By Yasmine El Tabib
Why am I not in Barcelona right now for the Barcelona Beer Fest? @BcnBeerFest, I belong in your presence. If I were there for the 8th-10th this month, I would make it a personal goal to taste all 300 craft beers from your glorious bar of 50 taps. Is that even physically possible?
In its second year, the Barcelona Beer Festival (BFF) is serving two hundred more beers and has landed a killer location under the glass dome of Las Arenas on Plaza Espanya, with triple the capacity of last year. BBF was created and is hosted by the Association of Beer for Artisan Culture (ACCA) to promote craft beer and culture. I am definitely pro-culture.
Unlike Oktoberfest, which features beer brewed only within Munich city limits, BBF is hosting a wide variety of foreign guests, in addition to locals. Looking through the list of beers and profiles of breweries will surely make your mouth water. The Italian Birrificio del Ducato’s Machete, number 43 on their guide, is described as being heavily hopped and having the aroma of grapefruit. Could it be just the right concoction to awaken your sleepy winter body to the taste and smell of the beginning of spring? You should also check out Krut, a combination of champagne yeast with Citra hop. Brewed like a Californian beer, but made with Mediterranean ingredients, my beerometer is telling me yes.
Aside from the hundreds of beers you’ll have to choose from (302 to be exact) BBF incites hype about beer culture by having various European brewers spearhead roundtable conversations and naturally, beer tastings. Topics range from the history of breweries to what the beer culture is like in their countries even to the social and economic implications the Euro Crisis has had on the beer making industry. The craft beer revolution, recognizing that the art of fermentation can be much more colorful than the monotonous yellow of mass produced beer, has presented us with so many more ways to enjoy and talk about beer.
And new this year, BBF has some serious Spanish eats to be paired with the fresh brews. I would be all over the Asturian cheese plate including five cheeses from the region north of Castile and León, Spain. The message on the BBF website reads “cheese lovers,” yes that’s me, continue… “we are dedicated to creating artisan cheese culture especially of Asturian origin, known in Catalonia.” If they are dedicated to the mission of creating cheeses, they must be trustworthy. If you’re as excited about this extension into cheese cultures as I am, join one of the workshops on pairing beer and cuisine to open your mind to the endless opportunities of this relationship.
So, if you’re in Barcelona right now, and eager to dip into a tall glass of culture, while stimulating your taste buds, head to Barcelona Beer Fest this weekend. Admission is free (you buy a special glass and tokens to drink) and hours are as follows: Friday, March 8th: 2:00pm-11:00pm; Saturday, March 9th: 11:00am-11:00pm; Sunday, March 10th: 11:00am-9:00pm. Enjoy the community created by the joy of making and drinking craft beer and remember to drink responsibly; you’ll want to remember the beers you tasted here.