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Craft beer leaves its black year behind with the InnBrew fair in L’Hospitalet

If another tap has been closed with the pandemic, it has been that of craft beer . While domestic refrigerators were filled with cans and bottles of high-consumption industrial brands to replace the nostalgia for closed or cut-out bars, artisan producers were dying because their consumption is closely linked to their distribution in bars and restaurants.

To the advice of the bartender to discover a new brand or proposal. So the year 2020 ended with the suspension of the successful Barcelona Beer Festival and also with the closure of 11 national projects.

But this Thursday the golden concoction has returned to run between the walls of the Farga de L’Hospitatet, where the organizers have opted for a version focused on professionals, with the name of InnBrew .

That beer delight with 500 shooters for all audiences is parked for the moment, although a private visitor (prior reservation and entrance payment) can go to document and learn from a sector that includes mini-production for own consumption to exporting companies.

Sitting before a glass of a bubbly red liquid, Mikel Rius , one of the organizers of the fair, affirms that the can it comes from (Berries from Barbaria) exemplifies the unstoppable innovation that the sector breathes in Catalonia.

In the ‘berliner’ style, made by Maresme Brewery and La pirata, despite its appearance, it is a full-fledged beer (barley base and fermented yeast) to which raspberries have been added, with an acid point, to refresh, as described consume in summer in points of Germany, says the expert.

On the creative level of the 107 operating breweries in Catalonia (which produce more than 12,000 liters per year) testify to the 979 different beers produced in 2020, a sad year with a 30% drop in production but that did not detract from ideas and flavors.

The Innbrew 2021, which the mayor of the municipality, Nuria Marín, has visited, cannot be crowded in times of the fifth wave of covid (in 2019 it was filled to the brim with Barcelonians eager for tastings, while 1,500 professionals interacted).

Now it’s time to recover the illusion of the indoor sector. A total of 35 stands exhibit products, ingredients and machinery , concentrating manufacturers, distributors and associations in La Farga, at the same time that debates and talks are held (also with chefs, such as Ada Parellada) and piecework networking is practiced . All seasoned by shooters who testify to the local reputation.

For Judith Cartex, “brewer first of all”, commercial director of the Montseny brand and vice president of Gecan (Gremi d’El·laboradors de Cervesa Artesana i Natural), it is a unique opportunity to put the evolution of a sector born a decade ago on track in the midst of the economic crisis and which has managed to generate 45 million euros per year.

“Almost all are micro-enterprises and their potential as a cultural circuit must be sewn, as wine tourism has already done,” he defends, as he later raised in a debate. Tasting areasTogether with the production centers, concerts and activities with a tour structure, they would give more wings to the cult of artisans, which in 2019 reached five million liters in Catalonia, with an export of 17%, while specialized bars proliferated in Barcelona.

In L’Hospitalet, until Saturday there is a lot of talk about beer and he realizes that the IPA (Indian pale ale) continues to set the pace. But also that blonde toasts tend to look towards territory and sustainability.

Albert Vilardell is one of the eight farmers that make up Biolupus, making pineapple to produce indigenous local hops instead of buying it long-distance, and making it organic. Whoever buys them enters the “circular economy and fights against climate change”, he sums up. And above it convinces by tasting.

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