Rioja heads Spain’s real ale revolution

A micro-brewery in Rioja is aiming to use the region’s wine heritage to kickstart a Spanish craft beer movement.

Based in Logroño, Mateo & Bernabé currently produces two styles. Mateo, a wheat beer, is named after St Matthew, whose feast day on 21 September traditionally marks the beginning of the grape harvest. Bernabé, a golden ale, is named after St Barnabas, whose feast day on 11 June marks the end of the siege of Logroño by the French in 1521.

Taking inspiration from Rioja’s strong wine tradition, Mateo & Bernabé is experimenting with the maturation of its beers in old Viura, Tempranillo and Garnacha barrels. The hops and wheat are sourced from England and Germany, while the team is also exploring the results from different types of yeast.

Packaged in 50cl bottles with an ex-cellars price of around €2.75, the beers are designed to be shared over food and are currently only distributed within Spain. While production capacity is currently capped at 55,000 litres, there is room to expand the facility as demand increases.

One Response to “Rioja heads Spain’s real ale revolution”

  1. Interesting to read this. The microbrewery revolution was kick-started in the USA and is growing in the UK with an increasing number of younger consumers here drinking craft and real ale. Also there’s growing interest in other European traditionally “lager” countries, most notably Italy. I look forward to my next visit to Spain !

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