Sunday, December 22, 2013

Downtown Bariloche: Five more that I could count

  San Carlos de Bariloche, the largest town in Argentina's Patagonian Andes at about 120,000, is famous for its skiing in the austral winter (July-August peak months), its chocolates, its you-name-it outdoor recreation in the summer...and its beer!  Along a stretch of three or four blocks on one street in the downtown, I was able to visit or note five pubs associated with breweries in the city.
    Start with Bachmann, a pub that had just recently moved out of its brewery to anchor one end of Calle Cerveza.  OK, the real name of the street is Elflein, or Neumeyer; Bachmann is at 90 Elflein.
My stop on Dec. 1 was the fourth day the pub had been open at this location.  The choices on tap were still limited.  I noted a pilsner, a Scotch, labeled as an amber, a dark bock, and an IPA (usually pronounced as Eepa here).  I had a pint of the Scotch (4.8% abv, 20 IBU) and enjoyed the maltiness.  The bock my notes indicate was so-so.  The interior will no doubt acquire more character as Bachmann settles in to the new quarters.  Bachman was founded in 2001 and looks to have a good local following.
  Down the block at 35 Elflein, the Buenos Aires craft brewery Antares has opened up a pub.  I passed on the branch, knowing I would check out the main location when I got back to the big city.  Next door to Antares at #29 was a cerveceria called Nativo, which was not open either time I walked past.  A cross street and Elflein becomes Neumeyer, and the corner, 1 Neumeyer, is anchored by the Manush brewery's taproom.
   Manush, founded in 2005, had folks eating outside on a patio, enjoying the warm December evening, and also inside, everyone having a good time.  They were pouring nine brews on Dec. 5, including three types of stout, a pilsner, a kolsch, and other ales.
I ordered a pollo mediterraneo with a brown porter, each tasty on its own and delicious together.
After dinner, I headed on up Neumeyer, and the joint next door had some old Roy Orbison standards on the sound system.  This was der Tiroler, a pub with Warsteiner from Germany on the awnings.  But they also had a locally brewed beer, Lowther, on tap.  So, with a pint of Lowther's dark bock I watched Roy and his band belt out Pretty Woman on an old black & white video (there's a great 4-minute riff before the last verse).  Nice stained glass back bar.

Neumeyer then ends in a little plaza, and the street that snakes out the other side, Juramento, has yet another local brewer's taproom, Konna, in the next block.
Started in 2009, Konna had three taps working last Nov. 30: a kolsch, a porter, and an IPA.  The IPA was not hopped hard--the amargor rating (same as IBUs, I'm presuming) was just 40 and the kolsch, quite drinkable, was just 20.  Konna's pub was a friendly spot, if not that full around eight o'clock. That is a very early part of the evening by Argentine standards--things don't really get going until after ten.
  In sum, then, I saw five taprooms of local craft brewers in about four blocks in downtown Bariloche, three more in the outskirts, and saw evidence of two or three more.  That's quite a beer footprint for a city best known for skiing and chocolates.
(Visits 11/30, 12/1, 12/5/13)

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