A year making beer
19:43 – At the factory, we're already seeing the last beers of the year, the first that will be drunk next year. And that means it's time to look back. Because, although we’ve been doing this for almost a century and a half, brewing beer is never easy. And a lot can happen in a year.
The year started with some hesitation in the fields where the barley for our Estrella Damm is grown. The Seuma brothers were there to see how a cold and dry winter can delay the appearance of the first shoots. Luckily, February brought the rain which accelerated the process, so the harvest ultimately reached R. Camarasa's warehouse on time. Once there, the barley was analysed and prepared for transportation to our malt house.
La Moravia Malt house
La Moravia is one of our most important locations: it’s where we malt the barley, a process that is extremely important for the flavour and character of our beer. Which is why the malt house has been owned by Damm for decades, so we can monitor every single detail. This year, like every other, the activity never stops; and we witnessed it alongside T. Ramo, the director of the malt house. Germination, drying and roasting of the barley, as well as quality control, transportation... there’s always something to do here!
The cycle of rice, one of the ingredients that make us so special, started in late April with the flooding of the fields, and by May it was time to start sowing with those unmistakable tooth-wheeled tractors. The process, due to the heat and humidity, was quick: in 20 days, the first shoots appeared, and in August they bloomed. The harvest arrived soon afterwards, which resulted in an even more generous yield than the previous year. J. Casanova, an agricultural engineer from the Delta, was satisfied with this season's results... and is already planning the next one.
2018 was an intense time at the hop plantation. Most of the plants were in their second year of life, which means a much larger harvest. We accompanied C. Abella as he carried out his day-to-day work: from the winter preparations to the monitoring of the growth, which was so quick that it could be seen with the naked eye. In just a month and a half, some plants had reached over six metres in height. In the summer, the first buds appeared, and in September, the whole village pitched in with the harvest. The outcome was about 700 kg of dry flower, ready to add bitterness to our beer.
All the typical day-to-day processes have been taking place this year at our factory: boiling, bottling, capping... but there has also been some new additions. In April we launched our new image, designed by S. Adduci, who chose to apply a more Mediterranean and vintage style to the label, focusing more on the red and the star. Just a month ago, we also started using our brand new fermentation and storage containers to increase manufacturing and ensure that nobody ever has to run out of Estrella Damm.
Looking back, we can certainly say that this has been an intense year. And we imagine that next year will be a busy one too. But, when you're dedicated to brewing beer, aren't they all?