A short trip to Andalucia, one of my favourite corners of the world, to try to rediscover the sun after the British ‘summer’. Back to the Ronda hills, and the cute town/village of Gaucin, nestled in the saddle of a hill looking south to Gibraltar and Africa and north to the Serrania de Ronda and the Sierra de Grazelema. White-washed houses, steep narrow streets, and a ruined Moorish castle; endless blue skies.
The time was spent reading (the end of my self-imposed ban, while I completed the first draft of my own novel, was finally over), eating (cheese naturally) and drinking some very reasonably-priced and tasty wines. And drinking beer, of course.
Now, while I love almost everything about Andalucia, I have to admit that its beer offerings can be rather limited: it’s not exactly easy to lay your hands on craft brews. You might argue that one tubo of cold, slightly fizzy beer is much like any other when it’s hot out and you just want to stare at the horizon for a few hours. And that might well be true. What’s more, it is perfectly possible to avoid the monster that is San Miguel – I didn’t (knowingly) touch a drop. But it’s much harder to elude the local-ish behemoth, Cruzcampo, whether it be on tap, in cans…
or in bottles.
Of course, you can find other things to drink. The absurdly cheap Estrella del Sur (1.90 for six bottles at the local corner shop in Gaucin), for example. However, aside from the price there is not much to distinguish it.
Bu then you find, tucked away at the back of the shop, a small reserve of Granada’s finest, possibly the nicest ordinary beer in Andalucia (although I’ve never seen Alhambra this far from its home city before).
Of course, it’s not always easy to identify exactly what you’re drinking, especially when it’s late and you’ve already had a few. Sometime after midnight at Gaucin’s Fiesta del Santo Nino, I developed a close and wordless relationship with the barman who kept bringing me little plastic cups of unknown lager whenever I nodded in his direction…