The first thing you notice about Seville is the heat. It is the hottest major metropolitan area in Western Europe, with the summer temperatures being above 35C (95F). That’s average, not a freak day! When we arrived I remember driving into town and the little temperature signs saying 45C, I thought that can’t be right, it’s 5pm. When I stepped out of the car wallop! The air conditioner had lured me into a false sense of security. It was felt exactly the same as the heat you feel when you open an oven door. Except this oven you step into.
I love Seville though, this was the second time we had been. I think it has everything. A vibrant music scene, helped along by the University of Texas having a campus here, the rock scene of the 70s and 80s and of course flamenco. The Tapas are world renowned here, they have become a massive cultural attraction with people going on crawls round the various bars. All this amongst three UNESCO world heritage sites packed into 4 square kilometres of Old Town what with it being about 2200 years old and that.
But we as always were here for a new phenomenon, the craft beer revolution thats not just sweeping Spain, but Europe, seemingly being blown over from the innovation of America to the history of Europe.
We started in a little bar called La Jeronima and though I didn’t find any beers from my list there I am definitely going to give it an honorary mention.
It was cute as balls as the saying goes. It was half a bar half a bookshop, very bohemian. And all their beers were from Andalucia, very cool. Imagine a bar in England only selling beers from Essex. I would love a place like this, so laid back but I fear in England with the constraints of tax and rent it just couldn’t work as a business model. I suppose maybe if you bought the building outright and had no debts it could be feasible, but I won’t be in that position for a sight longer yet! Oh and it had a great mirror in the toilet…
So some great local beers but we pushed on with the hunt. The next bar we went to was La Linterna Ciega. This was a little busier but still cut from the same cloth as the previous bar. What I remember most is torches hanging above each table. I really liked that, and it was very in keeping with the DIY attitude I see in many of these kind of bars all across Europe. It’s the sort of thing the bigger companies try and copy but just can’t do as they have to roll it out across a 1000 and pubs and always ends up looking mass produced no matter how much that try to make it look characteristic.
A good example of this is the chequered shirt. A few years ago the chain pubs all had uniforms (usually a black shirt) whilst the manager wore something smarter. Independent places however which had a more casual approach were more often than not hosted by someone in a chequered shirt as that was the rage a few years ago. Larger companies then wanted to put across a more independent local image so they made chequered shirts the uniform. Now if you go to The Smack (Greene King) on a Friday night you will see a row of 6 team members behind the bar all wearing the same awful green colour chequered shirt, completely stripping it of its independent credentials.
It’s a similar story with tattoos, but I will save that rant for another day!
Anyway they had a beer I wanted, No.220 Weihenstephaner Pilsner
Declaring themselves the Oldest Brewery in the World, Weihenstephaner date back to 1040. Pretty unimaginable. Gawd knows what it tasted like. Definitely nothing like this nice refreshing pilsner, which dates back to 1908 so is no spring chicken itself. It’s a lovely drop though and perfect in the summer.
Once finished we strolled up to Guevara & Lynch. I knew they would have a good selection the second I spotted this tap…
I never even saw one of those in Belgium!
It was quite a strange place. It felt like a chain bar even though it was is the only one. The barman was quite offish so I enjoyed catching him out, not that I tried to, he just didn’t have what I asked for even after he said “If it’s on the list we’ve got it” in a condescending manner simply because I asked if they had something in stock. Then proceeded to search through every fridge in an increasingly frantic manner before returning sheepishly to inform me that they didn’t have everything in stock. No one ever has, and no one minds, so it was a dickish statement to come out with, setting yourself to be caught out.
Anyway they had a beer I wanted, No.221 Dark Force by Norweigan brewers HaandBryggeriet.
What a beer this is. A Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout. The first wheat stout I had come across and it was until recently the only Imperial Wheat Stout in the world, though there is a few around now. It’s as dark as it’s name suggests and it tastes super strong though being (only!) 9% so not as strong as many imperials we have tried. A great beer, one to savour, with wheat and hops and roasted grains its a cavalcade of flavours I would like to try again as soon as possible actually!
Like the beer the evening was getting dark. We pushed up to our final destination. Bier Kraft.
Though it was dark outside the temperature was still ridiculous. It was around midnight by then yet it was 32C. That’s the uncomfortable thing with Seville, though it was far hotter in the day (a blistering 113F which is even hot for them) it’s kind of a challenge in the day, you expect it, it’s exciting. You say to someone “Bloody hell its hot innit?” with a smile on your face, like that is what you paid up for. But in the night that all goes, it’s just uncomfortable, I actually remember thinking the was a chance of suffocating the air was so hot and stifling. Of course this is impossible but it had just gone on for hours by then and your getting tired and it just gets claustrophobic.
Anyway they had a beer I wanted, No.222 Old Foghorn by Anchor Brewing.
I thought this was a delicious beer, but then barley wine is one of my favourite styles. It’s actually the first example of barley wine in the United States, appearing nearly 100 years after Bass introduced it to England. It was strong and smooth with a lot of caramel. There is always a lot sweetness in a barley wine and this beer is no exception. Maybe not the best thing to drink in the aforementioned heat but enjoyable nonetheless.
It’s a good bar Bier Kraft. Obviously they had gone over to London and seen a Craft Beer Company, as their stylings reminded me of them though with a Spanish twist. They have a good choice of beers too.
Same hexagon, just blue background instead of red, and Bier Kraft instead of Craft Beer. Still we all get our influences from somewhere.
My second beer there was No.223 Weihenstephaner Vitus
As far as I know this Weizenbock is Weihenstephaner’s newest beer, being introduced in 2007. Weizenbock is a strong wheat beer. This one clocking up a respectable 7.7% ABV. It strangely smells of sweetcorn though our senses may have been on the wobble by then. It was clean, smooth, and an easy drink for it’s strength.
Unfortunately it was packing up time, being only a Wednesday. But this was a great pub, I was most impressed. Popcorn on the table for every drinker was a great touch to keep people drinking, though I’m not sure I should include that in my blog as I want to nick the idea for my bar.
The bar tender was super helpful. She not only recommended us some places to go out around Tarifa way but she let us take some beers with us and gave us a free tote bag to carry them. Three beers in fact. We had them when we got back to Calahonda, they were…
No.224 La Rulles Estivale was our first beer from Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles. This Belgian beer from the heart of Gaume (which I cant find on Google Maps) is a Summer Ale and a very nice one it is too. It has a wheaty appearance, it’s light with some bitterness coming through. It’s very light in fact, almost a lager but this Belgian Pale also has some honey and mango in the mix too.
The second one from the same brewery is No.225 La Rules Triple. At 8.4% this one is a different beast. As historic as they look with their traditional style drawings this brewery has only been around since 2000 but they have already built themselves quite a reputation. This well bodied tripel has a lovely head, it’s bitterness leaves it quite difficult to drink but its dryness soon disappears leaving a nice citrus flavour.
No.226 Route des Epices from Brasserie Artisinale Dieu du Ciel. Another recent beer, this Canadian offering was first brewed in 2002. Dieu de Ciel! is a little brewpub is knocking out some of the worlds most interesting beers and this Rye beer brewed with peppercorns is no exception. This speciality beer is light and palatable. You can smell the pepper though which makes it really interesting.
Well worth a shot, just like Seville which I implore you to go and visit. It really is one of my favourites. Actually if you do go give us a shout as we can’t wait to go back!