An IPA for me

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Caminha artisan beer festival, sorry “ArtBeerFest”, is the oldest in Portugal. This year was it’s 3rd! A beautiful granite town on the northern border with Spain with several squares perfect for an outdoor festival. Beer, food and entertainment rolling from one square to the next right in the middle of town. No fencing off and no entrance fee. You buy vouchers plus your glass at a tent and trade them for beer at each stall. The helpful lady at the voucher tent said “you pay us then we give you our money”. Over in the corner was a row of pedal operated taps to wash your glass so the next beer you try isn’t sullied by the residue of the previous one. I’m staggered at how civilised this is, considering at home I might go from a wine to a beer in the same tumbler without a washing it or grabbing another glass. At least I don’t drink beer from the bottle, that’s primitive.

Especially in hot weather, I’m not offended by a glass of bubbly dry lager from one of Portugal’s two big brands, but if I’m going to get all wine-snob about beer, it isn’t “real” beer. It’s just a summer romance and not a serious long term relationship. Luckily there’s a growing trend here for “artisan” beer, although that term is a bit like “world” music for me. So let’s just say a growing trend for micro breweries brewing all sorts of interesting beer. Influences come from all parts of the world and anything goes in terms of flavours as there doesn’t appear to be a creativity-stifling ancient tradition that must be adhered to.

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The same could be said for the entertainment. My favourite group. Think, that annoying master of ceremonies from Fifth Element singing in a hip-hop style with African drums, um, and the African drums are plastic tubes played with flop-flops/thongs. Woo ho, madness! Doesn’t matter, have another beer.

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What the?! Now it’s thumpy eastern European brass in 7/27 time or something.

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Yes, yes pretty lights and a DJ doing duff-duff now it’s late. The old boys who were sipping a couple of beers for over an hour have long gone and now it’s da yoof and being Portugal young families with little children who will without a doubt, out last me. Suevia what’s that? A beer of course and a Germanic tribe that invaded and settled in what is now Galicia, north western Spain and northern Portugal sometime around a long time ago. They eventually merged with Visigoths and now are the tall Portuguese with beards.

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The calm of the next morning. On the hunt for a decent coffee. The cheap hotel had a nice bed, good shower, surround sound snoring from two other blokes and terrible stale filter coffee. Order had to be restored so a café it was. Need a café, oh look here’s one – it was never going to be difficult! I ordered my life restoring elixir, but unfortunately the waitress assumed, I wanted an “Inglês” Americano/long black weak old persons coffee. I remained calm but I had to go inside and ask for a proper Portuguese coffee.

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The town is on a river bank and set back from sea behind dunes and pine trees. Deceptively pleasant because on the beach the wind was bitter. I have virtually zero “body insulating” and the wind cut through me like a 1000 icicles. The winds up here are the same ones that head over the Bay of Biscay and up to the west coast of Ireland and the UK. The beach experience is very similar. I took this photo and lay flat in the sand to soak up the sun while one nutter went in for a swim that would change his voice and other aspects of his masculinity. Feel free to add your own captions, but the scene is basically: (left) “Yeah it’s a phone that takes photos”. “Oh really, we don’t have those in Wales”; (right) “WHY ARE WE HERE?! WHY?” (centre) “Ha, ha what a bunch of pussies, it can’t be that cold in there.”

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4 responses »

  1. it may well desrve a close second place behind the Oktoberfest Swill in the Adelaide Parklands
    with buxom beer maids compris

  2. No photo’s of your beer? I am not sure photographing a beer is to help recall the whether the 5th pint was “Comrade Bill Bartram’s Egalitarian Anti-Imperialist Soviet Stout” or “BBC 2” but still each to there own.

    Still it is good to hear the march of the crazy microbrewery has made it your way. Never know they might knock up some nice lite ales to match the mild climate, as I don’t believe it is every cold enough for a Porter down south.

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