Portugal is predominantly known as a wine country. In most cases you’ll probably think of spirits as the second most famous type of alcohol here, such as Ginjinha, Beirão or Crème Pastel de Nata. A few of you will mention the cocktail culture as their third favorite, especially in Lisbon and especially in the week of 11 to 19 October. The Bairro Alto district is perfect for cocktails!
However, beer usually doesn’t make the list of popular drinks here in Lisbon. And that’s understandable, given the traditionally limited beer culture in the country. To be fair, there are only two dominant beer brands: Sagres from the south and Superbock from the north.
Craft beer making an entrance
But make no mistake: the craft beer scene, the subculture of small breweries that all make their own exciting beers, is exploding in Lisbon and the surrounding area. Admittedly, it is not yet as developed as in most North-Western European countries like the UK, Belgium, Germany or the Netherlands, and it’s certainly not as mature as it is in the United States.
Slowly but surely we’re starting to see the average Portuguese realising that there is more to beer life than just Sagres or Superbock lager. There’s been a huge uplift in new microbreweries in the last 10 years, all launching their own series of special IPA’s, blondes, triples and weizen, one more special than the other.
Everybody knows everybody
The remarkable thing about the craft beer culture in Lisbon is that there are a lot of links between the different breweries. Everyone seems to know each other, and they are all friends. Most will help out another (rivalling) brewery if necessary, share best practices and borrow each other’s equipment.
During our trips to Lisbon we’ve visited a number of breweries worth mentioning. Usually we ask for a tour backstage as well, which is never a problem. Top tip: do this too! It’s a lot of dun and these folks are always more than happy to tell you about their craft!
Most of the microbreweries are in the city of Lisbon itself of course, but out and about in the countryside there are a couple that we think you should take a detour for!
Microbreweries in Lisbon
The most famous and one of the largest independent breweries in Lisbon is undoubtedly Dois Corvos. The brewery, which was officially established at the end of 2013 and sold its first beer in 2015, has recently moved to a larger space, as they have to keep production up, of course. The Brewpub is still at the address where it all started, at Rua Capitão Leitão 94 in the Marvilla district to the east of the city centre, on the banks of the Tagus river.
Dois Corvos is characterised by a wide range of beers. We are personally charmed by their more heavy, hazy IPAs. Other recommendations are the Metropolitain (Pale Ale), Creature (American Ale) Avenida (Blond).
In terms of location, this is probably the best of them all. This small brewery Duque is located in Chiado, in the center of Lisbon. Halfway up the stairs that lead from Rossio train station to Bairro Alto. No excuse not to take a sampling here.
Small and nice, that’s Duque for you. We got especially excited about Pale-Ónia, an excellent choice! This is a lovely fresh IPA with nice tropical hints.
Musa is the other “big” microbrewery in Lisbon. Just like Dois Corvos, you can buy their beers almost everywhere in Portugal at well equipped liquor stores. And even abroad you’ll come across them if you’re lucky! They are almost neighbours with Dois Corvos, so if you are there to taste some, you might as well visit this brewery as well.
Microbreweries near Lisbon
HopSin in Colares
HopSin, the Brewpub where microbrewery Mag8 is located, proves that quality and atmosphere are not only found in Lisbon. The brewery is run by the dad, the Brewpub is the domain of the daughter. The location in Colares, in an old tram building, is amazing.
We were especially pleasantly surprised by the freshness of Mag8’s own Pale Ale, called Colares, but their other beers are not to miss either.
Pato in Cascais
Pato means duck in Portuguese. Strange name to give your brewery, you’d think, but there’s a reason.
When starting the brewery, the owners were looking for a catchy name for the new brewery. It was important for them to come up with a name that was easy to say in different languages, but at that time Pato was not yet on the list.
The idea was to offer only draught beer, with the draught bracket as the centrepiece. On the tap handle of the brewery they’d put some rubber ducklings for fun, that’s where the idea of Pato as their name was born.
Their main beers are the Barbary Wonder (a lager), Patinho (American Pale Ale) and Pipa (Indian Pale Ale).