or me, craft beer means quality, a natural product made with time and care in every stage of preparation or variety. For example, it takes an average of 2.26 minutes to produce a craft beer bottle, but only 0.05 minutes to produce an industrial equivalent. If you’re looking for a new and surprising palate, aroma or texture, I encourage you to try this type of drink.
And if I encourage you to try a good craft beer it’s because I’ve been seduced by this world, not because I have professional interests in it. In fact, my job isn’t at all related to beer. I’ve spent the last 20 years working in sports journalism. I have worked in the radio industry, in written press and now on television, in a channel that specialises in motorcycles, Movistar MotoGP. As you may have deduced, one of my greatest passions is sport, but I have another one: to eat well, drink better still and, in short, to keep my belly, taste buds and sense of smell happy. I am always open to trying new things and I always seek culinary and product excellence. In effect, I am an epicure, I can’t do anything about it, that’s how I was born and I was raised to be a bon vivant. And that’s the part of me you’ll find here, at The New Barcelona Post, where I will offer you a large number of gastronomic experiences.
Craft beer, a brew that totally changed my perception of this drink on every level and in every possible way. The first time I tried one was in a completely unexpected way, while walking around my neighbourhood. It was around August 2013. It had been days, months and years of walking past the Ale&Hop bar, on Carrer de les Basses de Sant Pere, in the neighbourhood of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera, in Barcelona. I had never mustered the will to go inside, until I did… and it had taken too long.
That tasting opened the doors to a new universe. Who would have thought a beer could taste like that, that it could smell so good and have such an expressive colour. How could I have not tasted anything like it until the age of 36? How had it taken me so long to discover this wonder? It’s as if all my life I had only drunk carton wine when I could have been drinking Montsant. It was love at first sight. And today we are still very much in love, our romance continues. Since then, I haven’t stopped trying craft beers: the possibilities are endless.
Barcelona is one of the hotspots in southern Europe both in terms of bars and microbreweries and in the variety of shops that specialise in craft beer, fairs and festivals
901 different varieties of beer were produced in Catalonia, according to the State of craft beer in Catalonia 2016 report by the Gremi d’Elaboradors de Cervesa Artesana i Natural. There are beers that taste more like cider than beer, like sour or lambic ones (my wife never liked beer until she tried one of these); there are IPAs, with strong malt or hops flavours; the Imperial Stout, dense and with its whiskey barrel aftertaste; the Saison, with hints of acidic fruit…
There are 105 craft brewing companies in Catalonia, according to the latest data from 2016: 76% are located outside the capital and the region, 62% in cities and towns of less than 20,000 inhabitants and 20% in rural locations. Also, if we add up all the production from Catalan breweries in 2016, it comes up to about three million litres, 46% of which were sold locally (less than 30 km away from the brewery).
In any case, according to the Gremi d’Elaboradors of Cervesa Artesana i Natural, what best shows that Catalonia has become an international beer attraction location is the high volume of craft beer it exports: about 16% of the beer is exported to 28 countries.
I am sure that, given the varied offer we have at home, we can all find a favourite craft beer. We’re lucky enough that Barcelona is one of the hotspots in southern Europe both in terms of bars and microbreweries and in the variety of shops that specialise in craft beer, fairs and festivals. If you want more information, you can find the best bars, microbreweries and shops in Barcelona on www.ratebeer.com, as voted by consumers, where you can try or buy a craft beer. It’s a growing community of consumers that have expanded the market and have even made large Catalan breweries realise they have to do something about it.
So, I suggest you leave your beer comfort zone and try something that will surely not leave you indifferent. To set the mood, I went to find Albert Coromina, owner of Ale&Hop bar and co-owner of Cyclic microbrewery, which opens its doors to the general public in March. We met up for a chat about the subject so I could offer you, above all, a professional opinion that encourages you to dive in and try this wonderful drink.
BARCELONA BEER FESTIVAL
Aside from the many specialized bars in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia, Barcelona Beer Festival will take place at La Farga de l’Hospitalet from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 March and 450 beers from all over the world will be on offer (you don’t have to try all of them of course; remember to drink responsibly as beer is an alcoholic beverage and with a very high alcohol content in some cases).
There will be a large bar at the Barcelona Beer Festival with more than a hundred beer taps where the more than 450 beers will be available at different times. There will also be a number of stands related to collaborations with other international festivals. Let’s enjoy craft beer. Cheers!