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Save the Ales

in Manilva Municipality in Málaga Province, Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 24 Jan 2018
Pop up bar at Gran de Select

Did you know there are 65 styles of beer? Neither did I until I visited the Gran de Select micro brewery on the poligono at Manilva.

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“He was a wise man who invented beer.” - Plato

The styles range from a Berliner weisse at number 1 to a Strong ‘scotch’ ale at number 65. Now I am not saying that Gran de Select brew all 65. Nor am I saying you will be given the opportunity to taste all 65 but you will be offered a taste of their own range of luxury handcrafted beers. Before the tasting though, whilst you still have your wits, I suggest you take the guided tour.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder" - Kinky Friedman

The process starts with the barley. Depending on the style of beer they are producing, Gran de Select use one of seven barleys, the difference being the degree to which it is roasted. That goes into a 1000 litre vat with water where it is cooked for a precise length of time, again depending on the style of beer they want at the end. The brew is then introduced to what the guide refers too as the ‘T’ bag. This contains various ingredients such as orange peel and spices.

“A man who lies about beer makes enemies” - Stephen King

The brew is then fermented. A particular yeast may be added or the vat lid may be left open to allow natural yeasts to get to work. The result in the latter case is what Gran de Select call a ‘wild’ beer. Each batch may taste very subtly different to the last. Gran de Select have even developed a method of double fermenting beer that produces a ‘champagne’ beer, bubbly and vivacious and seriously moorish.

By using a combination of different barleys, timing the cooking, a range of ingredients in the ‘T’ bag, selected yeasts, quantity of sugar and fermentation to a particular specific gravity, each combination being a recipe, Gran de Select have developed a range of beers for every taste. They range from a light Pilsner style to a rich dark, sweet beer that could easily accompany a desert, not forgetting the ‘champagne’ style as an unusual aperitif.

I was even introduced to a beer that is brewed for just one customer, a bank in Gibraltar. It contains a small amount of the Rock itself making it truly unique.

"Ah, beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life's problems." - Homer Simpson

Below decks the beer is bottled, capped, labelled and boxed prior to being shipped to restaurants and bars. The small staff have, of necessity, become masters of many trades, including pouring the beer, which they do for visitors at their own pop up bar.

You can visit the Gran de Select micro brewery any workday morning for a tour, a tasting and to purchase beer. Don’t be shy, they are quite happy to sell single bottles as well as take bulk orders from bars.

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About the Author

Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.

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