Craft Beer Guide: 24 Hours in San Sebastian
Our co-founder, Greg, headed out to San Sebastian at the end of May to brew a beer with Basqueland Brewing Project and Stone & Wood, for the London Craft Beer Festival. Whilst he was out there, he asked Kevin Patricio, one of the founders of Basqueland, for his recommendations for 24 Hours In San Sebastian.
One of the founding partners of Basqueland Brewing Project, Kevin is a chef by trade with a wealth of culinary experience under his belt, having cooked at The Red Cat and Blue Hill in New York, and Arzak and La Madame in San Sebastian. Kevin is also a presenter on Cocina Abierta, a Spanish cookery show.
BREWERY/TAPROOM (OR BOTH..)
“Mala Gissona, another local brewery and friends of ours, have set up a taproom serving their suds as well as dozens of other beers from a 16 tap system and a deeply stocked fridge. It is located in the Brooklyn of San Sebastian, in Gros. They have also light pub food.
Also check out KañabiKaña for a growler program next to the beach; you can fill up with Europe’s best beers and then lay on the sand.”
“Akerbeltz is a tiny watering hole with one of the best views any bar could have: La Concha beach and bay, San Sebastian, Spain. It’s located in San Sebastian’s famed Parte Vieja whose streets are narrow and chock full of bars and restaurants. San Sebastian is world-renowned for its food scene–small bites and more Michelin starred restaurants than you can shake a stick at. But craft beer is still in its nascent phase but coming on fast with the help of bars like Akerbetlz. Imanol Basterra, the owner of Akerbeltz is extremely passionate about craft, but especially IPAs – they punch above their weight. A sunset at Akerbeltz looks like this: fresh IPA in-hand, ripples from the ocean cascading to the sand, and a bunch of sun-kissed surfers (girls and guys) double-cheek kissing until dark descends. And that’s just the beginning..”
A BITE TO EAT
“We love Gerald’s bar. The original is in Melbourne, and we were lucky enough to get one here as well. Gerald’s is one of the only bars that loves beer and wine evenly; they are both well priced, well care for, and well-curated. The food pays attention to the seasons, utilizing Basque ingredients but taken just slightly away from their original context. Great vegetables, meats, seafood and conservas served by an always smiling staff.
For the more classic experience, go to Ganbara which far-and-away the best pintxos bar in the city – it heaves with locals and tourists nightly. It’s busy but don’t let that keep you away, as that keeps the food on the bar fresh and the IPA on tap flowing. Get the mushrooms with egg yolk and foie gras. Fried anchovies. And gildas! But honestly, it’s all good.
For a change of pace, check out restaurant La Madame. (Full disclosure, I used to cook there.) But they are in better hands now with David Ragnacci, formerly of Joel Robuchon. The food is precise, different and very well priced. Perfect for when you need a break from pintxos.”
“There are two exceptional coffee bars in town. Sakona roasts its own bean in a nearby town and serves at their café along the river. Old Towne Coffee serves sourced beans from award-winning roasters from Barcelona, Berlin, the UK. Both also have craft beer on tap.”
“While there are plenty of a museums, the best cultural activity is getting into nature. There is world-class cycling/biking and hiking only minutes from downtown. Check out Basque Mountain Biking for road or trail biking. And two minutes spent searching trails will definitely work up an appetite.”