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Wine consumption in Spain is at a low. So what are people drinking, if not a full bodied vino tinto? The answer is beer, mostly, and also gin and other spirits.
For many moons three main beer labels dominated the Barcelona market: Estrella, Moritz and San Miguel. But now microbrews and import beers are moving in, giving the old timers and wine makers something to think about.
If you’re keen on trying a bit of Barcelona brew, make sure these bars are on your map:
La Fábrica Moritz
Moritz is considered by many to be the Barcelona beer. Buy it by the bottle or can in any supermarket (about €.75-.85 cents a bottle) or pop into the new La Fábrica Moritz for a couple frothy glasses of this golden brew.
La Fábrica Moritz is posh compared to most pubs and beer bars in the city. Expect slightly higher prices here. However, it’s worth it to have a beer at the bar (and maybe some tapas?) and then wander around the space. The building, located near Plaça Universitat, was once the original Moritz factory, and recently underwent a €30 million makeover.
Pros: Unique tapas, good beer, interesting architecture/history
Cons: Stupid uniforms, only serves Moritz, pricey
Probably my favorite of the microbrew pubs in Barcelona, this small ale joint is located right next to the post office in the Gothic Quarter.
Expect an excellent selection of Catalan beers here, such as Guineu, Agullons, Almogàver, but also imported beers from Australia, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Holland, and the USA. You can buy beer, drink beer and learn about beer at La Cerveteca, which offers “ale tasting” courses.
Pros: International beer selection, knowledgeable staff
Cons: limited food, small space
El Vaso de Oro
Of the three beer bars listed here, El Vaso de Oro has the best tapas to go with their frothy, homemade pints. The beer here is served on tap and while they had been serving light beers for 50 years, they’ve now branched out to dark beers and more experimental brews.
The place itself is a legend, located in what was once the city’s fishermen’s neighborhood, La Barceloneta. Expect crowds and noise but also fast, professional service.
Pros: Fabulous hot and cold Spanish tapas, historic bar
Cons: Crowded on the weekend, noisy
Beers to look for in stores
Of course, you could also just grab a few brewskies and head to the beach or Park Ciutadella and do your own Spanish/ Catalan beer tasting. Most supermarkets will have a few microbrews and definitely all of the main beer brands.
However, if you want a larger selection specialty beers you’ll need to go to a wine store or liquor store. Look for Rosita Cerveza Artesanal from Tarragona, Moska beers from Girona (also try Moska’s new beer, Garnatxa beer, from Priorat), and Cervesa Moon from the great Barcelona area.