Spain is determined not be left behind in the world’s current craft beer revolution, and the capital city’s central location makes it a prime spot to sample brews from all over the country. Although impeccable wines still rule the alcohol world here and Spaniards hold their big beer businesses near and dear to their hearts (think Mahou, Estrella, Cruzcampo etc), in the blink of an eye Madrid has quickly become one of Europe’s latest destinations for craft beer. Although you won’t see IPAs on tap at your corner bar, once you know where to find them, there are plenty of beer bars to satisfy your craft kick -- and that’s where we at HopPlotter have come to help!
Check out the list below and be sure to “star” the places on your Google Maps account to save for later when you come visit this energetic city. Learn how here
It is only fitting that this recently-opened beer bar would be located in Madrid’s eclectic and quickly transforming Lavapies neighborhood. This spacious beer bar with a brightly colored interior and some Mikkeller-inspired graphics is a great spot to get your craft beer fix. Named after the author Charles Bukowski’s alcoholic alter ego, Chinaski boasts 18 taps that are constantly rotating. Here you will find at least several impressive Spanish beers and you can also take yourself on a European beer tour - think beers from Belgium, Denmark, Germany; you get the idea. It’s a loud, often-times rambunctious space and great for a night out.
With their name getting right to the point (the beer store), here you will find primarily a bottle shop with an impressive selection of Spanish and European bottled beers (some American brews make the list as well), as well as several tables in the back of the store for in-shop consumption. Stop by the store to check out their variety and stay for a while so that you can enjoy one of the 5 or 6 beers they keep on rotating taps. Situated in Madrid’s La Latina neighborhood, La Tienda de la Cerveza is an ideal early evening spot as the store closes fairly early for Spanish standards. The atmosphere is very relaxed and casual and it’s great place to chat with friends or the store owners who all speak English. They are visibly passionate and enthusiastic about beer and are more than happy to make recommendations according to your palate preferences.
Fun Fact: Last year the Michigan craft brewery Founders joined with Spain-based mega-brewery Mahou San Miguel (making Founders no longer a microbrewery). Luckily for Spaniards, this means that Founders beer is popping up on more and more shelves across Spain.
This craft beer bar in the heart of Madrid’s trendy Malasaña neighborhood has a sleek, minimalist and modern interior and a name of whose pronunciation no one can seem to agree on. They have over ten rotating beers on tap with many from Spain and the UK. The staff are all friendly and will happily allow a taste of any of the beers before committing. The atmosphere is upbeat and casual and can get crowded at times. A great spot for dinner and a drink because the food menu is tasty as well!
Pro-Tip: How to order a beer in your average Spanish bar:
If you come from an artisan beer hub city, you know how silly you sound if you order “a beer please”; even at your average bar or restaurant, they always carry more than one brand. In Madrid and other cities in Spain, things get even more complicated, and you will want to order “una cerveza” not just by the brand, but by the size of the glass you want. You have your classic caña size: this is a small glass of about 8 oz. If you’re a little thirstier, you may order a doble, roughly 12 oz, or a pinta, 16-20 oz. If you are looking for a glass bottled beer you should ask for a bottelín if you want a small 7 oz bottle or a tercio if a 12 oz. beer is more your style. Oddly enough, if you ever see a “mini” beer on a menu, this will be the biggest beer you will see in Spain: about 32 oz!
You won’t likely stumble upon this beer bar when searching for pints, as it is hidden within Mercado San Fernando in the Lavapies neighborhood. The market itself is a fantastic place to sample Spanish food and drink while surrounded by families and local residents from around the neighborhood-you could easily run into the man who served you last night, currently out for a caña with his friends. It’s not unusual to step over children running about while navigating your way through the stalls. Head for the very center of the market where you will find La Buena Pinta (the good pint). The name may also be a play on words as having “a good pint” means something along the lines of “looking nice”. The craft beer stall has a small store of bottles and a around six or so beers on tap. Some of the most affordable pints of craft beer in Madrid can be found here, and certainly some of the best people-watching opportunities.
If you haven’t considered pairing fine cheeses with craft beer, you are missing out! Some argue that the cheese and beer match is far better suited than your classic wine and cheese matrimony (did you know you should never drink red wine with creamy cheese?
Fogg bar takes this concept to heart and offeres fine cheese platters and a solid selection of craft beers on tap. The staff is friendly and if you’re lucky you may also be served a free hotdog tapa to accompany your cheese and beer. I know you are looking for those tasty tapa hotspots.
Curious and looking to read more on cheese and beer pairings? Check out this recent article
for why and how you should pair your beer with cheese:
Honorable Mentions: El Pedal
& Irreale What are your favorite craft beer spots in Madrid and beyond? Let us know in the comments below!