Infinitely less exciting than renting a motorcycle, but still awesome, I made the last day in Portugal about their craft beer offerings. Then I had to leave that beautiful place and get to London! I know I haven’t written in a while, and I’m sorry for that, but here’s to me eventually getting on track…
But first, food.
While I didn’t write about it, the night before I had gone clubbing in Lisbon after the bar crawl. To say the least… I stayed up preeeeetttyy late and slept in a good bit. When I woke up I realized I needed two things: Food, and more Beer (hair of the dog am I right?).
If there is a chance for me to eat Octupus where it’s fresh, I always will. I remember my first trip to Europe years ago in Barcelona I had one of the best meals of my life: Seared Octopus. Since then I’ve always been a big fan. Anyways, I decided it was time to find some Octopus. After a little bit of research I picked a spot on the way to a brewpub I was already heading to. The Octopus was fantastic, but the turnip greens at the bottom of the plate is what really blew my mind. I don’t know what they did to them, but it was insane.
The internet was really good on the patio so I worked there for a while. Take advantage of that shit while you can! #nomadlife
About 10 minutes from the meal and up a big hill was Duque brewpub, tucked in the middle of an alley way. They had a pretty hipster vibe, what you might expect one of the only craft beer bars in an area might have. All of the staff had nicely trimmed beards. This is nothing new.
They had a bar with 9 taps, a 3bbl brew system squeezed into a back room, and a little fridge on the right full of other Portuguese craft beers. A “bottle shop” if you will. Some of the beers on tap were guest taps, but they also had a sister company and a larger brew house in Porto, about 3 hours away.
Pretty good beer overall. I had 6 beers (some in the flight):
- Praxis Brewing – Pilsner: Didn’t taste to much like a Pilsner to me. I’m wondering if it was supposed to taste a little bit funky or if the beer made some friends…
- Aroeira & Bolina Brewing – Look I’m your Lager – Imperial IPA: This was really tasty, and 8.5%, and you could feel it!
- Aroeira – Ale-u-ron-APA: Floral notes, reminded me of the West Coast hop style. Pretty thick mouthfeel.
- Duque – Brown Ale: Very very good. Easy to drink, solid body and mouthfeel. All around a solid brown ale.
- Passarola – Hadron – Collision – American Stout: easy to drink, super tasty and filling. 7.5% but it could be 3 or 9, it’s one of those where you really can’t tell. A little bit of roastyness going on, but the nose is actually almost sweet like horchata, or sugar.
- Aroeira/Letra – Rasin Red Neck – Red Ale: wowowow. Talk about a good red ale. This beer has 8 year old spiced rum and raisins in it. I thought the combination also tasted kinda like currants. Nobody knows what currants are, but don’t worry I looked it up in Portuguese and the word for it is “groselha”. I learned how to pronounce it but totally forgot haha.
Micas at the bar was really nice about explaining some more about the craft beer scene here to me. He said they were growing a good bit there and that he thought in a few years it might be a good bit bigger. We then went to the fridge to see if he could recommend some beers to me to take back to the hostel for a little tasting so I could get some more variety/do some more research. He helped me pick out 6 beers that to him would encapsulate Portugal’s offerings. I also picked up a cool sweatshirt.
Once I got back to the hostel, I got 5 other people together after dinner and we tried some of the beers from the fridge. The cool thing was that nobody else there was super into craft beer, so I felt like in some ways I was helping to introduce them into it and it was interesting talking about the beers with them. We had a pretty international crew: 2 from America, 1 from Mexico, 1 from France, 1 from the UK, and 2 from other places (haha I’m terrible).
From left to right according to the above pic, and also with a few tasting notes:
- OPO 74 Brewing Co. – Echos – Sour Mash Wheat: This beer was maybe my favorite, mostly because it was very interesting and unique. This wasn’t a “sour” beer, but rather a good Witbier with a little bit of sour character towards the end. Overall, pretty crushable and I could imagine it being good with a light meal like Thai Curry or something, it had the common coriander.
- D’Ourique – da Fonte – Gold Strong: This was a pretty good take on a classic beer style. Nobody else in the room was really used to drinking anything like it so it wasn’t their favorite. People here are weird.
- LETRA Brewing – Harvest & Friends 2016 – ESB: This was a special beer because the hops in this beer were Cascade hops grown in Portugal and harvested the same day they were used. Honestly, not the best of the group, but I think it’s really cool that people are trying to grow more of their own hops and incorporate local flavors!
- Dois Corvos – Metropolitan – Pale Ale: Pretty standard pale ale types of things going on. I liked the fronts of lots of these. Untapp’d score would be a 3.5/5 probably.
- Colina 8ª (Oitava) – Ginja Ninja – Imperial Stout: Ginja is a Portuguese liqueur made by infusing ginja berries, (
sour cherry) with Alcohol. It’s pretty famous there and HOME even gives you a bit when you check in (mama says “sip, it’s not a shot”)! Naturally put that shit in a heavy, syrupy Imperial Stout and you really can’t go wrong. This was very tasty, nothing was too overpowering and it wasn’t too sweet. This was a very good beer to end on and everyone liked it. It was pretty strong though!
That was a good way to end a great unexpected stop. Thank You Portugal!
Well, I really liked those beers. I liked those beers and the people in the hostel so much I stayed up late. And then I thought it would be okay to cut my flight time just a little bit close in the morning. Turns out Portugal is pretty strict about their check-in times, and I never got the chance to have an online ticket. Long story short, I missed my flight. Oops. Luckily it’s Europe and it’s Lisbon and there’s internet and I found another flight for another 50euro. Not too bad. Except for the fact that that one was in 7 hours. So I tried to sleep, get some work done, and get caught up, but sleep was short and I mostly was just an airport zombie for a while. By the time I was in London, it was way later in the day than I expected and I had to get in from Heathrow airport. After riding the Tube for what seemed to be way too long to Bethnal Green, a neighborhood just a 15 minute walk from Shoreditch, I was at my Airbnb, and tucked into bed!