Two new craft beers from Spain’s Rioja region have been introduced to the UK through specialist importer Morgenrot.
Produced by Cervecera Artesana, they are Palax, a high-quality bottle-conditioned artisan lager, and Ceriux Rubia, a unique double-fermented craft ale that is known as “the beer with a touch of wine”.
Both will be targeted at the on-trade and aim to follow Morgenrot’s success with premium Spanish beer brand Alhambra which it has grown from 1,000 hectolitres in the UK in 2012 to more than 7,000 hectolitres now.
Morgenrot commercial director John Critchley said: “Since I first tried the Palax and Ceriux beers, I have been desperate to get the brewery’s UK distribution rights as they epitomise what is great about Spanish food and drink.
“The beers are of unbelievable quality, packed full of flavour and great with food and friends. With the brewery’s Riojan provenance and sublime packaging, we’re delighted to be the official UK importers and expect huge things in the coming years.”
Palax, at 4.9% ABV, offers aromas of honey and citrus fruits and an intricate, full, rounded taste, made with Hallertau Tradition hops for a classic crisp finish. The beer is packaged in a stylish, specially designed 33cl bottle and comes in cases of 24 with a list price of £24.75.
Ceriux Rubia, at 5.4% ABV, is a highly-expressive blond craft ale made using Perle and Cascade hops. The beer undergoes an ageing process of over a month in between fermentations and also has concentrated Viura and Tempranillo grape musts added to it that are provided by the Nivarius winery next door. The musts impart aromas and flavours, making it refreshing and complex with a beautifully balanced bitter finish that lengthens its taste. The beer is packaged in a sleek 37.5cl bottle and is available in cases of 12 with a list price of £22.50.
Cervecera Artesana is based 800 metres above sea level with a view of the Peñas de Iregua gorge. It was set up in 2012 by Javier Palacios, who had a life-long passion for beer while making wine in the Rioja region.
It is part of the Palacios Vinoteca Group, which produces the Trus and Nivei wines available in Mitchells & Butlers’ All Bar One sites, and is located alongside the group’s Nivarius winery in the region of Nalda, 17 kilometres from Logrono.
The beers are made with water from a spring in the upper Iregua river basin in a natural, environmentally-rich area surrounded by beech and oak trees.
Javier said: “Demand for the finest Spanish food and drink is continuing to increase in the UK and with craft beer still a key trend, we believe our beers couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
“We’ve come a long way since we set up in 2012 but we have big dreams so it’s a massive pleasure to be working with Morgenrot. With their experience in building awareness and distribution for the Alhambra beer brand in the UK over the last four years, we believe we have the perfect partner for success.”