Martyn Cornell's picture

Craft Beer in Mallorca

Traveling Connoisseur (Issue 22)

One of the big benefits of the global craft beer boom is that it is now possible to go on holiday almost anywhere in the world and find good, locally brewed craft beer on sale. There are, for example, around 300 craft breweries in Spain now – and that includes the Mediterranean holiday haven of Mallorca, largest of the Balearic islands, 125 miles to the east of the Spanish mainland, which welcomes 10 million tourists a year.

Mallorca is currently home to seven craft breweries, all of which have started in the past three or four years. Few Mallorcan bars, alas, stock anything but big-name lagers and, in the built-up tourist belt around the coast, other macrobrews such as Guinness. But the small guys have made a surprisingly successful push into the island's supermarkets, so that even the beer shelves of stores serving big tourist centres such as Cala D'Or in the southeast will have bottles from four or five small Mallorcan breweries.

At the same time the better Mallorcan restaurants have recognised that if you are going to promote Mallorcan cuisine and Mallorcan produce, it makes sense to sell artisanal Mallorcan beers alongside Mallorcan wines for your patrons to drink, so that good craft beers can be found in the sort of high-class restaurant that would not necessarily stock such brews in other parts of the world.

Life is a little different on Mallorca from, say, Italy, where Italian craft brewers are making much-admired pilsner-style brews: no Mallorcan brewer makes a lager, simply because they could not compete with the Spanish giants, Estrella Damm and Mahou San Miguel, on price. But all seem to make a wheat beer (“blat” in Catalan), which is evidently seen as the entry-level craft beer for locals, and there are pale ales, IPAs, and speciality beers too.



Touristy areas of Mallorca rarely stock local brews – to find them, one must travel inland.


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