History of beer in Portugal
The history of beer in Portugal has its roots in pre-Roman times, when the Lusitanians brewed barley beer. After the Roman conquest, wine became the most popular drink in Portugal, displacing beer almost completely. Beer would not return until the 17th century, where there is news of a place called Patio da Cerveja, near Lisbon. Already in the 19th century, industrialization started the modern history of beer in Portugal with the foundation in 1836 of the Fábrica da Cerveja da Trinidade and in 1934 of the Sociedad Central de Cervejas. The latter would eventually become the Sagres brand, which, together with Superbock, dominates the Portuguese market today. Superbock would also emerge from the embryo of the CUFP in Porto. By 1974 there were only two major brewing groups left, Centralcer and Unicer.
The craft beer movement would not gain momentum until 2014, with breweries such as Dois corvos, Oitava Colina, Mean Sardine or Cerveja Letra, supported by other emerging brands such as Passarola, Post Scriptum, Burguesa ou Colossus.
Brewers from Portugal
Dois Corvos is a brewery founded in 2013 by Susana Cascais and Scott Steffens in the Lisbon quarter of Marvila. Scott had experience as a homebrewer from his hometown—Seattle (USA)—and when he moved to Portugal in 2010, he brought as well some brewing equipment in order to overcome the low beer availability in Portugal back then. They started brewing for friends, and in 2013 they decided to start the company, and in 2015 they brewed their first commercial batch.
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1. Dois Corvos
Mean Sardine is a brewery founded in 2013 in Ericeira in Portugal by Jorge, Rolim, Andrew and David. They started selling in Lisbon in 2014 and in 2015 they were present all across Portugal, and doing collabs with breweries such as To Øl. They come from a coastal village, and that is reflected in their beers, as each one has a name related to the sea.
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2. Mean Sardine
Oitava Colina is a brewery founded in 2014 in the district of Graça (Lisbon) by Pedro Romão. They are closely linked to their neighborhood of origin, located behind the castle of Lisbon, and which is honored in different beers starring different characters of the neighborhood. They also have a typical kiosk in one of the viewpoints of Graça, where they sell their beers.
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3. Oitava Colina
Musa is a Portuguese brewery founded in 2016 by Nuno Carrilho and Bruno Melo. Bruno had already been living in California, where he got in touch with craft brewing, and he worked with Nuno in a consultancy firm. During a work travel, they talked about changing their life and starting a brewery. Nuno then decided to make a trip to East Asia, but when he got back, they decided to make it happen.
Then they started looking for an experience brewer, but after a two month trip around Portugal and Spain they couldn´t find one, so they finally found one through ProBrewer, and online site. After many interviews, the chosen one was Nick Rosich, an American brewer from Pennsylvania. They started as gipsy brewers, but now they have opened their own space at Portuguese beer quarter in Marvila.
Their labels are usually parodies of rock music celebrities, like Frank Apa, Mick Lager or Baltic Sabbath.
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Cerveja Letra is a brewery founded in 2013 in Braga (Portugal) by Filipe Macieira and Francisco Pereira. Filipe had experience as a homebrewer, and met Francisco while they were studying for their PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering in beer production. Once they finished their university studies, and already in the biological engineering department of the Universidade do Minho, they started to develop the technology that would give birth to the brewery in 2013. They also have a brewpub, Letraria, in Porto.
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Dois Corvos The Crow Revolution
Lisbon (Portugal), 25/05/2020
Scott Steffens (Dois Corvos),“Portuguese people is generally more in tune with pairings—and how things go together. Americans just don’t think of beer as part of the meal.”