Craft beer in Barcelona: Barna Brew

Think global, drink local, is more than ever a possibility in Barcelona. With new and innovative beer bars and brewpubs now being spread around the city. One of them is Barna Brew, a lovely microbrewery in the Sant Antoni neighbourhood, fully dedicated to quality craft beers. We had a talk to get to know more about them, and their idea of Barcelona’s craft beer scene.

Hi Alex! When and how did Barna Brew start? Who’s running it?

Our project was born in Brussels in 2013. Having spent years discovering and marvelling at Belgian beer, we decided to find out more about beer making through a course in BrewSpot, and made contacts with interesting players on the local scene like Brussels Beer Project, Moeder Lambic, and Brasserie de la Senne. On a day-to-day basis I (Alex) am running it, with support from my friend and business partner Dimi from Brussels.

Why did you choose this city? And what do you offer?

Having been a frequent visitor to Barcelona, I had been dreaming on moving here with my Barcelonian girlfriend. Having observed the local beer scene from afar, I decided there was an opportunity for Belgian-style beers and that a brewpub was the best way to start! We offer award-winning Belgian-style beers with a local twist, served up with creative tapas based on ingredients used in our beers.

How do you focus on sustainability?

We make our beer on site at C. Parlament 45, in Sant Antoni and serve it directly to our clients in the bar. Where possible, we use local ingredients: filtered local water, honey, bay leaves, and in the case of our latest beer the Saison Jordi, wine must and roses. We hope as the local industry develops to be able to use local hops without compromising on flavour, and are using Belgian malts to achieve our Belgian style. The local malting industry is tied in with industrial brands and has a limited variety of malts, which are inaccessible to craft breweries.

How is the craft beer scene evolving in Barcelona?

The craft beer scene has exploded in recent years in Barcelona. Thanks to pioneers such as Montseny and Art Cervesers, a local industry was developed years before it became something trendy. Now we have seen a proliferation of outside knowledge coming to Barcelona, as well as an extensive offer of brewpubs and specialised craft beer bars. One can see that the quality is improving and hopefully more people are being converted to craft beer.

What are some of your major challenges?

There are many challenges ahead: consolidating our brewpub, bottling our beer to be able to reach more potential clients, and being able to work with local hops and malt to become even more sustainable.

How do you think Barcelona is doing as to sustainability?

I think Barcelona is doing a decent job! I think the city has done many positive things in improving sustainability and raising consciousness amongst the local population. Obviously as always there are areas to improve, but if I compare the situation to other cities I know well like London and Brussels, it is doing much better. I think the interest of people in making their city sustainable will keep things on the right tracks.

Do you feel that people are more into artisan craft beers?

For sure! And I am very happy that we are contributing to this where our location and style of beers are accessible to many people who would normally not drink craft beer. I am particularly proud of moments when people ask us for a “normal” beer (expecting an industrial lager) and the “wow” reaction they have to our beers 🙂 There is still a lot of growth to be made in the beer market at large, as well as the world of gastronomy where wine has a strong history and presence.

What are some of your favourite places in Barcelona?

I love the neighbourhood we are based in, Sant Antoni, which has a strong sense of identity and is becoming an important place for gastronomy. With the market re-opened at the end of the May, I am hoping it can return to being the hub for neighbourhood life as well as the magnificent architectural construction that it is. I also love going out to Poble Sec and smelling the pine trees on Montjuic!

What are some of the craft beer venues not to be missed in Barcelona?

There are so many! Anyone who happens to be in our neighbourhood, I recommend a trip to Brewpub Le Sec. If you are a Belgian beer lover like me, I recommend our neighbours Lambicus. For an unbeatable international selection and great food, I recommend Biercab. For a great selection of local beers I suggest Coco Vail, and for a special dinner with beer-pairing then Racó d’En Cesc is well worth a visit!

Thanks a lot for sharing your story and for your innovative work!!

Picture credits: Ben Holbrook

For more info about Barna Brew, check our review.

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Good Goal is an independent guide to craft beer bars and other sustainable places in Barcelona and various other European cities. We visit every place ourselves and only list the most innovative ones. Our guide is made so that everyone can easily find the sustainable options, those that benefit local people, sustainable innovators and that show you the real and local side of the city. To keep yourself updated, please like our Facebookpage