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Craft Beer in Mallorca

Traveling Connoisseur (Issue 22)

 

The brewery produces both bottled and keg beers, and its beer is on tap in a few bars in Palma. It makes five different beers: the original three, Blat, a Belgian-style wheat beer and the brewery’s best-seller (“It wouldn’t be a beer I would have done as a homebrewer, but this is a business, you’ve got to brew the beer people will buy, not the one you like,” Miquel says); Broll, a Pale Ale (“sales are growing, and if in one or two years we sell more of the pale ale it will be mission accomplished!”), and Bram, an amber ale, “difficult to sell in Mallorca, people see dark beers, they’re a bit taken aback,” plus, now, a porter, made just twice a year with English malt from Crisp of East Anglia, a fine, deep ruby-brown drink with chocolate and coffee in the depths, and Llop, Catalan for “wolf,” an IPA that Miquel confesses began as an accident after they over-hopped a batch of the amber ale. Miquel and his team decided to dry-hop the beer as well before releasing it, and it found enough of an audience for them to have brewed more batches since.

“For me it’s the best one we’ve got,” he says. Most of the malt, except for the porter, comes from Weyermann in Germany via the Spanish mainland: “there’s plenty of barley in Spain, but the maltsters are owned by the big companies, so you can’t buy it even if you wanted to,” Miquel says. All the bottles carry a full list of the malt and hop varieties found in the beer.

The first stage, Miquel says, was to make sure they were happy with the standard of the beers they were making. The next stage, which they are working on now, is “to be easy to find. People come here, they try the beers, they like it, and they ask, ‘where can be get hold of our beer,’ and that’s the difficult question. The most difficult part is distribution.”


The Mallorcan palate skews towards lighter styles, although amber ales and porters are catching on. 


As news about Beer Lovers spreads, Miquel is also finding holidaying brewers from Denmark, Germany and other countries – and beer writers like me – arrive on the brewery doorstep. The brewery is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays, when Miquel and his team showcase the suitability of their beers to be matched with food. They certainly match extremely well: right after my visit to the brewery I had a lunch of gambas (prawns) in a garlicky, buttery sauce with a bottle of Broll in a restaurant 100 or so yards away that was a marvellous combination.

Mallorca is still short of good craft beer bars, but one not to be missed if you’re in Palma is the island's oldest, Lórien, a small, dark, hidden-away place, now 25 years old, and run by the friendly and knowledgeable Pep Joan: the beers on draft when I was there included examples from Italy, mainland Spain (from Pamplona, an excellent sour wheat beer, though definitely not the “hefeweizen” it claimed to be) and Ireland. It also sells excellent llonguets, the Mallorcan version of a sandwich. Two others in Palma are Guirigall, in Carrer d'En Brossa, close to Lórien, quieter and a locals' favourite, and Atomic Garden in Carrer de Borguny, whose recent beers include brews from Mikkeller, To Øl, Rogue Ales and Edge Brewing from Barcelona. Outside Palma, La Birreria in Carrer del Temple, Pollença, flies the flag for craft beer in the far north of the island.


(Photos courtesy of Martyn Cornell)

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