The lifespan of new shops is getting shorter; today if a shop wants to survive, it has to give the people what they want and go back to basics, but with style and flair.
I had to look twice, and then twice more when I came upon this shop; Beers and Travel? Had I died and gone to Heaven? Did somebody read my mind? Is someone pulling my leg?
Well, not exactly, but you can’t keep a good idea down, and brothers Enrique and Joaquin Berlanga, along with Joaquin’s wife Ana inaugurated this business in Calle Serranos 19 in April 2012 believing that there are large numbers of people who like to drink and be driven and flown to all those idyllic places where the indigenous tribes consider beer to be part of their culture; at least for the first pint, after which we normally reserved northerners have a habit of waking up in uncomfortable positions in somebody else’s clothes and not infrequently in the company of a complete stranger who seems to be under the impression that some inappropriate affection is called for.
There is a lot of nonsense spoken about wine and culture, but that’s mostly by people like me who confuse personal preferences with knowledge. People who sing the praises of Pinot Noir just because they’ve seen the film ‘Sideways’ should be politely ignored, as I usually am when I recommend the film.
I’d never really thought about beer as being part of anyone’s culture, much in the same way as I’d never really thought about oxygen as being worth thinking about: breathing and drinking beer are just things that we men from the wild, prosperous north do.
Anyway, having got all that nonsense off my chest, Beer & Travels is a shop that sells quality beers from all over the world, organises beer tastings and organises trips to places famous for their beers such as the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Belgium (for the moment). They also do guided tours of the Valencian bars that sell the increasingly popular craft beers that are being produced in significant amounts in the valencia Community.
There are not many places in Valencia, or anywhere else for that matter where you will find under the same roof a selection of beers with quaint names such as Brew Dog, Hobgoblin, Belzebuth, Anchor Steam, Oyster or Brainblasta.
They even sell Duff Beer from the Simpsons, a clear example of imaginative marketing if ever there was one.
There is also a whole wall dedicated to the increasing number of artisan Valencian beers currently being brewed in semi-clandestine breweries in Alcoy, Ribarroja or Castellón using unusual ingredients such as artichokes and tiger nuts as well as the traditional hops, malt, wheat and barley.
Books and T shirts are also available, and hopefully when Valencia Town Hall gives its permission it will be possible to sample the wares on the spot without having to follow the wine snobs disgusting habit of spitting nectar into a spitoon at a beer tasting event.
I predict that this former furniture shop, located near the Serrano Towers in a street that already has a number of highly original shops, will soon become the focus of Valencia’s elite, discriminating beer drinkers, at which point of course I won’t get a look in.