It’s the gratifying sip of a bland, overpriced pint from a plastic cup as you sweat in a crowd, revelling in the presence of your favourite band. It’s the song you shout over in a pub with friends, as you clutch a bottle of the only IPA they had behind the bar. It’s the joy of sitting back, putting your feet up, pouring the beer of your choice and listening to whatever, whoever takes your fancy and letting the rhythm carry you somewhere.
Perhaps just as much as beer and food, there’s an intrinsic link between beer and music. Beer’s relationship with song is a much more emotional one, a contrast to the physical connection the drink has with a meal.
For Birra & Blues, located on the coast of Valencia, Spain, their brewery is the fruit of these two great passions, an endeavour founded on a mutual love of good beer and quality music. As COO and CMO David Frá explains:
“We can’t imagine a concert without beer.”
Somewhat unusually, the first note in the Birra & Blues story is a restaurant in their home of Valencia. “We are restaurateurs with Italian origins and have had restaurants in Valencia since 1998,” says Frá. “We have always liked beer. In 2009, we decided to open a brewpub at Valencia’s beach, a place with 700 square metres where we made our own beer.
“What started as a local concept for our own consumption has turned into what we are today; a brewery with an objective to know the world and for everyone to know our beers.”
When expanding to a dedicated brewery and launching the beer brand in 2011, Frá et al only had to look to their own back catalogue for inspiration. He says: “The name is an evolution of our restaurant name, Spaghetti & Blues. It came to us naturally, fruit of our passion for music and beer. In our restaurants, live music has always played a big part and we believe that together with beer it is the perfect combination.”
Much like writing a great song, Birra’s beer recipes are the product of experiences, sensations, emotions and passion. Their ingredients are the notes, their recipes are the rhythms and their equipment the instruments on which the brewers make beautiful music, and ferment dreams.
Their creative process has been developed through travel, expanding their horizons with new cultures while learning the best techniques and gathering the best ingredients from around the world. Their beers are compositions with a unique harmony that defines what Birra & Blues is, who Birra & Blues are.
“We brew in an intuitive way, guided by sensations, a taste or aroma that inspires us, or even a colour can be the starting point of a new recipe,” says Frá. “We make beer right in front of the Mediterranean Sea because we believe [it] inspires us. You can see the sea from our brewery, hear the waves and smell the saltiness. It is the best of places.
“Up until now, we have brewed 28 different beers with 14 permanent beers in our portfolio.”
A hit in their home of Valencia, their beers are starting to make it internationally too – picking up awards not only in their native Spain but across Europe, in Belgium, Germany and France as well as the UK and Ireland.
Flavourly is proud to bring a host of these beers to our fan club of craft beer drinkers in Craft Beer Club. From the easydrinking La Rubia (whose artwork features Scottish musician Chantel McGregor, who goes to Spain in the summer to share her music) all the way to their Doble IPA, an amped-up IPA featuring three hops native to Spain. There’s a distinctly Mediterranean taste in Flavourly boxes this month.
When asked if he had a message for the Flavourly community, Frá replied humbly: “We hope that you like our beers. They are beers for ordinary people, craft beer made with quality ingredients.”
Once you’ve tasted Birra & Blues, the calls for an encore won’t be far behind.
Originally published in Issue 15 of Flavourly magazine. Written by Kevin O’Donnell.