First, a few quick updates for those less interested in our beer-tasting notes:
- We both passed our written and oral Spanish exams this week. Tyler got an excellent score of 89% overall and has officially completed Level 3 and will be moving on to Level 4 on Tuesday. He’s now in the Upper-Intermediate Cycle, woohoo! I passed my class (Level 6, Upper-Advanced Cycle) with an astonishing overall score of 90%. I honestly thought I would get a low-B at most, and Tyler thought he would have to repeat his class, so we are both pleasantly surprised.
- Theoretically this coming week I’ll start my internship at Conciencia. R2A hasn’t set up an interview yet, so I still don’t have any details. Once I know my schedule, I’ll probably continue taking private Spanish lessons through the UBA/CUI, or continue onto the advanced cycles of classes if I have time. For now, I’m looking forward to some free-time.
- There’s recent photos of what we’ve been up to here.
Imagine a terrible, terrible land, where the only beer to be had is water/urine colored, tastes about the same, or, if you’re lucky, it might be skunky, a mediocre stout, or an overly sweet red. And the latter three are considered novelties and are almost impossible to find in a restaurant or bar and have to hunted down in select supermarkets. You begin to feel blessed if you can find Heineken, like it’s the best day of your life if it’s on tap. No, this isn’t the American Midwest, and no, the delicious, well-priced Malbecs do not make up for it. Sometimes, you just need a good micro-brew, or even, just beer that’s not from a bottle. And that is like a treasure-hunt in Buenos Aires.
After some internet research and a conversation with a fellow Oregonian (an adopted Oregonian, like myself), we discovered Antares, a micro-brewery near our house. They even have a few locations throughout Argentina. Intrigued, I hunted down their website to see if they were the real-deal, to see if they existed, to see how high the prices were. All seemed fair and real enough (AR$ 24 per pint, or about US$6 – a little pricey but worth the pain), so we went.
And it’s my new favorite place. Besides often having to wait to get in if you arrive past 9:30 (they have a strange system here of “one person in, one person out” after they reach capacity, but that means that if you’re a group of 3, you have to wait until a table of 3 leaves to get in, which means you never know how long you’ll have to wait and the door person will get very annoyed with you if you try to ask. This isn’t Antares fault however, it’s a Buenos Aires thing.) the place is great. They place good music (in Spanish and English), it has a great atmosphere that’s a little trendy without overdoing it, and they have a really nice bathroom setup that’s hard to explain. Plus, the food isn’t bad either, though, as always, it is in an adorable Argentine “I’m trying to be like chili-cheese fries but I just can’t handle an iota of spice” sort-of way that applies to pretty much everything they consume here. It even carried over into the beers a little bit. Overall they seemed a little timid of bold flavors, but managed to make some interesting brews that will keep us coming back when we get our cravings. Plus, if we come during happy hour (oddly, its literally an hour, 7-8) they’re 2 for 1, which is hard to beat.
The offerings, with our notes:
- Oktoberfest: they tried to make a traditional German-beer here and really just failed. It was the first one I tried so I know my taste-buds weren’t deceiving me. It just tasted like beerish-sparkling water. But, it was a special offering which I considered to be a bonus taster, so we won’t hold it against them too much.
- Kolsch: This beer also had the watered-down factor working against it, but it also had some ever-so-faint flavors of flowers and light fruits, and was quite refreshing. Serve with the (Tyler: AMAZING, Sharon: weird, not sweet-enough, graham-cracker-flavor lacking crust, but amazing whipped cream and blueberry sauce) cheesecake and we won’t complain. Sidenote: Tyler and our roommate Michael made me go back here the next day to eat the cheesecake again.
- Scotch: This was a version of a red ale, that I remember as more or less being overly sweet and somewhat uninteresting. Pass.
- Honey Beer: This was the winner for me. It’s refreshing, has a medium-body, with perfectly balanced flavors of honey, white flowers, and citrus without being overly sweet. Plus at 7.5% alcohol it’s got a little bang for it’s buck.
- Barley Wine: A close second to Honey Beer, and probably Tyler’s favorite. This has a whopping 10% alcohol level and reminds me a bit of Hales’ Wee-Heavy Winter Ale. Its surprisingly well balanced with some malty-sweetness and hopiness. My second choice.
- Porter: It’s a decent porter; even better when you put vanilla ice cream in it. Has good chocolate and coffee notes.
- Cream Stout: In the Irish style of Guinness, this is a pitch-black stout that’s frothy, smooth, and chocolaty-sweet. Not my thing but others really like it.
- Imperial Stout:. Now here’s a stout I love. With an 8.5% alcohol level to stand up the malty-sweetness, it’s a much more interesting and balanced beer, like dark chocolate, roasted espresso, and tobacco. My third favorite.
Overall, we like this place: it’s close to our house, the service is decent, and they have amazing desserts and promising looking apps and entrees. Plus, we’re really excited to finally have a little taste of northwest-style micro-brews!