10/07/2012 Wekly Pint: Brews of Spanish Pleasure?

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Craft Brewers Bring Big Beers to Iberia.

Wine reigns in Spain, but suddenly craft beer is gaining ground in surprising—and delicious—ways. After a few false starts in the 1990s, more than a dozen operations are up and running, especially in Catalonia, the hilly, village-dotted region anchored by Barcelona in northeastern Spain. During a recent tasting in Worcester, MA, organized by the Shelton Bros. and 12% Imports, two importers working with small artisan brewers around the world, beer lovers had their first chance to try several brews from the southwestern European nation of futbol, Penelope Cruz, and Tempranillo.

Pouring their creations alongside such world famous beers as Belgium’s Westvleteren 12, these cerveseros (who currently brew without access to domestic malt or hops) had much to prove—but prove they did. The result: Spain has arrived on the world stage of beer with all the swagger and skill of a bullfighter.

One might think Spain’s arid climate would inspire light-bodied brews suited for washing down tapas, but in fact several brewers go for the gusto, aging brews in red wine barrels and amping up the malts, hops, and yeast. There’s even a spate of festivals, a brewers’ guild, and specialty craft bars and bottle shops springing to life. Have you ever tried a Spanish beer? Read on for info on two of the most remarkable brews we’ve tasted in years.



Great sour beer from Spain? Si, señor. Housed in a 19th century former winery structure, the tiny Masia Agullons farmhouse brewery is located in the village of Mediona (pop. 1,600), which also has its own little beer festival each summer. Their outstanding Setembre is a blend of their 5%abv Pura pale ale and a 10% portion of Lambic from Belgium’s famed Cantillon, resulting in a deliciously complex, earthy, tart, and rare brew.



Opened just five years ago in April of 2007, Montseny brews American-styled craft brews with Spanish flair—they even blast Flamenco music in the brewhouse. Aged for a year in French oak red wine barrels once containing wines from the Penedés region, this excellent 5.1%abv pale ale has a wild blend of flavors mingling citrus, wood, caramel, and a wine-like fruitiness.

Masia Agullons S.L.

Sant Joan de Mediona (Alt Penedès) Tel. 649 50 50 33

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