Lybica, the first artisan beer from the Cerdanya county

The former mayor of Llívia, Josep Pous, has left politics and dedicated himself to artisan beer with his microbrewery. Lybica is the first artisan beer produced in the Cerdanya county, in the Pyrenees. It joins the boom of artisan beers in Catalonia.

CNA / Ferran Garcia

August 30, 2011 04:02 PM

Llívia (ACN) .- Lybica, the Roman name for the village of  Llívia has given its name to the first beer to be created in the Cerdanya county, in the Catalan Pyerenees. The man behind this new brand is none other than the former mayor of Llívia, Josep Pous. Lybica is a fruity, full flavoured beer, which due to its low alcohol percentage (4%) and small amount of gas is very light to drink. It's thicker than most of the beer which enters the commercial market, a factor that may hinder its acceptance. Its creator, Pous, explains that during the first two months of trading the beer has been very well received. At the moment, it is only sold by the barrel and can only be found in Llívia and Puigcerdà, the Cerdanya’s capital.

The process of making a beer such as Lybica usually takes about eight hours. During this time, the temperature is carefully controlled and various malts are added to boiling water. After this stage, the remaining liquid is filtered to remove the malts and a liquid, called 'wort' is produced. This must be left to boil for an hour and a half and then add the hops, the ingredient that gives the trademark bitter taste. At this point, the liquid goes from a 96 degree temperature to 24 degrees, so that yeast may be added and the beer may ferment for 24 hours. Finally, the liquid is allowed to sit for 10 days while temperature gradually lowers down. Once this process is completed, the beer is ready.

Making beer has been an ambition for the now former mayor, who retired from politics so that he could go ahead with his project. Seven years ago he made a first attempt, but the hustle and bustle of the mayoral office did not allow for true concentration. Now, in a small industrial space in Llívia, the first crafted beer of the region has been produced.

Pous explains that the manufacturing of beer is not in itself complicated, it requires instead a certain amount of trial and error, correcting the temperatures, malts and hops in order to get the taste that you want. In order to make his dream beer, Lybica, Pous has invested 70,000 euros in machinery. Now, he can boil around 150 litres per week, creating approximately 600 litres per month. The beer is contained in 20 litre barrels, which is distributed to various bars in Puigcerdà and Llívia and only served on tap for the moment.

Pous is happy with the reception that his beer has had. Although he states that "we do not have a beer culture yet, I believe in artisan products and I think they must be promoted."

The mayor explained that he takes the beer malts from Belgium, Pilsen (Plzen), Munich and Caramel. According to Pous, "the country has four malting plants, but they are owned by the big breweries and I must buy the malts abroad." The hops also purchased, already pealed and stabilised, and thus he saves time and gets more quality in the whole process.   

"Lybica is a Pilsner Lager, slightly thick and very fruity," said Pous. He adds that his intention is “to stabilise the production and the market, and once this reached, then we begin to bottle it." Currently the bars that distribute Lybica sell a glass priced at between 1.80 and 2 euros.