I have complained about the lack of good handcrafted beers in Latin America.
I thought I would find a better selection when I got to Buenos Aires, but I was disappointed by my initial attempts to find good beer here.
Then I heard about Buena Birra Social Club.
Buena Birra Social Club
Buena Birra Social Club is a puerta cerrada, or a closed-door, reservation-only establishment. I had been to an excellent puerta cerrada restaurant, and the concept of a puerta cerrada where they make their own handcrafted beer was intriguing.
I decided to break my vow to stop trying craft beers in Argentina. Yes, there had been many disappointments.
But I had to check out Buena Birra.
Maria Eugenia and Ariel are brother and sister. Ariel, affectionately called Toti by his friends, has been making his own beer for about 10 years, which is pretty impressive because this has only recently become a popular trend in the US and is much less common in Argentina.
After the encouragement (read: hounding) of friends, they decided to open their puerta cerrada and invite people to come and enjoy their brews. They just celebrated the one-year anniversary of their restaurant/ bar.
The house is located in a non-touristy but pretty cool neighborhood called Colegiales. Although it is not in a tourist area, it is still pretty easy to get there. They have a good set-up with a few tables for groups and a small bar inside and an outdoor patio. They play great music, but it isn’t too loud for having a conversation.
I loved the huge poster Periodic Table of Beer Styles.
It reminded me of going to a favorite neighborhood bar for a relaxed evening.
While I was there, a group of musicians came in and sat at the bar, appearing to have either come for a practice session or maybe pre-gaming before a gig later than night.
In Argentine terms, it has “great onda.”
Perhaps this is because they have grown in popularity through Facebook and word-of-mouth and have a lot of regular clientele.
Since they brew the beer themselves, and they do not bottle and sell the beer outside of their puerta cerrada, they always have fresh beer on tap. This also means the selection is limited, and they may run out of the especially popular styles after a week or so.
On my visit, they had 3 beers on tap, and they were all good.
The thing I noticed about all of the beers I tried is that they had a crisp, clean taste.
- The Weizen had subtle fruits.
- The Golden was light with just enough flavor.
- The Brown was not too sweet.
Didn’t take me long to finish these tasty beers.
I explained to Ariel in my mediocre Spanish that IPA is my favorite type of beer, but they do not know how to make it in Argentina. It never has enough hops, and it just tastes bad (the exception to this is Gülmen).
(Yes, I know this is because Argentines do not have a taste for the same style we drink at home, so of course, companies brew beer to fit the taste of the majority of the buyers.)
Ariel pointed to the APA with a line crossed through it on the chalkboard menu.
He told me it was too bad they ran out of it last week because he thought I would really enjoy their American Pale Ale.
The two men sitting next to me at the bar overheard my conversation with Ariel. The one said, “The APA is THE BEST beer they have. You would love it.”
Well, that’s great.
I am more of an instant-satisfaction kind of girl. But I am supposed to be working on my patience, so I thought, “Maybe I can come back the next time they brew it. Maybe they’ll have the IPA too.”
Look at me being an optimist.
Then Ariel came back with an unlabeled bottle and poured me ½ a pint.
“What is this?” I asked.
He had an extra bottle stashed somewhere.
And he was sharing it with me.
I felt special.
It was worth the wait. (Yeah, I know it was only like 10 minutes, but you get the point.)
If the American Pale Ale is this good, I bet the IPA will blow me away. Ojala, I will have time to visit again before I leave Buenos Aires.
Check it out!
If you like good beer, I highly recommend a visit to Buena Birra Social Club. You can find them on Facebook where they post the current beer selection. Remember to email or call ahead for reservations.