Beer guide to Spain
Sun, sea, wine and sangria? Not just sangria
Spanish brew: Thoughts of Spain normally conjure sun, wine and beach-related imagery, but beer, is also a massive tradition there. So much so that Spain occupies 12th position in world’s per capita consumption of beer chart. Consequently, there are many regional beers, apart from the better known national brands of Cruzcampo (Seville) now owned by Heineken, Damm (Barcelona) and Mahou (Madrid) / San Miguel (Barcelona) – the latter two being 100 per cent Spanish owned.
Brews to look out for
The Spanish refer to beer as Cerveza, and it comes in four main types, which are outlined below.
Cerveza Clásica: A very pale, hoppy Pils containing 4.5 per cent alcohol.
Cerveza Especial: An export 5.5 per cent alcohol Pils.
Cerveza Negra: A dark, lightly hopped lager similar to those from Munich, which contains 5.5 per cent alcohol.
Cerveza Extra: Strong, pale lagers containing 6.1-6.4 per cent alcohol, similar to Bavarian Oktoberfest and pale Bock beers.
Thirst quencher: If you happen to be in one of the larger regional airports, it’s always worth asking if they sell a regionally produced beer. To practice your Spanish, ask for “caña de cerveza del este region”. Asking for “cerveza de barril” (pronounced "barri") will get you a draught beer rather than a bottle or a can. Meanwhile, bottles of cold San Miguel, Mahou or Damm Estrella are great and widely available.
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Updated May 2014