When friends suggest meeting me at my apartment and walking to a bar for the first drink of the night before hopping on the 110 to Palermo, I rarely have ideas to contribute. That’s because Recoleta isn’t the best place to start the night; the bars are yuppy and the clubs (which mostly play things like Coldplay and 90’s Madonna anyway) don’t really wake up until 1-2. Avenida Pte. Roberto M. Ortiz, across from the cemetery and (unfortunately) all-too-close to my apartment seems littered only with designer-gelato parlors and the casi-identical 80-peso-for-an-ojo “typical Argentine steak restaurant”s (equipped with ridiculously dressed, in-your-face hostesses who spot your Longchamp bag and real Ray Bans and flag you down from miles away, promising you a “teepical porteno meel”). However in the midst of all this junk is a bar which lives up to its reputation as the first and most well-known microbrewery in Buenos Aires, Buller Brewing Company. Although the place has some douchey elements, such as the ever-present disco ball and the photographer selling glossy photos of guests back to them for 10 pesos, it is certainly comforting to see the system of golden metal cauldrons, pipes and funnels, towering machinery in which beer ferments and flows directly into the pint glasses waiting for it at the bar. And this is real beer of the craft persuasion, not Quilmes, not Schneider. As the machines at Buller are specially imported from the U.S. and present in only this brewery in Argentina, the brew is a tad pricier than the norm. But if you want to start the night off with something that tastes good, their stuff is definitely worth the price. I finally tried their sampler the other night, a small glass of each of their 6 types (Pilsen, Hefeweisen, Honey Beer, Oktoberfest, India Pale Ale and Stout) for 45 pesos. I loved some and hated some others, but it was great to finally have some emotional response to a beer in Argentina, other than sad resignation, disgust and self-pity.
Their Pilsen was aromatic and crisp, heavily carbonated but with a very light consistency. The Hefeweisen was a bit thicker with a creamy, cloudy, wheat-y consistency, packed with a citrusy and hoppy zing. The Honey Beer was one of my favorites, fresh and sweet, not as well carbonated as the Pilsen but still very refreshing and strong (8.5%). The malty Oktoberfest wasn’t very good, as it was a bit too watery for this specific type of beer. The slight bitter taste was diluted too quickly. Their IPA was fantastic, however, bitter and spicy with a great body to it. I didn’t like the Stout at all but that’s just because I like to keep my coffee and my beer in separate containers and not mix them. I’m sure it would’ve pleased someone who fancies dark malts though.