Surrounded by stone walls, a church and houses that date back to the year 1700, Jafre, a small town with no more than 300 inhabitants, hidden in the region of Cataluña, is home to the beer oasis, “El Birrot”.
This true example of a beer garden, where the floor of the garden is made up of little stones, trees, various tables, empty wine barrels and a comfortable sofa that lays peacefully under a tree that lingers some local hops, overlooking the vast country side and hills that can be found in the horizon, is the first sight that one gets from “El Birrot”.
Inside the bar you will find wooden tables and bar stools and a welcoming chimney.
There are 8 taps flowing with great craft beers just waiting to hit your senses. The cousins Isaac and Sergi are standing at the bar with a smile, while great rock and 80s synth pop music shuffles in the background, awaiting to recommend you to start your evening with the freshly kegged and tapped Soma Session IPA “Codex”.
I met Isaac and Sergi at a craft beer festival in London just by chance. I was drinking a beer and complaining to my wife about it in Spanish, when suddenly, the cousins heard me speaking and joined the conversation immediately. We introduced each other, exchanged beers and decided to continue the rest of the festival drinking together.
By the end of the festival, they told me that they lived very close to Girona in Spain and that they had a craft beer bar there and that we were welcome to visit them and enjoy great beers. In our case, we said that we lived in Berlin, we did not own a bar but we could certainly meet and do a craft beer pub crawl around the city.
After the festival, I decided to do my research and look up “El Birrot” on Google and was amazed of the excellent reviews that this hidden Catalonian gem was getting. It wasn’t just the beer that was calling me to make my pilgrimage to this beer heaven. It was also the pictures of food that was making my mouth water; Iberico hams, a variety of cheeses and Patatas Bravas, are just a perfect match to go with hoppy IPAS and the wide range of local and Belgian sours that “El Birrot” has to offer.
Plus seeing that so many people that I have met through the beer scene had also great recommendations about the place and that many brewers would pop over there to relax and enjoy good brews.
After almost 2 years of my first encounter with the cousins, we finally decided to go to “El Birrot” in August of this year. Upon arrival to Jafre, I definitely had the sensation that I had travelled back in time.
I was far away from any big Metropolis and surrounded by history and proud and strong Catalonian tradition but at the same time, welcomed by friendly faces, fellow beer instagramers and people that were interested in knowing why had I travelled from Berlin to “El Birrot”?
The answer was simple, a friendship defined by the love and passion towards craft beer.
It is unbelievable how many people actually make their way to “El Birrot”; people from Girona to craft beer geeks from Barcelona who take a 1.5 hour drive just to enjoy the peace that this oasis brings to them in the company of good beers and from the warmth of the owners. This has to tell you something about the place and its true, once you are there (especially on that sofa that I previously mentioned) you really want to stay all night, enjoying the sundown of the warm Spanish sun and the smooth night breeze that goes well with a smooth imperial stout on tap.
One thing is for sure is that “El Birrot” has everything for your craft beer needs: a great selection of local IPA’S, stouts and sours, where the highlights are the beers from SOMA, Jackobsland and Naparbier.
In addition, you will find many beers from the international craft beer scene, from Lambics to strong barrel aged stouts. Plus, the cousins are also Mikkeller Beer Club Members and you can often find beers from the Mikkeller Webshop on display at their beer graveyard around the bar, and if you’re lucky enough, they’ll be more than happy to bring over and share some private beers from their cellar that dates back to a catholic nun convent from the 1600s.
So, if you’re ever in the region of Cataluna, driving around the Costa Brava, and the sun has had its way with you and made you thirsty. Then, follow the signs to Jafre, go up the roads and you’ll find “El Birrot”, in front of the local church, with its doors open and with Isaac and Sergi blasting good tunes and getting those glasses ready for the beers and tapas that you have been waiting for.