Visit Barna-Brew brewpub in Barcelona’s trendy Sant Antoni barrio and indulge in Belgian-inspired Catalan craft beers and gourmet tapas.
From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow…
Barna-Brew’s proverbial tiny acorn was sewn when Alex moved from London to Brussels.
Here he embarked on a successful career in the world of foreign policy, enjoying what was a lucrative and secure career.
And as so often happens when people go to Belgium, myself included, Alex soon discovered the world of Belgian beers.
More importantly however, and certainly of greater consequence to this story, Alex met Carlota, a Barcelona native who had also moved to Brussels for work.
Fast forward a few years to the summer of 2014. I met Alex at a street market in Barcelona, where he was hawking bottles of his Moroneta beers from a giant ice bucket. A blanche, a blonde, and a great deal of passion.
Rays of August sunshine turned the beer to liquid gold and beads of condensation clung to the bottles. He had pretty much just arrived in Barcelona having taken a leap of faith, leaving the security of his government job in Brussels to start a new life as a brewer in Barcelona with Carlota.
Recognition and success…
Soon enough Barna-Brew’s Belgian-inspired Catalan beers were winning prestigious awards. Gold at the International Craft Beer Competition in Madrid. Gold at the Brussels Beer Challenge.
It is, in every sense, a Brussels-Barcelona love affair
And that brings me to today, when the acorn has finally blossomed into a mighty oak. Alex originally brewed his beers at a brewery in Belgium, but he had bigger ambitions.
And after securing a prime piece of real estate on the uber trendy Carrer Parlament in Sant Antoni, Alex employed an architect to help him build his dream brewpub.
A mighty oak indeed…
It took far longer than expected and, I should imagine, a whole lot more money. But the dream is now a reality and Barna-Brew brewpub is finally open.
I’ve seen how much energy and love Alex has put into this space. It’s the result of endless planning and constant problem solving. It’s the physical embodiment of Alex’s sleepless nights and unwavering drive. It is, in every sense, a Brussels-Barcelona love affair.
As with Barna-Brew’s beers, the décor features subtle elements of both Belgian and Catalan design.
The unpolished walls pop with shades of faded green and blue, harking back to the space’s previous life as a storage unit for one of the local restaurants.
Chunky marble table tops and vintage furniture add an element of Frenchy je ne sais quoi.
It’s warm and cosy and feels like being in a Woody Allen movie.
In stark contrast is the huge high-tech brewery, which takes up half of the premises.
It’s sparkly and packed with four hulking beer fermenters that are each capable of storing 1,000 litres. This is serious stuff indeed.
The Beer – What to Drink
Ever the perfectionist, Alex and his extremely-qualified brewer Andrea offer a small but well-considered selection of craft beers, all of which is brewed on-site.
I suggest drinking them in the following order:
The Pils Parlament (5%) is named after the street on which the brewpub is located and is the lightest of the Barna-Brew beers. It’s crisp and easy to drink, the perfect beer to start with, especially on a hot summer’s day in Barcelona.
The Moreneta Blanche (4.5%) is a light and fruity wheat beer – very refreshing and easy to quaff. The coriander usually associated with this style of beer has been replaced with bay leaves, a hat tip to its Catalan credentials. Probably my favourite of the bunch – an excellent example of how Alex and Andrea are fusing Belgian and Catalan flavours.
The Moreneta Rossa (6.5%) is a blonde ale with subtle hints of honey and pine. If you like hoppy IPAs then this is the one for you.
The Moreneta Brune (5.5%) is a dark, caramel coloured beer inspired by Catalan rom cremat, a ‘burnt rum’ drink with bursts of orange and cinnamon. It’s malty and chocolatey, a nice toasty beer to enjoy on a cooler day or for a kick of flavour after a long day on lighter beers.
Guest beers: There are also a couple of guest beers on tap. Just ask Alex or his sidekick Marc for recommendations.
The food menu is carefully thought out and inspired by Barcelona’s famous vermuteria bars, which specialise in preserved shellfish such as mussels, cockles, clams and juicy olives.
Quality is key and you will likely be surprised how delicious these little delicacies are if you’re not used to eating this way.
Gourmet Tapas, Cold Cuts and Cheese
An excellent selection of tapas, ranging from jamón and beer-cured cheese to guacamole and marinated duck breast, ticks all the right boxes. Each dish is perfected by chef Katia, who earned her stripes at Barcelona’s revered La Pepita tapas bar.
I also recommend the gratifying “Moreneta Burger”, which is 150 grams of juicy veal lavished with pickles, sweet and sour red cabbage, plum ketchup and a smoky sliver of Scamorza cheese. Proper beer chugging food.
Make it Happen
Whether you’re looking for a quick beer or lunch/dinner with a few slurps, Barna-Brew is sure to put a smile on your face. Be sure to ask Alex for a few tasters if you’re not sure what to try and they’ll take care of the rest. Be sure to tell him I sent you!
Address: Carrer del Parlament, 45, 08015 Barcelona
Nearest Metro: Sant Antoni (Green or Purple Line) or Poble Sec (Green Line)
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 17.30 to 23.30 / Saturday 12.00 to 01.30 / Sunday 12.00 to 23.30
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