Craft Beer Emerges in Spain’s Barcelona

While drinking domestic beers, most are lagers or pilsners, most of us just think, “hey, this is what I grew up with”. This is drastically changing around the globe. At first the term, “microbrew”, was heard in beer crowds as the new thing. They were pricey and hard to come by. Times have changed in the beer community and now we have access to thousands of different flavors and original recipes popping up everywhere. The term, “microbrew”, no longer applies. Craft beer is the new term as it defines the true meaning. Brewers are crafting the beers on a large scale, not a micro scale.

I have attended close to 55 beer festivals in my time and visited breweries in Poland, Germany, USA, Spain, Greece and Dominican Republic. And through the years, I am more impressed with the quality and recipes brewers are creating. The USA has the ability to really explode some amazing flavors, such as the ones I have tasted abroad. It is a matter of getting the customer to change their ways of mundane repetition. Working in wine and beer retailers in the USA, I learned that the average customer drinks the same beer or wine every week. It is the go-to. There is nothing wrong with buying what you know to be safe, but who wants to do that forever? Sounds boring.

A few years ago, I moved to sunny and charming Barcelona, Spain. I decided to retire from the corporate life and start my own wine and craft beer tours. My first goal was to find an established craft brewery that produced quality and delicious beers in Barcelona. Of course, I had to undertake many mandatory tastings before I would partner. Or so, I told myself they were mandatory. Barcelona Wine and Beer Experience tour company was then born.

The really cool thing, is that many of the employees at the breweries in Barcelona, are from all over the globe. I have met brewers from Spain, Italy, USA, UK, Ireland, Russia and Romania. Many of them gained the knowledge and skill in their home countries. Similar to chefs in 5 diamond restaurants. They come together to create works of art. Blacklab Brewery’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Blackwave craft beer is a dark ale that was aged for 10 months in a whiskey barrel that came from the Evan Williams distillery in Kentucky, USA. This beer was at a spiking 10% ABV. The taste was complex with hints of molasses, cinnamon, char and oak. It would be a beer that old sailors would drink on the high seas during a storm. Edge Brewing’s Triple Virgin Cherries is a collaboration with Belgium brewer Gunther Bensch of Biir Brewing. This Belgium Tripel beer is made with kilos of ripe Barcelona cherries. At 7.7%, you feel satisfied that you are enjoying a fruity Belgium beer while not loosing out. I was told by one of the brewers at Edge, that the beer has some champagne presence to it. This beer took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting a fruit beer to taste this flavorful and robust. Sweet and sour notes.

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Working with both of these breweries, I have learned to respect the beer business more than ever. They work hard to bring the guests the best possible product and they are proud of it. Cheers to them!

For a limited time, Barcelona Wine and Beer Experience is offering 40% OFF on Craft Beer Tours in Barcelona. The beer tour is combined with a 45 minute historic walking tour before arriving at the brewery. By the time we arrive, you will be thirsty for that beer. For more info, please visit us online at www.bcnwineandbeerexp.com or email us at daniel@bcnwineandbeerexp.com . Don’t be thirsty in Barcelona!

 

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AC/DC – Warsaw, Poland July 2015

Well, there has already been one huge music festival that we have attended and it was awesome. But there is one more music event left on our schedule that for me has been a long time coming – AC/DC – the long time Australian rock band that has left many in their dust trails. And I mean that literally. This was going to be one for the books. Stacie knew a friend in Warsaw, Poland where we were going to see the show. They had met in Las Vegas at a former casino as co-workers and now after many years they were finally going to see each other again. How amazing for both of them. I sure know that feeling of long lost friends even if it is only a year gone by. I am always happy to visit my friends in Europe every year. Amazing feeling.

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When we arrived in Warsaw, we checked in the hotel and I was very impressed. Here we got a 4 star hotel at a 2 star price. We did get our first rainfall of the trip and that was ok. I mean you can’t expect everywhere to be tropical sunshine. We made a drink with the booze we bought at duty free in Spain and then got online to check emails and what not. After a while we changed and decided to hit the Hard Rock a block away. Surprise, surprise right?

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A massive Russian building was directly across the street from us and my curiosity of this structure was arousing. Why is it here? When was it built? We bought 2 tickets for the tour and while we waited for it to start we grabbed some local beers outside at a small café for 1$/each.

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The tour was quite fascinating. A young guy was the guide and he was maybe 22 years old. Good for him. He was quite knowledgeable. After WWII the Russians built this monstrosity instead of rebuilding the railroad after it was destroyed. Odd choice to me. But to the Russians, they felt it left a feeling of power in Poland. Showing the mighty power of the Soviet Union of that time. Now the Polish have been building many large sky scrapers around it to hide it. Quite funny I thought. I asked why they don’t just take it down. They replied by telling me that it was just too big and that they wanted no confrontations from the Russians whom have been building up forces around the region. I don’t blame them. But they don’t like this building at all. This also seemed to be where the Polish government met for political reasons as well as leisure. There were rooms for drinking and smoking and also large dinner rooms. Also, all of the marble and stone was brought by Russia on trains. What a task. We also took the elevator to the top where some amazing views could be taken in. One side had a perfect view of the arena where we would see AC/DC. Tomorrow would be the day. We were meeting Stacie’s friend for lunch and then off to the show.

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On the way to the show it was raining. We cabbed it so not to lose time with a bus. It was summer so the the gloomy and rainy day wasn’t at all as bad as the Grim Reaper style days they have in the winter.

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This stadium was amazingly huge. Not as big as Camp Nou in Barcelona but much larger than the stadiums in the US by every means.

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The crowd seemed fun and at ease considering we were about to see one of the most energetic bands in world history! Europe’s culture of drinking beer when you were 12 years old really plays into this – by the time you are grown up and drinking as an adult, the “let’s get hammered and stumble home” doesn’t seem so cool. Please educate the more countries with this wisdom.

 

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Stacie was ready with her AC/DC devil horns and she wore them with purpose – show respect for Angus Young and the band!

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But she wasn’t set yet. We had to get our official concert tee’s no matter the cost. Life is short so do it right or not at all. It’s not about what other know think or know, it’s about what I know. Yes, I could have bought some knock off shirt from ebay for 6$ but that would not hold any value to me. Cheap is not always wise when it’s something important that happens only once in your life. So we bought the shirts and headed into the huge arena.

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Rock on baby!

They opened with Shoot to Thrill – the rockstar song from Iron Man II. Oh, and did I say that we saw the lead singer at the HRC in Warsaw the night before? I was tempted to have a shot with him but he had just come from the Friday concert. There were 2 shows that weekend. So I left him alone. Lucky him.

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Talk about a crazy enormous stage presence. This was insane – we had just did Ultra Music Festival a few weeks before and these fans were older and had more energy. That’s the power of awesomeness!

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The singing, jumping, selfies, and all around power of this crowd really charged me and the beers were large and did the job. We had killer seats right above the floor. I can say, I had no complaints.

 

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Of course we ate Polish sausages with the beer and got a few delicious shots of Polish vodka half way into the show. I couldn’t stop singing or jumping myself. And I knew during these actions that my ears would ring way into the late night and most likely the morning as AC/DC has on record one of the highest decibel shows ever( mom and dad please don’t worry about my eardrums, they are used to it from working at the airport). They sung every song I could have asked for. At the end I was a little pissed off as I hadn’t heard Highway to Hell… but wait – Encore! Encore!.. And so I got to hear my favorite song and boy did they kill it!

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A show for the ages – at least my ages.

Flight in a few days so tomorrow just walk and take more pics. The architecture was quite interesting.

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Next day, on to Paris!