It was time to shake off the shackles of Estartit and widen my horizons bar-wise. The choice of drinking holes in the middle of winter is small. Coupled with this lack of choice is the lack of an atmosphere or vibe makes that number even smaller.
So, when a craft beer loving friend recommended El Birrot I was happy to go and try it. The slight downside was having to get the local bus there, a mere 20 minute journey to the inland village of Jafre.
It had just got dark by the time we arrived, as the bar’s winter opening times are 6pm to midnight (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). You could drive along the main road here and easily dismiss this place as another sleepy looking medieval Catalan village where not much goes on.
We pressed on into the bowels of the village to be met by a large metal gate into what looked like someone’s front courtyard. The ‘Tancat’ or closed sign was a scant reminder to the building’s true purpose. Its enclosed frontage is littered with plain wooden tables and a smattering of newly lit fire pits. This isn’t the night to be drinking outdoors, it’s too cold, so the welcome sight of an indoor spot next to the fireplace was our choice.
The young staff are welcoming and seem to recognise my two friends from previous visits. I dare say they get next to no Englishman here, I mean how would you hear about this place. It’s not on any tourist trail that I know of, maybe that’s its allure.
We survey their board’s offerings hanging above the bar which lists their alcoholic strength and prices, which I must now admit are on the high side. My beer was 8€ for a pint and looks wise, resembles a cloudy fresh orange juice, but more refreshing, with a tangy bite that reminds you of what you are really drinking.
Perusing the not too large plain interior, it has connotations of a super man-cave-shed project that went a bit too far. These images are quickly dismissed as the beer takes effect and bar food snacks appear. Nachos, patatas bravas, chicken wings and ‘sticks de pollastre’- breaded chicken goujons-in generous proportions help to soak up the strong ale.
I can only presume that these are locally sourced Catalan craft beers and I’m reaching the point of when I want to stop and switch to red wine. Although their shelves are prolifically decorated with empty wine bottles, sadly they don’t sell any wine of any colour or type.
This dedication to craft beer even extends to the absence of any run-of-the-mill popular commercial lagers.
We continue with the craft beers and both the interior and exterior space is filling up fast, they’ve certainly cornered the market for an evening venue for miles around. Our own situation dictates that we need to catch the last bus through here at about 9.20pm. It’s always a wrench to depart just as things are getting off the ground. Still there’s always a next time.
Final bill for three hours of fun, for three of us, food and drinks was an eye watering 46€ each. I think the young, bearded, hipster, college dropout looking owners are having the last laugh.