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Catalonia’s biggest celebration of craft beer returns

Barcelona Beer Festival opens in La Farga, L’Hospitalet, serving 575 different brews from 250 producers worldwide

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17 December 2021 12:44 PM

by

Cillian Shields | L'Hospitalet

The 9th edition of the Barcelona Beer Festival has opened its doors at La Farga in L’Hospitalet. 

Over the course of this weekend, no fewer than 575 different beers will be served up from 250 different breweries from across the world. There are a total of 161 taps as well, ensuring there will be something pouring at all times for whatever your tastes prefer. 

Beer makers have come to Catalonia from all corners of the globe to take part in the Barcelona Beer Festival. Québécoisbrewers Les Trois Mouquetaires are presenting a smooth baltic porter with coffee notes, Americans Cascade will be showing off their highly experimental Blend Ales, a selection of red, tripel, and quad sour ales aged in oak barrels for three years, and Ukrainian producers Berryland have come to share their rhubarb sour mead with us. 

Given special pride of place this edition are various nomadic breweries, including Oddity Brewing, Engorile Beer, and Caravelle. These ‘nomads’ are micro-brewers that don’t have their own facilities, but rather rent the installations and equipment of other producers to brew their own recipes.

This comes with various pros and cons, as explained by Xavier Pereira of Engorile Beer at the presentation of the festival earlier in the week. His mode of operation comes with no fixed costs, as Engorile have not had to pay for their own machinery or pay any rental costs or purchase a space to produce their brews. 

This allows for more budget to be put towards quality and experimental ingredients. As well as that, it gives him the freedom to produce beer wherever he wants.

However, the per-litre production of any nomadic brewery will inevitably come out more costly than a brewery with its own facilities, and this is ultimately reflected in the shelf price for the consumer.

Organizers are also delighted to champion new, very experimental styles of beer this year, from an Italian Grappe Ale which mixes the best of wine and beer, to a beverage made with the flavour of Mallorcan ‘sobrasada’ - a type of raw, cured sausage. 

Return after pandemic

This is the first edition of the beer festival since the pandemic.

In fact, the 2020 edition was scheduled to take place on what was a very sobering moment in time for us all, the exact weekend that the first state of alarm and lockdown was brought in just as the pandemic was beginning to grip the country. 

But now, it’s back with an even more diverse offering of activities, as this year will be the most musical beer festival Barcelona has ever seen, with a dozen concerts organized for the course of the weekend.

Covid measures

Some new measures have had to be applied relatively last-minute for festival organizers. Government measures currently mean that all visitors to the fair will have to show Covid passports to enter, just as they would in any bar or restaurant in Catalonia.

Apart from that, the general rules apply that would inside bars or restaurants, including wearing face masks whenever food or beverages are not being consumed. 

The beer festival is open until this Sunday, December 19, at La Farga in L’Hospitalet.

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  • A brewer pours a beer at the 2021 Barcelona Beer Festival (by Cillian Shields)

  • A brewer pours a beer at the 2021 Barcelona Beer Festival (by Cillian Shields)

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