The Scottish company Brewdog is an international phenomenon on the craft beer scene. Some of their detractors will say it is just hype, but in just eight years, they have converted a two-person company into a solid company of 350 workers. They sell beer in 50 countries and have more than 30 pubs of their own. Last year, they inaugurated one in Barcelona, one of the first outside the UK. It is easy to check their opinion online: ‘Barcelona had been on our list since the day we put one together. The craft beer culture is forging ahead, gaining pace with every other facet of this truly unique city. Barcelona is a city that captivates. Limitless culture, stunning food, towering architecture, and amazing craft beer.’
However, Brewdog is not the only international craft brewery that has focused on Barcelona. One of the most famous on the world’s beer scene, Mikkeller, a Danish brewer, has opened their own bar in Barcelona — one of the first ones in Europe, together with established beer bars in Mikkeller’s home town of Copenhagen, Aarhus and Iceland‘s Reykjavik.
The main reason why Mikkeller has selected Barcelona is that the city’s craft beer scene is exploding. Ratebeer, the popular online beer guide, lists more than 100 places where it’s possible to enjoy craft beer in Barcelona. Most of them have opened within the last two or three years. One of the most remarkable craft beer bars is the gastro-bar BierCaB, which is one of the top beer bars in Europe year after year. But the list of great bars and shops doesn’t stop there — check out the The 10 Best Craft Beer Venues In Barcelona.
But not everything is about bars. Breweries are growing as fast as the beer scene; there are about 150 breweries in Catalonia, with the oldest being just 10 years old. Breweries are scattered all around the territory, with only few in the city center; however, as of late, there are some brew pubs — including Garage Beer Co. and Black Lab — making their way to town. These brew pubs are great as you can enjoy beer that was brewed there — an excellent choice to taste the freshest beer.
The origin of this movement began with Humulus Lupulus (the common hop) and one person, Steve Huxley. Sadly, Steve passed away a few months ago, but his heritage is very much alive. Fifteen years ago, he brought together a group of young people with a passion for craft beer who then lead the first beer projects in Barcelona some years after. Nowadays, not everybody remembers this old association in the Poble Sec, which closed several years ago, but the whole professional sector raises their beret to Steve, the father of the Catalan beer scene.
Barcelona also has an annual great beer celebration — BBF, or the Barcelona Beer Festival. With more than 30,000 attendees during the last edition of BBF, it is considered as one of the most important beer festivals in Europe. Three days at the beginning of March in an amazing location, Museu Marítim near Les Rambles, the festival sees a lot of activities, the biggest local beer selection and well-known international breweries, quality gastronomical options to create amazing pairings, plus great music in collaboration with the Black Music Festival.
Craft beer may be a trend, but even so, the most important thing is that it is delicious! So next time you see some brews on the blackboard of a bar, get inspired and order one. Enjoy your brewskis and feel happy to be in the new beer capital. But be careful as it is a one-way trip.