Portugal has officially entered festival season! P-A-R-T-Y, because we gotta! The Porto International Craft Beer Festival kicked it off for us. Craft beer in Portugal is just starting to take off , which is a bonus for veteran beer geeks like ourselves. As much as wine is usually my first drink of choice, it is great to have a good beer occasionally. And when I say a good beer, I don’t mean some fruit flavored concoction the likes of which are so popular in the states.
The Porto beer fest is the biggest artisanal beer festival in Europe, with 47 breweries and 368 beers to try and, they do it right here. It runs over four days and there are lots of food trucks to choose from for having a nosh to pair with the beers. You pay 4 Euros for a glass and purchase tokens for beer samples. You can come and go as you please over the four days.
This eliminates the insanity that is seen at the GABF. Huge mobs of drunken hooligans in Denver for three days trying to sample 3,000 beers in one day because the tickets are so expensive ($70-85) with no real food. The Great American Beer Festival was fun 15-20 years ago before it became such a behemoth scene. It is so American; take everything to the extreme and charge as much as possible.
We tried some excellent brews from Portugal, Spain, Estonia, and the Netherlands, to name a few. There was even a couple from the US, Sierra Nevada, and Kona Brewing. There was also a nice Spanish whiskey and coffee liquor to sample from Yria out of Madrid, Spain. Their beers were great as well, and they had a delicious mead made with cherries.
For food there were delicious empanadas, prosciutto-like ham and Serra de Estrela Portuguese cheese sandwiches. All were outstanding. Also, several different kinds of burger trucks, crepes, sweet and savory, and a tasty doughnut-like cake from the Algarve. They were dangerously delicious. There were even several vegetarian offerings. Yes, all in all, the event was a taste-treat sensation. We will certainly plan to attend the Porto beer fest again next year.