Estrella Damm: Spain's favorite brewery

Photo by Evgenii Vershinin
Photo by Evgenii Vershinin

Estrella Damm: Spain's favorite brewery

by Amanda Palumbo
Stripes Europe

You can thank a long-standing beef between France and Prussia for the delicious Spanish lager, Estrella Damm. The two were duking it out over expansion when August Kuentzmann Damm and his wife Melanie fled Alsace to escape the war and settled along the Mediterranean coast. With a dream to brew beer, in 1876 they created what would later become Barcelona’s favorite beer, Estrella Damm.

This beer was far different than the heavier beers made for the cold climates in the rest of Europe. This lager was light and refreshing, made to cool you off in the warm Spanish sun. August would name his beer, Estrella, the Catalan and the Spanish word for star.

Estrella Damm is Barcelona’s oldest brewery and they still use the exact same recipe August created in 1876. The pilsner lager only consists of natural barley malt, rice and hops from only Mediterranean farmers.

They’ve also been using the same strain of yeast for generations, which is kept under the highest security. I can only imagine if a rival brewery wanted to steal it, they’d have to pull off a Mission Impossible level heist complete with disguises, suspension wires and a plucky sidekick. It’s under that tight security because if something ever happened to that strain, Estrella would never taste the same again. The beer also goes through an intense fermentation and bottling process to make sure each bottle reaches the Estrella standard.

Like Guinness, Estrella has spawned genius marketing campaigns, creating mini-movies instead of quick 30 second ads. The most recent featured "Game of Thrones" fan favorite and my personal celebrity crush, the dreamy Peter Dinklage. It's available on YouTube and if you have 16 minutes and 20 seconds to burn, it's worth a watch. Plus, Peter Dinklage has a beard.

You can tour the Estrella Damm Brewery in Barcelona for only eight euros. It lasts 90 minutes with the first hour focusing on its history and how their beer is brewed. The last half hour is tasting all Estrella has to offer. They do ask you to make a reservation on their website. The brewery is on the far southwest side of Barcelona just north of the airport. The closest subway stop is Parc Nou, which is a 15-minute walk away from the brewery.

A narrow Medieval street in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter

Once you're done at the brewery you can explore beautiful Barcelona, one of Europe's more inexpensive cities to visit. If you're a photography nerd like me, strolling through the Gothic Quarter is a must. It's a charming part of the city with narrow medieval streets, local markets and some of Barcelona's top-rated tapas restaurants. It's also home to the Barcelona Cathedral. The church offers guided tours and city-wide views from its rooftop.

Basilica of The Sagrada Familia | Photo by bloodua

Another cathedral worth stopping by is the world's most famous work-in-progress, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. The Catholic church started construction in 1882 and won't be done until 2026. Even unfinished, it's still a work of art.

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