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BEER

You’ll never guess which beer was just crowned Spain’s best

A new ranking of Spain's best beers has revealed that own brand beers triumph over the more famous names in the industry.

You'll never guess which beer was just crowned Spain's best
Beer is one of Spain's favourite drinks. Photo: OCU.org

A nice cold beer with some tapas is the cornerstone of Spanish socializing and now a new ranking of the country’s beers has been released to help you choose your tipple more wisely this summer.

And the winner might come as a surprise.

While famous Spanish export San Miguel sits near the bottom of the ranking, the own-brand larger from Spanish supermarket Hipercor takes the crown as Spain’s best.

Generally, the own-brand beers from Spain’s supermarkets did better on taste and quality than the brand names, the OCU revealed.

In the ranking of classic beers, the own-brand offering from supermarket Hipercor takes first place (above), followed by Mahou Clasica, the Madrid-based beer.


IkerMerodio/Flickr 

When it comes to more quality beers, Ambar takes the crown. The beer has been brewed in the city of Zaragoza since 1900.


Photo: Alfonso Legldo/Flickr 

In second place is Estrella Galicia, from Spain’s northwestern region, which is owned and produced at the Hijos de Rivera Brewery in A Coruña. The company was founded in 1906 and is family-run to this day.

The study, released by Spain’s Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) analyzed 31 beer brands and ranked them according to several categories including taste, price and composition.

Experts analyzed the composition of the beers, from the amount of malt used to the taste of the beer and the results were not exactly glowing… Only a third of beers sold in Spain passed the experts’ taste test.

Spain is one of the biggest beer-drinking nations in the world and estimates vary wildly on quite how much of the golden stuff Spaniards consume – anything from 46 to 86 litres per person annually.  

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FOOD & DRINK

Six Barcelona bars serving delicious free tapas

The Local's Esme Fox, a long-term Barcelona resident, shares some of her favourite city bars that serve free tapas when you buy a drink.

Six Barcelona bars serving delicious free tapas

Spain is of course celebrated for its tapas, small plates of food, designed for sharing and consisting of favourites such as patatas bravas (fried potatoes topped with spicy sauce), pimientos de padrón (fried green peppers) and croquetas (croquettes of different varieties such as ham or mushrooms). 

One theory is that tapas were invented in order to cover your wine or beer glass, so that flies and other bugs wouldn’t fly in. The barman would give customers a piece of bread topped with jamón (ham) or queso (cheese) in order to act as a lid or in Spanish ‘tapa’, hence the name tapas.

Although most cities in Spain no longer serve free tapas when you buy a drink, there are still some cities where you are guaranteed a free snack. This is still true in the southern cities of Granada, Almería and Jaén, in León and Segovia, as well as a few others dotted around the country.

Despite this, you can still find the odd bar serving the old-fashioned free tapa in some of Spain’s largest and most expensive cities, including Madrid and Barcelona.

So, next time you’re in the Catalan capital, save some money by visiting one of these bars, where you’ll still get served a free tapa along with your drink.  

READ ALSO: Top ten Madrid bars serving free tapas, one for each barrio

Keep in mind, you won’t be served a free drink if you just order a coffee and sometimes not with a soft drink either, it’s usually when you buy a glass of beer or wine.

Ca’l Chusco

This small traditional bar in the old fisherman’s neighbourhood of Barceloneta offers one free tapa every time you order a drink. It’s usually something small and simple, but if you’re still hungry then you can always order one of their delicious paellas or plates or seafood too. 

Raspall
This cute and contemporary little tapas joint, situated on the edge of Gracia, is so popular that it often gets very crowded, so get here early if you want a spot at the bar. It costs around €2-4 for a drink and a small tapas dish, which you can choose from a large selection. There’s everything from croquetas and hummus to small sausages.

Pappa e Citti

It’s not just authentic Spanish bars offering free tapas in Barcleona, at traditional Sardinian restaurant Pappa e Citti in the barrio of Gracia, they offer it too. Be aware that free tapas with your drink is only served between 6-9pm. Small tapas offerings may have an Italian twist or maybe something simple like a piece of bread topped with cream cheese and caramelised onions.

La Xula Taperia

In the heart of the Gracia neighbourhood, this modern and stylish bar offers the closest thing to a Granadino-style free plate of tapas. Rather than just a small piece of bread topped with an ingredient, their free offerings include meatballs, anchovies or even ensaladilla rusa (Russian potato salad).

Casa Arana

Located in the heart of the Sant Andreu neighbourhood, not far from the metro stop of the same name, Casa Arana is a small local barrio bar. As well as the regular drinks on offer, they make their own beer in either tostada (toasted) or rubia (pale) varieties, which is served in a tall glass and looks like an ice cream sundae. The free tapa served with your drink is typically a piece of baguette topped with a simple ingredient such as jamón, chistorra (cured sausage) or cheese.

Cassette Bar

This tapas and cocktail bar located in the heart of Raval has a decidedly 80s themed vibe and name to match. They have been serving free tapas for the past 14 years – something typical like piece of bread and tomato topped with a slice of tortilla (Spanish omelette).

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