When you think of Barcelona, Spain I know a lot of people automatically think Tapas, Sparking Cava Wine, ancient Architecture, Jamón Ibérico Ham and Medieval Streets. I admit those are many of the things that come to my mind as well. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Craft Beer probably didn’t even cross your mind; however I am here to say think again my beer loving friends, think again!
Surprisingly in the land of delicate Spanish wines, there is an emerging Craft Beer scene that is not only exciting but growing and evolving with each passing day. While still in its infancy stages compared to the US, surprisingly there are over 30 breweries that call Barcelona ‘home’.
Unfortunately during our trip to Spain last year we weren’t able to visit all 30, although our livers are probably thanking us. We were however, able to do a little mini craft beer crawl and got to experience some of the coolest beer bars and breweries Barcelona has to offer.
The brewery that completely blew us away was Garage Beer Co. They first came onto my radar when I saw that not only did Brooklyn’s Other Half invite them to their Green City beer festival, but together they also brewed a collaboration IPA as well. Any brewery that is hanging out with OH, you would think (hope) makes some solid beers. And they did not disappoint! They specialize in Hazy IPA’s and make some pretty good ones at that. I thought it was pretty awesome to see a trend that has taken the US by storm also have major popularity on the other side of the world. Needless to say, they were packed on a Friday evening which should speak not only volumes to the quality of beer they’re producing but also the style of beer the Spanish beer drinker is currently consuming. If there is one regret I have, it would be that on the trek over, British Airways lost our baggage so I was unable to grab some cans to bring back home with me to the US. I suppose that means I’ll have to plan a trip back out there again!
In a close second was Black Lab Brewing down near the beach, Barceloneta. A well established brewery that is run by a husband and wife, we were delighted by their hospitality and friendliness. Matt, the head brewer and owner even took some time out of his busy day to chat with us and fill us in about Black Lab’s history. Again I was pleasantly surprised at how current Black Lab was with beer trends going on in America. We visited last September 2018, so I would say right as the Brut craze was taking off, and Black Lab already had one on their menu! There was a nice array of styles to choose from so we grabbed a few flights and enjoyed sitting outside on their patio while enjoying the bustling streets around us. If I lived in Barcelona I could see myself hanging out here and drinking their IPA’s all the time!
Mikkeller also has a taproom in Barcelona, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as they have locations all over. (Mikkeller Bangkok we are coming for you!!!!!) So naturally we had to stop in there because I knew we could count on cute ambiance and Thicccc Imperial Stouts…although this was towards the end of the night so I think high ABV stouts were the last thing I needed…The taproom is absolutely adorable and you feel as if you just transported to a cute Danish bar. You should certainly stop in for at least a few tastes here, especially since they usually also have guest taps on from Mikkeller’s friends!
Our last stop that you should absolutely under any circumstances not miss is Biercab. This is a taproom/bottle shop, and they have an amazing selection of beers here to try. Not only are there plenty of Spanish beers, but we were surprised to find some American beers, including Denver’s own Crooked Stave, as well as beers from many other European breweries too. This was especially neat, because we got to try some craft beer offerings from Germany and France. Also on a side note, I have to say that the Potatoes Bravas here were absolutely amazing. The zesty cheese that covered these delectable little deep fried spears was out of this world. And this was the perfect little snack to accompany some wonderful craft beers. If you are traveling with a checked suitcase, definitely head to the bottle shop next door so you can bring some European beers home with you and share them with friends or drink them yourself as a nice reminder of a wonderful time.
And of course, last but not least, you absolutely must be a typical tourist and have an Estrella Damn at one of the many little beach cafes that are along Barceloneta Beach! It is nice to soak up some sunshine and do a little people watching while sipping on a cold lager! (There beaches are nude in Spain so you can see some interesting things)
All in all the small part of the Craft Beer scene we got to experience was filled with great beers, awesome people, and wonderful times. Spain was a vibrant country and I cannot wait to return to try new Breweries and of course, Eat more Tapas!