Spain, Madrid – Part 2

First thing in the morning we walked over to the Atocha Station so that we could purchase our train tickets to Barcelona for Wednesday. We like to do this ahead of time so that things are squared away and we’re not scrambling at last minute. The Atocha Station is beautiful in it’s own right.

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Since we are not big fans of pastries we usually skip breakfast while in other countries and just wait until lunchtime. Our first stop which was along the way to our lunch stop was at Naturbier in the Plaza de Santa Ana. We had 1906 Reserva Especial from Spain and Estrella Galicia. I did not care for the Estrella Galicia but the 1906 Reserva was not bad. Along with the beers, we were served some tapas which consisted of chorizo atop some bread with a light tomato spread on it. I would have to say that this was some of the best chorizo that I’ve ever had. It made me want to eat lunch there but we had already earmarked a different restaurant.

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We walked more of the city and experienced more plazas and quaint streets. I think this is my favorite thing to do when we’re in another country. I love just seeing what that particular city is about.

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Eventually we made our way to La Tape, a beautiful restaurant with extremely helpful staff.

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In fact, I believe we were waited on by the owner or manager after we showed a strong interest in their more rare beers. He spoke great English which made the conversation much easier for us. We asked about any dark beers brewed locally. He seemed to know exactly what we wanted and we said that we would take his recommendation. He brought us Juliett Extra Stout brewed by L’Anjub in Tarragona, Spain and Royal Porter brewed by Nomada Brewing in Barcelona. He nailed it! These beers were awesome! I had the stout which I thought was slightly better than the porter.

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We ordered our meals and usually we try to get different plates so that we can share and experience but this time we both wanted the exact same meal; Iberico pork tenderloin. It was fantastic!

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I was looking at the extensive beer menu while we started eating and noticed a rare beer that I’ve always wanted to try. I couldn’t believe that they had it. We ordered one bottle of the Trappist Westvleteren 12, brewed by Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren. We were in heaven and the quad paired perfectly with the Iberico.

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We walked to the Royal Palace of Madrid which was about 20 minutes away. It is the official residence for the Royal Family but is only used for ceremonies these days. We walked through the inside but were not allowed to take photos. The rooms were very elaborate with every inch decorated with chandeliers, rich fabrics, and bright paints. The term ‘over the top’ seemed to come to mind with each room. The paintings and furniture were intricate in design. The outside was equally regal. We stood in the expansive courtyard and took many photos.

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We headed back to the same road where La Tape was to visit Irreale; a beer bar that we had read about online. It was to open at 6pm and we got there just as they were opening the doors. Nothing says eager American like showing up right as they’re opening. We were served by a very knowledgeable guy who was planning to open a brewery in Germany. He spoke very good English. Most people that we encountered in Madrid did not speak English but on this day we had been lucky. We don’t mind making our way with our broken Spanish and pointing but it’s really nice when we can just chat with someone knowledgeable about beer. We explained that we liked strong dark beers that we can’t get in the states so he gave us plenty of suggestions. I had the Rain Shadow by Buxton from England. It was my favorite of the ones that we had at Irreale. Hubby had the Black by Mikkeller. It was 17.5 abv but not sweet at all. Hubby then tried the Beer Geek Breakfast by Mikkeller which was okay while I had the Tsar by Buxton. Before we left we had a sample of the Ice Cream Pale by Buxton. It was something of a novelty but it really did taste like ice cream. I don’t think I could drink a whole pint of it though.

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We walked through the dark streets noticing how many more people there were now compared to earlier in the day. The restaurants and bars really do come alive at night. We even noticed places that didn’t even look like they existed during the day with garage doors pulled down over their store fronts would be a thriving club at night. We stopped into a brewery called Fabrica Maravillas. It was one of the few breweries that we could actually walk to. We split the Red Ale and the Malasana pale ale. Both were just average.

We had looked up a good jazz place to visit while in Madrid so we hustled over to Cafe Central in the Plaza del Angel for a show. We had a very enjoyable time listening to Raynaold Colom “steel quartet” and splitting some wine. The tapas were olives so I took no part in that. It was such a neat experience to listen to the music and have it feel no different than being in the states but then when the quartet leader would speak it was all in Spanish and that’s what would bring me back to the fact that we were in a different country. I love how music knows no boundaries.

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We had not had a formal dinner at this point and we thought it would just be fun to pick up some meats and cheeses and a bottle of wine from a small mercado and head back to the hotel. It was a scrumptious dinner eaten in the comfort of a hotel bed. It was very late at night, probably around 1am and we were exhausted so off to bed we went.

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~ by willtriforbeer on January 20, 2016.

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