After the underwhelming showing at Eat Street Barcelona I wasn't sure what my expectations should be for the Barcelona Beer Festival. I'd gotten my hopes up once and couldn't stand to have Barcelona let me down twice in a row... which is why I am pleased to announce that... The Barcelona Beer Festival was freaking awesome. My biggest regret is that I waited until Sunday to show up when I could have been enjoying delicious beer all weekend long!
There were over 200 breweries who attended the Barcelona Beer Festival (BBF) - from small Catalan brewers to huge U.S. and International distributors. Here are a few names I was pumped to see:
- Stone / Stone Berlin (California, USA and Berlin, Germany)
- Zero Gravity (Vermont, USA)
- Cantillon (Brussels, Belgium)
- Coronado Brewing Company (California, USA)
- Green Flash (California, USA) (but they didn't have my Cosmic Ristretto)
There were SO MANY good breweries in attendance! I know my list is skewed to the U.S., but for the time being, it's what I know best.
Here are the "Quick Facts" of the Barcelona Beer Festival:
- Throughout the weekend there were well over 300 beers on 70 rotating taps
- The BBF also brilliantly included “food truck” like eatery options for beer pairings. I hate to compare the showing to my other food truck experience... but their offerings were better!
Here's How the BBF Worked:
- Outside the venue you buy a glass and 2 or 5 beer tokens for 7€ or 10€
- Inside the venue you trade 2-4 tokens for .25L of beer (additional tokens available for purchase inside)
At one end of the gorgeous venue hall there was a huge chalkboard where the current beer selections were listed. As beers were rotated out, the dapper gentlemen on the catwalk would switch up the listings and ring a bell.
Visitors could then use their reference booklet to find out more info about each beer and use the tap number as a guide to where each beer was being poured.
Which beers were the most bomb?
Well, I'm glad you asked.
My favorites were:
- Founders Brewing Company (Michigan, USA): Breakfast Stout
- Bad Company (Dishforth, UK): Dazed and Confused (which contrary to its name is only 5.5%)
Tony's favorite was:
- Cervesa Artesana (Catalonia, Spain): Llúpol
Let's be real, there's always a little room for improvement...
I have only two complaints:
- I know this will sounds a little crazy, but the glasses are too big; with a .25L pour it's impossible to try enough. “Professionals” can get smaller glasses and smaller pours (for a smaller per pour fee), but the entrance fee for a professional is 65€. I wish there had been an option to purchase a smaller glass without access to all of the additional seminars/networking events available for professionals so that the layman who wants to try more awesome beer is able.
- For one second let's talk about bathrooms. No venue that will be roughly attended by 50% women and 50% men should have an equal amount of stall for both genders. I've got more comments here, but I'll keep them to myself.
In all, I can't complain. The Barcelona Beer Festival was a pleasant surprise with an incredible selection of beer, an organized layout in a beautiful venue, and all in all, a fantastic experience.
I've got two goals for next year:
- Weasel my way into getting a smaller glass
- Rallying for all three days of the festival
I'm looking forward to it already! Hope to meet you at the 2017 6th annual Barcelona Beer Festival :)!