I recently met up with Alex Lazarowicz from Barna-Brew, one of Barcelona’s newest and most exciting craft beer brands, to talk about his Brussels-Barcelona beer love affair.
“I’m from London but I lived in Belgium for six years. The beers there are very well balanced and although the current trend for craft beers is to have very big, bold flavours, ultra-hoppy IPAs for example, we wanted our beer to be more balanced.”
He pours a glass for Sylvie and myself and we sniff and sip away in silence. It’s zesty and tangy and light and refreshing, almost like a cloudy English cider.
“When we were coming up with this beer, we were thinking of what would work here in Barcelona, with the heat. People typically drink lighter beers, so we wanted something that could work in the same way. Belgian blanche beers like this are usually made with coriander, but we tried it with a bay leaf instead and we liked the subtle difference. You should also be able to taste a hint of orange too.”
For me it brings back happy memories of my motorcycle road trip from London to Bruges and Brussels, where I did nothing but ride and drink beer. It’s different, but at the same time it has that classic wheat beer taste of Belgium. It really transports you.
I take another sip, only now noticing two musicians standing on a stage, running through a setlist of all-American doo-wop songs for a crowd of families in the street. It’s all very idyllic and wholesome, and I feel a sense of relief wash over me, humbled and happy to be back in Barcelona.
“Would you like to try the blonde?” asks Alex.
It’s darker and deeper in both taste and colour, with a viscous honey hue and a strong head. It doesn’t have the Belgian taste that the blanche has, but it’s incredibly well balanced and packed with flavour that peaks with a subtle pine aroma.
For me they are both exceptional – progressive yet traditional. I am content to not have a favourite, to like them both equally.
I ask if there are any left for me to buy and take home with me, but alas, he’s sold out. I’m sure it won’t be the first time.
Where to Drink Barna-Brew in Barcelona
Alex is in talks with many of Barcelona’s hippest watering holes and already has a loyal following, myself included. You can buy his unique blend of Belgian craft and Catalan spirit at the following Barcelona craft beer shops and bars:
- Beerstore Barcelona (C. Castillejos 269)
- Belchica (C. Villaroel 60)
- Birra & Birrae (C. Andrade 2-10)
- La Resistencia (C. Viladomat 107)
- Malting Pot (BRUSSELS- Rue Scarron 50)
- Twins (C. Guillem Tell 23)
If you’re looking for new and exciting beers to stock at your bar/restaurant/cafe/etc. email Alex directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – he’s an exceptionally bright and charming young brewer and I’m certain you’ll be nothing but impressed.