I did a fair bit of travelling in 2011, some 50,000+ air miles according to my mileage club statements, and I visited a good number of bars, brewpubs, breweries, distilleries, festivals and other sundry drinks destinations. But as I reflect on the year past, one spot stands out as the single most extraordinary beer locale of my 2011.
It is the Buena Birra Social Club in Buenos Aires.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a good many speakeasy-style cocktail bars over the past few years, but Buena Birra is the only speakeasy-style brewpub I’ve been to, or even heard of. The method of getting there is simple compared to the false walls and unusual entrances that mark such cocktail bars: You go on the website and make a booking, at which time they’ll tell you where it is. Then, if you’re like me and the Brazilians with whom I made a visit in May, you pile in a cab and wind up on what looks to be a residential street in front of a nondescript and very locked gate.
Fortunately, as we stared at each other blankly, someone from within the house spied us and came out to let us in, where we found a house that has been converted to a main floor bar and what I assume to be an upper loft living area. And in the garden shed out back? You guessed it! A mini brewing system.
The beer was good, sometimes quite good, but it was the whole experience that ranks the Buena Birra Social Club so highly in my mind. Great place, great people, wonderful concept, and a definite destination for anyone in or near Buenos Aires, Argentina!