beer reviews Spain

Revolution in Catalonia

Ok, so there really is a Catalan beer revolution, as evidenced by the existence of B12, a specialist beer bar in Girona, with veggie and vegan food. (Obviously, if everyone else in Spain is drinking crappy lager and eating pork, the contrarian is going to drink craft beer and eat tofu, right?).

There are more than 30 bottled beers from various Catalan microbreweries on offer. As one of the owners told us, there seems to be a new one opening every month.

We were only able to try a few. First up was Lupulus from Montseny, the people who told us about this place.  We’ve read a few reviews of this and people have noted the hops. Well, it’s definitely got more hops than we’re used to in beers from this part of the world, and a nice fruity flavour too, but wasn’t really the hop bomb we were looking forward to, and was a bit off-smelling (green glass?).

Next was Rossa (blonde) from Keks, which tasted like a decent, perhaps slightly sweet, tangerine-like Belgian wheat beer. This was definitely brewed for the climate — we’ve often thought wheat beer is the best way to lure the Spanish into drinking better beer, as it’s cold and refreshing, but generally more complex than, say, San Miguel.

Sticking with beers that suit the climate, we also thought Atletica lager was a hit. This is a pilsen which appears to have been brewed by, or at least for, a football social club. It had a pleasant, slightly floral aroma and was clean without being bland. We could drink a lot if this.

Flama Ale  smelled great — like Goose Island IPA — and almost delivered, with savoury malts and aromatic hops, but was still a little too much like a careless home brew to really make the grade.

Montserrat by Guineu, was absolutely top notch, though, and the standout beer of the night. Billed as an imperial stout, it delivered in body and soul, and singlehandedly reaffirmed our belief in the Catalan brewing revolution.

Full credit to the owners for opening this place and giving these beers a stage. There were loads more beers that we couldn’t try. This place is definitely worth the trip if you’re in Girona, and probably worth factoring into an itinerary if you’re a beer geek passing through Catalonia.


Hoppy beer in Catalonia

Catalonia is becoming a bit of micro-brewing hub, and we were determined to track down a few local beers, albeit without high hopes for the quality based on previous experience.

Moska is based in Girona, and we managed to track down their beer in bottles, hidden away in Cafe Babel on Carrer de Anselm Clave.

The Negra (4.4%) is an interesting thirst quencher. It doesn’t taste particularly malty or dark except for a slight burnt aftertaste, but there was a great big hop aroma which we weren’t expecting to find in a Spanish beer. Too bad it didn’t carry through into the flavour.

The “torrada” (toasted) is amberish and stronger at 6%, but tasted pretty thin for something of that strength. The aroma was like that of an IPA but it was, sadly, much too watery to be a knockout.

The Blonde (4.8%, “Rossa”) was our favourite, with grapefruit, slightly acid flavours, and very refreshing. Did we like it more than, say, Estrella Damm? Probably not, much as we really wanted to.