Dos brewpubs en Madrid

[I wrote about these brewpubs back in November 2007]

Creo que Madrid tiene algunas de las mejores galerías de arte en el mundo y algunos de los mejores bares también. Pues, al menos si hablamos sobre el ambiente – ¡ojalá que la cerveza fuera tan buena que la atmosfera!

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Beer in Madrid

spainflags.jpgMadrid is home to some of the best art galleries in the world and some of the best bars too. Best in terms of atmosphere anyway, but the beer is rarely anything to write home about.

Ron Pattinson has put together a guide to bars in Madrid, which includes two brew pubs. As they are handily within a minute´s walk from each other, I tried them both together.

Naturbier is on the busy Plaza Santa Ana, which boasts many other fine cervecerí­as. It has two offerings – rubia (blonde) and tostada (brown, literally “toasted”). I slightly preferred the Tostada, with its heavier malty flavour, but both are excellent – extremely fresh-tasting and refreshing, balanced malt and hop flavours, and none of the unpleasant “homebrew” flavours you sometimes get from brewpubs. Pubs in Franconia would not be ashamed to serve these. Oh, and apparently it´s organic too.

Naturbier also has a great atmosphere – friendly staff and a good mixture of locals and tourists. So you can take your non-beer geek friends too, to experience the madrileño bar culture. It also serves tapas, which is rather pricy (although normal for that area) so I didn´t try any – but they do tend to bung you a plate of olives or nuts.

Magister is just off Plaza Santa Ana, on Calle de Principe. I think it´s supposed to be decorated like a German beer hall, but it just didn´t feel like one. They make a point about giving you free tapas, usually a staleish bit of bread with some meat on it.

They offer a rubia and tostada too, which aren´t as good as the Naturbier offerings — slightly acrid flavour, and didn´t taste as fresh. However, they also offer a “caramalizada” which is a sort of stout, and which I liked. It wasn´t the most amazing stout flavouring I´ve ever experienced, but the body and mouthfeel were bang on, which was a pleasant change from the last three months of lager texture. If that makes sense. Finally, they were also offering a “double bock” at 8.2%. This one was interesting. Like a not very good home brewer’s attempt at a strong Belgian-style ale, with a slightly odd fruity taste. It might even have been off….

Overall I prefered Naturbier for the atmosphere, but Magister is also worth your support if you´re in the area.


1. Closest metro stations to Plaza Santa Ana are Anton Marti­n and Sol. It’s also about 15-20 minutes walk away from Atocha station, so handy for getting a drink if you´re just passing through. There is left luggage at Atocha station, but it can be a pain to find — it´s at the far end of the tropical garden, away from the platforms, under Sambar Kanda restaurant.

Barcelona Brew Pub

Blackboard in Barcelona brewpub Beer Nut and several others have been there before us, but we had to try out Barcelona’s two brew-pubs, starting with Cervesera Artesana.

As a place to hang out, it was perfect — lively, but not crowded, and very friendly. And it’s always nice to see the brewing kit on site.

But what about the beer? There were four on tap: wheat, honey, black and “tostada” (brown ale, basically). All four were interesting, and all four were served way too cold. Once they’d warmed up a bit, we were able to taste them better.

Wheat — peculiar, being thin and rather lemony, with an almost lambic quality — but, at the end of the day, quite pleasant and refreshing.

Honey — again, thin, but not unlike various (nondescript) summer ales we’ve had in the UK, without an overpowering honey taste.

Black — now we’re talking — American porter-like, with a massive amount of hop flavour and bitterness. Cascades?

Tostada — the best of the bunch, and the most popular with the regulars. Again, tons of hop aroma and flavour, and a lovely red colour. Not the best beer in the world, but certainly one of the better beers in Spain…

Sadly, the enticing sounding Iberian pale ale (IPA) and Iberian stout weren’t on.