We’re very busy finishing Tings Lisbon. One of the things we are working on, are beers for the hotel lounge – we only want the best 😉
Travelers that stay in a hotel like ours, love beer. In our research for the best beers for our lounge in Tings Lisbon we found a story about the Portuguese craft beer market. The story is so stupid that we feel we have to comment on it.
Blaming the totalitarian dictator ship for Portugal’s two-brew-only past is pure nonsense. Until the end of the 80s the beer market in Denmark was dominated by Carlsberg and Tuborg. And we have never been a dictatorship. Same with Holland where Heineken have been market leader, the US that was dominated by Budweiser and Miller, Australia and other beer markets.
The craft beer explosion around the world is part of a movement that includes a lot of other product such as chocolate, coffee, tea, olive oil, salt etc. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics.
The big break through comes when the domestic consumers can afford to pay for the expensive crafted beers. And are willing to do so, which they only will, if they feel they get a quality experience that equals the experience they get from the same amount of money spend a good glass of wine.
So far it seems that it will take some time here in Portugal – an import of crafted beers will help a lot. Then the consumers can compare.
On the hop: Lisbon’s exploding craft beer scene
Portugal’s tyrannical two-brew past: Although its beer history isn’t as famous or marketed quite as well as that of some of its European neighbours, Portugal-produced beer predates the country itself, going all the way back to pre-Roman Lusitania.
But foreign influence was heavily muted during the Estado Novo, the totalitarian dictatorship that ran the small Iberian nation from 1933 to 1974. Two rebel-rousing domestic brands, Sagres and Super Bock, flowed freely from the taps with little competition. Coincidence that Lisbon-speak for a draught beer is imperial? Not likely.
Read Kevin Raub’s feature in Lonely Planet
It’s a mystery that this story finds its way to leading travel community like Lonely Planet
But the craft beer scene in Lisbon is growing. And we follow it closely. In the 3 years we have been in Lisbon (this time) the Craft Beer scene has exploded with small breweries popping up every where, and new special beers from the two majors Sagres and Unicer.
We have 2 producers a few minutes from Tings Lisbon: 8e Colina (or the 8th hill – referring to the hills of Lisbon), and the more secret one Provisório
We are both beer lovers and we both have a beer history. Thomas craft-beer-past dates back to the mid 70s. And we both have a commercial beer background from the Danish and International Brewery industry (Tuborg Denmark & Carlsberg International. So our beer knowledge is above average.
For obvious reasons we will sell Super Bock at Tings. But it would be nice to have one or two other types beers as well. And in the perfect world a couple of craft beers as well. A stout and an IPA is high on our list. Being in a wine country, our beer expectations are ‘moderate’ – but we are optimistic. A few of Unicer’s 1927 in magnum bottles are ok.
Last time we counted there were around 80 ‘new’ local crafted beer brands in Portugal. We have tasted most of them.
Next time you drink a beer have a look at the foam
Our problem is that so far we haven’t found a beer where the quality lives up to our standard. It’s not that we don’t find beers we like – we do. But most of the time quality is too inconsistent. Almost all of them have problems with the foam. The Cerveteca in Lisbon is definitely worth a visit – so is the new Beer Festival that opened in september 2016.
So far the Stout from 8a Colina is the one we are interested in – we will visit the brewery very soon and have a chat with them.
We are optimistic and are looking forward to open our lounge. With or with out interesting beers from the start. We love the Super Bock and love the Portuguese wines – and to most of our guests the latter is an important part of visiting Lisbon.
The Portuguese word for a small draught: Imperial comes from the British Empire where the standard glass of beer – the Imperial Pint – is the same as 20 imperial fluid ounces or 568 ml.