In the heart of Terreiro do Paço on the banks of the Tagus River, we celebrate brews that time will never erase. What better place to enjoy the pleasure of a good, refreshing Portuguese beer?
the history of beer
The first archaeological vestiges of beer date back to the Neolithic period, when man first began to master farming techniques, more than 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Beer is believed to have been born in the Middle East. Historical references indicate that the Sumerians produced a pleasant drink resulting from the fermentation of cereals. There are also indications that suggest in China an equally fermented drink was produced at the same time from rice with healing properties, using beer as a medicine. For their part, the Egyptians displayed murals with references to beer. It was they who first cultivated barley precisely for the purpose of producing beer, using it as a commercial exchange or as payment of wages.
During the Middle Ages, the use of hops allowed the bitterness, freshness, taste and flavour of beer to come through, and, as such, the cultivation of hops intensified. The success of this drink was such that the consumption of beer was often higher than that of water.
Monasteries, too, played a decisive role in beer production. The studies that the monks devoted to it in the incessant search for new ingredients that would allow them to improve and intensify the flavour, gave rise to a more elaborate production that served two purposes: to show hospitality to the pilgrims who passed through, and to whom they offered it, and as a drink the monks treated themselves to during fasting periods. The success was such that the production went beyond the walls of the monasteries, and beer began to be produced and marketed simultaneously by monks and craft brewers, who were subjected to taxes on the profits obtained.
Later, scientific and technological developments in the 18th and 19th centuries catapulted the production and consumption of beer. Louis Pasteur discovered the formula for pasteurisation, which controlled and eliminated pathogenic microorganisms, whilst the evolution of transport took beer across borders.
The story served as inspiration for the development of hundreds of beers around the world, many of them now absorbed by large business groups that today dominate the beer market. Still, driven by an interest and passion for this drink, small producers continue to create hundreds of craft beers every year. At our Beer Museum, the spotlight is on the many excellent Portuguese craft beers, and most importantly… are all at your disposal.
the introduction of beer
Archaeological evidence documents that the Lusitanos already consumed a fermented drink during festive periods, but it was the birth of the Kingdom of Portugal that truly marked the beginning of the cultivation of cereals that allowed channelling part of the harvest for the production of beer. This production was carried out by foreign gentry, who already had strong brewing traditions, to whom the kings offered up land as a thank you for their help in the battles to defend the Kingdom.
In the heyday of the Portuguese Discoveries, Portugal became a strategic point of trade and beer landings were frequent at city ports, mostly German, Flemish and English, although wine had a markedly dominant tradition in the country; beer was mainly consumed by foreigners who lived here or were passing through.
It was towards the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century that the beer industry consolidated in Portugal through the industrial production of the drink and more recently, in 2010, inroads were made for the independent production of signature craft beers, which really began to take off. Today there are more than 100, and you can enjoy them on a beer journey that takes pace right here, at the Beer Museum.
portuguese beers today
At the Beer Museum, friends can sit around the table with Portuguese beer at the heart of the conversation, sharing happy moments and stories. Here, cheers are made to family, to love, to health, to friendship and to the world. And anything else you want to toast, because at the Beer Museum you will always find a reason to do so.
Among others, Ales, Lagers, Stouts, Pilsners, light or dark beers, some more, others less aromatic, take us on a voyage of Portuguese beer, in tones of amber. The list is long. The occasions when we can savour them, plenty. Discover the best of Portuguese beer and sample it at the Beer Museum.