Craft Brewing in Mallorca

It’s always been my opinion that your San Miguel is great at your Monts, Mounts, Islands and even own brand Marks and Spencers’ clothing, but in my humble opinion he’s not so good at producing a notable cerveza. Originally not a product of Spain, but of Spanish Colonial Philippines, there are similarities between this, and the other big brand I was expecting to find on the island, Estrella Damm. Both lagers and both created by Germans with San Miguel having nabbed a German master brewer in 1890[1] and Estrella Damm being founded by a German family fleeing the Franco Prussian war in 1876[2]. With the latter listing maize and rice as ingredients, the family were presumably also fleeing the Reinheitsgebot.

The German beer influence didn’t stop there, although admittedly it is now probably more attributable to the influence of German tourists than expats fleeing war. Weisse beers were aplenty in the restaurants with Fransikaner, Paulener and Warsteiner all making appearances throughout our week in the winter sun.

And while we’re on the subject of things not stopping there, the Spanish do like an Estrella when it comes to beer naming as I found out when the waiter at the local Cafeteria Es Passeig in Alcudia recommended Estrella Gallicia as a better alternative to the Damm variety (a quick Internet search revealed that the two are produced by totally different breweries [3]). And, I suppose, all being equal, it probably was. Marginally. As a post 50 mile bike ride tipple, I could have done a lot worse. Which makes it all sound like I was leaning to the under side of whelmedness, but their beers didn’t quite float my boat in general, and I wasn’t totally enamoured with the brewery’s 1906 Reserva Especial either, which I felt was strong through brute force rather than through any finesse of the brewing craft.

Anyway, enough of this talk of weisse beers and pale lagers. I was more interested in the craft beer scene on the island. Which I knew existed because the Internet told me before we went. It also told me that the Beer Lovers Brewery was in Alcudia, just a few hundred metres from where we were staying.  Unfortunately, due to our visit coinciding with the most non-touristy season of the year, the usual Friday evening bar opening was a no go.  Boo! However, one of the owners, Miguel Amoros, did invite us in to have a look around the building that has been in his family for generations, which he and his brother have part converted in to a microbrewery. Yay!

According to Miguel, the most important part of the beer culture in Spain is the social aspect: the quality of the beer isn’t that important.  Their product goes against this ethos and they are trying to get the message out and their position as one of the pioneers of craft brewing on the island which helps them make an living.  Especially in the summer, when the amount of brewing increases as the island comes alive.

As it was, in Alcudia on that Friday, there was nowhere open selling the Beer Lovers beers and circumstances were definitely starting to conspire against us.  We discovered a shop selling all manner of local produce, including bottled versions of the beer: around two hours after it had shut (interestingly, we had walked past this shop the day before, lycra clad and dripping wet after having dropped the bikes off in the pouring rain, even saying ‘ola’ to the proprietor).

The next day, was our last day, but Palma, where we had planned to spend the day anyway, had many, many stockists, so we went on a touristy meander through the city with one eye on the beer goal.  Well, it’s lucky that Palma is worth wandering around anyway, because, beer wise, we failed dismally.  The first bar was shut for a private gig; the second was shut until March (!) and the third, which was not only a bar but a shop selling music on vinyl, shut three minutes before we got there. At this point we had to give up and make our way to the airport.

So whereas, I wasn’t keen on the prospect of a week of San Miguel, I’ll have to take Miguel the brewer’s advice and come to Mallorca when things are a little bit more open if I want to sample a craft beer from Alcudia.

[1] Mahou San Miguel. No Date. [Accessed 27/02/2018] [2] Estrella Damm No Date. [Accessed 27/02/2018] [3] Estrella Galicia (5.5%) and Estrellla Galicia 1906 Reserva Especial (6.5%) are brewed by Hijos de Rivera
[4] Beer Lovers Microbrewery: