In Madrid, it is normal to order a beer by asking for a “caña”, a glass of draught beer usually smaller than a half pint. You take what you are given – there is rarely a choice. It costs little more than a Euro and is taken ice cold, often as an aperitif with tapas. A handful of new craft beer bars in the Spanish capital are now challenging that status quo and the perception that beer is little more than a cooler, by offering a tasty range of local and international ales from microbreweries, in bottles and by draft.
Bars such as Irreale, Animal, La Tape and Fabrica Maravillas, which brews beers on site, have recently sprung up within walking distance of each other in one district of Madrid. Draught ales on tap with a blackboard listing the current selections, menus of bottled beers and brews covering everything from stout through to lager can all be consumed, often with quality food offerings as well. These are smart, modern premises, with a relatively young clientele who seem to be prepared to spend money despite the on-going recession.
The craft beer movement barely scratches the surface on a national level, but in time it could challenge the idea that the world’s largest wine producer has more to offer than Mahou or San Miguel when it come to ale.