Top Picks for Best Spanish Beer: Must-Taste Brews for Beer Enthusiasts

Discovering the best Spanish beer means diving into a rich tapestry of flavors and brewing expertise. In this guide, we unveil the standout Spanish brews that have become staples for locals and a revelation for visitors.

From traditional pilsners to craft ambers, learn what makes these beers a must-try and how Spain’s brewing finesse has captivated palates worldwide.

No frills, just the essential highlights of Spain’s beer landscape and what you can expect to savor in each sip.

Key Takeaways

  • Spain’s beer scene has a dynamic range from traditional lagers to innovative craft beers, with both local favorites like Estrella Galicia and San Miguel, and smaller craft breweries making waves.
  • Spanish beers are internationally acclaimed, with many winning medals at competitions like the World Beer Awards, and are best enjoyed when paired thoughtfully with local tapas and dishes.
  • Travelers can immerse themselves in Spain’s rich beer culture through festivals, brewery tours, and unique experiences in picturesque settings, from coastal towns to ancient cities.

Exploring Spain’s Finest Beers: A Curated Selection

Spain’s beers are globally recognized for their unique taste profile, featuring bright golden colors and a wide array of flavors, from delicate pilsners to carefully selected hops.

While Spain is often celebrated for its wine, beer lovers will attest to the country’s impressive beer landscape. With a variety of brands and styles, the Spanish beer scene has something for everyone.

Take Cervezas Alhambra, for example, a brand that reflects the rich heritage of the city of Granada with its soft craft beer Alhambra Tradicional and the premium amber lager Alhambra Reserva 1925.

Or Estrella Damm, a beloved brand from Barcelona that offers a Mediterranean essence in its brews, favored by locals and tourists alike.

Spain also boasts El Águila 1900, a lager with notes of caramelized malts and Lemondrop, and Cruzcampo, a refreshing and versatile Pilsen-type beer, especially popular in Southern Spain.

These are just a few examples from the curated selection of Spain’s finest beers.

Estrella Galicia’s Signature Lager

The bright-golden color and distinctive taste of Estrella Galicia make it a Spanish beer you shouldn’t overlook. This beer brand is recognized for its use of highly bitter malts and hops, carving a distinctive place for itself in the Spanish beer scene.

The Estrella Galicia 1906 Reserva Especial, a premium lager from the brewery, is particularly noteworthy and considered among the highest rated beers. It captivates with:

  • its dark color
  • aromatic malts and hops
  • creamy head
  • a deep, warm, roasted flavor
  • an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 6.5%

Brewed at a substantial annual production of 100 billion liters, Estrella Galicia is one of the most notable beer brands on the Iberian Peninsula.

The brand’s presence extends beyond Spain, exporting to various countries across Europe and overseas, including their Estrella Galicia Pilsen and the Estrella Galicia 1906 Reserva Especial.

The Refreshing Taste of San Miguel

San Miguel, widely adored as a Spanish beer brand, is best known for its San Miguel Especial. Everyone who has visited Spain on a hot day will vouch for the refreshing taste of a cold San Miguel 1516. This shiny, golden pilsner offers a creamy, fruity flavor with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4.2%.

For those seeking a lighter and crisper taste, Xibeca beer is a popular choice. Known for its refreshing taste, Xibeca is especially favored during the hot summer months. San Miguel’s range of beers, from the classic Especial to the lighter Xibeca, offers something to quench every beer lover’s thirst.

Mahou Cinco Estrellas’ Madrid Pride

Mahou Cinco Estrellas, a well-regarded beer with a strong connection to Madrid, is an unmissable treat when in the city. It’s widely appreciated by both locals and visitors alike.

Compared to Mahou Clásica, Mahou Cinco Estrellas stands out with a more intense taste and golden, bright appearance.

Mahou Cinco Estrellas boasts a 5.5% alcohol content contributing to its robust and well-defined flavor. This full-bodied flavor and iconic status have made it an emblematic choice for beer enthusiasts visiting Madrid.

So, next time you find yourself in a Madrid tapas bar, make sure to order a glass of Mahou Cinco Estrellas – it’s the Madrid way!

Spain’s Craft Beer Revolution: Small Breweries Making Big Waves

Spain is witnessing a craft beer revolution even as big beer brands like Estrella Galicia and San Miguel continue to dominate the market. Over 100 microbreweries and roughly 300 different brands have sprung to life, catalyzed by the enthusiasm of beer aficionados and entrepreneurs.

This craft beer movement, boasting an array of styles and flavors complemented by creative marketing strategies, is reshaping Spain’s beer landscape.

Craft breweries in Spain are flourishing, offering immersive experiences and catering to a new generation of beer enthusiasts.

Some notable breweries include:

  • Rosa Blanca
  • La Pirata Tremenda
  • Oro beer in Bilbao
  • Espiga
  • Barna Brew

These breweries are making a mark with their unique taste profiles and reviving local pride and tradition in the brewing culture. If you’re a beer lover, be sure to check them out and explore the diverse brewing techniques they have to offer.

Barcelona’s Craft Beer Gem: Moritz

Moritz beer, nestled in the heart of Barcelona, is stirring the craft beer scene with its unique recipes and brewing techniques.

This Spanish beer gem features a range of beers, including a Pilsner lager brewed in Barcelona with Saaz-type flower hops and an alcohol content of 5.4%, made entirely with natural ingredients.

Founded in 1856 by French immigrant Louis Moritz, Moritz is one of Barcelona’s oldest beer brands. It was relaunched in 2004 using the original recipe by the founder’s descendants after ceasing production in 1978.

Beer enthusiasts visiting Barcelona can immerse in unique experiences offered by Moritz, such as:

  • Brewing their own beer
  • Sampling five varieties of fresh, unpasteurized beers
  • Visiting venues like Casa Moritz and Bar Velódromo
  • Receiving guidance from a master brewer

Zaragoza’s Ambar: Tradition Meets Innovation

Ambar Beer, also known as Cervezas Ambar, has been a household name in Zaragoza since it first commenced production in 1900.

This esteemed Spanish beer brand combines tradition with innovation to offer a diverse beer selection, including the notable Ambar Especial and an innovative brew made with amber and rye malt.

Ambar Especial is recognized for its exceptional taste, having won the World Beer Award in 2016. Beyond national success, Ambar has earned international acclaim, with Spanish beers like Ambar receiving various medals at the World Beer Awards.

When in Zaragoza, make sure to try a pint of Ambar – it’s a taste of tradition and innovation in every sip!

Spanish Beer Pairings: What to Drink with Your Tapas

The perfect pairing, as beer enthusiasts would agree, can elevate the flavors of both the beverage and the meal. In Spain, the art of pairing beer with food is highly celebrated.

A light lager is often the favorite choice for tapas pairing, thanks to its ability to refresh the palate in the country’s warm climate.

Beers like Rosa Blanca are recommended for tapas that include olives, meats, and rich sauces, making it a versatile choice for a range of Spanish small plates.

Meanwhile, for a hearty meal, Rosita Negra offers a deep and robust flavor profile that pairs beautifully with substantial dishes.

So, next time you’re in Spain, don’t just order a beer – ask for the perfect tapas to accompany it!

Light and Crispy: Pilsners and Seafood

Given Spain’s extensive coastline, the preponderance of seafood in Spanish cuisine is hardly surprising. And what better to pair with a plate of fried calamari or gambas al ajillo than a light and crispy pilsner?

Highly carbonated beers such as pilsners are recommended for pairing with fried seafood due to their bubbly nature, which can cut through the grease and enhance the overall flavor experience.

Next time you’re indulging in Spain’s seafood delights, consider a pilsner to accompany your meal. The lightness of the beer complements the fresh flavors of the sea, making for a truly gastronomic experience.

Dark and Rich: Amber Ales and Hearty Meals

A dark and rich amber ale is the perfect pairing for those hearty meals. Amber ales are known for their toasty and slightly bready aroma, presenting a malty sweetness that makes them an ideal companion for rich and savory dishes.

Whether it’s Spanish staples like chorizo and patatas bravas or smoked pork, amber ales serve as the perfect match. The crisp and clean finish of amber ales complements smoked pork beautifully, enhancing the smokiness and richness of the meat without overtaking its distinct flavors.

So, next time you’re enjoying a hearty Spanish meal, consider an amber ale to enhance your dining experience.

Discover Spain’s Award-Winning Beers

Spanish beers have not only captivated locals and visitors but have also garnered recognition from judges at international beer competitions. In fact, Spanish beers have collectively won 47 medals at the World Beer Awards, demonstrating their excellence on a global platform.

Spanish beers have made their mark internationally, with several earning top honors in various categories.

Some notable achievements include:

  • Damm’s Daura gluten-free beer being named the World’s Best Gluten-Free Beer
  • Cervezas La Virgen Madrid Lager, 1906 Red Vintage, 1906 Black Coupage, and Dorada Especial Tostada winning gold medals in the lager category
  • Spanish beers also receiving silver and gold medals in the Best IPA and Best Stout & Porter categories

These achievements highlight the quality and excellence of Spanish beers, including some highly rated beers, on the global stage.

Ambar’s Global Recognition

Ambar Beer from Zaragoza stands out among other award-winning Spanish beers. Renowned for its Ambar Especial, an award-winning beer that highlights its success in international competitions, Ambar has gained accolades including four medals at the 2016 World Beer Awards and was notably recognized at the 2019 World Beer Challenge.

Ambar Especial boasts:

  • A unique amber color and body that make it stand out among premium Spanish Lagers
  • A careful mix of the most select varieties of two-row barley, giving it notable roundness, finesse, and bouquet
  • A distinctive bitterness resulting from the use of half-roasted malts in its brewing, creating a balanced flavor that complements its full body.

Estrella Damm’s Own Malthouse Advantage

Another award-winning Spanish beer, Estrella Damm, distinguishes itself with a unique advantage – its own malthouse. By operating their own malthouse, Estrella Damm supervises the entire process of barley germination, drying, and toasting, to ensure the quality and distinctive taste of their beer.

The brewery uses 100% natural ingredients, including a specially preserved yeast strain that’s been in use for generations, contributing to the unique profile of their beers.

Estrella Damm adheres to a specific brewing process, including a week of fermentation and two weeks of maturation, which guarantees the exceptional taste that has won them awards.

Founded in 1876, Estrella Damm’s heritage includes producing all of their malt barley in-house, a tradition that plays a critical role in their enduring presence and success in the Spanish beer market.

Spanish Beer Festivals and Brewery Tours

Spain’s beer culture vividly shines through in its beer festivals and brewery tours. They provide opportunities for enthusiasts to experience a wide variety of local brews and learn about the history and production methods behind Spain’s beloved beers.

Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or a curious traveler, these events offer a delightful and educational experience. Some popular beer festivals and brewery tours in Spain include:

  • Barcelona Beer Festival
  • Madrid Beer Week
  • Seville Beer Festival
  • Valencia Beer Festival
  • La Vella Caravana Brewery Tour

Make sure to check the dates and locations of these events before planning your trip to Spain. Cheers!

From the Barcelona Beer Festival showcasing over 300 national and international craft beers, to the immersive experiences offered by breweries like Cervezas Alhambra in Granada, where visitors can learn about their slow brewing process and enjoy tastings against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Spain’s beer festivals and brewery tours are a must-visit for anyone passionate about beer.

Festival Favorites: Celebrating Beer in Spain

Spanish beer festivals are lively events, offering:

  • an array of beer tastings
  • activities suitable for all ages
  • a mix of local and international cuisine
  • live performances

From the Feria del Aperitivo y la Cerveza Artesanal in Seville to Beermad in Madrid offering a rich selection of craft beers along with workshops and street food, these festivals offer a unique way to celebrate and enjoy Spanish beers.

While each festival has its unique charm, one unifying element is the opportunity to indulge in a selection of the best beers, where local breweries often present their most innovative and flavorful brews, earning the title of “beer won.”

Spain also hosts various Oktoberfest-themed events in October, demonstrating the country’s enthusiasm for celebrating international beer festivals alongside their own traditions.

Behind the Scenes: Brewery Tours in Spain

Brewery tours provide an opportunity for those interested in a deeper understanding of Spanish beers, providing a behind-the-scenes view of the rich history and production techniques of Spain’s cherished brews.

These tours are not just about tasting beer but also about experiencing the brewing process, the ingredients, and the passion that goes into making each brew.

Some breweries in Spain offer tours and unique experiences for visitors. Here are a few examples:

  • Estrella Damm in Barcelona
  • Mahou-San Miguel group’s facility in Guadalajara
  • La Virgen in Madrid
  • Fábrica Moritz with guided tasting sessions
  • MEGA in A Coruña with beer massages

These tours and experiences allow visitors to learn about the history of the brewery and engage in beer tasting sessions, providing them with more intimate knowledge and skills in the world of beer.

Unique Spanish Beer Experiences for Travelers

Spain presents a plethora of unique beer experiences for travelers. From coastal delights by the Mediterranean to historic hops in ancient cities, there’s a Spanish beer experience for every type of traveler.

Whether you’re strolling through the bustling streets of Madrid or lounging on a beach in Malaga, a local brew is the perfect companion to enhance your Spanish journey.

Spain offers a diverse range of beer experiences for travelers, including:

  • Girona’s local craft beer establishment, Moska de Girona, celebrating the Catalan craft beer movement amidst medieval architecture
  • San Sebastián, with its beautiful landscapes for beer sipping
  • Tenerife, offering distinctively beautiful landscapes for beer sipping

So, whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, or a foodie, Spain’s beer scene has something unique to offer you.

Coastal Delights: Beer by the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean coast of Spain hosts a variety of enchanting spots for beer enthusiasts. From the bustling beachfront chiringuitos of Malaga’s La Malagueta to the vibrant nightlife and serene views of Ibiza Town, each location has a unique charm for beer lovers to discover.

Whether it’s the elegance of Marbella’s Avenida del Mar, adorned with Salvador Dalí’s sculptures, or the historical and tranquil touch of Nerja, these coastal spots provide a sophisticated setting for enjoying a cold beer.

And let’s not forget San Sebastián and Tenerife, offering distinctively beautiful landscapes for beer sipping, from the urban elegance of La Concha beach to the lively atmosphere of the largest Canary Island.

Historic Hops: Beer Tasting in Ancient Cities

History buffs will find a unique blend of cultural immersion and gastronomic delight in beer tasting through Spain’s ancient cities. In Seville, visitors can immerse themselves in Spanish culture with a private flamenco and tapas tour, complete with local beers that exemplify the city’s brewing traditions.

For a deep dive into the history of brewing, the cave of San Sadurní in Begues, a site with indications of beer production dating back over 6000 years, offers guided tours for those interested in the origins of brewing.

The monastery of Yuste in Cuacos de Yuste, where Emperor Carlos V had a small brewery, serves as another historical landmark for those interested in the ancestry of beer making.

Whether it’s the bustling streets of Palma in Mallorca or the storied surroundings of Cádiz, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain, beer enthusiasts will find unique oceanfront settings to savor local beers amidst historic landscapes.


From the sunny coastlines to the historic cities, the vibrant beer festivals to the intimate brewery tours, Spain offers a rich and diverse beer culture that’s worth exploring.

Whether you’re a dedicated beer enthusiast or a curious traveler, you’re sure to find a Spanish beer experience that captivates your senses and leaves you with unforgettable memories.

So, the next time you’re planning a trip, why not make it a beercation to Spain?

Frequently Asked Questions

The most popular beer in Spain is Mahou, which was founded in Madrid in 1890. It is a favorite among Spaniards and visitors, with Mahou Cinco Estrellas and Mahou Clásica being the most popular varieties.

Is Estrella better than San Miguel?

Estrella has a thicker, more syrupy taste than San Miguel, and tends to make you feel more full. It also has a bit more bitterness than San Miguel.

What are some of the famous Spanish beer brands?

Some famous Spanish beer brands are Cervezas Alhambra, Estrella Damm, El Águila 1900, Cruzcampo, Estrella Galicia, San Miguel, and Mahou Cinco Estrellas. Enjoy trying them out!

What is the craft beer scene like in Spain?

Spain’s craft beer scene is thriving, with over 100 microbreweries and about 300 different brands, offering a wide variety of styles and flavors for beer enthusiasts. Cheers to that!

Are there beer festivals in Spain?

Absolutely! Spain hosts beer festivals like the Barcelona Beer Festival and the Great Spanish Beer Festival, which showcase a diverse range of local brews. Cheers!

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