Asturias Brewing Company
Over the summer, I got a chance to tour the Asturias Brewing Company facility with Fernando Braga Sanzo, the manager and one of the founders. I asked him some questions as we toured the facility. I will as much as possible, let him speak for himself in talking about the brewery:
What beers do you have?
“We are making four currently: a Blonde Ale (de Salas), a Brown Ale (Raposa), an American Pale Ale (Hop Gangster) and an Indian Pale Ale (Guadaña). The blonde is 5% abv, very easy to drink, we can say it’s suitable for everyone and it’s more malt-oriented. Then we have the Brown Ale, which is also a beer with malt in it, with caramel and coffee hints. And then the APA and the IPA are beers with more hops, more hop-oriented.”
Which of the four beers you have is the most popular?
“I think it’s between Raposa and Guadaña. We launched Guadaña in November (2020) and it’s having a great reception. And Raposa is a beer style that’s not so common here and people seem to like it.”
Can you tell me a little about your equipment?
“We had the brewing equipment, plus the fermenters and hot water tanks make in Valladolid, by InoxVal. And then we have the bottling line, that we brought from China. We took the risk with this, I mean we looked a lot. We’re aware that’s not the same as bringing a stuffed animal from China. We looked around a lot because prices here are much higher. Maybe you get a machine with half the yield than this one, but three times more expensive. And then you hear that these machines also give you problems, like the one we have can. So, we looked a lot to try to reduce cost. And the rest, such as the cold rooms, we built ourselves.”
What makes Asturias Brewing Company different from other breweries?
“From industrial beers, the quality and the loving care with which we brew our beer. I see the same in every craft brewery I go to: excitement and good customer service.”
Have you received help from other breweries, or people, in Asturias?
“Every time I have questions, I ask David, the beer master of Barcelona Beer Company. I have also talk to, in terms of equipment, with Javi from Cerveza d’Equí in Colloto, also with Silver from Caleya. We all have a very good relationship among us. Also with Jose from Deva.”
If you think about craft beer in Asturias in 5 years, where do you see it?
“I think it’ll be evolving, and, hopefully, not only in Asturias. Little by little, hopefully we’ll all be seen more at a national level. I won’t even talk about exporting [out of Spain], that’s too much to think about. I think that [exportation] is complicated, we already had chances to do it, but it’s still difficult because with the shipping costs, the product ends up being very pricey.”
And, in ten years? Where Will Asturias Brewing Company Be?
“Hopefully it will all be stabilized and with no fear, I mean, that we are all growing businesses, with more workers, I wish. Because, well, you see, I don’t really dare to say what will happen here from one year to another.”
Where can Asturias Brewing Company Beers be found?
“We’re more or less from Cudillero to Llanes, which means we’re in a wide area in Asturias. Outside of Asturias we’re in a few places, for example we’re in some beer stores in Barcelona and Zaragoza. The other day a guy from Lanzarote who has a bar there came over and took some beers there. But we still don’t have a distributor out of Asturias, so it’s mostly here for now.”
And now the last question is just for you. Do you have a favorite style, a favorite beer or favorite brewery?
“Well, I like all types of beer but it’s true that, for example, IPAs are good because your taste buds get used to them and, over time, you end up liking stronger flavors. I also like Belgian ales, and I’m also becoming an aficionado of something I didn’t really care about before, which is Imperial Stouts. These are beers I enjoy having with chocolate and, on a day I feel like drinking one of them, I usually have an Imperial Stout in my fridge to pair with food.” History
What’s the story of Asturias Brewing Company?
“About 10-11 years ago, we used to make beer in Salas on the weekend. We would make it in one of those 20-liter pots you can see over there. From there, we started liking it, and I ended up going to Barcelona to study a masters in fermented drinks, to specialize, and I ended up working in a beer company there. Later, we moved that idea here. My mom, on her father’s side was from Salas. We started all this in a village house there and from that, all this was born, you see, what a mess!”
The following beers are made by Asturias Brewing Company:
While there is not a formal process for touring the facility, a phone call (in Spanish) will get you a personalized tour of the entire facility.
Do you do brewery tours?
“We do like we did with you: you call, make an appointment, and come visit. I was just milling, when you leave I’ll clean the equipment, sometimes we’re both out doing deliveries, so it would be impossible…”