¡Salud! How To Order Beer In Spain

Beer in Spain
Happy International Beer Day!
Travel Inspiration

Living in Madrid for the past month, I’ve learned there’s an interesting beer culture here. So in honor of International Beer Day, I wanted to teach you how to order beer in Spain.

Spain may not have a very large craft beer culture, but they do have beer culture. In fact Spain is the world’s 10th biggest producer of lager. Hot Spanish weather regularly sends people running for bars & outdoor terraces to cool off with a few refreshing afternoon drinks.

Ponme Una Caña!

While you could certainly ask for a cerveza and the bartender know exactly what you want, that’s not the proper way to order a beer in Spain. Instead, you should ask for a caña. What’s a caña? It’s a small glass of cold lager.

No one likes warm beer, and if you order a large one, there’s a strong chance you’ll drink it too slow, resulting in warm beer by the time you’re finished. However that won’t happen with a caña, as the small glass only holds about 150 milliliters — about half a can.

When your first ice-cold caña is finished, you simply order a 2nd. Genius!

Now a caña isn’t the only size they have available. Others sizes include a tubo (tall thin glass), or just a doble caña (double caña). The largest glass you can ask for is a tanque (about a pint).

Beer in Spain
Tasty Jamón Ibérico

What To Eat With Your Beer?

Now that you’ve ordered an icy caña, it’s time to grab some food. In Spain, ordering a beer often includes a serving of tapas. Tapas are a variety of small savoury appetizers, served as a snack along with drinks.

Many tapas include a slice of Jamón Ibérico — super tasty cured Spanish ham. It’s also probably the most famous ham in the world. Whole legs of the black Ibérico pig are packed in sea salt, dried, and sometimes aged for years before being eaten.

The best tapas bars are usually standing room only. A popular pastime for Spaniards is the “tapear”, which is hopping from bar to bar ordering a round of cañas with tapas before moving on to the next.

Beer in Spain
Cheers from Spain

Happy International Beer Day!

Today is International Beer Day (August 7th), and to celebrate, remember to gather with friends tonight and enjoy the taste of beer (if you’re of age of course). Celebrate those responsible for brewing and serving your beer, and let’s all try to unite the world under the banner of beer!

In Spain, there’s a popular little toast that goes something like this:

¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, adentro!

The literal translation is: to up, to down, to the center, and inside.

Now for each part of the toast, you clink your glasses at the respective spot. For example, when you say “arriba”, you touch the top of your glasses. “Abajo”, the bottom. “Al centro”, the center. Finally everyone takes a drink to “adentro”.

Ok, that’s enough Spanish beer instruction for today. I think I’ll go enjoy a caña now. Salud from Madrid! ★

Watch Video: How To Toast Around The World

READ NEXT: Fun Things To Do In Gothenburg

What are your plans for International Beer Day?

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Living in Madrid for the past month, I've learned there's an interesting beer culture here. So in honor of International Beer Day, I wanted to teach you how to order beer in Spain.


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my journey.
Matthew Karsten
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12 thoughts on “¡Salud! How To Order Beer In Spain”

  1. Nice article. We do like our cañas and our tapas in Madrid, definitely!

    In the past few years there’s also been a boom in the craft beer market in Spain, with plenty of microbreweries popping up across the country.

  2. Whoa…that Jamón Ibérico looks mouthwatering good!

    No name-dropping your recommended type (rather than brand) of locally-brewed goodness?

  3. Beer with tapas sounds like an awesome way to celebrate International Beer Day! This is definitely going to come in handy when I’m in Spain in January- although I’m not so sure I’ll need a cold beer to cool down- more like a nice glass of wine to warm myself up!

  4. I’m sure it also gets a lot sloshier by the end of the night. I think that the one of the only places where they still serve free tapas as long as you’re drinking is in Granada. It’s all about appreciating the beer though, especially on International Beer Day. I’m glad that you are bringing awareness to the observance of this auspicious day.

  5. Next you have to come up to Barcelona and get into the Cava culture. Vermouth (vermut) is pretty big here too, especially on Sundays!

  6. Spain is a beautiful place to visit and it 52th largest country, beautiful islands enhance the beauty of this place more. I love it really and I am really thankful to you to share this information and next time whenever I visit this place I keep these tips in my mind always.

  7. This is so helpful! I always get a bit anxious to order beer in a country where I don’t really know how it works.

  8. Thanks for the lesson! I didn’t realize it was International Beer Day; I’ll have to visit our local brewer tonight and maybe use that new toast you just taught me!

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