Edge Brewing or the Joining the Craft Beer Revolution in Spain

A few months back in sunny August, me and my media naranja went to the weekly scheduled open-door event of local craft beer brewery Edge Brewing (http://edgebrewing.com/). What I didn’t know was that business partners Alan and Scott not only brew original craft beer but that they also brought all their equipment (tanks, etc.) from the States in order to brew original American Ale in the industrial but nevertheless charming Poblenou district of Barcelona. They even get some of their key ingredients imported from the States!

Come Explore

Not being a big beer drinker myself for several reasons, but most of all because I am the person that most likely orders a smooth red wine, preferably a Rioja, going with a delicious mediterranean dinner, I was not sure what to expect. I’ve tasted some craft beers in the past and generally liked them but I wouldn’t order them specifically. Actually I never liked beer before I moved to Spain, but once here I developed a taste for the light Spanish Estrella or Cruzcampo (most likely mixed into a Clara – or as most English speakers call it, a Shandy) which is just so tasty and refreshing sitting in one of the Chiringuitos at the beach in the middle of a hot Spanish summer.

So when we entered the brewery one Friday afternoon, I was more than surprised to find a vibrant and beautifully equipped brewery space laid out in front of me. Strolling through the big entrance we stumbled upon a local food truck offering their delicacies (different food trucks join the Edge Brewing Free Guided Tours of the Brewery & Tasting Events each Friday so make sure to check their Facebook page for the next events: https://www.facebook.com/EdgeBrewingBarcelona?fref=ts). We immediately went for the tasting offer which includes 4 small pints of craft beer of your choice for 5€. Later on you can also go for the usual sized pints but I definitely recommend tasting as many Edge beers as you can.

Blackboard

Alan and his lovely staff will happily explain tastes and types of beers, and will make you feel like home, being amongst people from all different cultures, finding new friends, meeting old ones and exploring craft beer – because this is what it’s all about: explore something new that is not the typical Spanish light beer that you get in every usual bar around here. Make up your mind and taste craft beer and come to a conclusion meaning: like it or dislike it – but try it! So if you like what you drink and as soon as you determined your favourite craft beer you might also want to purchase a re-usable growler and get it filled up for you to take home.

Beer on tab

As said before, I am not a big beer drinker myself but I tried almost all of Edge Brewing’s Craft Beers and even determined my favourite one which is – against all odds since I used to prefer the light Spanish beers – not ‘Aigua de Canaletes’ (the craft beer most similar to a light Spanish beer being an American blonde ale) but the orange Stiletto instead, which is a hearty, earthy warm, mild but strong Saison beer (7.6%).

Edge Beers

For this year’s Halloween, Edge Brewing is offering ‘Buried Alive’ on tap.  So make sure you pass by on Friday, the 31st of Oct. 2014, in order to enjoy this Halloween Special Edition Pumpkin Spiced Ale – I will be there.

Brewing

Head Brewer Alan Sheppard carefully incorporates the Roasted Pumpkin into the future pumpkin spiced ale ‘Buried Alive’

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A Tu Bola

A Tu Bola (https://www.facebook.com/Atubolabcn?fref=ts) – let’s freely translate this into English as ‘The Way You Want It’: This little gem refers to a cosy and beautiful street food restaurant in the Raval and its idea wraps itself around the ‘Bola’ – the ball – which originally got its inspiration from the well-established Falafel.

You will be able to order from a wide range of different bolas – whether you like fish, meat or vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed! – that are prepared just in front of you from fresh & healthy ingedients that have been chosen carefully by chef and owner Shira. Whether you are looking for a new menú del día option while on your lunchbreak, you stumble upon this cute restaurant while roaming the streets of the Raval as a tourist or you are meeting friends before a big night out and want to start the evening healthy, Shira’s creativity, love for good gourmet street food and high standards will ensure a perfectly healthy and delicious meal for you.

Have your bolas inside the restaurant and enjoy some craft beer with them while happily munching away to good tunes or take your bolas with you down La Rambla del Raval, sit in the sunshine and marvel at the Raval’s diversity.

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Watch chef Shira prepare the freshest & yummiest Bolas just in front of you

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Sweet Potato Balls in Pita Bread with Apple Coleslaw

The Caravelle & my French Toast Addiction

So living in Barcelona and its barrio Raval definitely made me appreciate good quality and slow food cooked with love, passion and locally available, seasonal & organic, healthy ingredients even more than before and this is why I want to dedicate my first blog post in this category to my favourite Café/ Restaurant Caravelle in Calle Pintor Fortuny, 31 (https://www.facebook.com/CaravelleBCN/timeline – check their Facebook updates for current opening times and events).

We’ve been going there since their opening back in 2012 and it’s our favourite place for Café con Leche and brunch in Barcelona. I’m putting the word ‘brunch’ first since I clearly am a breakfast person – I just love having a good long breakfast/ brunch! But Caravelle’s lunch/ dinner options are more than worth mentioning, too!

Caravelle Café con Leche

Enjoy your Café con Leche while watching locals as well as tourists walking by on their way to the nearby MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – http://www.macba.cat/en/index).

Australian owner and chef Zim plus his staff never fail to surprise us with new creations on a regular basis and that we are more than happy to sample.

Their menu variety includes both – a lot of internationally influenced dishes as well as the incorporation of local and typically Spanish ingredients – always keeping it fresh, healthy, seasonal and cooked to order. Good things take their time, so be patient and let them work their magic – you won’t be disappointed! Also a definite plus in Barcelona is to be welcomed and looked after by super nice and professional people and Caravelle’s staff is just amazing!

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French Toast with Mango Sauce & White Chocolate Cream, topped off with Oven Roasted Plums & Almonds

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Oven Baked Eggs with Smoked Chorizo, Roasted Tomato, Beans & Lime Coriander Sour Cream

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Caravelle featured their Fried Fish Taco with homemade Pickles, Tomatillo Alioli, Guacamole at the fourth Eat Sreet Barcelona Food Festival Edition (https://www.facebook.com/eatstreetbarcelona) on Oct. 11th.

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Non-alcoholic, homemade Ginger Beer

The Story of ‘Le Cül’ – A Wedding Raffle Prize

Once upon a time, in sunny June, on a bright Saturday afternoon (actually the one that should latter also be referred to as the bachelorette party day of Stephanie), I, Le Cül, was born. I emerged from the fantasy of my previous owner and creator Lydia while she was talking about such deep matters as the universe, life and love with Jamie, the master of mosaics.

After gaining the skill of cutting tiles, piles of blue, wine red and black little shiny stones were covering the table. Jamie, still being sceptical about the colour choice, advised Lydia various times not to use that type of darker blue stones and tried to convince her to consider lighter blue ones but I, being a very cunning and clever kind of creature, had already infiltrated her creative consciousness and made very clear to her that I wanted to be born! And that’s how a long and hour consuming process of selecting the right little stones in the right, precise way in order to stick them to a wooden template, began.

The template, well, that was my choice all along! It was the one, as you will see or already have seen, because you are the impatient kind of person that opens the presents before reading the card / letter attached, of a cat. Not just any cat, no! It was the template of ‘El gat del Raval’ (for those who are not acquainted with the Catalan language and Barcelona, it means ‘The Cat of the Raval’ which is the symbol for the Raval district and its local artisan market).

Hours passed and ‘El Gat’, later named ‘Le Cül’ (I am not sure yet if I like that sort of internationalisation of my name!), took form and shape. Sharp, cunning eyes, shiny dark blue and wine red stripes began colouring one by one my shiny, precious fur.

It was a slow birth and we all took our time, because I had to be perfect for you, my new owner. You probably (or maybe not, because you’re either the sporty or the couch potato type of person) ask yourself why it had to be that colouring. In the end they ain’t the most brightest colours which, on the other hand, you expect to see in a mosaic, that should always reflect the sunlight in many colourful ways. No, I wanted to be something typical from Barcelona for you – and not only from Barcelona – I wanted to be something special, representing not only Stephanie’s and Lydia’s district and on a larger scale, Barcelona, but also my name (for the Catalan and French speaking easy to divert and translate from ‘cul’ meaning, well, bum) stands for a special and historically formed expression for the fans of the F. C. Barcelona, which is very important for the city and its inhabitants. Its players are known worldwide. What is not known is why the Catalan term ‘Culés’ describes its fans. So here I will quote some history for you.

In earlier times, the F. C. Barcelona stadium was very small. Before 1909, Barcelona played in various stadiums, none of which were owned by the club. On 14th of March 1909, the club moved to the Camp de la Indústria which had a capacity of 6,000, and was the first ground owned by the club. The supporters sitting on the top-row of what was observed by passers-by from behind as a row of men sitting on the top of a wall while walking through Calle Indústria, was the origin of the nickname ‘cules’ as literally the only thing they could see was a row of bums.

Cules

So for me, Le Cül, this is nothing to be ashamed of – even if you might try to hide your telling smile now! In the end I am not your typical Barcelona souvenir. I am not the Gaudi Dragon or a set of coasters with the image of the Sagrada Familia or other famous places of interest in Barcelona. I am something that comes with a story – a personal souvenir that chose you to be its rightful owner (and believe me, I have my own will power!) – I am something from here. Something that wandered the streets without being discovered, something that lingered in the dark corners or doors in form of street art paintings or posters, something well-known in its Barrio and beyond its borders. Yet I am nothing to be afraid of: I represent the beauty and the diversity of the Raval and Barcelona! And in order to show you that we all mean well, I come with something special from my district: some instant chocolate from the Granja Viader, which since 1910 is located in Calle Xùcla 6 and quite an important landmark to my previous owners Stephanie and Lydia. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as they do and if you have time to visit the Granja, they’d highly recommend you having a ‘Suís petit amb Xurros’ or (as it is probably very hot for you outside) a Lemon or Coffee Granissat.

So as I am most likely leaving my habitat with you, the only thing I ask from you in return, is to cherish me as what I am: ‘Le Cül’ – ‘El Gat del Raval’!

Le Cül

Visit the local Mercat Raval BCN (https://www.facebook.com/MercatRavalBcn) in order to create your own mosaic