Searching for Catalan Craft Beers

The typical lager style beer that every bar or restaurant has to offer is all well and good, but for some of us from countries where we are used to more variety, the lack of choice can sometimes be a little frustrating. Thankfully things are changing in this respect with more and more craft breweries popping up all over the country, and nowhere more so than in Catalunya.

Most bars still stock the “same old same old”, but an increasing number of establishments are slowly but surely recognising the shift in the market and the growing demand for other styles of beer. If you’d like a few suggestions for places near us that serve a decent range of beers, click on our cerveses blog from last year. We’ve updated it to include a couple of new places that have started selling not only Spanish craft beers but also some foreign imports. 

In this blog we’ll introduce you to some of the Catalan craft beers on the market at the moment that you can keep an eye out for, starting with those closest to us here in the province of Girona. For more detailed info on each brewery just click on the name and you’ll be directed to their website.

This is a small-scale brewery in Santa Cristina d’Aro whose name comes from the English words for the ingredients for beer: Water Hops Yeast Malt. They have six different styles of beer available year-round plus another five that are brewed seasonally. Given the size of the brewery their beers are not the easiest to find – but given their location the one place you should be able to find them is here on the Costa Brava!

La Plaga
La Plaga has been brewing beer since 2016 in the town of La Bisbal d’Empordà. They produce three very tasty beers with quirky names and labels on their bottles, like this one for example: “Laika Virgin”.

La Brava
Located in Vulpellac, in the center of the Baix Empordà, Cervesa La Brava is brewed with all-natural ingredients, and with a fermentation three times longer than the big brand beers, La Brava is a fresh beer that can be enjoyed at any time.

Doskiwis Brewing

Founded by a Catalan-Kiwi couple in 2016 and now with a taproom that opens in the evenings from Thursdays to Sundays, this place is well worth a visit. They have five different brews and regular beer tastings and they also even have live music from time to time. The details are all on their website.

Moska de Girona have been on the go since 2008 and brew eight different styles of beer and use only natural ingredients without any additives or preservatives. In the last few years their beers have been consistently winning awards at the annual Campeonato Nacional de Cervezas in Barcelona.

Speaking of the Catalan capital, the real epicentre of the revolution in craft brewing in Catalunya is, unsurprisingly, Barcelona. The following beers are all from either Barcelona city or province.

Cervesa Marina
This brewery was set up by two brothers in 2010 in Blanes and they have a wide and interesting range of beers, some of which are brewed in collaboration with other breweries, both domestic and international. They also organise a beer festival right on the seafront in Blanes. This year’s one has already taken place (in May) but it’s one to watch out for next year

Speaking of the Catalan capital, the real epicentre of the revolution in craft brewing in Catalunya is, unsurprisingly, Barcelona. The following beers are all from either Barcelona city or province.

Nómada Brewing

According to the brewers themselves, the eight varieties produced by this brewery are all about innovation, passion, attention to detail and emotions. Their beers are, in their own words, “an artistic projection of our feelings”. Well, they must be feeling good because theirs are amongst the most popular craft beers in Barcelona!

La Pirata
At La Pirata they like to experiment and, as a result, they have one of the widest ranges of beer varieties of any craft brewer around. They seem to have around sixteen different beers in total although some are brewed seasonally, so at any given time you should be able to find the right beer for the right moment.

Named Guineu for the Catalan word for fox, these guys also produce many different beer varieties, about a dozen in all. They also brew a lot of “collaboration beers” with other breweries from all over Europe – just to keep things interesting! You can read about the latest innovations on their website.

Barcelona Beer Company

At the BBC they pride themselves on the quality of the natural and local ingredients they use to produce their unpasteurised beers, and without any additives or chemicals. They have five core ales and another five seasonal beers. They also have a taproom in the centre of Barcelona that serves food as well.

As Cervesa
These brewers also take their ingredients very seriously indeed as they say that only the best will do to produce “liquid magic”. They have eight types altogether including two non-alcoholic beers, one of which is an IPA. Very nice of them to brew something decent for beer lovers to drink when they have to stay off the booze for whatever reason!

Located, as they are, in the Penedès region which is more famous for its wine, these guys needed to be innovative. They obviously succeeded because within two years of beginning operations they already needed a bigger brewery. Now in Vilafranca they have a brewery with a bar and restaurant. Their six core brews are all unfiltered, unpasteurised and even vegan-friendly.

Ales Agullons
The brewers in this place are fans of English style beers, so that’s what they produce. They live and work in a farmhouse that used to produce wine in its past life. They have five core beers as well as some “special” seasonal varieties.

Vic Brewery
This brewery in, you guessed it, Vic, use only what they believe are the best ingredients, sourced from places all around the world such as California and England and they even use an Australian hop called…. Vic! They have a range of six very tasty beers.

Edge Brewing

Set up by two Americans, this Barcelona city brewery produces the widest range of varieties of beer compared to any other mentioned here, but they particularly specialise in American and Belgian types. They also have a very handy feature on their website: a “beer finder” which shows you bars that stock their beers on Google maps!

Founded in 2007, this was one of the first microbreweries established and is now one of the largest. Their beers are handcrafted, natural and unpasteurised and contain no artificial preservatives. Their core brews are also more widely available in shops and supermarkets than most other craft beers, making it easy for you to pick up a few to try at home.

Art Cervesers
The emphasis is this brewery is all about using local and natural ingredients of the highest quality. All their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurised and one of their principal aims is to produce beers that will encourage more people to sample craft beer in the hope of “converting” them. Have a browse of their website if you feel in need of conversion!

So there you have it… A brief introduction to just some of the craft beers being produced in Catalunya at the moment. And there are more… too many to cover in one blog.

The Barcelona Craft Beer Tour
If you happen to find yourself in Barcelona between the days of Tuesday and Friday any week you might like to join the guided Barcelona Craft Beer Tour. Starting at 18:00, it’s a walking tour with a starting point right in the centre of the city, one block from Plaça Catalunya. The cost is €25 and this includes an introduction to brewing and the different types of beer, a brewery tour, six different beers to taste along with some snacks, and of course an introduction to some of the best gastropubs in town. You can book online, over the phone or in person. All the info is on the website.

Mar de Birras, Palamós

Closer to home you can also sample a range of Catalan craft beers at this upcoming craft beer fair in Palamós on Saturday 21 September. Running from noon to midnight, there will be a host of microbrewers from all over Catalunya (but mostly Barcelona!), including some of those featured above. There will also be live music and food trucks and a kiddies’ play area so you’re not distracted from your beer tasting! There will be more information on their facebook page in the coming weeks.

And finally, there’s a “new” social networking application called Untappd that allows users to “check in “ as they drink beers and then rate the beer and share the location. “New” is in inverted commas because the app was launched in 2010 in California but it is only becoming popular on this side of the pond more recently. It has to be said that it works better in the Barcelona area than on the Costa Brava as not many bars here have been “verified” and added to the app, but even so, it can be a handy tool for finding establishments that serve the type of tasty beer you’re looking for.


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