Portuguese have always loved their beer, but truth is we didn’t have much to choose from. In a country where the noble drink is wine, beer always came second. However, a few years ago small breweries started to pop up from north to south and the whole beer scene changed radically...
Slowly but surely
When craft beer first appeared in the country most people were a bit unsure. The two beer-making giants were well established pretty much everywhere and people were used to the familiar taste of a cold fino or an imperial - draft beer in the north and in the south.
The pioneers of craft beer in the country were three friends based in Porto, who joined efforts to push the Portuguese beer scenery further from their own garage. After a couple of years perfecting the concept and adjusting the recipes, the first bottles were sold in 2012 and were a hit! Later many followed their example and slowly the craft beer scene gathered a legion of fans...
Hop on the beer train
All you need is water, malt, grains and hops. Seems complex, but theory aside it's a game of intuition and patience. By adding different ingredients and ageing the beer in wooden barrels, innovation and creativity also play a role to come up with the final flavours, which challenge even the most experience palates.
Nowadays there are almost a hundred craft beer companies across the country, each making their own thing, in an independent but cooperative way. The more established brands develop workshops, gatherings, events and some even have their breweries open to the public.
Cool Brew Pubs to grab a cold one after work
Braga, Porto and Lisboa are the most well-established beer brewing locations, with big names such as Letra, Sovina, Nortada, Musa, Oitava Colina and Dois Corvos. With the growing demand some felt it was time to expand and create spaces where savouring a beer and chilling was a thing. Beer gardens, open breweries and great beer gardens started appearing and attracting even the most sceptic.
Events in Portugal where Craft Beer is the star
To celebrate this recent work of art, there are some events and festivals where both aficionados and rookies can taste and try many different craft beers. They always generate an interesting mix between foreigners and locals, delicious beers are paired with local treats and the overall atmosphere is great. For the most adventurous ones there's even the possibility of doing a road trip from Caminha to Faro to tick them all off!