Barcelona Beer - Locals' Choice 2015

No, I've never been very keen on those "best beers to try before you die" compilations. Nor do I like to publish beer ratings or rankings: the greatness of beer depends on far too many things, and I don't really want to give my tastes some kind of definitive superior status. But even when I frown and permanently wrinkle my brow at this kind of stuff, I must admit that it sometimes can be useful. Let's put an example.

Imagine you're travelling to Barcelona -yay!- and you want to try some of the local beers on offer. Maybe you're one of those adventurous drinkers who would try anything they find. Good luck, lad. Or, maybe you'd love to have some local perspective, suggestions on which beers you should really try to find and drink, given that your time, money and liver productivity are actually finite.

For those on the second group, you're in the right place if you're looking for beer recommendations in Barcelona. Early this year I took time to write an email to with lots of explanations and a quick, direct question to answer:

"¿Could you please list two beers that you drank in 2014 and that you'd recommend without hesitation?"

The recipients of my email, the people who answered to this question, are local drinkers: people who spend quite a lot of time and money with beer. The kind of people I expect to find desperately drowning their souls at the bar of all those beery places that I like to pay a visit from time to time, when I go out in Barcelona. Ladies and gents with different backgrounds, whose advice on beer I would trust on any beer festival. Pretty awesome individuals, as you can see. But they are, and will remain, anonymous.

My only determinants were that the selected beers should be local (whatever local means to every respondent) and easy -ish- to find in Barcelona. Beer aged after its commercialisation -vintages- were specifically banned, too. They're not supposed to be the best; not the ones you can't go to the grave without having a try. Just plain advice: the locals' choice when they order their rounds.

So, after receiving and sorting the answers, here's a list of local beers that one can find in Barcelona, as recommended by trusted local drinkers -even when some of them were not 100% compliant with the specificities of my request-.

The list comprises 22 different local beers with their name, brewer, style, alcohol by volume and a short comment. Styles are the ones stated by the brewers themselves -I also frown at styles, but I understand that these can somehow tell what one can expect of a single beer, when no complete technical information is available-. The short comments are mine, to provide a little extra information or background to each beer.

2014 by Ratpenat Cervesers

Style: IPA.
ABV: 6,8%.

A fruity American-style IPA that bears the name of the foundation year of this now renowned company.

A Black Adabra by Vic Brewery & Santa Pau Ales

Style: Black IPA.
ABV: 6,0%

Balanced, toasty brew with a nice hoppy profile. Collaboration brew by two young microbreweries (limited edition).

Aotearoa by Naparbier

Style: Hoppy Pils.
ABV: 5,4%

Only lager from the selection. Aromatic, light and easy to drink, with New Zealand hops and great artwork.

Apokalypse by Reptilian

Style: Russian Imperial Stout.
ABV: 11,0%

An intense, liquory, full-bodied Imperial Stout by one of our most versatile brewers. There's also an Oporto-aged version.

Barrica 2014 by Ales Agullons

Style: Sour Ale.
ABV: 5,5%

Plain Pale Ale, aged in barrels at the cellar of the brewery. Seasonal offering, released on December.

Blackblock by La Pirata

Style: Imperial Stout.
ABV: 11,2%

The beer that gave La Pirata the recognition they deserve. Intense and deliciously balanced.

Blonde Ale by Cervesa Espiga

Style: Blonde Ale.
ABV: 4,5%

Aromatic and refreshing ale, probably one of the best-sellers of 2014. Also quite easy to find.

Chipotle Ale by Tro Ales

Style: Spice Beer.
ABV: 5,5%

You would never believe how balanced and moreish this Chipotle-spiced ale can actually be. 

Ipanema by Tro Ales

Style: IPA.
ABV: 6,5%

It is because of beers like this solid IPA that Tro Ales was one of the local's favourite brewers in 2014.

Jack the RIPA by Cervesa Guineu

Style: Real India Pale Ale.
ABV: 7,2%

Soft, tasty and fresh. Easy one, even with its 7.2% ABV. One of the best beers released by Guineu.

Lupulus Pirata by La Pirata

Style: Session IPA.
ABV: 3.0%

Excellent hoppy low alcohol beer for the heat, inspired by the pregnancy of the brewer's partner. 

Napar Pale Ale by Naparbier

Style: American Pale Ale.
ABV: 4.4%.

Another freshly hopped, fruity, easy to drink great hit by these very popular brewers from Navarra.

Nelson Sauvin by Quer Beer

Style: Imperial Amber Ale.
ABV: 8.0%

One of the brewers who joined the fray for good in 2014, with hoppy brews like this intense Amber.

Pura Pale by Ales Agullons

Style: Pale Ale.
ABV: 5.0%

A classic favourite of local drinkers. Delicate, subtle Pale Ale to drink one pint after another.

Riner by Cervesa Guineu

Style: Low Alcohol.
ABV: 2.5%

The other classic favourite. Light, fresh Amarillo single-hopped ale to drink anytime, anywhere.

Royal Porter by Nómada Brewing Co

Style: Imperial Porter.
ABV: 10.0%

Intense brew with cocoa and toasty hints. The kind of stuff that has made Nómada one of the most popular. 

Setembre by Ales Agullons

Style: Pale Ale + Lambic (blend)
ABV: 5.5%

Blend between Pura Pale and Cantillon young lambic. Delicious, classic brew for sour lovers. 

Summer Division by Espina de Ferro

Style: Summer Ale.
ABV: 6.6%

Refreshing and easy-to-drink hoppy ale by this small brewery from outside Barcelona. Great label design.

The Buzzos by Sevebrau

Style: American Pale Ale.
ABV: 6.0%

Specially brewed for a rock band called The Buzzos, by one of the big Spanish hits in 2014

Tundra by Nómada Brewing Co

Style: Farmhouse Golden Ale.
ABV: 6.0%

A slightly sour Golden Ale, part of the Landscape Series released last year with Nómada's new look.

Viakrucis by La Pirata

Style: American IPA.
ABV: 5.8%

Fresh and fruity, but also nicely malted. A delicious new classic brew, very popular among local hopheads.

ZZ+ Amber Ale by Naparbier

Style: American Amber Ale.
ABV: 5.5%

Three years ago it was in everyone's mouth for a reason. And it still is. Naparbier's rise to fame.


And that's all for now. I hope you can enjoy these selection someday. But even if you can't find exactly the listed beers, take for granted that the above-mentioned are a fine selection of our local brewers. So take notes for your next trip!

In any case, I would particularly encourage everyone to discover our local scene on his own, with no rush.  There are many interesting beers and brewers apart from the ones in this Locals' Choice: take your time, grab a sit in any of the many beer-oriented bars that you can easily find in Barcelona and enjoy their beer offerings.

Salut i birra!


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