“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
– Frank Zappa
So, let’s see, Argentina has an airline, of sorts. It has quite a few football teams, or at least playing a game they think is football. As far as I know, no nuclear weapons, though there are certainly spots around town that might qualify as radioactive. What about beer? Sure, they have Quilmes and all its derivatives, none of which (well, actually, I kind of like the red ale, and their Patagonia amber isn’t bad) are worth drinking as long as there’s a water tap nearby. And there are a few artesanal beers I’ve had that I’ve liked – in particular Beagle Rubia from Patagonia and a couple from the BarbaRoja line – but really not much else so far. One of these days I’ll have to get together a group and we’ll do a real, proper tasting or series thereof.
Now, despite having been open for some four years or so now, somehow or other I’ve never made it before to Buller Pub and Brewery,
R.M. Ortíz 1827, Junin 1747 (moved a block away in 2016), just a couple of blocks from my home here in Recoleta (they also have a pub downtown at Paraguay 428). Likely it’s because it’s on the strip of tourist traps that is Village Recoleta and so I’ve ignored it on the assumption that it would be overpriced and not all that interesting – that, and I’m not a big beer drinker, I much prefer wine and/or cocktails, such is life. But now and again…..
The beers, in order… a Light Lager – insipid, tasteless, watery, something that perhaps on a really hot day in midsummer would go down fine as a source of alcohol and refreshment, but not much more; a Hefeweissen – probably my favorite style of lighter beers, this one wasn’t bad, it has a nice fruitiness to it, a touch of bitterness, and decent length; Honey Beer – I found the honey to be overwhelming in this, completely out of balance; Oktoberfest – my favorite of the tasting, nice and rich, lots of hops with their associated bitterness, great complexity, I could easily put away a pint or two of that; India Pale Ale – this was so bitter I wanted to just spit it out on the floor; Dry Stout – not bad, not great, a decent stout with nice aromas of roasted coffee and some decent complexity, drinkable but I wouldn’t order it again; and, the extra, a Porter – great dark, bitter chocolate notes, really nice balance, well made.
So, 3 out of 7, about what I expected.
Service, typically slow and inattentive. It was a solid ten minutes after being seated before any of the waitstaff came over to my table, despite their being more of them than there were customers in the place – they were busy chatting amongst themselves and talking on their cellphones – and food and drink were dropped off on the table perfunctorily without comment – in fact, I think the only thing my waitress ever said to me beyond asking what I wanted was when she dropped the bill making a point of that her tip wasn’t included (which the bill also states in large letters in three different languages). Overall though, recommended if you’re in the mood for a pint (Oktoberfest or Porter I think) and decent burger. Hmm… on the other hand, though much further afield, I enjoyed the beer sampler for the same price (and each glass at least double the size of these) at BarbaRoja out in the ‘burbs.