There aren’t many things I will ride the tube for an hour for. I fucking hate the feeling of claustrophobia you get when those doors close, the air condition isn’t working in 30-degree heat and someone’s smelly armpit hovers over you to hold onto a railing. However, we are talking about beer here, not just any beer, craft beer and not just any craft beer, we’re talking about 200 beers from 40 different breweries from around the world and that, my friends, is worth suffering the Metro for.
La Fira del Poblenou promised to be a great day out, we hit it as early as possible so as to avoid the queues and it definitely paid off! The layout of the event was great and entry price cheap as chips at €3.50, which actually includes the glass that is your entry into the festival, getting a free beer glass with my ticket always makes me 90% happier than I was a moment before. If you want to save a little, you can also pre-purchase online if you’re organised enough.
Something worth noting is that they don’t take card at the event (at least a large number of the vendors, including the ticket booth, don’t), there are no cash machines and the nearest one is a 10-15 minute walk depending on how drunk you are, plus it’s down a really distracting road fully of very tasty looking food places. They were advertising a phone payment system, however, they didn’t tell us this when we asked if they took card so we ended up walking/stumbling anyway, also having to download an app when you want to be drinking beer didn’t seem that appealing, especially considering limited phone memory! However, once we got cash out and got our beer glasses, everything was A-OK! On to the beers:
Pancake IPA by Napar from Barcelona
I don’t like to mess around and with an 8.5% #Beerwatch review already under my belt I delved right into another 7% IPA, because you know, it’s an IPA, it’s got the word pancake in it and Napar are bloody fabulous!
Their bar in Barcelona is amazing too and I’m always excited to see what they deliver, but I’m sure I will bang on about how great they are in loads of future reviews. Back to this beer. It tasted like heaven mixed with a damn great IPA, also like butterscotch pancakes, although that might have been the mental association due to it’s name and the fact that I was starting to get hungry. Highly recommended, although, if I’m honest, it’s not the world’s best smelling beer, but who gives a fuck when it tastes this great!
Watermelon Man by Black Lab from Barcelona
I’ve seen this brand knocking around online but with their Barceloneta based bar has been slightly off our usual route to visit just yet. However, now I’ve tried one of their drinks and learnt that they also serve Ramen at their bar, we’ve added Black Lab firmly to the top of our “to visit” list! For something a little different, I opted for Watermelon Man, a 5.7% wheat beer flavoured with this unconventional fruit choice. A lovely, smooth, refreshing and easy to drink wheat beer with a hint of natural watermelon taste. SO AWESOME! We tried Watermelon Wheat from America’s Tailgate Beer recently and this was similar, although the watermelon notes tasted less artificial in the Black Lab version. Would recommend!
Fugli IPA by Oskar Blues from Colorado
I completely fell in love with this brewery, I desperately want to try their, Pinner beer and will try and hunt it down as best I can as unfortunately it wasn’t available at the festival. Their branding is incredibly bang on and this IPA lived up to everything I wanted out of it. Fugli is not ONLY an IPA, its a mother f***ing Yuzu and Ugli fruit IPA, which instantly makes it stand the hell out. Along with the strong citrus notes provided by the hops the fruit infusion makes this IPA incredibly refreshing and full of flavour. At 5.8% I would probably be tempted to make this my session IPA of choice, probably a deadly mistake, but I’m not one for taking it easy.
Clementines & Cartwheels by Austmann from Norway
Every since tasting a beer made from Norwegian glacier water at another beer festival, I’ve been drawn to any Scandinavian brewers, particularly as many of them seem to be a totally kick ass job at creating striking illustrative bottle designs too! Massive props to the girl manning the pumps for Austmann, she was an excellent sales person and really knew her stuff. Clementines & Cartwheels was recommended to us and it was a delight, a fresh, light beer made with 10% natural clementine juice. Surprisingly this one hits a 6.6% alcohol content, so although it feels like you want to drink it all day, some people might want to not get too carried away with this tasty one.
Gaina APA by Birrificio Lambrate from Italy
I decided to mix things up a tad. Why stick to IPA’s when there’s also APA’s out there in the world? I was really impressed by this brewery, what they offered and definitely by what they delivered. Gaina is the most refreshing APA I have possibly ever tried, theirs notes of mango that comes through and it’s crisp as hell. I am hooked and will be trying to get hold of some more beers to review by this lovely brewery from Italia.
Lemon Keffir Gose by Casa Bruja from Panama
Gose is currently one of my favourite beer types after discovering the salty variety earlier in the year at another beer festival. All the way from Panama, Casa Bruja Brewing Co was a treat to discover with this striking bottle artwork and a beer type for every palate, you’ve gotta check them out! This one was a super tasty lemon flavoured beer with a touch of salt that cuts through the sweetness for an ideal hot weather beer at a respectable 4.5%.
Jalapeno Webon by Gatgraz from Catalunya
Last beer of the day and holy shit I did not expect this to pack this much flavour and aroma. I didn’t really know what to expect but this brewery has won a loyal fan. The first thing that punches you in the face, before even taking a sip, is the smell of Jalapeno and then when you take a sip, not only is it a crisp and incredibly tasty beer, but you get that spicy aftertaste that lingers and reminds you oh so much of Jalapenos. Loved it and want to try more. At 6.5% and a few strong beers in, I ended up walking/stumbling this home with me, it was hella tasty. Also shout out to their super cheerful and welcoming brewer who posed for this epic snap!
And that our friends is it from us for today. We highly recommend checking out this beer festival, it’s amazing, there’s loads of cool food, some of which we reviewed separately. It was also awesome to see the great Reina Croqueta who always smash it and taste amazing! The only other thing we did note was that the glass washing station was tiny and a tad hard to find, clean glasses = tastier beer yo, but still, that couldn’t ruin such a great event with so many great breweries. We’ll be back.