Local beers may not be extremely common, but if you know where to look there are some good ones to try
Water, malt, hops and yeast are the only ingredients needed to make one of the world's most popular beverages. Beer has been enjoyed by a wide variety of quaffers, from monks (who have been producing beer in Belgium since the Middle Ages and currently produce over 450 varieties), to Josef Groll from the Czech Republic (who, in 1842, changed the way the world drank by the innovation of the pilsner beer), to the Chinese (who called it kiu and have been drinking it since 23 BCE).
The main issues that all breweries, whether microbrew or corporate, take into consideration when creating their labels include: the style of fermentation (either bottom or top fermented); the location of the farms where the hops and malt are grown; the amount of times the yeast is recycled in the fermentation process and, finally, the quality and purity of the water used. Even today, brew-masters continue to work towards the combination of these factors that will create the most flavourful and refreshing drink—in short, the ideal beer.
In many big cities, numerous small breweries turn out local beers, but here the commercial labels Moritz and Damm are the big dogs on the block, and not many smaller breweries exist. However, hidden on the outskirts of the city on the metro’s red line, dedicated beer drinkers will find the small, microbrewery Llúpols i Llevats, Glops. Since 2005, three Catalan beer lovers and their investors have taken the art form back to basics. Llúpols i Llevats brews four natural beers with only four essential ingredients, and uses the traditional method: Glops Fumada is bottom fermented and produced with smoked malt from Bamberg, Germany; Glops Torrada is produced from malt from Navarra and hops from Hallertau, and Glops Negra, their dark lager, is made from dark malt. Then there is Glops Blanca: this jewel is top-fermented, thus producing a colour and aroma that is clean and clear with a refreshing taste. These four flavours are available year round from various bars and restaurants in Barcelona (check the website below for locations), but for those looking for something special, the brewery’s small size allows them to brew beers with tailored recipes and labels.
Back in the city, on Sant Agustí 14, the pub La Cervesera has its own brewery. For their permanent offering they have three, all-natural, top-fermented choices. The Iberian Pale Ale uses a collection of hops to achieve its dynamic characteristics. Amber in colour, it has a grapefruit aroma, with hints of peach, raspberry and spices. The flavour is a little bitter with a dry aftertaste. The Iberian Stout is the traditional dark colour, with malt, liquorice, chocolate, coffee and fruit aromas. The smell is representative of the taste, and the beer has a dry, hoppy aftertaste. With special additions of ginger and tangerine peel, the Tangerine Ale is an amber ale, additionally flavoured with grapefruit and spices. The taste is bitter, but finishes with a long, spicy aftertaste.
Depending on the time of year and weather, La Cervesera also has two seasonal ales: Honey Ale, which is a pale amber and similar to the Tangerine Ale, and Bronze Ale. This is flavoured with fresh ginger and coriander, it is a dark amber ale with a dry, hoppy after taste.
Although Spain is well-known for its wines and cavas, hops and barley do have their place in Catalunya, and these microbreweries are using them to make a name for themselves, even amongst the wines of Priorat and Penedès.
Tel. 93 260 1150
Tel. 93 237 9594