Barcelona Beer Festival

EDITIONS

The 9th edition of the Barcelona Beer Festival will take place in March 2020. On this page, we invite you to read the summary of the previous editions and discover, or remember, what our main achievements were.

I BBF -2012

Everything has a beginning and for the Barcelona Beer Festival it was at the cloister of the Convent de Sant Agustí, in the Born district of Barcelona. The dedication of four friends to organise a great craft beer festival in their city began to materialize. The previous months of work were full of doubts, but these dissipated quickly thanks to the great reception that the initiative received from the public from the very first moment. An enthusiasm that was reflected in queues and more queues – a sell out! The almost 10,000 people who were there remember the feeling of creating something big and being part of the incipient history of craft beer. The 35-tap bar that was featured was something never seen before. All this added to the attendance of the huge and affable Norwegian brewer, Kjetil, by then part of the Nøgne Ø team.

The first BBF premiered with a Racó d’en Cesc workshop, which has never failed since the first edition. But if that first BBF has to be summed up in an image, it is Steve, glass in hand, enjoying and emitting passion and devotion to good beer.

II BBF -2013

After a successful first edition, with much more demand than space, the festival sought out a new location, and through sheer need it chose the Dome of Las Arenas. An open space of 2,500 m2, located in the upper part of the old bullring. The anecdote goes (and it is completely true) that the first investment of that year was to buy a bell found on EBay (Wallapop did not yet exist yet). The iconic BFF blackboard was born, emerging to accommodate more than 50 taps. That year also saw the start of a project with an educational vocation that lasted five more editions: the BBF-Pack, where four brewers are invited to make a beer that explains each of the four basic ingredients of the beer (water, malt, hops and yeast). The number of international guests increased, with attendance by brewers including Richard Burthouse of Magic Rock (the brewery was less then 2 years old), Mikel Murphy of Lervig and Giovani Camari of Birrificio del Ducato. The festival makes a huge leap in the number of attendees and hits 25,000 people, although this capacity still leaves many people unable to enjoy it. The Dome was not the ideal home for the BBF either.

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III BBF -2014

The first of three editions held at the Sala Comillas in the Barcelona Museu Martítim. An emblematic and spectacular space, in the centre of the city, which gives the festival a magnificent wrap. A firm commitment is made to link beer to gastronomy, with a selection of quality places to eat within the festival, which will later become a feature of all future editions. The ‘Meet the Brewer’ bar is created, the place where you can come face-to-face with the leading European breweries of the time (De Molen, Alvinne, Baladin, Brewfist, …). The collaboration with the Brewers Association begins and, for many beer fans in our country, it is the first opportunity to taste mythical beers such as Dogfish Head, Stone, Jolly Pumpkin, Founders, FiftyFifty, Due South, Lagunitas, … Again, the BBF closes with a great response from the public, raising the number of participants to 30,000 attendees in the three days, close to the space’s capacity.

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IV BBF -2015

For the first time in its history the festival is held in the same venue as the previous year even though there were to be long queues again. The event poster is commissioned to the local artist Eleduworks who creates a marvel illustration with allegorical taps. Brewery speaking it is a very powerful year. Evit Twin is in charge of the international special edition, which, together with Naparbier, creates the Dark Raven and Black Raven, two beers designed as Black&Tan to be served in the same glass although they do not mix. 

The activities highlight the first debate in Spain on the use of cans, bringing the innovative Fourpure company, who was the first European craft to start this format, which would become an absolute trend in the coming few years. A cask corner is established with ten English breweries serving beer in this characteristic and delicious conditioning that was so unusual at the time. We enjoyed a visit from Garret Oliver from the Brooklyn Brewery, an international star that stands out for his friendly character and desire to share knowledge. And of course, the Meet the Brewer section, full of the breweries that were to set the trend thereafter: ToOl, Beavertown, Adnams, Bevog, Hof ten Dormaal.

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V BBF -2016

The festival faces its 5th anniversary with many changes and new projects. Two of the pillars parallel to the festival itself are created, which, over time, become keys to the project. On the one hand, the professional area where 13 companies in the sector take a chance on the festival and the B2B part in conceived. And on the other hand, we created the Barcelona Beer Challenge, which since its first edition, has positioned itself as the reference beer contest in the state. There are more than 500 beers registered where the best beers in each style are recognized and where the winner is the local brewer Cerveses Montseny. This was the edition in which the thematic stands began. The Brewers Association was a feature once more and the Bíiéres et Saveurs festival from Québec premiered, with breweries such as Les Trois Mousquetaires, Benelux or Farnham. The festival of reference in Vermont (US), where the NEIPA were born before they became popular was also invited, with breweries such as Lost Nation, Lawson’s Finest and Zero Gravity attending for the first time. One of the other great novelties is the appearance of the tasting glass, with which professionals and the greatest fans who want to live the BBF-Experience were able to enjoy greater access to small tastings of a greater variety of beers.

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VI BBF -2017

After three consecutive successful years at the Museu Marítim, the festival needs a new location to grow. The space chosen is La Farga de L’Hospitalet, a modern space, with unbeatable facilities and services and a large area that can assume the level of quality service desired.

Tripling the number of square meters, the professional area (BBF Pro) grows, now hosting twenty-eight exhibitors on a large central island. 

On the other hand, the collaborations with other countries are also expanded, with new exchanges with festivals in Russia, France and Sardinia

The second edition of the Challenge opens a new recognition that awards the most outstanding novel beer, obtained by the Navarra brewery Brew&Roll. This time the main prize for the best beer is won by the American Founders Brewing Co from Michigan.

It seems that America has a strong presence at the BBF 2017, taking into account that the special edition of the festival is also organised by the American company Stone, in this case based in Berlin with their new project for Europe. There was also a coffee milk stout that generated a lot of interest.

And, finally, to point out that it was the first year that the Gremi de Elaboradors de Cervesa Artesana i Natural (GECAN- Craft and Natural Brewer Producers Guild) was visible with its own stand, where all the attendees could enjoy the good work that is being carried out locally.

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VII BBF -2018

The second year that the BBF took place at La Farga, it meant an expansion of the participating beers, approaching the figure of 500 beers. To respond to a great demand from the public and breweries, the festival featured a fixed tap area where it was posible to find mostly local beers throughout the festival. Most leading breweries in the country joined this initiative.

At the same time, stands dedicated to large breweries that want to present their craft line to an expert public were created, and festivals from new countries (England and Finland) are hosted.

During the third edition of the Barcelona Beer Challenge, a brewery from Sardinia, Birrificio di Cagliari, was the highest winner, and the Wylie Brewery wins as a revelation brewer.

On Sunday morning the first live music concert took place inside the BBF, and a large number of families were in attendance and danced to the rhythm of The Penguins Reggae per Xics.

But if the seventh BBF will be remembered for something, it is for the special edition beer made by The Alchemist, the creators of the first and the most famous NEIPA in history. The special beer they made, and which was presented by their team, generated great queues throughout the festival. The project was linked in solidarity to a collaboration with the Casal d’Infants del Raval.

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VIII BBF -2019

The eighth edition consolidates the three great pillars of the festival: The most classic BBF, which is the gastro-recreational part of beer discovery, reaches a record attendance figure with over 35,000 visitors.

The BBF Pro had 1500 accredited professionals in attendance. The Barcelona Beer Challenge hosted 1100 participating beers.

The festival grows by revitalizing the experience of the public with the creation of BBF-Vibes, spaces located in the Grand Hall, which offer varied activities aimed at all audiences. Highlights include the Cornhole (a game of skill that is very much in vogue at breweries around the world), the Cellar (a bar where you can taste the most exclusive bottled beers), Homebrewing live (a small installation where beer is made live), tin art (decorating our particular wall with messages written in cans), and the wooden play space for boys and girls. The poster for this edition is commissioned to Jean Goovaerts, the Belgian artist known for creating the image for the Brasserie de la Senne brewery.

The Meet the Brewer event takes places in a more focussed manner, offering the highest quality content and receiving visits from top world breweries such as Bionoc, BFM, Flying Dog or Kings Brewing.

Regarding the Challenge, the recognition of the best brewer goes to a local La Pirata Brewing, while Madrid’s Cervecera Península takes the prize for the revelation brewer. But the absolute novelty of the eighth edition, in terms of recognition, comes with the inauguration of the Steve Huxley Prize, an award that is created to recognize professionals in the sector that stand out for their trajectory and contribution to the development of craft beer in the country. The winner of the first edition of the Steve Huxley Award is Carlos Rodríguez, from the Ales Agullons brewery.

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