Here's our guide to the top 7 beers we serve and recommend at our cycling retreat in Ontinyent. We've done all of the hard work, research and testing to find the best selection of beers you'll find anywhere in the Denia, Calpe, Alicante and Valencia region.
1) La Socarrada
Our favourite craft beer in Spain is made locally in the historic town of Xativa. It is one of the few places to offer brewery tours, albeit by appointment on Saturday morning's only. Our recommendation is to enjoy a glass from the cafe next to the stunning Xativa castle which sits above the town and is a must see tourist attraction if you're in the Valencia and Alicante region. We've been known to finish rides there and guests regularly visit on rest or recovery days.
The beer itself is made with honey and rosemary, can be bought in 750ml and 330l bottles and is often served in the best local restaurants as a wine alternative. It's won lots of awards and more recently production has expanded, meaning it can occasionally be purchased in local supermarkets. It's never on the shelf for long though! Our guests love it.
This brewer occasionally makes a wonderful Orange Saison, which would have placed at number one on the list, if not for the near impossibility of finding it in stock anywhere!
2) Er Boqueron
A wonderful high quality and unique beer made with 10% filtered sea water. It's popularity has grown immensely recently and it's now more broadly available across the Valencia community. It's a wonderfully smooth and thirst quenching drink, which again makes a fantastic accompaniment to food. This is another firm favourite with guests. The cool bottle looks so enticing too!
3) Gram Quirat
Made by one of Ontinyent's up and coming breweries, this artesanal toasted brown ale is light in colour and taste and makes for a crisp and refreshing, subtly superior alternative to the special lagers widely served in region e.g. Mahou, Turia, Estrella Galicia and Mahou.
4) La Rabosa
Another wonderful and high quality speciality beer from the Valencia region, brewed just outside of Gandia, not far from the wonderful climb of La Drova which takes you to the village of Barx and the surrounding mountains. It's made with rice, navelina oranges and wine must. Again, it's also made in larger bottles, intended as an alternative to wine with food.
A more established but small craft brewer based in Alcoy with a range of beers, largely known only in Alcoy, Ontinyent and the surrounding areas. Our favourite is the porter, a notable exception to the norm and somewhat of an unknown of tipple in Spain. Indeed many of the regional craft brewers tend to favour a range of neutral pale ale's or sours, which either aren't that interesting or not to our tastes.
6) Antonita la Moderna
Made by brothers, both chef's, that between them own the Michellin starred restaurant Sents and its sister restuarent, La Cuina, both to be found in Ontinynet. This was born out of their brilliant fine dining third restaurant, the tiny and exclusive Borinot Bistro (also Ontinyent), which makes some of the best rice dishes in the entire region. Again, it's often served with food, but it is less of a speciality drink than some of the other beers on this list and as such it has rapidly found popularity with drinkers and bars throughout the local region.
7) 53 Covettes Tostada
A simple tostada made in Bocairent, one of Spains most beautiful villages, by entrepeneurial owners that also produce great quality vermouths and wines. All are sold out of their eponysmously titled shop, in the heart of Bocairent, which is perhaps the best place to buy locally made wines, beers and produce, all at fantastic prices that normally match the bodegas themselves.
Not really a craft beer, but one that seems to be rarely available outside of the Community Valencia (which includes Castellon, Valenca, Alicante, Denia and Calpe etc). It's served in many bars and is availbale on draft, in bottles and in the supermarket. It's a crisp, clear and resfreshing tostada or 'toasted' lager that locals seem happy to order on any occasion. We serve it as second 'house' beer in combination with AK Damm.
A honourable mention goes to this 'Alsace' style beer from Barcelona. Yes, it's more expensive than 'chain' beers, but it's a step up in quality from the likes of Mahou, Amstel, San Miguel and Estrella Galicia etc