I stated in my previous post that I wasn’t going to do a Golden Pints for 2014. I intend to stick to my resolve, but what I want to do instead is to look back at some of last year’s beery highlights and pick a few golden moments which really stuck in my memory.
|At the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin|
The year’s globe-trotting began with six glorious days in Berlin at the beginning of March. Our first visit to the German capital was marked by wall-to-wall sunshine which meant excellent conditions for sight-seeing, plus the unexpected bonus of sitting out in the open whilst enjoying a beer or two.
|Early spring sunshine - East Berlin|
|San Soucci - Potsdam|
|"The Church" - Dublin|
|Yours truly with Brewmaster Vaclav Berka|
In the evening the conference finished with a superb four-course meal, prepared by “The Church’s” talented chefs. The event was hosted by Franciscan Well Brewery of Cork, and brewery founder, Shane Long, talked us through the beers he had selected to accompany each course. The meal ended with an excellent barrel-aged stout, which was a fitting way to wind up the conference and bring to an end what for me had been four of the most beery days of my entire life!
|Lunch by the lake|
|View from Gasthof Stern|
Gemütlichkeit was eventually found and enjoyed on the last day of our trip at Hirschau Biergarten, in the northern section of the Englischer Garten. The sun finally shone and the mercury climbed. A few beers at Forschungsbrauerei that evening rounded off the trip and provided some of the finest quality and tastiest beer of the trip.
The fourth and final capital of the year was Barcelona - Spain’s second largest city and capital of Catalonia. Although I had once changed trains here 40 odd years ago, I had seen nothing of the city itself. My wife had been keen to visit Barcelona for some time, so we booked up a long weekend right at the end of November in search of some sun to go with the Catalonian experience.
Unfortunately the weather gods once again failed to smile on us, and our visit coincided with one of the worst storms to hit the western Mediterranean in some years. Still, the temperatures remained in the high teens and we did have one day of sunshine. Beer is big news in Spain, especially amongst the country’s younger generation. Young people have been deserting the country’s traditional tipple of wine in their droves, and numerous boutique bars and craft breweries have sprung up to cater for their beery demands. Nowhere more is this trend evident than in Catalonia, and there is now a thriving craft-beer scene operating in Barcelona.
|La Fabrica Moritz|
Both the un-pasteurised house beers sold in this rambling complex, were very good and went well with the food served there. The real find though was BierCab, a well-stocked craft-beer bar only three blocks away from our hotel. I spent a most enjoyable rainy Saturday afternoon there, sitting at the bar, enjoying some tapas plus a few of the bar’s 30 different craft beers. The manager was very knowledgeable about the beers he was selling; something he managed to get across despite the language barrier.
This concludes the foreign travel experiences undertaken last year, and is therefore a convenient place at which to break. In the next part of this review I want to look back at the beer festivals I attended along with a few other beery adventures.
To be continued……………………………………………………