The best supermarket beer in Spain costs 30 cents

by Lorraine Williamson
best beer in Spain


MADRID – The Spanish consumer organisation OCU regularly publishes the results of surveys into the best and/or cheapest products that consumers can find in Spanish supermarkets. This time, beer cans are in the spotlight. 

In Spain, an average of 58 litres of beer will be consumed per year per person in 2022. That is eight litres more than in 2021 due to the catering restrictions due to the pandemic. This is according to figures published a few days ago by the trade association of beer producers, including Mahou San Miguel, Heineken and Damm, along with craft breweries. 

Spain second largest beer producer in Europe 

Consumption is rising compared to pre-pandemic numbers, as is production. “In total, 41.1 million hectolitres were produced in Spain, an increase of 7.9% compared to 2021, making the country the second largest beer producer in Europe after Germany”. 

Also see: Which Spanish supermarket sells the best tortilla?  

The beer industry in Spain gave jobs to 450,000 people last year. That is an increase of 12.5% compared to 2021 and more than 12% was generated in the hospitality sector. 

At the world level, Spain ranks 10th in terms of consumption of this drink. In that light, OCU thought it useful for consumers to provide them with information about where to find the best beer at the best price. The price of most cans of beer is between 30 and 70 cents. But “quality and price don’t always go hand in hand”. The beer ranking of the OCU based on price and quality is as follows. 

The cheapest beer in the ranking is Karlsquell, for sale at Aldi for €0.29. Still, the best beer is from the Xibeca brand. It gets 80 points in the consumer organisation rating. The best beer in terms of price and quality is Aurum from Eroski. It costs €0.30 and received 70 points from OCU. The following beers are Molenbier for €0.30; Saerbrau Holandesa at Carrefour for €0.30; Steinburg at Mercadona for €0.30; Adlerbrau Cerveza Pilsner for €0.31; Holbrand at Alcampo for €0.31; Ramblers Classic Lager at Día for €0.33. At the very bottom, mainly because of the price of cans from Heineken and Cruzcampo for €0.76 and €0.72 per can respectively. 

Beer buying guide 

Different types of beer are classified based on, and according to different criteria: 

  • Ingredients: In Spain, beer is mainly made from malted barley, but some brands replace part of the malt with other grains such as corn or rice to produce lighter beers. 
  • Type of fermentation: beers can be top-fermented or bottom-fermented. Top fermented beers are also referred to as Ales, while bottom fermented beers such as Lager are most common in Spain. 
  • Amount of grain: There are categories based on the amount of grain used. There are “classic” beers with less grain, “special” beers with slightly more grain, and “extra” beers with the highest grain content. 
  • Alcohol content: there are classic beers with an average of 4.5% alcohol, non-alcohol beers with a maximum of 0.9% alcohol, and 0.0% beers without alcohol.
  • Production method: industrial or artisanal. 

Bottom fermented beers 

These beers are characterised by fermentation at low temperatures, usually between 6 and 8ºC. The yeasts sink to the bottom, hence the name. Examples of this are: 

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  • Lager: Blonde beers with little body, relatively mild in taste. These are the best-selling beers in Spain. 
  • Dortmunder: Traditionally from the German city of Dortmund, light beers with little body and bitterness, and an intense aroma 
  • Dunkel: Dark beers, intense in taste, full and bitter. Bock: Dark beer, with an intense flavour and higher alcohol content. 

 Top fermented beers 

These beers are called Ales. The yeasts work at higher temperatures, usually between 15 and 20ºC, and float to the surface once fermentation is complete. Examples of this are: 

  • Pale ale: Clear, dry and bitter beer. This category also includes the well-known IPAs (Indian Pale Ales), beers with a strong hoppy character. 
  • Brown ale: Dark, sweet and slightly bitter beers. Bitter: Clear, full and bitter beer, as the name implies. 
  • Mild ale: Roasted, sweet and bitter beers. Stout: Very dark, full and bitter beer. The most famous example is the Irish stout Guinness. 

 Lager beers, the favourites 

Lagers are a favourite with the Spanish public. They are blonde beers with a light body, light bitterness and refreshing character. There are different types of Lager beers: 

  • Classic beer: Blonde, clear beers with little body and mild bitterness. The alcohol content varies between 4.5 and 5% vol. These are the most affordable beers. In Spain, they fall under the International Pale Lager category. 
  • Special beer: Beers that resemble the classic variant, but with a higher malt and alcohol content, ranging from 5.5 to 6.5% vol. alcohol. 
  • Extra beer: Beers with more body, flavour and higher alcohol content, often above 7% vol. alcohol. These are less common in distribution brands and are usually sold in glass bottles. 

Frequently asked questions about beer 

What are non-alcoholic beers? Non-alcoholic beers have an alcohol content of less than 1% vol. This category also includes the 0.0% beers, which do not contain alcohol, which is the best option if you do not want to drink alcohol. 

Is it good to drink beer? Beer is an alcoholic drink, so its consumption should be moderate. Alcohol-free beers can be a good alternative to sugary soft drinks because they have a low sugar content. 

What are Roasted Beers? The golden colour of lager beers is due to the roasting of the barley during the malting process. Depending on the intensity of the roasting, darker beers can be produced. Some brands also add caramel as a colouring agent. 

What are speciality beers? Speciality beers are traditional beers with more malt and higher alcohol content. 

What is hops? Hops are a flower used in beer to impart bitterness, flavour and aroma. It was originally used as a preservative to prevent alcohol from turning into vinegar. 

Also see: This is the best supermarket gazpacho in Spain 

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