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Barcelona Craft Beer is One to Watch

Barcelona is best known for tapas, wine, pick pocketers and art but the Barcelona craft beer scene is growing fast and it’s not hard to see why!

The city offers more than most as it’s not only a vibrant hub with an iconic past but also a creative future. What makes it unique is its surroundings, greenery and the sea. This, along with the climate gives the food and drink real authenticity as natural ingredients are readily available and seasonal. Those vineyards are gifted with its resources, the reason their wine tastes so good. They have started to use this to make exciting beers which are largely influenced by America but you can taste the Mediterranean twist.

Black Lab BarcelonaIn the last few years breweries have been appearing in Barcelona. Black Lab, the first tap room in the city is situated right by the sea, the perfect location for the freshest ingredients. It is a real gem for beer lovers, whether local or tourist. At Black Lab you’ll find a range of beers and beer infused cocktails, they brew and experiment onsite but they also collaborate with breweries from around the world. Barcelona is full of great food but if you’re enjoying the beer too much then eat in!

NaparBCN Barcelona Craft BeerBlack Lab is perfect for capturing tourists but if you’re looking for something a bit more ‘Barcelona’ then head to Eixample. You’ll be in beer heaven as local bars have embraced the craft beer trend whilst the area also has BrewDog and Mikkeller bars. NaparBCN is something special. It’s a classy place, not a dirty tap and their beers are just as good as the marbled interior. Initially, NaparBCN was going to be a restaurant, celebrating the city’s best ingredients, as the Barcelona craft beer scene developed the guys behind the food saw that they might as well make the beer if they are making the food.

Edge BrewingAway from the centre there’s Edge Brewing. Founded by two Americans, Edge have capitalised on the new craft trend, using their experience and local ingredients to produce wow-factor beer.

Other cool places offering the best in Barcelona craft beer include Olgod in Raval and the wonderfully named Bollocks Bar in the Gothic Quarter.

As cities go, Barcelona is relatively cheap, like most, craft beers can get pricey but you will be pleasantly surprised when the bill comes. You don’t really need an excuse to visit but if you do, make it a tasting trip. There’s more to Barcelona beer than Estrella.

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Craft Beer in the UK is reaching out to a new audience

Is there a bitter taste is the mouth for craft beer in the UK or is it just evolving?

The craft beer in the UK market is seeing a new shift, a shift even further away from your grandads bitter than ever before. This is due to accessibility and the adaptation of mainstream, taking it from sub-culture to urban culture. The perception of beer is changing, IPAs are gradually winning over lager drinkers, there has never been so much choice. It wasn’t long ago that you’d struggle to find an IPA, it’s hard to avoid Brewdog these days.

Brewdog pinkThe Scottish brewers recently hit the headlines with two campaigns, the ‘Pink’ launch (reaching out to women) and their 1 million giveaway, a ploy to target the Carling crowd. They hope that a free pint of Punk will turn them into paying customers. It isn’t just on paper where Brewdog have been dominating, you’ll find them in the unlikeliest of places, the bars and clubs that wouldn’t have entertained anything other than your standard lager just a few months are now stocking Punk. Music festivals were once a lager filled weekend, Carling used to sponsor Reading and Leeds, these days they are offering craft alternatives. This could be because they can charge more money or that tastes are changing?

Many will argue about Brewdog’s presence in craft beer. They are bit like Man City, they do the job flawlessly but they’ve done it with investment, lots of it. They still claim that they continue with the craft mentality, they continue to take chances, grow. They have been able to break into the mainstream which can only be a great thing for the whole industry. The more people who taste Punk are the next ones who will buy Jaipur, Gamma Ray or High Wire, once hooked there’s no turning back.

There’s a new hierarchy forming, it was noticeable at Sheffield Beer Week. Is it just about investment and marketing or is it quality and innovation? We’ve got the elite brewers (Brewdog, Beavertown, Goose Island), the local heroes (every city has them), the old schoolers, the breakthrough home brewers and the underdogs who are a bit left wing.

Bitter about bitter, or lack of? Real ale was, up until recently what your granddad drank, that murky, still, warm liquid in a pint class. It wasn’t sexy like your pint of Bud. Bitter is the reason beer gets a bad reputation. The pale ales have been changing that perception, the fruity aromas are much more palatable on the tastebuds making it much easier to convert lager drinkers, it makes brewing a better business model.

The UK craft beer scene might be growing but with all the focus on developing and twisting the IPA, the bitter has been forgotten about by many new breweries. The old men who spend their afternoons in the pub are finding it hard to jump on the craft beer bandwagon. They don’t care about the artwork, if it’s suitable for Vegans or made with ingredients sourced locally, they just want the bitter taste that they have always loved and change from £3. They don’t care for Man City’s slick techniques, forward thinking attitudes and big money innovations, they are happy with Burnley’s solid reputation, it might not be exciting but it works.

Is brewing becoming more about spreadsheets and sales figures or is there true love in that 330ml can that costs £8? They’ll always be businesses in any industry but it’s those who work with passion who will succeed in the long-term. What makes craft beer in the UK great in 2018 is that there’s a taste and budget for everybody.

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Guide to Sheffield Beer Week 2018

Sheffield Beer WeekIt’s almost our favourite week of the year, we’ve been putting our plans together to make sure there’s no logistical mishaps. Not gonna lie, we’ve had to flip coins to decide what to do because there’s so much good stuff going on. Yep, Sheffield Beer Week, we are ready for you.

Sheffield Beer Week launchIt all kicks off on Saturday at the Abbeydalee Picture House on Abbeydale Road with the Indie Beer Feast, celebrating the cities greatest things, independent businesses, food and beer.

They’ll be drinking from then on, through to the next weekend. It might sound like one big piss up and to a degree it is but it’s also about sampling the best of beer in 2018. Whether you want to call it craft beer or real ale, just grab a glass and enjoy the breweries showcasing their work in pubs throughout the city.

Hardywood CraftThe beer resurgence here in the UK owes a lot to the States and the Hop Hideout on Abbeydale Road is showcasing beers from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from midday. If you are heading to the Indie Beer Feast get down early and nip across the road for a taster, or just go down anyway, The Broadfield is next door! The Indie Beer Feast is a ticketed event and they’ve got some of the best local and UK breweries and street food chefs to kick your tastebuds into gear for the rest of Sheffield Beer Week.

Wellington Sheffield Beer WeekWe don’t have time for hangovers especially on day two when award winner beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones is hosting a tasting evening for the best of Norwich beers at The Wellington in Shalesmoor. Prepare to be schooled.

Monday’s are the worst, not in Beer Week they aren’t. It’s meet the brewer time at Brewdog with Steel City Brewing’s Dave who will be talking about his craft and a taste of their Sheffield Brewery Week special, Rogue One, a 10% imperial stout with a hint of chocolate, vanilla and citrus.

If the 10% stout hasn’t written us off we’ll be heading to the train station, not to escape but for the Sheffield Tap to see how The Tapped Brew Co make their beers before joining the Sheffield Pub Heritage Walk which starts at Fagans at 5:30.

Sheffield Beer Week Beavertown TakeoverThere’s no hump day during Sheffield Beer Week as Wednesday sets us up for another busy one, starting off with another meet the brewer event at Brewdog at 6pm, this time its Lost Industry who will be bringing their exclusive imperial white stout, Off Me Coconut along then at 7:30pm it’s time to head to Hallamshire House for meet the brewer with London’s finest, Beavertown!

Thursday we’ll be starting off with a battle of the sours with locals Abbeydale Brewery against Manchester faves Charlton Brewery at The Devonshire Cat before heading to The Bath Hotel for another brewery from the other side of the Pennines, Marble Brewery who’ll be taking part in a meet the brewer.

Brew York Sheffield Beer WeekBrew York are frequent on the Ale Club bar and we’re looking forward to their meet the brewer event at Riverside on Friday before heading to The Bar Stewards for a Northern Monk takeover.

Saturday will be another Kelham orientated day with the Cloudwater and Howling Hops takeover at Shakespeares, Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end but theres a silver lining at the Sheffield Beer Week closing party which coincides with launch of the Neepsend Brewery tap room opening!

Gladiators, ready?