Hidden away in the back streets of Santiago de Compostela is a small shop called O Bandullo do Lambón. I say "hidden away" because we walked passed it at least a dozen times during our many visits to the Cathedral area, yet somehow managed to miss the giant display case of craft beers on the outside wall of the building. Observation fail.
Inside is the real treat. Three different taps of local craft beer -- cervexa artesá -- from Galicia are the highlight, plus a good bottle selection in the chiller. And if take-away is more your thing, they've an even larger selection of bottles on the shelf. My hopes were to get through all the local beers. I'm going to fail at that, but not for lack of trying.
We arrived just after siesta to a mostly empty place. One patron -- Noé -- was enjoying a pint and a plate of tapas (because there is always tapas) while waiting for a friend. He's from California on his second year as an English teacher, and will soon return to the states to get his PhD in materials science. We do tend to meet the most interesting people along the way.
Noé knew who we were, oddly enough, which speaks less to our fame and more to the small size of the craft beer community in Santiago. He'd read a recent post about us on BeerLab's Facebook page and figured we must be the two Americans in question. Small world. Smaller town.
Over the course of several beers, we were introduced to Carlos, purveyor of La Atlántica, another beer shop I'll write more about after our visit tonight, actually. Carlos is a wealth of knowledge about the budding craft beer community, and knows a lot about the economics of a nascent industry. Fascinating. If I'm not too buzzed too quickly tonight, I hope to learn more.
As the night progressed, OB (my abbreviation because I'm lazy and don't want type O Bandullo do Lambón again) became quite the busy place, with more than one American enjoying the beer or making speciality food purchases. Our little group was gearing up to grab dinner around 10:00 that night, when Sheila suggested I check to see how late the bus ran. The answer: In about seven minutes. And we were a 15 minute walk from the bus stop! Not good. So we quickly paid the bill, said our goodbyes, made plans to meet up at a beer tasting event tonight, and double-timed it, as missing the €1.70 bus would have resulted in a €30 cab fare. Not good when you're traveling on the cheap!
But we made it, and had a good story to tell!