The warm and sunny climate, the sea view esplanades, and the relaxed atmosphere, makes Portugal a perfect place to enjoy a cold beer. In mainland, the question is always the same: Sagres or Super Bock? In the Azores, the answer is simple: drink Especial!
The discussion will never finish. Some prefer Sagres’ sweetness, the others Superbock’s acidity. The argument goes around North and South, strong and light, but in the end, they all agree in something: they love a cold beer! And, yes the micro trend is at full boom in Portugal, but this is your baseline guide.
New to Portugal? Relocated, or just a visitor: This is how it works. Cold beer pairs with every Portuguese snack: snails, ‘tremoços’ (salty lupini beans), seafood, ‘pica-pau’ (strips of pork meat with pickles and Portuguese parsley cooked in beer) or the typical pigs ears. You can also mix beer with 7up – called ‘Panache’ – with Coca-Cola – ‘Diesel’ - or with gooseberry – ‘Tango’.
The Portuguese love for beer was recognized one year ago with the opening of the new Beer Museum, in Terreiro do Paço, in Lisbon. It serves drinks and snacks, and has a historic background related to the brewing industry and beer consumption in Portugal. You can learn about the brewing cycle and from the raw materials to the final product (including tastings).
It is a real journey through the world of beer of Portuguese speaking countries, according to the historical context of the origins of today's leading brewers and brands of the countries – Sagres and Superbock, from Portugal, Cuca and Brahma, from Brasil, or Laurentina, from Mozambique, among many others. And, of course, Coral from Madeira. TheEmpresa de Cervejas da Madeirahas brewed Coral Lager since 1969.
The Museum Center looks at the history of beer in Portugal, from the earliest documented references to the beginning of the industrial production. This area of the Beer Museum looks at the first texts of Roman authors on the habits of the Lusitanian brewers, as well as the slow evolution of beer in Portugal in the Middle Ages and the Modern Age.
It travels through the history of domestic producers (nineteenth century to the present day) that made the Portuguese beer what it is today. In the last stage of the visit, the public is invited to enjoy a true monastic winery, The Cellar Monastic, recreating the real environment of the production of beer in ancestry
In northern Portugal, the town of Caminha, hosts the first international artisanal beers Festival from July 11 to 14. The ArtBeerFest is all about enjoying the culture of beer and showing the best brewers and craft beers in Portugal and Spain.
Some of the Portuguese craft beers that will be present are Cerveja Artesanal do Minho, from Braga, Sovina, from Porto, and Rolls Beer, from Pombal. You may also find Menduiña (Galicia, Spain), Yria (Castilla La Mancha, Spain) and WhitePony Microbirrificio (Piove di Sacco, Italy).
There are also many dishes and sweet treats made from it. In Belém, a famous Lisbon area most know for the ‘Pastéis de Belém’, there is a less know sweet pastry made with beer - called ‘Pastéis de Cerveja’ (beer pastries) which has the slogan: "If you can't drink it, eat it."
When we leave mainland and travel to the Azores, the weather and the esplanades with amazing sights to the volcanic islands continue to ask for a cold beer. And like the saying: ‘in the Azores, be Azoren’ and ask for an Especial – the traditional beer from the islands.
Brewing beer since 1892, in Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel Island, the first spots selling Especial were the “Tabacaria Phenix” and the Funchal’s Ship – that during a lot of years was the only connection between the islands and mainland.
Especial, a Pilsener type beer, white, moderately aromatic, it’s also called of “Saint beer”, because the factory is in the back of the Convento de Esperança church. You can also find Especial Preta, a black non-alcoholic beer, made from malt extract, cornstarch, hops and caramel. Its unique flavor makes it perfect to use while cooking your favorite dishes. These combinations of ingredients give it a strong, rich and characteristic flavor.
But if you’re still thirsty after two or three Especials (and you need to drive home!), try the Azorean sodas: Laranjada - an orange soda - or Kima – a slight carbonate passion fruit concentrate that sweetens the mouth of kids and adults.
And after a fresh and light Especial beer, the result is always this: happiness!