especially recommend trying the cheese and onion empanada. Our waitress was really friendly and warm, which made us feel comfortable enough to sit for a while and work. 

Martina Cocina by Naked Madrid in Latina

 

The cafe specialises in teas (they literally have a whole menu just for tea) and they also serve coffee from all over the world. I should probably also mention the amazing looking cakes displayed by the counter – seriously regretting not ordering one!

Martina Cocina by Naked Madrid in Latina

The cafe isn’t just a breakfast spot; at night they dim the lights and serve beer and wine, making it the perfect place for a relaxed dinner with a friend. It also got pretty busy around lunchtime, and their menú del día is a good price, at 10,60 euros for three courses and a drink

In short, Martina Cocina offers great service, a comfortable setting and great homemade food in one of the most up-and-coming barrios of Madrid. 

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Article by Laura Blaskett

Photos by Elefteria Garos

 

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Fogg Bar, Spanish Craft Beer and Artisanal Cheese in Huertas


Madrid’s craft beer scene has been flourishing in recent years with several bars and vendors popping up to meet an increasing demand. Fogg Bar, a new establishment situated on C/ Moratin in Huertas, stands out for serving exclusively Spanish-made artisanal beer on tap along with delicious cheeses.

Fogg Bar in Huertas Madrid by Naked Madrid

My friend Diana and I ventured in on a quiet Tuesday night and perched ourselves at the bar. We were able to chat with the charming proprietor, Marisol, who helped us decide which beers to sample. She and her husband opened this bar in September.

Fogg Bar in Huertas Madrid by Naked Madrid

They take a lot of pride in collaborating with smaller breweries and cheese distributors, often hosting tastings and gatherings where attendees can meet the brewers.

Fogg Bar in Huertas Madrid by Naked Madrid

First I sipped #5, the Columbus Goes North, an IPA from La Quince, a brewery in Madrid. This was followed up by #6, the Sweet Milk Stout from Four Lions, a distributor in León.

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I was impressed with the presentation of the tapas that accompanied each drink, as well as the butifarra, a typical Catalan sausage. I was quite taken by this establishment and recommend it to all craft beer aficionados looking to taste Spanish-made beers.

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