Drinking Beer in ANTEQUERA
Antequera, like Spain, was not historically renowned for beer drinking, compared to countries such as Germany, Belgium, or Denmark.
It was known more for it’s wine production.
Yet beer here is now both widely drunk, and produced.
It is the fourth biggest beer producing, and exporting, country in Europe.
Spanish breweries now offer a multiplicity of beers, and are more than capable of facing the competition from the North.
The four main breweries are: Damm, Heineken Espana, Hijos de Rivera, Mahou-San Miguel. These breweries are extending their range of beers on an ongoing basis.
The first storage jars of hop brewed beer arrived in the Mediterranean harbours of the Roman Empire in 133 B.C. This southern peninsula was known as Hispania.
The German tribes, who subsequently overran the country in succeeding centuries, were great consumers of beer.
When the Arabs (Moors) crossed the straights of Gibraltar in 711, and conquered almost the entire peninsula, beer consumption was banished.
In the 16th century, Emperor Charles V came to Spain. He was born in Flanders, and his favourite drink was beer.
He installed a beer making factory next to the Manzanares river, known for the quality of it’s water. Valladolid was the capital then (not Madrid) and he resided there.
The factory produced beer from 1537 onwards.
Thanks to royal concessions several breweries later established themselves in Madrid and Santander.
Initially, beer did not particularly take off in the country. Wine was the drink of choise, and cheaper.
It was not until the late 19th century that beer found favour with the Spanish taste buds. Sufficiently so to pave the way for new, large factories to open.
Mahou opened in 1890. Aguila in 1900. Cruz del Campo (now Cruzcampo) in 1904. Damm in 1910.
Beer consumption continued, and in the 1960’s it became the preferred summer drink to wine.
It was less alcoholic than wine. Also, by then, it was cheaper. In fact, in Antequera today, you will find a small glass of beer in a bar, cheaper than a bottled soft drink!
These days, there are a vast array of beers available from established Spanish breweries, and famous European brands made here under licence.
The range of beer types is also greatly expanded.
Lagers and pilsner style beers are the most widely consumed. They are served from the tap, or by the bottle. (Cans are available from supermarkets).
But dark beers, special light beers, zero alcohol, wheat beers, Irish stout, pils brewed to the German legal specifications, are here in Spain.
Terminology for Requesting a Beer in Bars
Cerveza – beer. Una cerveza – a beer. Una cerveza por favor – a beer please. Cerveza is pronounced: ‘servetha’.
Caña – a small glass, less than half a pint.
A caña is a great way to enjoy beer as it doesn’t have time to get warm. It is a common way of enjoying beer from the tap in Antequera. A caña and a tapa, at the bar, is often a preliminary to sitting down for a meal.
Caña is pronounced: ‘kanya’
In Antequera, several of the older bars offer a caña and tapa for 1.50 euros.
Tubo – a narrow tall glass. A tubo of beer from the tap will cost slightly more than a caña.
Vaso ancho – wide glass. This is larger than the tubo, and thus costs a fraction more.
Jarra – a pint sized glass mug, or literally: jar. These are often served from the fridge, which gives an attractive chilled look for the beer. If you are sitting on a sunny terrace, don’t let the beer sit too long in the jarra!
You may see offers advertised, particularly in Calle Alameda, for a jarra and surtido (small plate of meats) for 2.50 – 3 euros.
Botella – bottle. Una botella – a bottle. It is pronounced: ‘boteya’.
Media – medium. In Antequera this refers, by itself, to a standard bottle of beer, of 33cl. Una media por favor. They rarely say media botella.
Pequeña – small. Again, here in Antequera, the word itself is usually enough to denote a 25cl bottle of beer. It is pronounced: ‘pekenya’.
These short cuts may not work in some areas outside of the Antequera comarca (region). In this case put the word cerveza after the bottle type.
How to get to the Beers in ANTEQUERA
Supermarkets offer wide ranges of beers. You will have no shortage of choice.
Bars will have their contracted house beer brand available on tap, and in bottles.
They usually have other brands in bottles only.
In Antequera, Cruzcampo is the dominant brand. You will find it on tap, and bottled, frequently.
San Miguel, Estrella Damm, Aguila Amstel, Mahou, Alhambra, are others to try.
Slightly more expensive, and a fraction stronger, are San Miguel 1516, Alhambra Pilsner, Aguila Reserva, Mahou Clasica.