EL VIAJERO

Valencia joins the Spanish craze for craft beer

A group of entrepreneurs fell in love with the industry while on university exchange programs abroad

The Market in Valencia specializes in craft beer.
The Market in Valencia specializes in craft beer.

Until just a few years ago, craft beer in Spain was in demand by just a handful of select epicureans.

Most of us were happy if the caña was cold, well poured and our favorite brand – although even this latter requirement was not an absolute necessity.

But like a silent tide coming in from other latitudes, craft-beer fever has spread across Spain, where bars, supermarkets and delis now stock entire shelves with bottles bearing attention-grabbing labels and offering a variety of flavors and styles that we could scarcely have imagined were possible.

Created with the same kind of passionate devotion that the best chefs display, the craft beer movement has conquered the Mediterranean city of Valencia as well. The following four establishments prove the assertion.

Beers & Travels

Carrer dels Serrans, 19

A beer tasting at Beers & Travels.
A beer tasting at Beers & Travels.

The tour must begin with Beers & Travels, the pioneers in the city. This place began as a travel agency specializing in beer-themed tours, and is now the epicenter of craft beer in Valencia. The best local brands are available for consumption on site or to take home. Asked to recommend one, the owner, Ana, goes back to the origins: the Belgian beer Tripel Karmeliet.

The Market

Carrer de les danses, 5

The counter at The Market, in Valencia.
The counter at The Market, in Valencia.

Going to Germany on an Erasmus exchange program has its risks – like dropping your university studies to devote yourself fully to the world of craft beer. This is what happened to Gonzalo, a Spaniard who made one visit too many to a nearby brewery during his time in Mainz. In 2014, back in Valencia, he opened The Market, an Irish-looking venue were the locally-made Tyris beer prevails, although there are other brands available as well. Concerts and product presentations keep its faithful clients coming back again and again. Gonzalo’s personal choice of beer: Amor amargo, an Indian Pale Ale by Tyris.

Ruzanúvol

C/ Luis Santángel, 3

Tables inside Ruzanúvol, in Valencia.
Tables inside Ruzanúvol, in Valencia.

Personal reinvention can also catch you in India, where it is also possible to fall in love with craft beer. It happened to Giovanni, who lived there for 10 years before returning to his native Italy and discovering that his friends had taken up homemade brewing. A born nomad, he brought the products to Valencia, where he has been serving the demands of a large and growing client base of good beer lovers since 2010. The beer on offer at Ruzanúvol changes, although Giovanni’s beloved Birrificio Lambrate and Birricio Italiano are always on the list. The menu features Italian food with imported ingredients. Giovanni’s recommendation is a beer he tasted in India: Gaina, an Indian Pale Ale.

Olhöps

C/ Sueca, 21

A lively atmosphere at Olhöps, in the Ruzafa area.
A lively atmosphere at Olhöps, in the Ruzafa area.

Olhöps is the result of the dreams of three young people who fell in love with Belgian beer during an Erasmus exchange program. At first it was an online store with a groundbreaking design, but by late 2014 it had morphed into a bricks-and-mortar establishment with 10 taps and barrels that change every week. Olhöps looks like a Scandinavian cabin with a sidewalk terrace and a cozy atmosphere. There is something going on here almost every day, from beer tastings to concerts, talks by beermakers and the informal series Birra y ciencia, where an expert shares pints and scientific trivia with anyone who wants to sign up. Pablo, one of the partners, recommends KBS by Founders. Bottoms up!

English version by Susana Urra.

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