Brewing Up A Storm In The Hills Of Paphos
After my epic efforts in the Cyprus Marathon, there was only really one thing that I needed - a trip to a brewery! Thankfully, there happened to be one pretty close by to where we were staying. Currently making a name for themselves on an island dominated by the brewing giants Keo & Carlsberg, is Aphrodite's Rock Brewing Company - a family run business that has been bringing something fresh and new to the island of Cyprus since 2013.
We arranged the visit to the brewery in the weeks leading up to our visit, opting for their Beer Quest package. This package is priced at €50pp and includes transport to and from the brewery, a three course meal, a tasting flight of beer/cider, a brewery tour and all the beer, cider or wine you can handle in-between. It seemed like amazing value for money, so we booked it without hesitation
We were picked up on the day by Derrick on the mini-bus - which was impossible to miss with the awesome brewery branding all over it. We were then taken on a short bus journey back through Paphos to pick up the remaining guests, and then we all made our way to the brewery. It was an extremely pleasant bus journey, and Derrick was very chatty, and kept the conversation flowing non stop. The brewery is in an absolutely stunning location, in the hills above the village of Tsada, around 20mins from Paphos. Whilst it was a relatively sunny day, it wasn't particularly warm - but I can just picture this being an absolutely beautiful location in the summer sun.
After arriving at the brewery, we were swiftly shown to our table and asked if we would prefer the beer flight, or the cider flight. Obviously, being gregwhodrinksbeer, I opted for the beer flight. The beers swiftly arrived, along with some tasting notes explaining the beers. From left to right (image below), we had:
So all in all, it was a pretty well rounded selection of beer that was available for us to sample. I'd already tried the West Coast IPA (and loved it) previously, so I already knew what I was getting there. It's safe to say I enjoyed all of the beers, and while one or two of them, maybe weren't quite suited to my taste, such as the ESB, none of them were certainly at all horrible. Both of the lagers were really refreshing, and the porter was full of smokey, coffee flavours. Overall, my favourite was the West Coast IPA, and that didn't come as much of a surprise, with it being one of my favourite beer styles. It is a really tasty beer, with fresh citrus flavours, and a bitter hoppy backbone - everything you want in a good IPA.
It was soon time for the food, and our first course promptly arrived - which was a platter of vegetables, bread and hummus. This was then followed by an excellent platter, of cold meats, cheese, pickles and more. This was more than enough to satisfy our appetites as we enjoyed more beers in the sun as we chatted amongst ourselves, and the other guests whilst we waited for the brewery tour.
Bill Ginn, the owner of Aphrodite's Rock Brewery, then took us all through to the brew house for the brewery tour. After a brief introduction, he then proceeded to tell us everything we needed to know about the brewery, its history and its operations. He showed us all of the equipment, explaining the brewing process in a very detailed manner. I found it a really interesting hour, and Bill was an extremely knowledgeable guy (he's a chartered engineer with years of experience in the oil industry), and I'm sure he could have talked for hours given the chance. The passion he has for brewing great, quality beer was clear to see, and it's evident that he's doing his best to stand out amongst the crowd, on an island that is dominated by giant, macro brewed beer.
If you plan on visiting the brewery then I would highly recommend checking out one of the tours. I believe they are run every weekday at 2pm, and the best part is they are FREE (providing you are a paying customer on the day)!
When the tour was over, we returned to our seats, where it was time to enjoy more drinks, and our main course - which was a sharing meat platter, that was loaded with chicken, ribs, sausages, fries & onion rings. Whilst it may not have looked quite appealing to some - I found it very enjoyable, and a perfect end to a day filled with beer! We had one final course to go following the meat feast, and that was dessert, which was a slice of delicious chocolate cake that was served with cream, or ice cream.
After the food was finished, I also got the chance to have a quick chat with head brewer, Daniel Pitts. He was a really friendly guy, and much like Bill, extremely passionate about making the freshest, tastiest beer possible. We had a quick chat about our favourite UK based breweries, and I gave him my thoughts on a few of his beers. There was just enough time left to enjoy a last beer and enjoy the sun going down - and with that, it was time to get back on the bus for the journey back to the apartment. It's safe to say the bus was a little more lively on the way back!
If you are visiting Paphos, and are looking for something different to do, then I would 100% recommend checking out Aphrodite's Rock Brewery. Even if you don't like beer, it's worth checking it out for the food alone - their pizzas have a great reputation in Paphos, and if you do like beer - then you are in for a real treat. I would love to visit it again on a really warm summer's day as it is the perfect place to enjoy some great beer, whilst enjoying the sunshine. Even if you don't get the chance to visit the brewery, you can find their beers in various bars around Paphos - and it's always good to support the local businesses, right? 🍻
For more information about the brewery, check out their website, where you can also find all the relevant booking info.
The Craft Capital Of Catalonia
Barcelona is one of the coolest cities in the world. It is also home to some incredibly cool beer spots. I recently spent a few days there with my wife, and along with seeing the sites we visited a few of these bars.
The first stop of the beer tour was La Rovira, a modest looking bar that you would be forgiven for thinking it is more of a wine bar from the outside. Inside, the decor is all old school, with a old jukebox, record players and artwork on the walls.
They had around 15 different beers on tap, ranging from local breweries to huge international big hitters; so there was quite a selection to choose from. There was also a fairly decent selection of well known cans and bottles in their fridge.
There was a great atmosphere inside La Rovira, and I think it's definitely worth a visit should you find yourself in the area.
If you are reading this blog post, then you will have most likely heard of Danish giants Mikkeller. Knowing they had a bar in Barcelona, paying it a visit was a no-brainer.
Inside, the decoration was very minimalist and stylish - what else would you expect of a Scandinavian bar? It was very quiet at this time of day, so we had our choice of seats. The bar offered around 25 different beers on tap, with a large selection of cans and bottles also available from the fridge. I opted for a DIPA collaboration between local brewery Edge, and American brewery Boneyard; the resulting beer was excellent!
If you are a lover of craft beer, then the chances are a visit to Mikkeller will be high on your list of things to do should you visit Barcelona, and I would highly recommend it.
Right next door to Mikkeller was a little spot called Chivuo's, which from the window promised craft beer and street food; two of my favourite things. As you can see by the photos, Chivuo's had an extremely distinct and funky style of decor.
They offered up 6 different craft beers that were all local, which made for a nice touch. The beers we ordered were great, and along with the top quality street food (BBQ pulled pork sandwich!), Chivuo's was definitely a worthwhile stop.
Following the disappointment of Brewdog not being open, the next bar was fortunately just a stone’s throw away.
BierCaB is a modern looking bar that I’d researched on Instagram beforehand. The first thing you notice when you walk in is the huge digital tap list which was a cool touch, it wasn’t too busy so we managed to get decent seats. They had a HUGE selection of beers with 30 (yes 30) different beers on tap! I tried a couple in there, but my absolute favourite, and quite possibly my favourite beer from my time in Barcelona, was Hazy Days; an American pale ale from Norwegian giants Lervig. The food menu also looked to have some great offerings and we were actually a little disappointed that we ate prior to getting here as it was more of a mixture of traditional food combined with bar food.
BierCaB for me is a must visit for any beer lover on a trip to Barcelona.
Most of the bars we visited were in the same area, except the first one we visited; La Rovia. So this made it fairly easy to make our was round them. Unfortunately when we made our way to Brewdog, it was closed and wasn't due to open for another couple of hours. It was a fair bit away from our hotel and with limited time available to us, we didn't bother venturing back later.
So while I highly recommend checking out Barcelona purely from a tourist point of view, there is also plenty to take in if you are a craft beer lover. And well, beer makes everything better doesn't it?! 🍻
Welcome To Brooklyn
During my epic week in New York, we spent an afternoon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; home to Brooklyn Brewery.
It was a Saturday, it was my 30th birthday, and we had just been to Greenhook gin distillery which is also in Brooklyn.
After queuing in the sun for around 15 mins, we eventually got into the brewery where we are given our tickets for the free tour. The taproom works on a beer token system, so we got in line and bought ourselves some beer tokens.
Inside the brewery was such a great atmosphere; it was buzzing inside and the walls were covered in cool artwork. We had half an hour or so to kill before the tour, so we got decided to get ourselves a beer and something to eat. There was a varied selection of beers available on draught (around 15) and plenty of bottles & cans too – we were able to get something to suit everyone.
Over the course of the afternoon, I had the following beers:
The tour itself was conducted by a guy called Dan who worked there (I never caught his exact role), but he was very informative and insightful. Despite the sweltering heat in the brewing room, his did his best to give us a bit of history behind Brooklyn Brewery and explain the various stages of brewing. It's actually my first brewery tour, so I found it very interesting and loved getting to see all the various tanks and equipment used to make great beer.
Afterwards, Dan opened the tour up to questions and I got to briefly speak to him. Being from Aberdeen, and also wearing one of their t-shirts, I of course asked him if he had heard of Brewdog! He had indeed heard of Brewdog, and knew that they had great values and made exciting beer - he did not know that they were building a brewery in Columbus, Ohio.
Upon learning it was my birthday, he kindly wished me a happy birthday and gave me a free beer token. The next time I was queuing at the bar, he also let me try a sample of Brooklyn Brewery's latest release; Cloaking Device which is a Brett-fermented strong porter aged in French oak red wine barrels. It tasted great - extremely smooth to drink, and the wine flavour really came through.
We had an awesome afternoon at Brooklyn Brewery. If you are visiting New York anytime soon, and you like craft beer (I would hope you do if you are reading this) then I would highly recommend paying a visit to Brooklyn Brewery! It is a such cool location, filled with great beer and friendly people 🍻
Lets Beer It For New York...
I recently spent a week in the greatest city on the planet; New York City. My wife booked it for my 30th birthday, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. Everything about New York City was amazing - the sound of the streets, the atmosphere, the people, the food, and what we are here to talk about...THE BEER. I had so many awesome beers in New York; some that I’d tried before and some that were new to me. I didn't manage to keep track of them all, these are just a few:
My favourite of the bunch was Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin. This was my first beer by Ballast Point, a brewery I’d heard so much about - and they did not disappoint! Pineapple Sculpin is jam packed with sweet fruits and bitter hops, it is my exact kind of go to beer.
Without question, my favourite bar I visited was Beer Authority. This place was awesome. They have 90 beers on draught and over 100 bottles! This was where I tried most of the beers on the list above, including the awesome Pineapple Sculpin. Their beer menu was seriously impressive, as was the food menu...unfortunately we didn't get to try the food.
I can't wait to return to this incredible city one day. I've dreamed of visiting since I first watched Home Alone 2, and now that I've been - I can't get it out of my head...I felt at home there.
There's something magical about being on a rooftop bar, looking out onto Times Square at night with an ice cold beer 🍻
Whilst on a recent holiday to Italy for two of my close friends wedding, I took the opportunity to try some great Italian craft beer.
Agrado - Ambrata D’Abbazia
I spotted a selection of these on their own menu (which was in Italian). Unable to decipher the menu - I decided to pick this one due to the amber colour of it in the picture, assuming this would be to my taste. When the waitress took it over to the table, it was presented, uncorked and poured in front of me like a bottle of fine wine! The beer was poured perfectly, and upon first taste I was certainly not disappointed. The beer is a deep amber colour and a mix of good malts and a slight orange flavour throughout give a very refreshing taste. I would say that the unfiltered nature of this beer definitely helps with the flavour.
If this was readily available in the UK - I would definitely buy more, I and would be interested in trying their blonde Belgian offerings.
Check out their website below (Google Translate is required):
Birra Ravello - With Limoncello
Now, this was something different! We got this at a local cafe in Ravello Square and what a treat it was. Again, an unfiltered beer that is brewed by combining lemons grown in Ravello with the best craft beer from the Campania region. And the result was awesome - a light, refreshing beer which is slightly carbonated, with a backbone of citrus lemon that is guaranteed to quench your thirst.
This beer can actually be ordered online and delivered to all over Europe.
Check out their website below: