Author: Malin Norman
Beer has been brewed at home throughout brewing history. With small batches and no commercial pressure, homebrewers brew what they want to drink themselves and have the freedom to experiment with ingredients. An unexpected place to meet innovative homebrewers is the sunny island of Mallorca in Spain.
In addition to touristy bars with mainstream lager, there are in fact a number of local breweries and beer festivals around and many beer lovers gather at craft beer bar Lorien in the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca. This bar has been around for almost 30 years and knew craft beer long before the craft beer revolution kicked off.
This is also where two of the island’s keen homebrewers hang out, Ricky and Sebastià. Recently they decided to do a one-off collaboration beer, and on a blazingly hot day I met them in a house in the countryside to brew a Red IPA.
The brewing itself was pretty straight forward. The guys were testing a new kit but everything from milling to mashing, boiling and cooling before fermenting ran smoothly. What came as a surprise was the gorgeous beers we tried in between. A while back, Sebastià brewed a gose with pineapple, roasted coconut and mint, which won 2nd prize at Arta Beer Festival earlier in summer.
This nothing but outstanding barrel-aged beer is delicious and perfectly refreshing for a hot summer day, and could easily be sold in a beer bar anywhere in the world. He used the same base gose for two more batches, one with apricots and another one with cherries, which also proved to be amazing beers.
Perhaps it was the setting, a picturesque house in the countryside and a huge garden with lemons, apricots, plums and cherries and herbs such as rosemary and mint that blew me away. But watching them brew, listening to their stories about own experiments and favourite breweries and beers around the world, whilst trying fabulous beers, brought a sense of happiness.
As well as the passion for beer and the strong community, what is impressive about homebrewers is how they experiment with ingredients and technique to achieve something new, something interesting, something… better. Homebrewing may be part of the history of beer, but crafty homebrewers are also the future.
So how did the Red IPA turn out in the end? When the already mentioned beer bar Lorien recently celebrated its 29th anniversary, the guys brought their collab beer for everyone to try. It certainly matched the brief; a kind of hoppy amber or a malty IPA, hazy with a nice deep colour. Not as spectacular as the gose, but real tasty and not bad for their first collab.
Hopefully, there will be many more delicious experiments to try from these homebrewers in Mallorca.