Yes, Portugal is a wine country. But Portuguese love beer, especially in the summer! A cool beer, a plate of tremoços (lupin or lupini beans that are the yellow legume seeds of Lupinus genus), that is a slice of heaven. And in some places, beer goes well with a plate of boiled snails too.
So, first off, the word for beer in Portuguese is cerveja, coming from the Latin word cerevisia. Modern Portuguese breweries were started in the 19th century.
How to order:
In a restaurant or café ask for a cerveja and you will get a 300 cl draft beer. Beer in the bottle is rare at most eateries, and Portugal like beer on tap. This standard beer size is called an imperial or a fino.
A "caneca" is 500 cl of mug beer.
Meet the beers:
They say that Portugal is a 2 beer country. But that is not true. Yes Sagres and Super Bock are the big two, but here are some of the other beers:
But, the big two first:
- Super Bock is brewed in the North, and is a lager. Brewer Unicer is based in Leça do Balio, just outside of Porto. Super Bock holds about 40% of the market and is found in most restaurants. It is s crisp, very good beer - and great on tap.
- Sagres is brewed near Lisbon by Central de Cervejas. A blonde lager with lot of flavor, it is the #2 beer in Portugal.
In the Azores, do try the local brew, Especial - brewed in Ponta Delgada by Melo Abreu. It is a nice beer, and local!