Ricardo´s Guide to Valencian Craft Ales.

Draught and Bottled Beer from Montmira.

Draught and Bottled Beer from Montmira.

As I observed last week for every space at the Valencian Wine and Food Fair which had been vacated by an absent bodega Valencian artisan breweries  were more than happy to fill your glass with a craft ale. What is behind the boom in this sector of the drinks market?

What is a craft ale? Essentially it is a beer which is made from water, malt , hops and yeast of the highest quality. They are natural beers and are not pasteurised. They may be flavoured with natural ingredients as we shall see later. Unlike commercial beers which are brewed in about six hours the craft ale has a much longer gestation. The wort will be made and then left for as long as ten days to allow all the flavours to develop before fermentation takes place , usually in the bottle, and then after this stage is finished another six weeks or so will pass before they are put into the market place. The bottles will still have the spent yeasts in the bottom which, as they break down add protein into the beer.

Cerveza Genesis.

Cerveza Genesis.

Historically there are two areas in which craft ales have been successful in the last couple of generations. Firstly of course there was the revival of `real ales´ in the United Kingdom, a reaction to the awful commercial beers such as Double Diamond and Watneys Red . CAMRA, the campaign for real ale, always preferred that beer was made in a wooden cask but ales such as Thomas Hardy ale, Charringtons Barley Wine, Whitbread White label and the original Guinness which were all made as described above were given the stamp of approval.

In the United States a similar reaction to Coors and Budweiser led to the movement to create micro-breweries which bottled their craft ales although in some cases these are still made in aluminium kegs and not all are living beers.

The phenomenon has reached Spain and Valencia is a major growth area as was demonstrated by the number of exhibitors at last weeks fair. So who are these micro breweries and where can they be found?

1. L´Alcora, Castellon, Montmira.

This producer has 5 ales currently to its name. Bresca, which is flavoured with rosemary honey, Tonbatossals, a stout, Penyagolosa, an IPA, Columbretes, an aleand  La Roxa,  which is a darker ale flavoured with ginger. More details can be found at www.cervesamontmira.com . The beers range between 4.9-6.8% ABV.

2. Abadia Española, Benicalap.

Brewery founded in 2008. One ale produced, Abadia. 5% ABV.

3. Altura de Vuelo, Casas del Rey.

Two beers produced by Cervezas Fernandez Pons, a family brewery. Altura de Vuelo and Pons 1840.

The first is a hoppy bitter at 4.2% ABV. The second is a smoother ale with a higher graduation. www.cervezasfernandezpons.es

4. Antara.

A malty  ale flavoured with chufa. Made by Fernandez Pons for Terra i Xufa. 4.2%ABV.

Beers from Badum.

Beers from Badum.

5.  Badum, Peñiscola.

Three ales produced, Badum Pilsen, Badum Trigo and Badum Alcachofa, the latter flavoured with artichoke.


6. Birra e Blues, Alboraya.

Three beers produced, Doble Malta, Rubia and Tostada.

Attached to a restaurant on the Playa Patacona there is an on-line shop www.birraeblues.com

7. Cerveza 2.0.

A complex ale made by Montmira in Castellon. I think this is a very English bitter using several malts and three different hop varieties. 4.8%.

8. Galana, La Yesa.

Three beers from Artesanas Solaz Varea, Rubia, Tostada and Negra. http://cervesagalana.es/

Draught Cervesa from La Yesa.

Draught Cervesa from La Yesa.

9. Genesis, Fortaleny.

Pale Ale Ambar 5% and flavoured with orange flowers from Vendrell Gourmet. www.vendrellgourmet.com

10. Gran Prima, Montcabrer, Ontinyent.

Two ales, Gram Prima 5.2% and Gram Freda 4.8% , from Cervezas Montcabrer in Ontinyent. www.cervesagram.com

11. La Lluna, Agullent.

Four ales, Lluna , Lluna Bruna, Lluna Negra and Lluna Morisco ranging between 4.3% and 6.5%. Lluna Morisco is aged in oak and steeped with  local herbs. www.bodegasartesanas.com/

12. Mons Cervesa Artesana, Massalavès.

Three ales produced, Pilsen, Pale Ale and Imperial Stout. www.maltamons.com

13. Nispra, Cervesa Spigha, Alcoy.

Four ales from Spigha, Na Valora, Nispra, Gurugú and Voromar. The  Nispra is flavoured with nisperos and made for the local co-op.  www.spigha.es

14. Sacristan, Beltri, Alicante.

A 6% ABV Amber ale stopped with a cork in the cava style. www.fundesem.es

15. Senia, Benifaió.

Three beers, Blat, Rossa and Tostada. No website currently but they do have a Facebook page.

16. La Socarrada, Xativa.

6% Honey ale flavoured with honey and mel de romer. www.lasocarrada.com

Tyris from Riba-Roja.

Tyris from Riba-Roja.

17.Tyris. Riba-Roja

Tyris produce 5  beers, Tyris,VIPA, Paqui Brown ,  Porter and Riu Rau, the latter for an outlet in Benissa. www.cervezatyris.com This maker also encourages visits and undertakes training courses in brewing!

18. L´Ombria. Vallada.

Three ales, Blat, Ipa and Red. http://lombria.blogspot.com.es


Most of the ales are produced in 33cl and 75cl  bottle format as well as draught varieties, some in 30 litre kegs. Many have on-line shops or the beers are available from specialist outlets such as the Els Bodeguers chain.

What does the future hold for this relatively new industry? Given increasing interest and sales as well as awards at National and International beer fairs the future looks good. I understand several of the micro-breweries are trying to form an association of Valencian artisan beer producers. With Jacobo Pons of Fernandez Pons now President also of PROAVA the Valencian Government agency responsible for promoting food and drink, the right links are in place.

Who knows, there may even be a Valencian Real Ale Festival ….now there is an idea!


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