Last week myself and my family took off to sunnier climes. Incredibly I found time to try some beers. Joan has been writing about beer for some time now as Birraire, in fact we met, way back in 2014 when the Beer Bloggers Conference was held in Dublin. You can check out his work here!So I gave him a shout and he recommended meeting in La Textil, Barcelona for lunch. I enjoyed their Writer’s Block Helles and their Quad 4 Pale Ale. They also had a small lunch menu and the aubergine with romesco sauce was lovely. The place is very cool with serious attention paid to every detail, worth a visit if you are in Barcelona. Also great to enjoy a beer with one of the people behind the Barcelona Beer Festival and a wealth of knowledge and stories.
One of the more famous craft beer bars in Barcelona is BierCab so I felt I had to visit. I made short work of Fuerst Wiacek’s Stray Robot Session IPA and local legends La Pirata’s The Last Fool Southpaw 15% Imperial Stout. I had intended on checking out Garage and some other spots but time and opening hours didn’t work out.
The next evening we took a walk to Cambrils which wasn’t too far from where we were staying. I wanted to check out brewpub On Tap. Alas, it was closed midweek. Luckily, El Tamboret was right around the corner. They had a nice local IPA pouring called Trapitxol from Ona which went down beautifully with some cheese. I also tried quite a bitter (in a good way) Galaxy Pale from Ales Agullons and a lovely Saison dubbed Nobel Ek from Brekeriet. The bar man/proprietor was very friendly, helpful and happy to recommend choices to me. From what I can tell, all of these are quite small breweries and it’s great to see.
Joan had mentioned Twins in Tarragona to me over lunch so we headed there. The twins in question are dead sound and they have a really relaxed place. We sat outside, as everyone else was and enjoyed a leisurely lunch of tapas. They also had a tasty IPA as well as some more unusual options like a Tripel and a surprisingly light Coffee Stout. If you’re in the area this is a must visit for great food and quality beers. You can check out some impressive Roman ruins in Tarragona too!
I was tipped off that there might be some craft beer in the large supermarket Esclat which was a 20 minute walk from where I was staying. Alarmingly it looked like they had a two year shelf life and they were being stored ambient. Happily they were all pretty fresh. All decent examples of the pale ale hoppy type beer. And certainly a change from the dominant Damm lager.
In Ireland we have a couple of big breweries that are present on almost every bar in the country. In Barcelona and the surrounding area if you ask for a beer there’s a very good chance it’s going to be Estrella Damm. A lot of restaurants and tapas bars seem to only have one beer tap, so your choice is that, wine or sangria. Damm have a variety of bocks too which weren’t bad. If you Google craft beer in Salou the list is short. One bar that’s top of the list is The Butler. They had Damm’s (new?) IPA pouring and I was told it’s being brewed in a smaller facility (I’m thinking something akin to the Open Gate brewery) and that they grow the Nugget hops themselves in the mountains. It was pretty quaffable to be fair with a decent amount of juiciness. My least favourite Damm beer was Xibeca but at a couple of cents a can it’s hard to be too upset. Hopefully you can make the effort to find some of the hidden gems on your next trip to this part of the world. Sláinte!