After catching the ferry across from Colonia in Uruguay, I spent just over a week in Buenos Aires, chilling out with good crew and attending some cracking events. These included La Bomba del Tiempo, the very loose Club 69 and by chance, Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos y de la Democracia (International Day of Human Rights and Democracy), which we stumbled across after visiting the San Telmo markets. Picture plenty of flags, drums and traditional dancing.
I also caught up with my mate Dominik, who has been studying in Buenos Aires since August. Dominik CouchSurfed for one night at my parent’s place in Tasmania back in 2010 and we also met up at his farewell from Berlin in July this year – he therefore joins an illustrious (short) list of people that I’ve had beers with on three continents…
Dominik, his friend Signe and I left Buenos Aires on the night train (the slow, poorly lit mode of transportation and not the beverage enjoyed by Guns N’ Roses) to Mar del Plata, 400km to the south. We arrived at around 6am and went straight to the beach in order to wait for a respectable hour to head to the hostel. The view at that time of the morning was awesome.
After checking in, we went to the port to suss out the ship graveyard and the sea lions. We also bought some fresh prawns and calamari from the local fishmongers.
The early arrival, combined with the decent walk around the harbour meant that night one in Mar del Plata only consisted of a bottle of white to go with the seafood. This did, however, leave night two open for a decent session and some research uncovered a couple of microbreweries.
One of these, Antares, was started in 1998 and can be considered one of the pioneers of craft beer in Argentina. Their beers were on offer in many places I visited in Buenos Aires and I tried four of their seven styles, all very good.
The other microbrewery, Baum, was established four years ago, initially to supply parties and events, before their brewpub was opened around a year ago. We were there on a Monday night and to say it was heaving would be an understatement – many different groups of people there for good beer and (by the looks of it) good food.
Baum has three regular beers on tap (Kölsch, Scotch and Porter) and had a couple of limited edition brews (1,000L batches) on offer when we were there (Barley Wine and Weiss). My personal favourites were the Scotch and Barley Wine, although the Kölsch was a great place to start. I also really liked the Weiss, which is surprising, given that I’m not a huge fan of the style anymore (I remember being blown away when drinking my first weissbier in London back in 2004, however I have gone off the style in the past few years).
The premise behind the limited editions is to intensely study a certain style of beer and then recreate their own quality version. They plan to rotate various styles of beer through their taps – we tried to find out which style is up next, but the secret stayed with the bar staff!
Baum have set up a brand new brewery to handle their current demand and will begin distributing bottles in February – firstly to shops and bars in Mar del Plata and then see how it goes from there. Hopefully they are able to follow in Antares’ footsteps and spread to the rest of Argentina and beyond…