We in the UK (that’s the Royal ‘we’) are not the only community that are liking cask and keg beer at the moment, known as Craft beer in some circles. The jury is still out with me currently on this term but I will continue to use it as it does have its uses. Spain also appear to be having a resurgence in craft beer (or is that a surgence as I don’t think Spain have had much craft beer before). In Spain, craft beer is known as ‘artesanal’ beer. My evidence for the rise in craft beer? A couple of beer festivals that have popped up in Spain over the last year. The first, the 2ª Feria de la Cerveza Artesana de Madrid (2nd Madrid Craft Beer Fair) was held at the end of May in, of course, Madrid. The festival looked like it included a number of Spanish, British and American craft beers. A second beer festival that is happened at the end of June is one that is North of Madrid called 1ª Feria Internacional El Artesana de la Cerveza (1st international fair “The Art of Craft Beer”). This beer festival looks to have a more international influence with beers coming from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland and the USA. A quick look at the particpating experts reveals one of the attendees was Melissa Cole, Journalist and expert craft beer sommelierl! Although we could not attend this year, I have been reliably informed that we are allowed to go next year to one of these festivals. Conchi can visit her friends in Madrid and we can all go and try the many Spanish beers that are available. Everybody wins!
I have yet to come across many of these ‘artesanal’ beers that seem to be more available in Spain. In pubs generally, at least the ones I have been to, they serve the mainstream lagers that Spain is well known for, Cruzcampo, Mahou, Estrella, San Miguel to name a few. These regional lagers are available in almost every pub and tapas bar that you go to. I think that if I want to find these ‘artesanal’ beers then a trip to Madrid would have to be in order. A fellow blogger, Cerveza de Garaje, has given me a heads up to a few places to find some ‘artesanal’ beers in Madrid including a brewery, a shop and a pub. The first stop would be a small brewery just outside Madrid called Cervezas La Virgen where they have a small brew pub. The second stop would be a shop called Cervezarama in Calle Malasaña. Apparently, they not only have much craft beer from all around the world, but also much Spanish craft beer. The final stop would be La Tape in Malasaña and San Bernardo, where you can find 6-8 craft beers on draft.
As I said, I have yet to come across many of these ‘artesanal’ beers. Knowing that my beer choices would be limited on a trip to Jaen, I declared the following challenge to Conchi’s friends and family (see my last post about Spanish beer). It went as follows ‘Can you find some good, new beers for me to try? It can be any kind of beer, as long as I have not tried it before. Bonus points available if you find a Spanish ale’. I didn’t really think they would succeed but was I wrong. Jose and Pili (and Pili’s mother) found eight beers from the local shops. You will see that the collection includes a German beer but the rest are Spanish including one from Ibiza in a metal bottle! I particularly liked the look, and the taste, of the Santa Magarida. This one looks, feels and tastes like a craft beer made in Spain. Conchi’s sister’s boyfriend, Javi, also came up with the goods in the form of another four beers. I have had two of these before, the San Miguel Selecta, a darker version of normal San Miguel, and Cruzcampo Gran Reserva, but the other two are new and again look ‘craft like’. Last but not least, Esther found me a Carmen beer in El Cortes Ingles. I like this bottle. It tells me it is definitely Spanish in origin. This one definitely counts as a Spanish ale so Esther gets some bonus points.
So this was the haul that I found myself with the when I was in Spain in March. I didn’t have time to drink all of these beers when I was there. They were safely transported to Conchi’s parents beach apartment where they were awaiting my next arrival in Spain. One last point. I know that I said that I had not yet come across an ‘artesanal’ beer. I told a little lie. During the trip to Jaen, I found a bottle of Cerveza Artesanal by Tierra D Frontera in a pub in Jaen. This beer was very good. How lucky!
NB. This post was written back in June and has only just seen the light of day as I have been very slow at translating it to the Spanish version.