The ever so popular city of Barcelona has a strong culinary culture and these days, craft beer is part of that trend too. With more than 80 beer bars and plenty of yummy food pairings, drinking beer here is turning into a gastronomic experience.

The craft beer movement has put Barcelona on the map of international beer destinations, with top-notch breweries and award-winning beers. But in contrast to the “eating is cheating” approach in the UK (downing pints after work without the slightest thought of dinner), going out for beers in Barcelona means enjoying good food as well.

One of the established craft breweries is Edge Brewing, named best new brewery in the world in 2015. Robin Barden, beer ambassador at the brewery, elaborates on the city’s development as a beer hub. In addition to a tradition of home brewing and input from foreign brewers, Barden explains that “the affinity for flavour, ingredients and cooking – the importance of having taste in culinary terms – is also a factor.”

Tease your taste buds

But where to start the gastronomic explorations? Not to miss is BeerCab, considered a beer nerd paradise and continuously placed in the top world ranking by RateBeer. It offers some 30 beers on tap plus a massive selection of bottled beers, including its own bottle shop next doors, and delicious tapas. Some people even say that this bar started the craft beer movement in town.

Also claimed to be one of the city’s first brewpubs, BlackLab strives to create the most interesting varieties of beer and food. Founded by an American brewer and a Chinese-Spanish restaurateur, BlackLab brews beer that pair well with the fusion menu of Asian flavour and American influences.

Another brewpub where artisan beer and gastronomy come together is NaparBCN. This is the brainchild of a Michelin-star chef and a brewer, who source produce from local markets for a flexibly menu that is easily pairable with the vast selection of beers. Many drop by just to check out the cool steampunk décor.

Moving from grand to small, La Més Petita means “the littlest one” but the cosy beer hideout has some really tasty local beers on tap and food to match. And last but not least, Ale & Hop is not only a temple for craft beer worshipers. In addition to great beers, it serves healthy vegetarian dishes with ingredients from its own garden.

Celebrate beer, food & music

For a chance to celebrate the mix of beer, food and music, make sure to check out these festivals:

• Barcelona Beer Festival has a massive bar area with around 450 beers on offer and there are plenty of food stands with a focus on local produce and beer matching recommendations, plus events focused on cooking and pairing.

• La Fira del Poblenou is an open-air beer festival in July, showcasing the best local and international craft breweries. There are more than 200 beers available plus a range of tastings, presentations, live music and activities, and trucks serving the best street food in town.

• Mash Beer Fest is an international gathering of the world’s top craft brewers. Gastronomy plays a special role with food from top eateries around the city and some dishes are created especially for the festival.

Writer: Malin Norman
Photo: BlackLab