Along with wine, there is another drink that we also can’t go without in Portugal: Beer. Before the Roman Empire, the people living here almost 2000 years ago, the Lusitanian, already produced a very basic type of beer only out of water and fermented barley.
Romans didn’t care much for beer nor did the Moors who later invaded the peninsula. Only during the Christian crusades, some 1000 years ago; beer production was once again common. The knights from central Europe, who came to help the Iberian kings in battle, would be granted lands where they would plant cereal in order to produce their traditional drink: beer.
It became popular but a serious threat to wine production as it was considered a cheap, low quality kind of drink, produced in private cellars. In the 17th century the first beer factory was built and only during the 19th century the production of beer was widespread.
It was the monks in their convents who had the best breweries and produced the best quality beers. After the extinction of the religious orders in 1834 the monks had to find themselves jobs so they started selling their excellent beers out to the general public.
Beer had been already adopted as a national drink by then and the first “cervejarias” were established. These were simple restaurants selling fresh sea food and tender beef steak sandwiches with different types of beer. We still love them and they are the perfect spot to get to know the real deal as far as Portuguese beers are concerned.
Today, the most popular brands and types or beer are… coming out on our next post. I will just let you waiting, mouth watering!