If you have been following my journey, you know that I've set foot in Barcelona over the past few days and had plans to go meet up with the head brewer, Riley, over at Edge Brewing in Barcelona. On Tuesday, I walked a good one hour and 45 minutes from the hostel that I was staying at, barely making my way there with no cell reception or wifi, having to understand more Spanish then I know, speaking to a gas station (which are more rare in Spain then USA it seems like) attendant, eventually stumbling upon this door entrance as you see in the picture above at Edge Brewing Barcelona.
As we rang the doorbell to enter through the front door of the brewery it looked like it was just a small brewery/taproom, but then we walk through the main office and in to the back where it really opened up! It was totally unexpected! We were told to wait while the head brewer, Riley, was retrieved.
Riley shows up and takes us in to the back where they had beer aging in whiskey barrels from USA, a giant beer cooler stored with pub kegs, which in Spain is the main form of distribution of kegs, not stainless steel, bottles of beer, and way too much hops!
They also have some beer aging in wine barrels for sours that they have.
The tap room is in the back near the outdoor patio and the old underground bunker used to store ammo and guns during the Spanish Civil War that will eventually be turned in to a special party section of the brewery.
Once we were given a little tour of the brewery and some beer in our glasses, we step foot in to the production facility where we were amazed with the several, what I thought was 30bbl fermenters, 60bbl fermenters.
Those were some big old alcohol producing stainless steel monsters! I was used to my little 7bbl fermentors when I was working at my old brewery!
There were two men working on bottling some raspberry milk stout when I walked in and gave us 2 bottles of their underfills. That beer was very good by the way! I think It should have been aged out way longer, but for the young stout, it was very good!
After seeing most of the brewery, Riley leads us to the mill/malt room that has an auger leading the crushed grain from the mill to the mash tun.
We finally make our way over to the brew deck where we walk in and it was the beginning of the boil of the Kettled Sour they were brewing.
We also meet the new assistant brewer, Robin, from the UK who was also an awesome dude!
Riley had taught me how to brew a kettled sour! I have never brewed one, or truly knew how to, until now.
He taught me that all you have to do is brew your base recipe malt bill, do the mash, mash out, and bring the wort up to boil for 10-15 minutes to sterilize the wort. At this point, he started recirculating the wort through a heat exchanger to get the wort to 104-115 degrees, where Riley injected Lactobacillus, a souring bacteria, to the kettle with the wort.
At this temp the Lacto will thrive and will sour the wort the most within the 18-24 hour range. pH is a huge factor in the kettled sour, wanting to hit between 3.4-4.0 over the initial 24 hours after pitching the Lacto. Now that the next day has come, you bring the wort up to boil and continuing the brew as usual.
Riley was raised out in Bend, Oregon and his girlfriend bought him a homebrewing kit in college where he then started brewing and never stopped.
After moving to rural Mexico with his girlfriend to help run a sustainable farm, and getting many homebrews in, he moved out to Boulder, Colorado where he worked at Avery Brewing Company.
He was then given the opportunity, through BrewBound, the come out to Ba(tha)lona to help start up a brewery. After that, he came on as head brewer for Edge Brewing in December of 2017, along with a new GM, to help put together a strong foundation for this young brewery.
Riley was telling us how the craft beer scene in Barcelona was definitely there. It isn't like it is out in the USA, where everyone knows everthing about beer and are constantly looking for the next best beer.
The beer drinkers here are down for drinking craft beer but don't go out of their way to find special beers. Estrella, the industrial lager in Spain, is still the primarily consumed beer of choice for most people here but we are still seeing more and more people look to the more craft, unique, beers over their industrial lagers. You can easily find great beers of all styles and alcohol levels here in Barcelona without going too far. The average pint of beer is a "large" that they typically measure in hectoliters or something other than ounces, and will run you anywhere from 5-10 euros.
At the brewery they had about 10 beers on tap, a pale ale, session IPA, IPA, Imp. Stout, Porter, 3 sours, a cider, a belgian quad, and maybe one or two more. We tried a fresh batch of Riley's dry hopped pale ale and it was right on point. Poundable! I also tried their Sangria Sour and Imp. Stout and both were top of the line.
This brewery would be one of the best places for me to come and hang out on a Saturday afternoon and drink some great beer with even better people. Due to some legal issues, Edge isn't able to have the taproom open all the time so they have to have "parties" and "events" there. Make sure to find out what days they're open if you want to come out to Barcelona and try some of their great beers.
I am so glad that Riley and the guys over at Edge Brewing in Barcelona, Spain were my first international brewery experience. I couldn't have been greeted with more hospitality and kindliness then what I experienced over there. I will always be a fan of Riley and this brewery. If you're ever out in Spain, make sure to visit this brewery!
Thank you all for reading my first traveling blog post at a brewery and make sure to subscribe to my email list to stay up to date as to what I'm up to international brewing world.