The global craft beer revolution has not yet found its way to Mallorca. But things are changing, there are treasures beyond the mainstream thirst quenchers, one just needs to dig a little to find them. Beer Sommelier Malin Norman shows where.
With only ten or so breweries in Mallorca, the market is small and the selection of good local beers limited, but it is there for the curious to discover.
One good spot to start is Beer Palma Festival, a beer festival next to the beautiful cathedral in Palma that runs for ten consecutive days in April/May. Not so much a festival in truth but more of a beer market with 150 different beers from the island and mainland Spain and mouth-watering delicacies in the street food stands. The beer is relatively expensive, however the event itself is free and an excellent opportunity to try the local brews.
Another great beer festival in Palma is the Craft Beer Fair in Playa de Palma which is held in March. Here, all Majorcan and international visitors can try a great selection of Mallorcan craft beer accompanied by a tasty variety of tapas and live music.
Artà Beer Festival is also great for exploring local and international beers, organised by l’Associació Malalts de Birra and hosted for two days in June. Inspired by Barcelona Beer Festival, it has more of what can be expected from a big event with ‘meet the brewer’ sessions, tap takeovers, tutored tastings and a homebrewing competition. With 15 taps serving around 2,000 litres of beer, the festival has been a fantastic success and co-founder and homebrewer Tomeu Coll is looking to further expand over the coming years:
“We are getting ready for the craft beer trend to really hit Mallorca!”
4 Bars to enjoy local Beer in Palma
Unlike many well-known international beer hubs, the island has few New York style taprooms and German beer gardens to offer but something more authentic. In the labyrinth of cobbled stone alleys of Palma, beer lovers can discover gems such as cosy Bar Lórien, which is probably the island’s oldest craft beer bar and a role model for the rest. Atomic Garden is another treasure with a combination of excellent beer & rock music. Tiny back-street venue Cerveseria Guirigall serves nothing but fabulous brews. Another laid-back bar to enjoy the best international and local craft beers is the Cervecería Tramuntana on Calle Caro with 200 beers, delicious tapas and snacks on its menu. These four bars are run by local beer enthusiasts who understood the importance of great beer long before the global trend took hold elsewhere, serving fantastic brews for more than 20 years.
Find fellow Beer Lovers
The few breweries are scattered around the island. For instance, in Alcudia, Beer Lovers Mallorca has brewed beers for more than four years. The owners are among the strongest beer advocates and run training courses in preparation for beer judging exams, organise homebrewer meetings and beer tastings. The brewery is open on Fridays for people to try their line-up in the shaded patio, which even showcases growing hops plants. Owner and brewer Miguel Amorós Crawford hopes for a fast growth of craft beer but admits that many consumers are still conservative and opt for commercial brands; “Most people on the island tend to drink Estrella.”
Located in Sóller is pioneer brewery Sullerica. The brewers use plenty of local ingredients such as orange blossoms, lemon peel and green olives in their beers. A special treat is the award-winning porter Fosca that earned bronze at Barcelona Beer Challenge, and also limited edition session IPA Valenta in aid of breast cancer research is quite wonderful. Nomad brewers Gypsy Brewers use Sullerica’s facilities too and make some interesting beers under brand Boscana, for instance Amarillo Dry Hopped IPA and Evolutiva Smoked Ale.
Cas Cerveser in Puigpunyent stand out in particular for their Cor de Cirera, a smooth cherry barrel-aged sour ale. This sweet and sour delight is matured for one year on red wine wooden barrels from nearby winery Son Puig, and is no doubt the best sour beer made around here. Promising for the future is also the brewers’ plans to start a self-sufficient brew farm in the countryside, moving even closer to nature with their rustic brewery.
Also noteworthy is Forastera in Palma as set up by German brewer Sven Gohdes, who makes lagers as well as English style pale ales, amber ales and IPAs. The BArVARIA Helles Munich Lager is impressive. Forastera is playing on the Spanish word for being an outsider, and in true form the brewer admits, “I like to provoke.” The small brewery has a taproom well worth a visit also for the opportunity to listen to some proper rock music and cuddle up with the brewery dogs.
Despite the few island brewers facing challenges such as lack of brewing ingredients and high import prices, difficulties with temperature control in the hot climate and a small audience, heaps of enthusiasm is spurring them on to produce their own beers. And even though the beer selection is fairly limited, it is characterised by honest craftsmanship and simple but authentic flavours – in fact, much like the local cuisine. So savour these humble treasure hunt findings, because some of the best things in life are simple.
Mallorca’s 10 best Beer Brands
- Beer Lovers
- Craft Beer
- Cas Cerveser
- Cervesa des Pla
- Nova Bierkönig