EVERY JOURNEY BEGINS
WITH A FIRST STEP
2015 was a great year! We (Toni & I) finally committed to opening CocoVail, Barcelona’s First Americana Beer Hall. We invested all of our time off work into exploring the craft beer industry in United States, Canada, and around the world.
This is only the beginning of our magical journey, our first step…
MAR DEL PLATA, ARGENTINA
It all started at the end of 2014 when we visited Bruder Beer Garden, which is our Argentinian friends’ “home” in Mar del Plata. These guys completely revolutionized a growing industry by pioneering the “multi-brand tap system” with a wide offering of craft beers from different breweries around the country.
In addition to supplying the finest craft beers, they also created a very carefully designed beer garden, mixed with great vibes and an extremely professional, passionate team that invites you into a whole new experience. The Murgier family will always be a big influence on us. We can only be thankful for their inspiration and hope that we will be seeing them soon back in wonderful Mar del Plata!
|Bruder Beer Garden!||Craft beer tasting with our brother Nacho!|
We left Argentina knowing that CocoVail was now a reality, and as the Murgier brothers would say, “we had reached the moment where there was no turning back”. The Journey continued in Maui, Hawaii where the combination of nature, adventure, surf, and of course craft beer was all too appealing.
Hawaii isn’t as big for craft beer as it is for pineapple or sugar, per se, but the numbers keep on growing with the amount of operating breweries going from 5 to 14 from since 2011.
Due to logistics, it was impossible to visit all of them since we spent our time in one out of the seven islands, so we decided to make a daily stop at the Maui Brewing Co, a brewery in Kihei with it’s own brewpub in Lahaina, Maui’s downtown. We tried some interesting ales, and particularly enjoyed Big Swell, their signature IPA. Besides beer, we also had time to surf and to explore many of the little secrets this magical island possesses!
|Morning routine!||Craft beer selection at the Maui Brewing Co.|
|Wailua Falls: Road to Hana!||Afternoons at “Little Beach” (Maui, HI)|
Craft Beer in Canada, Eh
Canadians aren’t only famous for their maple syrup, bacon and a healthy dose of sarcasm, but also for a great craft beer scene. Due to it’s large size, it wasn’t easy for us to visit as many breweries as we would’ve liked, but we still had a great time discovering Canada’s hot spots, preserved parks, and of course, tasting delicious craft beer. We started our trip in the province of Ontario.
Our first stop was at Sawdust City Brewing Co, a combination of a 20,000 sq.ft. facility producing incredible ales. They also have a historical tap room with 12 beers on tap, flights, tutored tastings and a merchandise store. Another brewery that caught our attention was Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. Here we had the pleasure to join their “game night” full of good vibes and great people. We tried a variety of their brewery’s seasonal specialties as well as their year round beers, our favorite being Smash Bomb Atomic IPA, an Indian Pale Ale with citra hops and high levels of bitterness, huge!
Craft Beer in Quebec
Our Canadian adventure continued in Montreal, Quebec. Our favorite thing about this city was its diversity, which reminded us of our home, Barcelona. We visited many breweries and craft beer bars.
One of our favorites was St. Elizabeth, a beer garden with a giant ceiling that served scrumptious ales and played reggae music. Before heading back to New York, we drove to Niagara Falls and found some interesting breweries around the area as well.
There was one on Niagara on the Lake, a town close by, named Silversmith Brewing. Their brewery was transformed from an old church and still keeps it’s tradition. What pairs better with beer than a little bit of prayer and confessions on a Sunday Funday, right?
Prior to sightseeing the falls, we also had the chance of testing craft beer at a small brewpub in the area, Niagara Brewing Company. What a spot and what a trip!
|1949 Chevi pick up truck in Sawdust City!||Lake Ontario||Craft Beer before Niagara Falls|
|Craft Beer Tasting at Silversmith Brewing, Niagara on the Lake|| Toni and Andres at Oast House Brewers
Niagara on the Lake
EAST COAST, USA
Living in New York for over 2 years allowed us to explore their craft brewing scene more thoroughly. New York state has 269 craft breweries producing over 1,000,000 barrels of craft beer per year! Meanwhile, the retail scene of beer gardens/halls/stores and restaurants that sell delicious craft beer goes way beyond that.
We could compile a very large list, but instead will highlight some of our craft beer favorites, such as: the famous Brooklyn Brewery in the heart of Brooklyn, The Houston Hall, a former prison from the 1950’s transformed into a massive beer hall and brewpub in the middle of Manhattan, or the Radegast Hall and Biergarten, which is also in Brooklyn (Pictures Below).
Besides the state of New York, we visited other east coast states with great tradition for craft beer such as Massachusetts, Delaware (where we visited Dogfish Head Brewing Co, one of the biggest players within the industry), Maryland, Connecticut, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. We also had the chance to go to Montauk, New York, one of the homiest beach towns in the country!
Samuel Adams in Boston, Massachusets
Hanging out with the family in “Frankford Hall” Philapelphia
Dogfish head in Milton, Delaware, Off Centered Ales for Off Centered people!
Independence Beer Garden, Philadelphia
Collecting decor in Montauk, New York
Before moving back to Barcelona, we took on one final adventure to the United States’ largest state, Alaska. This amazing state is home to some of the greatest wildlife, with wide open spaces, mountains and forests that leave you speechless…
It is also one of the leading states for craft beer, Ranked 3rd in terms of manufacturing. During our stay, we visited some interesting breweries. Midnight Sun in Anchorage was the first one before heading to Denali National Park.
This small brewery just outside pf Anchorage had amazing beers and a full on restaurant. We met some of the staff; they where very welcoming and had a beer with us. Further down the road, we stopped at Talkeetna, a small town that traditionally serves as a pit stop for hikers from all over the world. There, we grabbed a pint at the Denali Brewing Company. They’re well known beer Twister Cree, an American-style IPA, and the atmosphere with a mix of locals and foreign hikers alike could not be better.
Craft Beer in the Wilderness
As we approached the park, we made one final stop at 49th State Brewing Company in Healy, Alaska. As a curiosity, these people have The Magic Bus utilized for Sean Penn’s movie Into the Wild that tells the story of Christopher McCandless. Their craft beer was fantastic and set us up for the upcoming adventure, exploring the Denali National park!
After a few days hiking incredible mountains and hanging out with bears, we drove towards Seward, Alaska’s homiest little town. In Seward, we made sure to navigate the Kenai Fjords and saw spectacular glaciers and marine life. There was only one brewing company for craft beer in the area, The Seward Brewing Company. Our routine was to make sure we tried all of their craft beers when coming back from all day hikes. After accomplishing our mission, we can say that not many things in our life have felt that good!
|Craft beer along the “Magic Bus” at the 49th state brewing company||Seward Brewing Company||With our friend at “Midnight Sun Brewing”|
|One out of 32,000 bears in Alaska!||Our friends Natalie and Lisa at Denali Brewing Company. Hope you’re well!||Hiking to Exit Glacier, 3,700ft up!|
Next Up: We cover Ezequiel, our beer master, where we’ll illustrate his story and personal take on Barcelona’s craft beer industry!