Black Lab – Barcelona
I have only recently become a member of the craft beer community. 18 months ago I was another university student drinking piss poor beer because it was cheap and it got me wasted. Fast forward to April 2018 and the discovery of Cumbrian ales bought from Beer Ambleside, and I am hooked. Fast forward again to March this year and a surprise trip with my parents to Barcelona. Enter Black Lab Brewpub. An amazing brewpub located in an old brick warehouse on the Quayside of Barcelona right in the hustle and bustle. You can tell which one is Black Lab’s space because there are normally a few friendly dogs sitting with owners on their outside terrace.
As you walk inside you are greeted to the sight and smell of fresh craft beer brewer only 10 meters away. All available on draft from their perfectly placed bar. Clad in gloss black tiling and with taps adorning the bar it is a perfect view to walk into on a hot spring day. ‘Ola, una cerveza pour favour?’ Was A phrase I got used to saying a lot. On tap at Black Lab are all their own beers, which they brew up to 4 times a week. And yes they do beer bats!!! A dream for a craft beer lover who has to ‘try them all’ In all honesty I didn’t pay much attention to anything else
I was just mesmerised by the cool little graphics they had added to each on of their beers to add some charm and character to the board. My personal favourite was their Black Comedy graphic. Yes I Think there was a hidden reference there are the picture was of sunny sky and a woodland. As you would do in such a place my mother and I decided to treat ourselves to a paddle of beer. It meant we could try a nice range without committing to serious amounts. Our choices were Claudia PassionFruit (IPA), Blueberry Sundae (impy stout), Peach Cobbler (impy stout) and and their black Comedy (black IPA). On our second tour of the bar we went for their some of the jalapeño Sour and of course some more blueberry Sundae. If you are a reader of my website you will already understand why I like Blueberry Sundae. But this blog is about the experience at black lab. Not just one beer…
To the left of the bar was a short corridor to went towards the toilets and the crown jewel of the establishment. The brewery. Encased in a glass room you can watch them brew to your hearts content, when they are brewing and on weekends we do brewery tours. With beer thrown in!! I spent a good 20 minutes just taking in their brewery, it was spotless. Conicle tanks lined the back wall with another three sandwiched up against the glass. Metal gangways were cut up and hung up of overhead shelving, an ingenious storage method that saw most of their casks and containers stored within the brew house itself rather than being all over the shop. In the back corner a locked room that I can only assume is the cold store for hops and malts. And the floors. Spotless clean while gloss tiling, something I have never seen in a UK brewery. It was clear they were not just passionate about beer but they were passionate about showing people the best.
I decided to meander back to where my parents were sitting chatting. This was all to the right hand side of the bar, again through another corridor, In front of us was a big screen and instruments ready for some rock and roll later that night. They have regular open mic nights and band performances. And at the back behind a glass wall 4 steel storage tanks stood proud. Not only was the beer fresh, but the beer I was drinking ran straight out of a conditioned storage tank to the tap!! Something I have never seen in the UK. It made the beer feel so much more special.
So about the beers, and the food. It’s great. Their Blueberry Sundae is one of the best imperial stouts I have ever had. Hence why I didn’t just go back for seconds but also thirds. Sweet, fresh blueberry with massive hits of creamy malty chocolate. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Passionfruit Claudia is exactly what it said on the tin, a zesty, fresh, fruity passionfruit IPA. 7% Their Black Comedy is a style I rarely drink. But it had the malt backbone and colour of a stout while also having the thinness and bitterness of an IPA. Subtle coffee flavours could be tasted throughout. As my one of my final beers I had their Peach Cobbler Impy stout. A beautiful thick, rich peach beer. Although I didn’t exactly taste much of the cobbler part the beer went down perfectly. Like Blueberry Sundae it was a super quaffable stout, not to heavy, but perfectly thick and velvety. I will be consuming much more of this upon my return to Spain. Finally the beer that set my stomach on fire. Their Jalapeño and Lime sour. Jeez, I have never had a beer like it and I am doubtful I will ever have one like it again. As a sour beer it was perfect. Crisp, tart and tangy. But the addition of jalapeño definitely set my taste buds going.
Overall Black Lab is a beautifully put together brewpub and restaurant, with its only issue being is its on the wrong side of the building. Throughout the day most of the building stays in the shade, with the other being coated in sun. But don’t let this deter you. The staff are awesome, their merchandise is super comfy and their beer is to die for.