Craft beer, rock & roll, and a weird night in El Bolson

We are currently in El Bolson living aboard an Earthship. If you missed that story, check it out here. This town is great and always makes for a good adventure. I sent the following email to my brother the other day but it’s such a weird story that I thought I’d repost it here with some pictures. Enjoy!


Dude. El Bolson. Seriously. You need to come here right now.

It’s 3am and I need to tell you about my day.

Ok so first we arrived in El Bolson at 1pm by bus from Bariloche. This is the most hippy town I could possibly imagine. There’s like a craft fair and everything is organic and the town is a nuclear-free zone and whatever but that’s not the important part. We checked into our B&B/hostel, which is actually an Earthship. [Description omitted. See the other blog post]. It sounds crazy because it is, but it’s also totally gorgeous. It’s staffed entirely by volunteers who live in yurts and a teepee outside. I have no idea who owns this thing. Probably Gaia Mother Earth.

Welcome to the Earthship!

We heard that the Festival de Lúpulo was this week. That translates to “Hops Festival” so we’re thinking there’s going to be a beerfest, sort of like the one at Harpoon or something. We walked over to the taxi stand and met a couple Argentines while waiting there. They were going to the festival too so we decided to share a taxi. They spoke pretty limited English but were freaking hilarious and tried to impress us with such phrases as “the cat is under the table.” Turns out they are homebrewers in town for the festival. They had traveled 1,000km for this.

We got to the festival and man you would have loved it. It was in a hop field on a farm outside the city. There were rows and rows of 15-foot tall hop vines all around us. There were a bunch of food trucks and all the notable craft breweries from Argentina were there.

The festival took place in the middle of a hop farm. There were food trucks, tents, and lots of beer.
Five meter tall hops vines. Hops are a key ingredient in making beer. They provide that distinctive bitter taste in an IPA.

We got to chatting with someone and I told him you were getting into small batch brewing but had your eyes on something bigger. He said that he started brewing for serious a couple years ago and now runs a microbrewery in his town and that he’s kegging beer and selling it. Can’t keep the stuff on the shelf so he’s trying to expand. He had brought a quarter keg to the festival and stashed it behind his truck. He invited us to try his IPA, which was pretty good. The funny thing is that they all say IPA like it’s a word and not an acronym. So they say “my favorite beer is ee-pah”.

Jenny with a pickup truck full of hops from the harvest

The party went all night (it’s probably still going). They had six bands in the lineup including a Beatles cover band, who were quite good, and a rock band from Uruguay.

At like 1am we got tired and decided to leave, but we had no idea how to do that. Remember, we were in the middle of nowhere on a farm and our cell phones don’t work. We managed to find the guy who gave me the IPA (“ee-pah”) and he helped us track someone down to call a taxi.

Behold the mighty lúpulo! The green buds are harvested and used to make beer.

While we were waiting at the gate for the taxi, the Uruguayan rock band came out. They had the same problem: no cell phone signal and they didn’t know anyone. So we ended up sharing the taxi with them back to the city center, and then Jenny and I walked to the Earthship.

A bonfire and a Beatles cover band

So to summarize: we are staying in an Earthship, we went to an epic craft beer festival on a hop farm, and we shared a taxi (back to said Earthship) with an Uruguayan rock band. This might be one of the weirdest days of my life. At least I got a new beer stein to prove it really happened.

Wish you were here.

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