Saturday, December 28, 2013

El Bolson: strolling through the fair

   Three times a week (per Lonely Planet), but especially on Saturday, the central plaza in El Bolson fills with crafters selling stuff and shoppers buying it.  Weaving, wood carvings, musical instruments, foods, all sorts of stuff is out there.
   There were deals to be had.  I got a tasty empanada for five pesos (60 to 90 cents depending on where you change your dollars), the national finger food which usually sells for twice that in the restaurants.
   Now right behind the empanada stand is a brewer from Parapoto, serving those 330-ml (about 2/3 of a pint) drafts for fifteen pesos.  For me, he drew a Roja E.P.A. (English Pale Ale), 4.6% abv and properly bitter.  Parapoto is brewed in town, as is Piltri, served up a few stalls down.  I tried Piltri's rubia fuerte, the first rubia that tasted like a true Blonde Ale like American Brewing makes in Everett.  Alcohol content definitely on the higher end, nice balance and a rich, lingering finish.
   So that made seven breweries right in town.  The next town south, Lago Puelo, has a couple more.  One had a booth at the fair, Pilker, where the guys drew me another chopp of their rubia, more of a pilsner with that nice tang.  One of them even named the hops they used: Cascade and Nugget.  I'm guessing that our Northwest strains are grown down there.
   Another  neighbor town just a bit south, El Hoyo, has a brewer called  Chaura.  They were not at the fair, but they were the featured draft beer at Ristorante Tomatican across the street.  I had dinner there after shopping at the fair, a grilled trout from one of the mountain streams in the area, with Chaura's Pale Ale.
My notes say the pale was a bit light (4 % abv) but nicely bittered.  It was a good finish to my Patagonian tasting experiences as I would fly north to Mendoza the next day.
(Visted 12/7/13).

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