Craft beers of Vallès Oriental, winners of international awards

A weekend of leisure near Barcelona can now include getting to know the craft beers of Vallès Oriental. As always, this region hides jewels and surprises – this time, they come with awards and are served in glasses.

International awards come to Vallès Oriental.

In April, the Barcelona Beer Challenge was held, an international competition involving around 1,350 beers from 250 breweries around the world.

At this year’s event, Cerveses Sant Jordi and Art Cervesers, two craft brewers from Vallès Oriental, participated, with the satisfaction of having returned home with prizes under their arms.

In the case of the Sant Jordi Brewery, it won the bronze medal for its Carbonera black beer in the category of Irish Stout & Extra Stout Pyrene Craft Beer, and a Premium medal for winning awards in five consecutive years.

As for Arts Cervesers, they won the bronze medal in the category of Clone & Mixed-Style Beer for their Indiana beer.

Given the evidence that things are being done well in terms of beers in Vallès, we wanted to dig deeper into the subject and validate their work with this post dedicated to craft beer in Vallès Oriental.

What do we mean by craft beer?

The world of craft beer has grown exponentially in the last few years and recently, the typical get-together for a few beers has become much more than just an opportunity to socialise.

The craft beer revolution has made its way into our lives and they are no longer seen as a passing trend but as a new culture that has come to stay.

But what exactly is craft beer? And why is it sweeping the world?

Craft beer is a generic term that refers to beers made in small independent breweries that take great care of every step of the production process down to the finest detail.

In addition to eschewing both preservatives and additives, craft beers look for different flavours and nuances that differentiate them from other brands or conventional beers.

And this is precisely where their appeal lies.

Its popularity is due to consumers’ growing interest in authentic flavours and quality products.

Each brand plays with malts, hops and yeasts as well as brewing and cooling times to achieve the aromas and flavours that make them unique.

Every beer is different and the wide range of flavours they offer is what makes them so interesting.

“There’s no such thing as someone who doesn’t like beer, there are just people who haven’t yet found the beer they like”

Brewing aphorism

Who are the producers of craft beers in Vallès Oriental who have won these awards?

Whether it’s the proximity to Barcelona or the entrepreneurial character of its people, when you walk through Vallès Oriental, you often get the feeling that you’re living the last cry in the middle of the fields.

It’s a region with an urbane feel but in a rural setting, and this is its magic.

You won’t find great monuments or elevated peaks, but you will find vibrant initiatives such as those of our breweries. There are no more and no less than 4 breweries, all of which were born out of genuine love for beermaking.

But these aren’t just breweries. These are projects that are closely linked to the territory and have brought back crop varieties, culture, history and customs. But they’ve also brought new ideas to put Vallès Oriental on the international beer map.

Who is behind these projects?

We had the pleasure of talking to Joel, David, Nona and Fermí for this article.

They, together with their teams, are at the head of Cerveses Sant Jordi in Cardedeu; ART Cervesers in Lliçà d’AmuntQuana Beer in l ‘Ametlla del Vallès and Cerveses Barret in Granollers.

They all began in the most organic and informal way. They were driven by the curiosity and restlessness to find another style of beer.

They are all native to or longtime inhabitants of the Vallès Oriental. All of them have chosen the region to launch their projects, creating new economic opportunities. But more than that, it’s an activity that helps to recover our natural and architectural heritage.

The difficulties of transforming grain into Malt

In the fields of the region we have barley, spelt and…we could have the varieties that they need to make their brews.

But the problem comes in the process of transforming the grain into malt.

The brewing process is structured in 5 stages: maceration, cooking, cooling, fermentation and packaging.

Before maceration, the raw grain that’s extracted from the fields must be malted or converted into malt.

The malt is obtained by germinating the grain so that the seed concentrates the maximum level of sugar. After germination, the grain is dried and roasted.

But the issue is that there are no malting machines in Spain other than those owned by the large breweries.

Therefore, the grain that’s used for our beers, must leave Spain to be malted and then brought back, or get sold directly overseas.

Quana Beers

Quana Beers has been going through this process since 2012 when they started producing beer.

They grow the crops on their own farm in the Serra de Quana in Canovelles and have a small shop in Ametlla del Vallès.

After the harvest, they send the cereal to Germany where the master malt maker receives it. He’s the person who makes the different types of malt. Working with him over years, Quana Beers they have created 4 types of malt; that is, 4 different ways of roasting their barley.

“At the moment, 98% of the malt we use is from our own production. Obviously, this makes the preparation process more expensive, but for us, it represents the main value of our beer,” says Nona.

It should be remembered that at the 2021 edition of the Barcelona Beer Challenge, Quana Beers won the Gold medal with its Dubble, Belgian Strong Ale, and the silver medal with its ISR31, in the category of Black Stout.

Arts Cervesers and el new Clúster Cerveser (brewing cluster) from Lliçà d’Amunt

The best thing to do with a problem is to find a solution to it. Arts Cervesers also find themselves in this situation, having moved to the facilities of Can Malé in Lliçà d ‘Alto in 2018, they haven’t stopped thinking about how to get themselves out of this bind.

Their relationship with craft beer began in 2009 when they start making beer at home. If you’d like to know more about their history, you can read about it here.

They don’t grow their own grain but work with farmers in the area to recover old varieties of wheat, such as Galician spelt and varieties of brewing barley from Catalonia.

“These are very large facilities, well planned in terms of logistics, in the middle of the forest and connected to the village.

That gives us a lot of leeway. What we are doing is researching yeast and how we can create a malting plant here.”

What’s the aim of the brewing cluster?

The mission of the cluster is to facilitate collaboration between companies related to the world of craft beer, create synergies and cultivate new initiatives.

At the moment, in Can Malé, we already have companies like Bucaneros, who manufacture cans; Biolupulus, dedicated to the cultivation of hops, another of the key ingredients of beer; and Beer Events, who organise beer events, including the Barcelona Beer Challenge.

The judges of this contest gathered at the facilities of Can Malé a few weeks before the festival to evaluate and give their verdicts.

This means that Can Malé was the recipient of the 1,350 samples of beer coming from all over the world.

“After the summer, we want to launch a space that opens on weekends. We want people to come to Can Malé to make craft beer on draft. We’ll try to have a schedule of activities, workshops and even concerts so that it’s not only a space for brewing but also for leisure. We want people to make it their own,” says David Rius of Arts Cervesers.

One of the challenges facing the Cluster now is the need for a malting machine. As we said, the best thing to do with a problem is to find a solution to it.

They are expensive but necessary facilities to enable us to close the circle in terms of brewing our own beer, and the project is underway, with the aim that before the end of the year it will be a reality.

The beers of Sant Jordi and the architect Raspall.

Now let’s leave Lliçà and go to Cardedeu. There we find Joel, Roger and Raquel, who are at the head of the Sant Jordi brewery.

The beer is brewed in the old warehouse of Cal Peó, designed in the modernist style by Joaquim Raspall Manel, who was the municipal architect of Cardedeu at the beginning of the century and who left a remarkable legacy throughout Vallès Oriental.

The Raspall Route takes in the best of his work in the municipalities of Cardedeu, la Garriga, Granollers, L’Ametlla and Figaró-Montmany.

Originally, Cal Peó was a point of sale for feed for livestock and now it’s home to the Sant Jordi craft beer brewery and a place to socialise and eat.

It consists of an interior space and a beer garden where you can spend good times with friends. In addition, its menu offers locally sourced products such as Castellterçol veal burgers, Can Domènech de Cardedeu bread, and cheeses from Can Bordoi of Sant Antoni de Vilamajor.

Would you like to taste the craft beers of Vallès Oriental?

How do they sound to you?

We hope we have conveyed how happy we are to be surrounded by such a great beer heritage. And how proud we are of the people driving it forward. People who are committed to their work and to the region who want to offer us the best of both worlds.

The beers of Vallès may not be 100% Km0 in body, but we attest that they are in soul, and we are sure that soon they will be in body too.

It is all a matter of getting over the obstacles.

By the way! Next weekend, 7 May, come to Primavirra and if you want more information about other beers that are also made in the Vallès click here

You’ll find us here!

Leave a Comment