What’s with the concept drink local? The idea is of course to support your local brew. It is not an encouragement to stop drinking the regular brands from your supermarket, but if you think of it for a moment, they produce beer by the millions. Your local micro brewery produces perhaps only a few thousand litres a month. It is handcraft versus a totally industrialized process. Craft beer versus “Big” beer. Although there are some excellent big beers out there, the mainstream is innocuous and flavourless lager type of beer, to paraphrase Ron Lindenbusch, the Marketing Director of the successful US micro brewery Lagunitas. During most of the 20th century, beer has been dominated by large-scale manufacturers who have been, by and large, producing one style of beer. A bit boring, right?
A brief history of beer
We have been making beers for a thousand of years. In fact, ale is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, probably dating back to 9500 BC, when cereal was first farmed. In my home country, Norway, until the 1800, no farm was complete without a brewhouse. Viking-laws had it that you could loose property and grounds, and even risk expatriation, if you repeatedly failed to brew for Winter-Solstice.
What is craft beer?
Somehow the art of brewing beer – and consuming it – got lost along the lines. Enter the micro breweries in the 1970s to bring diversity to the market. The essence of craft or artisan beer making is not a modern concept, but the term as such originated in the UK to describe the new generation of small breweries that focused on producing traditional cask ale, as opposed to beers that had been artificially carbonated (usually by adding CO2). Particularly telling is probably the growth in local breweries (and brewpubs) in the US. In 1980 there were 90 registered breweries in the US; by 2013 the number had increased to 2 822 (cf. the US Brewers Association). Among these, 119 are larger regional craft breweries, 1 412 are microbreweries and 1 237 are brewpubs. The US is probably the most exciting brew scene right now, with small brewing companies directly employing approximately 110,273 people in 2013. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “will work for beer.”
In a few years “small” may not longer fit the definition; recent studies show craft beer is now beating “big” beer in the US (CNBC and WSJ). I have no figures for Spain, but judging by the amount of local breweries that are fast emerging, and the variety of beers now available from larger supermarkets, Spain could be following suite.
There’s perhaps no exact definition of what craft beer or a craft brewery exactly is, but craft breweries are in general characterized by the fact that they are small and independent breweries who manufacture their product using the traditional ingredients of malted barley, wheat, hops, yeast and water, without any additives or artificial colouring or carbonization. Beers are matured in cask or bottle, and the process is referred to as “live beer” as the yeast keep fermenting in bottle. Some will say the whole enterprise is about being creative, others will say it is all about heart and soul. Others are simply saying that they are making beer like it always was made, before large-scale industrial breweries tampered with the process in order to mass produce beer and make it as cost effective as possible. It’s slow beer against fast beer, if you will.
Drink local is about supporting your local community, the diversity and creativity involved in beer production and levering the awareness of beer as a quality drink. Craft beer is in many ways becoming the gourmet of beers.
Local Málaga breweries
The beer scene in Málaga is rapidly growing as the cult of artisan beer is taking on. The number of restaurants offering alternatives to the traditional industrial brands are still scarce, but a number of specialized outlets can get you quickly acquainted with the world of craft beer. Most of these shops or bars carry local brews. In particular, two local brands stand out: Malaqa (Málaga) and La Catarina (Marbella).
Founded by the two friends Army Nougues and Pablo López in 2013, Cerveza Malaqa is located in the San Luis polígono of Málaga, just south of the university campus. Touted as the most successful microbrewery in Málaga.
They currently offer seven distinct types of beer in their regular production:
|Back to School||Blonde ale||4,8%||42|
|Tortuga||Porter||5,7%||33||Centennial, Mosaic, Citra|
|Kernel Panic||APA||5,4%||42||Centennial, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe|
|Awesome Bear||Double IPA||9,2%||80||Centennial, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe|
Connect with Cerveza Malaqa:
Vimeo: Cerveza Malaqa
Calle del Alcalde Guillermo Rein, 158 Málaga
952 91 10 27
La Catarina Craft Beer
The lovechild of founder Skander Allani, his partner Ignacio Garvayo and master brewer Alessio Allegretti, this brewpub opened its doors in august 2013. A year later they offered their first brew, a refreshing and floral blonde ale. Regular production now consists of six different types of brews:
|Golden Mile||Blonde ale||5,1%||15||Hersbrucker, Saaz, Perle|
|Sierra Blanca||American wheat||5,3%||18,6||Chinook|
|Altos Hornos||APA||6,3%||62||Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, Wakatu|
|De Pedro||Double IPA||7,5%||90||Centennial, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe|
|Cruz de Juanar||Dark cascadian||6,8%||82,5||Cascade, Williamette, Amarillo, Sumit|
Connect with La Catarina:
La Catarina Craft Beer S.L.
Calle Gabriel Celaya 6, Pol. Ind. La Campana
29660 Nueva Andalucía
+34 952 81 81 85
Other breweries in Málaga
Although not a brewery but a beer shop, La Domadora y el León in Frigiliana makes one of the most promising brews in the province, an APA-style ale they have dubbed a tropical pale ale: “La Axarcä“, a fruity beer with hints of mango and citrus.
Also make sure to check out:
- 3 Monos (Málaga)
- Bonvivant (Málaga)
- Rosas (Alhaurín de la Torre)
- Carma (Almogía)
- Babel (Estepona)
- Rebeldía (Málaga)
- Murex (Torre del Mar)
- Cerveza Artesanal Rondeña (Ronda)
(updated March 2016)