Following on from the inclusion in our store of the craft beer “La Loca Juana” on the last week, we have decided to tell you some things about the craft beer, its history, its origin and many other stuff that you probably don’t know about this refreshing drink.
People has been making craft beer for centuries, we could say milleniums. However in Spain, the quality beers made in a non industrial way are a very recent phenom, which is experiencing a boom time and is conquering little by little an important gap in our gastronomy. Nowadays there are already more than 130 micro-breweries producing in Spain. Besides a trendy drink, it has become into a whole culture and many people are encouraged to make it at home or setting a micro-brewery to elaborate a limited and quality production. Currently, many villages in France, Belgium and Germany have their own craft beer modality, Currently, many villages in France, Belgium and Germany have their own craft beer modality, a hallmark that some entrepreneurs want to bring to Spain.
The craft beer is totally different to the regular one, because everything is handmade: milling, soaking, boiling and fermentation are totally artisan processes. Just the bottling process is normally done mechanically.
A bit of history
The origin of beer dates back to the Neolithic, when appearance of the agriculture allowed men to produce more cereal than they need for their feeding and they could dedicate a part of that cereal to the production of such a magical food.
Unfortunately, in the areas of the wine culture, the criticism has always excluded the beer of any gastronomic consideration, lessening its role to a simple refreshing alcoholic drink, even when its clear that many dishes, such as all which are seasoned with vinaigrette or those which have bitter or acid ingredientes, combine better with beer than wine. Unfortunately, in the areas of the wine culture, the criticism has always excluded the beer of any gastronomic consideration, lessening its role to a simple refreshing alcoholic drink, even when its clear that many dishes, such as all which are seasoned with vinaigrette or those which have bitter or acid ingredientes, combine better with beer than wine. To each culinary speciality, correspond a type of beer and, fortunately they are appearing in Spain many restaurants that know it and apply it.
The craft beer presents a variety of aromas, flavours and hints which makes the beer an excellent drink to combine with all types of food.
- The softer, fresher and lighter match with a wide variety of elements (salads, vegetables, spicy and smoky appetizers, cheese, fry-up, cold cuts…)
- The sweet-natured beers can be combined with all kind of desserts, cheese and lightly salted dishes.
- The most bitter ones pair perfectly with red meat, blue fish, smoked food, chocolate and some spicy and/or salted preparations.
- The intense-natured beers combine very well with very intense-flavoured products like hotpots, creamy or strong cheeses, artichokes…
- Lastly, we can be paired with desserts, ice-creams, fruit, chocolate, or even with blue cheeses…
Styles of beers
Pilsner, Pale Ale, Porter, Saison, Stout, Red Ale… are almost unknown terms for many people. They correspond to different types of beer whose characteristics are many times determined by the used ingredients, the preservation difficulties, the “savoir faire” of each beer master, the weather conditions of some regions, the technological processes, or by contrast, the rooting to an ancient territorial tradition.
Cooking with beer
Looking on internet we can find a lot of succulents recipes based on beer. This fact shows that the gastronomic value of the beer is not limited to be a beverage that pairs very well with many dishes of the Spanish cuisine, but also it is valuable ingredient to make haute cuisine dishes which will please the most exigent gourmets.
Some curiosities and secrets about craft beer
- Some cuneiform texts are known with more than 4000 years old which contains input records of spelt, barley and malt for breweries. It is also known that beer was already a very popular drink during the first egyptian dynasty (3315 – 3100 b.c.).
- The oldest beers in Europe were documented in the cave of Can Sadurní de Beges, in the region of Barcelona. There, they have managed to identify a craft workshop for beer elaboration from the Ancient Neolithic, i.e., older than 5000 years.
- It is not difficult to elaborate a good craft beer in our own home without much hassle. There are two practical and simple methods. The first one, with malt extracts, will take us just one hour of elaborations, one week of fermentation and 3-5 weeks of maturation within the bottle. The second way called “all grain” is the traditional one and it takes around 6 or 8 hours to elaborate a homemade batch. This process is more complex but more natural.
An eco-friendly sector
This sector has become one of “the most green”, since the sugar residues produced by the exhausted malt is used as sheep feed, whilst the hop is used in some countries for mushrooms growing since the proteins that it releases make it a good fertilizer.
Now that you know something else about craft beer, you are probably feeling like taking a quality one. Fortunately we have what you are looking for: “La Loca Juana – Loca Rubia” (Pale lager beer), and “La Loca Juana – Hermosa Pelirroja” (red beer). And of course, they have the merits that proves their quality and exceptional nature:
- It is the only worldwide beer that boils and ferments on the inside of a castle. (Iscar, Valladolid)
- It is included in the beer menu of prestigious chefs and restaurants such as Arzak, Martín Berasategui and “El Ermitaño”