As seen from the outside

In a joint effort between the Catalan Tourism Board and Beer Events -the company behind the Barcelona Beer Festival- the Craft Beer & Gastronomy route was designed for the attendance of key people in the dissemination of beer culture. The main idea was to let leading writers and bloggers know more about the richness and gastronomic tradition from which we part as a country, with a special emphasis on the incipient microbrewing industry, which in recent years has begun to reap the fruits of its labours, shining both within and beyond our borders.

'I am proud to see how leading authors position themselves enthusiastically before what's been slowly brewing since the early 90's, with the contribution of many people'

Beyond mouthfeel

Much has been talked and written about the smell, taste and appearance of beer. Even commercial advertisements appeal to the sense of hearing, with alleged sounds of beer being served to make people thirsty and eager to down one after another. Conversely, except when describing the mouthfeel, beer is rarely talked about from the point of view of touch. So here's some personal, slightly-random reflections.

"The touch of the drinkware or the packaging influence our perception of a same liquid"

A differential factor...

The other day I received a remarkably big shipment, corresponding to my reward for contributing to the crowdfunding project organised by Cervesa Montseny. Coinciding with its tenth anniversary, they wanted to take another step forward by presenting some of their beers canned, and to finance the whole thing they resorted to their followers. I was enjoying one Lupulus can -by the way, big change eh?- when I began pondering about everything that has happened during all this time, so that I could be at home drinking that specific variety of beer so utterly fresh; in that format that a few years before was associated with cheap, poorly tasting beer; and in a glass with a relevant symbolic charge. I took a picture, and then I started writing.

“Specialised bars make a huge mistake: moving away from local beer”

One in a hundred...

This morning, the Gremi d'Elaboradors de Cervesa Artesana i Natural de Catalunya -Union of Craft and Natural Beer Producers from Catalonia, known as GECAN- and the Barcelona Beer Festival have presented the report Estat de la Cervesa Artesana a Catalunya 2016 -State of Craft Beer in Catalonia 2016-, a study that compiles and talks about data collected from a survey of eighty-two questions, asked to 95 of the breweries in the territory. The key aspects of the report relate to the location of the companies, the production in volume and variety, the size of the businesses and the occupation generated, distribution of the sales or lines of action for the future.

"The 1% threshold has been exceeded: one of every hundred beers consumed in Catalonia is craft"

Best Beers

There are many circumstances that cause my rate of publication on the blog to be irregular: from family matters to work peaks, as well as the effective distribution of my spare time in cultural activities, sports and other projects. Today, I am pleased to present the result of a few hours devoted to this last category early this year.
The Pocket Beer Book 3rd Edition -Best Beers, in America-, by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb, was published by Mitchell Beazley -Octopus Publishing- a few weeks ago, on November 2nd. In a format that, as the title itself suggests, is indeed compact, the work includes an extensive collection of beers from more than 60 countries around the world. All of them are briefly reviewed, while those 'iconic', 'must-try' and 'to watch' breweries that a beer enthusiast can find are conveniently highlighted.

Price and specialty

When we learned of the acquisition of a stake in Nómada Brewing Co by Grupo Mahou-San Miguel, it was not difficult to imagine that a new scenario for the entire local brewing industry was about to start. As expected by some of us, it was a matter of time until we knew of further acquisitions by the big guys -La Virgen by ABI, Sagra by MolsonCoors- but possibly one of the side effects that has immediately begun to be noticeable is a decrease in the price of beer.

"Who benefits from the new margin created by the drop of wholesale prices in beer?"

A historical tick

Let's do an exercise. Let's say that we are going back 15 years in the calendar, in that time space in which Messenger was the ultimate tool to 'socialise' online, and in which the closest thing to today's smartphones were HP's iPAQs. You had tried something more than the typical Lagers thanks to Belgian and German imported beers, to be found in supermarkets and a few select bars run by genuine beer activists, as well as in pseudo-Irish pubs, some with more grace than others, who were in their peak of popularity. In this past context, think about what your response would have been to the following wording.

List, in order of priority, those five beer experiences you want to have throughout your life