Spanish beer may be lesser known in the international beer scene, but it provides delicious insight into the country’s history and traditions. It’s a wonderful way to experience Spain through your taste buds.
If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve reviewed a variety of the best Spanish beer to get you started.
From craft brews to well-known classics you’ll see at every bar, check out this list of the best beers from Spain. We’ll start with classics and move into the craft beers that may take longer to find in the US.
- Mahou Cinco Estrellas
- San Miguel 1516
- Estrella Galicia 1906
- Ambar Especial
- La Virgin
- Alhambra Reserva 1925
- Rosita Negra
- Turia Marzen
- Mortiz Epidor
- La Pirata Tremenda
- Montseny Mala Vida
- SOMA Easy IPA
Mahou Cinco Estrellas Lager is a classic Spanish beer. It’s been brewed since the 19th century out of Madrid, and you can find it in just about every single bar or store in Spain. It’s one of the most popular lager beers in the world and can be found in most US bottle shops.
The Mahou Lager is a pilsner-style lager brewed with yeast, water, soda water, and malted hop. This light brew is hoppy and zesty and will pair great with Spanish foods on a warm evening. If you’re in Madrid, not trying one is a crime.
- Style: Pilsner-style lager
- ABV: 5.5%
Another popular beer in Spain is the San Miguel 1516. While San Miguel is one of the most common Spanish brands with a wide range of beers, the 1516 is their most classic. It’s a golden pilsner lager that you’ll find in most bars and bottle shops.
You can even opt for the non-alcoholic option if that is your preference. All of their beers have a good reputation, so it’s worth trying any of them. In the US, you’ll have the most luck finding the 1516. It’s a well-made pale lager that finishes with light bitterness.
- Style: Pilsner lager
- ABV: 4.5%
If you’re looking for a more full-bodied beer, then consider the Estrella Galicia 1906. It’s brewed by the Hijos de Rivera Brewery in Galicia and is another popular Spanish lager. But, rather than the typical pale style, it is a neutral amber style.
You may prefer the more full-bodied and bitter flavors of the medium roasted malt. The toasty, malty flavor is more complex but still refreshing and light. The Estrella 1906 can be found in almost any location, as well.
- Style: Amber Lager
- ABV: 6.5%
Brewed in Zaragoza, the Amber Especial is a Vienna-style lager abundant across many Spanish bars. It’s an easy-drinking beer with a slightly darker color due to a medium roasted malt process. It’s a sweeter beer with less bitterness to it.
People will drink Amber Especial in both warm and cold months. At room temperature, there is a creaminess that comes out of its malt profile. Yet, on a hot day, it will be beautifully refreshing with tastes of caramel, toffee, and stone fruit.
You’ll be able to find the Amber Especial in almost any bottle shop or liquor store in the world.
- Style: Vienna-style lager
- ABV: 4.7%
On a classic hot Spanish day, a cold La Virgen will do just the trick for you. It’s a golden pilsner that has a surprising bitterness to it. There is a light hop profile that may remind drinkers of the flavors of Corona.
It comes in both cans and bottles and can be found in larger bottle shops in the US due to its popularity. The brewery itself is in Madrid and offers a wide range of more intense beers as well, such as IPAs.
- Style: Golden pilsner
- ABV: 5.2%
If you’ve spent any time in Europe, you’ll have seen the Alhambra Reserva 1925. It’s a popular and strong European pale lager brewed since 1925. It’s undoubtedly a local favorite all across Europe, but it might be harder to find the US. Check larger or specialty stores.
The complexities of the sweet malt, bitter floral hops, and hints of caramel make it one of the most sought-after beers.
- Style: Euro-strong lager
- ABV: 6.4%
The Rosita Negra is an American porter-style beer that is a great introduction to the craft beer scene of Spain. While the country is best known for lager beer, you can’t discount the experimental breweries trying something new.
Rosita Negra has a strong aroma of chocolate and nuttiness when you first open it. The pour will be a beautiful dark brown color with a light brown head. The taste leads with fruity, banana, apple, and molasses tones but ends with a balanced, toasted malty flavor.
It may be harder to find this beer in the US, although it’s commonly distributed all across Spain. You’ll need to contact specialty bottle shops around your area to see if they would carry it. It’s well worth the trouble to find as it’s a beautiful, sweet treat at the end of the night.
- Style: American-style porter
- ABV: 5.5%
The Turia Marzen beer is one of the most popular and best representations of the famous Valencia beer industry. It’s a light beer that brings a fuller body and stronger aroma than many of the beers it shares the shelf with.
The pour will show its rich amber and red color. It will have extra foam and carbonation, as it’s a Marzen-style beer. It’s quite aromatic for a lager and carries a moderate bitterness from the roasted malt.
You’ll have no problem finding the beer anywhere in Valencia, but it can be seen around all of Spain and the US as well.
- Style: Marzen
- ABV: 5.4%
The Moritz Epidor is a spin on the classic Spanish lager. They brew it using mineral water as the base and then add hops that have more floral-forward flavors. It’s a craft-style take on the Spanish classic with a strong ABV of 7.2%.
It may be harder to find in the US, as it’s a Spanish craft. The price will also demonstrate this, as it may sit around three times the price of classic Spanish beers. Its unique flavor and high-quality ingredients create a worthwhile beer to splurge on.
- Style: Lager
- ABV: 7.2%
Seville-based brewery Libre produces a wide range of craft beers growing in popularity and distribution across Spain and the US. Although it’s a smaller brand, it’s gaining a reputation quickly and can be found in many bars. There is a high demand for it, so grab one if you see it!
The beer is an American pale wheat beer. It has citrus, ginger, peppery, and malty flavors but finishes with a light bitter taste. There is a moderate hop profile. It’s a refreshing and smooth choice.
They also offer a gluten-free version for those who avoid gluten, called the Libre Trigo.
- Style: American Pale Wheat Beer
- ABV: 4.7%
The La Pirata Tremenda beer is a perfect example of an interesting and experimental beer coming out of Spain recently. As a leader in the emerging craft beer scene, La Pirata has made a name for itself by going against the typical Spanish beer style.
Rather than the light beers that Spain is best known for, they make both India Pale Ales and darker beers. The Tremenda Double Imperial IPA stands out as one of their most famous brews.
Its pour will show a dark amber color. It’s quite malty for an IPA but gives a pleasant and light fruity finish. It’s well-balanced with Summit, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. The malt-forward approach matches with these earthy hops well to cover any bitterness.
It’s one of the most delicious beers that Spain has to offer.
- Style: Imperial IPA
- ABV: 8.0%
Although Spain is known for its lighter beers, don’t rule out the craft beer scene’s ability to make an incredible imperial stout. Emerging from the Spanish craft beer scene is Companyia Cervesera del Montseny, which is brewing darker beers like the Mala Vida.
This beer is brewed with six malts, three hops, and mountain water from “El Montseny.” When poured, it has very little head and appears extremely dark. It’s strongly chocolatey on the front with a hint of chili at the end. It has a mild creaminess to it.
Mala Vida translates to bad life, which is meant to be a joke on a life while drinking alcohol. If you’re a fan of barrel-aged, you can keep your eye out for the less common varieties of Mala Vida as well.
Be aware that the 11% ABV is a bit different than your standard Spanish beer and will catch up too quickly if you drink more than one. It’s a great nightcap.
- Style: Imperial stout
- ABV: 11%
The current top-rated microbrewery in Spain, according to UnTappd, is SOMA, a craft brewery based out of Girona. They specialize in hop-forward beers that will be difficult to get your hands on unless you go to a bottle shop that specializes in craft beer.
If you find them in-store or in Girona, be sure to try the Easy IPA. It’s a Hazy New England-style IPA. With a mellow, malty base and a heaping of Citra, Mosaic, Azacca & Azacca Cryo hops, the bitterness from the hops is well-balanced to make it a surprisingly easy drinker.
- Style: New England IPA – Hazy
- ABV: 5%
Popular Spanish beers tend to be light and easy to drink in warm weather. Many Spanish beer brands have long brewing histories that people have supported for centuries. An emerging craft beer scene is challenging that and providing more options.
If you’re looking for a safe and standard beer you can get at any bar, try out the ones in this list that appeal to the flavors you like. If you’re hoping to get more experimental, look into some of the cool new small breweries popping up all around the country.
Enjoy your exploration of Spanish beers; we hope you find one that you enjoy on a hot day in Spain.