After two wildly successful years of drunken awesomeness, the Barcelona Beer Festival is back for a third year of craft brews from all over Europe and the States, as well as some new culinary surprises. For anyone who happens to be living in Europe, or backpacking across this fair continent, I suggest you come a runnin’ to fill your belly with some of the best beers around, right in the heart of Spain’s (Catalonia’s) most cosmopolitan city. I’ll be there today, tomorrow, and Sunday (if they haven’t kicked me out by then).
The festival, which kicked off yesterday, is a miracle weekend for beer drinkers. For seven euro, patrons get a glass, a guide, and two tokens (each worth a euro) for purchasing delicious brews. This initial buy in is a mite steep, but a few beers in, it’s always worth it. This year, there are 50 taps serving a myriad of beers (over 300 are available over the course of the weekend), as well as booths selling edibles from some of the city’s best gourmet locales. For natives and long-time foreigners who call Barcelona home, the fact that Mosquito (a renowned dim sum spot in the Born district) is serving their signature buns, noodles, and dumplings alongside the fountains and fountains of micro-brewed glory is a massive plus.
With over 300 beers to choose from (each valued at two-four euro), it becomes difficult to pick one after the other (no normal human can drink 300 glasses of beer in a weekend, unless you are my future favorite person). Some beers to watch out for are the fine drinks from Ales Agullons and/or Beercat, made in the Penedes region of Catalonia, Cerveza Fort from Barcelona, Lervig’s crazy beers from Norway, everything made by Mikkeller in Denmark, and of course, Steve’s Best Bitter (the UK and Barcelona).
The vast majority of the craft beers at the festival come from Spain (Catalonia has gotten really into micro-brewing, the rest of Spain slowly taking note), but the States is shipping over some of the best we have too, including Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale (one of my favorite beers of all time), a couple types of Rogue, and a Dogfish Head surprise or two. There’s even a Belgian brown ale and a stout all the way from Japan’s Hitachi Nest brewery. Weird and awesome.
This year promises to be massive if the past two festivals have been any indication. Its first year, the Barcelona Beer Festival (held in a civic center in the Born neighborhood) had lines out the door lasting several hours and reaching halfway across the district. Last year, the fine folks who bring good beer to Barcelona changed locales to the top room of the Arenas mall at Plaza Espanya, but even that wasn’t enough to hold the surprisingly huge number of beer enthusiasts in the city.
This weekend, expect even more drunken craziness than usual at the bottom of the Ramblas, as this year the festival enters the Maritime Museum, located near that awesome Colón (that’s Christopher Columbus) statue. The exact location and the schedules are on the website, along with all of the beers being served at the festival, and all other relevant information.
All I must say is this: drink responsibly, and don’t let random drunken youngins sloppily ruin what should remain a glorious day of celebration in honor of micro-brewing, gourmet gastronomy, and beer-addled friendship. Hope to see (and forget I saw you) there.