Craft Beer in Spain
Beer was consumed in Spain before the romanization, especially among the Celtic people in the Northwest, according to roman writers as Estrabón or Plinio, being the Spanish word for beer cerveza derived through the Latin cerevisia from the Celtic word for cereals coirm. Even the oldest beer found in Europe was recently found in Soria (Spain) dating back to 2.400 BC. But upon the arrival of Romans, wine became the day to day drink, and beer almost dissapeared for centuries. It was not until the 16th century that beer was reintroduced again, via Carolus V, born in Ghent, who introduced Belgian style beers in Madrid. Beer production in the 16th and 17th was marginal in relation with wine, and it was considered a low-quality drink. It was not until the 19th century, with the arrival of industrialization and mass beer production when beer was effectively reintroduced in the Spanish market, and hops started to be grew again in Spain.
Craft beer movement didn't start to gain momentum until early 2010s, with brewers like Naparbier, Nómada, Laugar or La Pirata. In the last years, the market share of craft brewing have been constantly increasing, and a great number of new breweries are appearing each year, with names as La Quince, La Calavera, Edge Brewing, Garage Beer Co. or Jakobsland.
Brewers from Spain
Laugar Brewery is a Spanish brewery founded in 2010 in Bilbao by Eneko Neira, Txus Cabrera, Sergio Valiente and Aingeru del Campo. Its name means four beers in Basque in reference to the four founders. Eneko already had previous experience in the now extinct Bleder in Barcelona in 2008, and based on this he convinced the rest of the team to start brewing at home. Soon they were joined by Eder Garcia, Eneko's classmate and experienced homebrewer—he had brewed more than 400 recipes at home.
They started brewing small batches of beer for local bars in Bilbao, and after attending the Birrasana festival in 2013, they were invited to Borefts, one of the best European craft beer festivals, organised by the Dutch brewery De Molen. After that, they decided to establish a brewery, located in Gordexola, 18 km from Bilbao. In 2017, they were already producing 1500 hL. per year. They are considered one of the best craft beer breweries in Spain, and they have produced in collaboration with some of the main European breweries such as De Molen, Alvinne or Naparbier.
Funeralópolis, considered the second best according to Untappd.
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Naparbier is a Spanish brewery founded in 2009 in Navarra, Spain by Juan Rodríguez, Josu Tañine, Txerra Aiastui and José Javier Rodríguez. After being affected by a downsizing plan in their previous company that made them lose their jobs, they founded a cooperative and started brewing. Both Juan and Josu became homebrewers after travelling to Germany to visit a relative and being impressed by the variety of beers. They started brewing, and then contacted with a German homebrewer, Alex Schmid, who help them improve their processes.
Its name comes from a mixture of the Basque word for Navarra—Napar—and the german word for beer—bier. They are acknowledged as one of the top Spanish craft brewers, and they have doing collabs with top international brewers as Nøgne Ø, Mikkeller or To Øl. They also have a brewpub in the heart of Barcelona, the NaparBCN
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Bidassoa Basque Brewery
Bidassoa Basque Brewery is a Basque brewery founded in Irún (Spain) in 2014 by Goyo Villabeitia, Carlos Arrecubieta and Íñigo Muguruza. Carlos had previous experience as a microbrewery in the U.S.A.—where he lived while working as a microbiologist and professor at Columbia University—and after collaborating with Captain Lawrence (ex Sierra Nevada), he contacted Goyo and Íñigo, his old friends, to found the brewery.
Go to Bidassoa Basque Brewery
Jakobsland Brewers is a Spanish brewery founded in 2016 in Santiago de Compostela by Henlo Mathee Swart and Francisco Vaquero. Henlo had previous experience in the craft beer world in USA and in England. After coming to Spain, he met Francisco Vaquero, who brought him into the amateur homebrewing world, and soon after they were joined by Jeremiah Fox.
After three years of experimenting, they decided to oficially become a professional gypsy brewery. Jakobsland focus on producing beer with top quality ingredients, aiming to be a reference of the emerging craft beer scene from Galicia and from Spain.
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Cervezoteca Malte is a brewpub founded in 2010 in A Coruña (Spain) by Juan Fernández, that once a year releases conmemorative brewings along with other national or international breweries as Laugar, Naparbier or Browar Stu Mostów. In 2018 it was considered as the best brewpub in Spain by Ratebeer.
Go to Malte
La Pirata is a Spanish brewery founded in 2012 in Súria (Barcelona) by Arán y Eric León after years of experience homebrewing—and its name comes from its pirate origin. In 2015 they opened their brewery. Their label design is very colourful and each label is carried out by a different graphic designer.
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La Calavera is a brewery from the Ripollés area in the north of Barcelona (Spain), close to the Catalonian Pyrinees. It was founded in 2012 as part of the Riembau cooperative, focused in social cooperation in the Ripollés. The brewery is located within an old Masía, and it also has an onsite restaurant and brewpub called La Barricona.
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La Quince is a gipsy Spanish brewery founded in 2013 by Jacobo Lliso and Juan Lliso. Jacobo had already been first a bottle collector and then a homebrewer. Its name means the fifteen, which was the number of the building where they grew up. His logo represents an owl, and it a tribute to their grandmother. Recently, they opened a brewpub in Madrid, Brew Wild Pizza Bar
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Edge Brewing is a Spanish brewery founded in 2013 in Poble Nou (Barcelona) by Alan Sepphard and Scott Vanover. It all started when Scott—who was a tech entrepreneur in Florida—and his wife decided change his life, sell his company and travel around the globe. Then he arrived to Barcelona and got in touch with Alan, and decided to establish there and bring brewing equipent and hops directly from the US.
Alan was in the brewery until 2017, when he left being replaced by Sean McLin, that also recently left the company, being replaced by Riley Finningan, formerly at Avery Brewing. Edge is right now one of the top breweries from the Spanish scene, and they are also organizers of the yearly MASH festival in Barcelona.
A partir de 2021, los miembros de Edge Brewing Elliot Koning y Robin Barden refundaron la marca, que a partir de ahora se conocerá como Freddo Fox.
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Garage Beer is a brewery founded in Barcelona in 2015 by Alberto Zamborlín and James Welsh. The idea was born when Alberto was living in Dublin and began to experiment as homebrewer, hence the name of the brewery. Then Alberto moved to Barcelona, and after doing a course with Steve Huxley, he met up with James and they decided to set up their own brewery. Their factory is located in an old bakery in the city centre. In 2016, they raised half a million euros in a crowdfunding effort in order to open a second store in Barcelona. Almost all their production is canned, with a very carefully crafted design with aesthetics inspired in the industrial world. They are co-organisers of the MASH festival, together with Edge Brewing.
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Espiga is a brewery founded in by Teresa Galván and Arnau Rovira, two biologist that after living in Germany and Denmark and after experiencing their craft and local beer scenes, decided to set up a brewery. In their beginnings, they set up a home brewery in their garage in Gélida, in the Alto Penedés, but now they own their own premises in Sant Llorenç d'Hortons (Barcelona).
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