Part 2: A Paella By Any Other Name...
Then it was back to Barcelona, where I discovered a sublime new artisanal beer bar called La Bona Pinta (The Good Pint). Tiny and intimate, the owners curate a hand-picked selection of only really good stuff. Bars boasting hundreds of beers are 95% crap (reality check: Stella Artois is like fancy-looking, smartly-marketed Schlitz). Give me a place like this, with a few dozen stellar bottles - some so rare and obscure that I couldn't stop giggling maniacally while perusing the shelves - plus three glorious tap beers. I heard about two other new beer bars (Ale & Hop and La Resitencia), but I felt way too loyal to La Bona Pinta to check them out.
I had my first-ever taste here of London's Kernal Brewery, totally unknown in America but starting to build a tremendous following in England. Also: beers from one of my all-time faves (also unknown in America), Buxton.
And, of course, some esoteric Catalan beers. I loved the Amber Pale Ale from Cerveses Almogàver and Lupulus from Montseny. Spain's not yet Italy (which is the new Belgium), but it's getting there. And, for now, the best brewing is being done in Catalonia.
I made another pilgrimage to Italian/Spanish guitarist/electrician/chef Andrea Grimaldi's mini-hacienda an hour north of Barcelona. This time, he whipped up pizzas in his handmade wood oven. Behold some of the best pizza I've ever eaten:
Go to part 4