When we think of the Costa del Sol in Spain, the first images that come to mind is the sun and beach, tapas, a glass of red wine (tinto), tapas and olives. However, no matter where you wander in Malaga when the temperatures begin to rise you will undoubtedly see countless people on every sidewalk or beachwalk bar enjoying a caña (small beer) and tapa. Who can deny the enjoyment an ice cold beer with a salty snack gives you when taking in the sights and sun?
The well known local Malaga breweries fought it out for years amongst themselves. Even malagueños all can name their own favorite Spanish ‘macro’ brewery such as Victoria, San Miguel, Cruzcampo, Alhambra, etc. They endorse sports arenas and bars just as all breweries have done worldwide for decades. But there is something growing just under the surface here in Malaga that has already taken root and is opening the door to another world of beer that has previously been virtually unknown in Spain until now: craft breweries. As a matter of full disclosure, I am also a craft brewer and a member of the ACCE (Asociacion de Cerveceros Caseros Españolas) which roughly translates to the Spanish Home Brewers Association.
Craft beer (cerveza artesanal) may be new to Spain but it has been growing rapidly worldwide for the past 25+ years. It has been a tough sell since life in Spain has always been synonymous with a 1€ glass of beer which includes a small tapa. Many are still skeptical to buy artesanal beer that can easily double or triple the price or a “regular” one. Without a doubt that once you try craft beer, there is always an excitement to learn that there is more in the world of beer than fizzy golden lager.
Malaga has seen a rapid increase in start up breweries and it seems the big brewers are taking notice. In other places in the world, they were caught off guard by the skyrocketing popularity of craft beer and as a result they had lost a substantial market share. Now that the new beer scene is just budding, macro breweries are trying to get ahead of the curve by declaring some specialty releases to be ‘artesanal’ because a special beer is a departure from their standard lager recipe and also doing media interviews declaring their brewers as craft brewers.
This has not dissuaded local craftsmen from following their dream and brewing on a micro scale to sell their delicious offerings. Look for breweries such as Malaqa, Bonivant, Tres Monos, Trinidad, Carma just to name a few. You can find many Spanish and Europe wide craft beers at several artesanal bars throughout the city. If you want to do a walking tour to try some of the Spanish craft beers, we have created a map to begin your beer tour by leading you to the top 7 places to grab that pint! (Click the map below to see a larger image or here for a printable PDF)