With its sun-soaked al-fresco lifestyle, settling down with a cold beer at one of Lisbon’s buzzing pavement cafés is a popular pastime. Where the lager market was formerly dictated by a local duopoly—the mild Super Bock and the bitter Sagres – a clutch of small but ambitious artisan ales are now muscling in. Lisbon’s craft beer industry is in full bloom, and those with a penchant for micro-brewed pints will enjoy sampling a generous menu of fresh contributions. Here are Portugal’s most promising craft beers and where to enjoy them in Lisbon.
Lisbon’s much-loved independent, family-owned brewery, Dois Corvos ferments an eclectic mix of award-winning ales. Take a pew among other IPA enthusiasts in the vivid graffitied environs of its Tap Room, beyond which is the brewery itself. The menu is stacked with the usual pale ale suspects alongside an experimental selection of specials which can be quaffed straight up or sampled in sip-sized servings from a dainty tasting tray.
Blazing a trail as Lisbon’s first craft beer producer, LX Brewery has a punchy range of rye IPAs that has garnered this bijou brewer a dedicated following in the Portuguese capital. Veer off piste with a garaffas of the Crazy Batch—an experimental fruity combination of seasonal, local ingredients with a long-lasting, refreshing finish.
The creatives at Musa very obviously enjoy their job, with witty labels such as Twist & Stout, Mick Lager and Born in the IPA successfully building a brand that gels tightly with its hipster devotees. Chuckles aside, this is very good beer. The brewery doubles as a bar, which adds to the home-grown ambience of this buzzing Lisbon beer cellar.
Pure and simple are Dos Santos’s selling points – here is a brewery whose beer speaks for itself. Its starring trio comprises a comprehensive crisp pilsner, a bold and bolshie amber ale and an easy-drinking lager. For serious fans of the family-run enterprise, its brewery and taproom are located in the Algarve, but all of Lisbon’s hip drinking dens serve Dos Santos in bottles and on tap.
Portugal’s first producer of artisan ales, Sovina has been developing its broad palette of lovingly brewed beers, stouts and IPAs since it launched in Porto in 2011. Listed on every menu in Lisbon’s discerning craft beer shops, Sovina’s full-bodied Helles consistently receives acclaim as one of the best in the business.
No guide to Lisbon’s craft beers would be complete without a nod to Portugal’s lengthy love affair with the liquid gold at its beer museum, Museu da Cerveja. It offers a comprehensive history from the old Sagres and Super Bock days, right up to the current rainbow of options. The bar is arguably the highlight, though, with a generous selection of local ales served al fresco alongside some very good beer snacks.
Included in our list for its staggering array of craft beers, Lisbon-based Cerveteca Lisboa is a well-stocked ale shop representing more than 40 micro-breweries on its shelves. Some of Portugal’s’ main players rub shoulders with independent ales from the States, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Scotland among others, with a select few available on tap.
A family break to sunny Lisbon. Make it an Easter to remember.