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 with 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.
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!