22 May 2014

Two beer bars in Valencia

I can recommend a visit to Valencia, on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, that was founded by the Romans in 138 BC. We found that May, before the main tourist season, was a good month to visit with fine warm weather. The airport is well connected to the city by Metro Valencia. It is a cycling friendly city with plenty of cycle paths including one in the old river bed that has been converted to a linear park since the river was re-routed.
Valencia - Central market - inaugurated in 1928
The historic centre has many interesting buildings including some in modernist style like the central market. It is separated from the beach by a large residential / commercial area so it is worth getting to know the metro, bus and cycling options for travel around the city.
Horchata (Orxata in Valencian) is a sweet, creamy, drink made from chufas (tiger nuts) that is a nourishing and refreshing drink available from vendors at the beach and specialist cafes.
Ratebeer proved useful for identifying two beer bars to visit during our visit.

1. Birra & Blues (Sunday)

On a Sunday, Meg and I joined the throng of visitors walking along the beachside promenade separated from the sea by a long sandy beach.
We passed a shop called Ale-Hop but discovered that it sells colourful clothes, hats and espadrilles but no beer!
Horchata and chufas (tiger nuts)
A cool drink of horchata, from a mobile stall was a refreshing way to break the long walk to the Birra & Blues brewpub situated at 34 Avenue Mare Nostrum (Alboraya).
Birra & Blues
Spaghetti & Blues
Birra & Blues is immediately behind its sister establishment, Spaghetti & Blues, which overlooks the promenade and the beach beyond at Playa de la Patacona.

Although there was no brewing on a Sunday, the brewing vessels are visible behind the bar. The clips for the six fonts showed that three different draught beers were available - Tostada, Doble Malta and Rubia.

The server kindly poured taster glasses of each draught beer and I chose the Rubia (blonde) for a refreshing lunchtime beer in the shaded surroundings of the smart bar with views of the sky and attractive shrubs.
The view from a table in the courtyard
The beer list and a glass of Rubia on a table in the courtyard
The Rubia cost 5 euros for a 500ml glass. Bottles were also available (3 euros for 330 ml or 6 euros for 750ml). The beer came with quite a big head and was very effervescent in the glass.
Before leaving we ordered two 330 ml bottles, from the fridge, of beers that were not available on draught, to drink on another occasion.
John Lee Blues
The John Lee Blues (red ale) named after John Lee Hooker was drunk on a four hour train trip from Valencia (Sant Isidre) to Cuenca.
La Negra
The La Negra (pumpkin ale produced like a brown ale) was eventually drunk at Hostal Benamar in Madrid and proved spicy and full flavoured.
The terminus of the number 19 bus is nearby for a convenient journey back to the city.

2a. Ruzanuvol (closed on Sundays) + El Abrazo de la China

Later on Sunday we visited the Russafa / L'Eixample area which lies south of the city centre. 
 We discovered that Ruzanuvol is closed on Sunday and resolved to return the next day. 
A bottle of Alhambra Especial at nearby bar - El Abrazo de la China - eased the disappointment.

2b. Ruzanuvol (Monday) + Las Cervezas del Mercado

Number 40 bus from near our hotel took us past the impressive 'City of Arts and Sciences' site that includes the Science Museum Príncipe Felipe designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. 
Science Museum Principe Felipe (foreground) - viewed from the bus
We got off the bus before reaching the centre of the city at a stop on Avenue Regne de València in the Russafa neighbourhood, near Ruzanuvol Cerveceria Artesanal at Luís Santángel, 3.
We were the third customers to arrive, soon after 7pm opening time. Two fathers with young children were occupying the bar area so we found a table and sat on a bench with comfortable cushions made from recycled sacks of malt after consulting the blackboard and ordering our beers.
a caña from Birrificio Italiano
A great deal of care has gone into the furnishing and decoration of Ruzanuvol. The interior is light and pleasant with ingredients of beer illustrated on the walls and furniture made from pale wood. There are also tables on the pavement outside, where smoking is permitted.
This is a great bar for lovers of Italian beer as the draught beers were from Birrificio Italiano and Birrificio Lambrate. With a caña, a small glass of draught beer, costing 2 euros, this was a good opportunity to try several beers without spending too much. Tipopils, a blonde lager, from Birrificio Italiano was the obvious choice to start and deserves its reputation as a lager worth seeking out. (Tipopils is the house lager at the Finborough Arms, Earl's Court, London).
Free buffet with your beer from 7pm to 9pm
We had previously noticed the generous provision of a free buffet between the hours of 7pm and 9pm on the shutters when finding the pub closed on Sunday.
The bowls on the shelf under the blackboard listing the draught beers and their prices is where we were able to help ourselves to the 'Aperitivo Milanese' of crisps, olives, bread sticks and other snacks..
It was soon time to order another beer and a caña of Sant'Ambroeus from Birrificio Lambrate gave me a chance to taste a stronger Belgian style ale.
Giovanni with Ullage (West Berkshire CAMRA magazine)
When the first customers had left, I introduced myself to Giovanni and gave him a copy of Ullage, the West Berkshire CAMRA magazine. He kindly let me take a photo of him behind the bar to appear in a future edition of Ullage.
Birrificio Lambrate - Ligera
Giovanni explained that he used to live in Milan before opening Ruzanuvol in 2010. Birrificio Lambrate is based in Milan and Birrificio Italiano is based in Lurago Marinone, north of Milan. American Pale Ale is one of my favourite beer styles so it was time to spend 5 euros for a 'pint' (usually 500ml in Italy) of Ligera from Birrificio Lambrate. Giovanni let me take a look at his copy of the Birrificio Lambrate beer catalogue which included tasting notes and details of ingredients for their beers in English. Ligera is brewed with Pilsner, Munich, Caramunich and Carafa malts and Chinook, Cascade, Amarillo and Willamette hops.
Patatas bravas
We ordered some food from the 'Para Picar' blackboard including 'Bravas Bravissimas', roast potatoes served with tomato and creamy sauces on the side, costing 4.20 euros.
I had already sampled Meg's B.I. Weizen from Birrificio Italiano, a pale yellow wheat beer so ordered a caña of Bibock, the amber beer of Birrificio Italiano which has been produced since 1997. Between us we had now sampled all the draught beers so now it was time to find a bus to take us back to the hotel.
a last look at Ruzanuvol Cerveceria Artesanal - Hasta Luego!
Before leaving, Giovanni introduced me to Jordi, a new visitor from Cervezas Artesanas Sénia a microbrewery founded in 2010 in Alginet, about 20 km south of Valencia. It looks like a return visit to Valencia, incorporating an extra trip to visit Jordi at his brewing base, is going to be worthwhile. A blog post (in Spanish) from November 2010 by Lupuloadicto describes Cervesa Sènia and includes photos of the brewery and its founders - Cervesa La Sénia.

Las Cervezas del Mercado - inside Valencia central market
There were no bottles to take away from Ruzanuvol but an earlier visit to Las Cervezas del Mercado at Valencia's central market had realised a bottle of Au Yeah from Valencia brewery Tyris.
Tyris 'Au Yeah' occupies a seat on the train
This American pale ale style beer was also drunk the following day, on a four hour train trip from Valencia (Sant Isidre) to Cuenca and is recommended as my favourite bottled beer on this trip to Spain.


  1. Thanks for the post Tim. You can find us and buy our beers in www.birraeblues.com

    Hope to see you soon :)

  2. Thanks. I look forward to visiting Birra & Blues again when I visit Valencia a second time - hopefully not too many years away!