Naughty but nice

Back to basics brewing

The Algarve has so much more to offer than its dramatic coastline. From autumn to spring, visitors become acquainted with the region’s relaxed way of life and traditions that often escape holidaymakers in the busier summer months.

We took a trip inland and discovered the delightful Quinta do Avo (grandad’s farm) in the sleepy village of Algoz.

The farmhouse has remained in the same family for generations and has been transformed from a dairy farm into a quintessential Portuguese Tea House and Nano Brewery. Retaining much of its rustic charm with thoughtful design touches, it’s like stepping back in time.

Encarnaçao Gonçalves wakes at the crack of dawn to make jams, liqueurs and bake cakes – all made from locally sourced, seasonal produce. The family firmly believes in the benefits of organic ingredients and traditional methods.

Son Andre Gonçalves met his friend Ruben Pires at University in 2012. Like most young students, they enjoyed drinking and socialsing with their friends. As a result, the dynamic duo began to dabble in home brewing with the intention of producing beer for their consumption.

The first batches were a combination of trial and error as the pair sampled various hops. Andre explained: “Hops are the main ingredient in beer and the difference between them is remarkable. We had to try many variations, mixing the levels and eventually we arrived at the current blend – which is a combination of British and American hops with a tiny amount of rare Portuguese hops – to get the right balance between the spicy, fruitiness, dryness and bitter textures.”

Ruben’s fellow students were impressed: “Everyone loved our beer, and it was great to see their reaction. They kept on telling us, you should seriously do something with this.” Indeed, the demand was so much that Ruben and Andre began back-to-back brews in a bid to take their hobby to the next level.

On graduating with degrees in landscape architecture, both friends decided to follow their hearts, and with encouragement from their friends and family, they built their Nano Brewery at Quinta do Avos.

Having grown up in the farmhouse, Andre was used to helping his grandparents with the dairy farming at the property. As a result, he felt at home working with natural elements and handling organic produce and put these skills into practice to create their first brewing vat.

Andre explained: “I grew up here and knew that this was the perfect place to start our project. We are surrounded by the beautiful Algarve countryside and that’s important to me. This is where we will hopefully be able to collaborate with others and develop a new grade of hops that will give the true flavour of the Algarve to our customers.”

Ruben was responsible for creating the brand and logo, while they both dealt with the bureaucratic issues and hygiene requirements, and Marafada beer was born.

Marafada is an Algarvean word that loosely translates as a naughty or mischievous character full of spirit. The word not only suits the beer but also the lively and fun-loving producers. Ruben told us: “The inspiration for the logo came from the character of the beer and it was important for us to show the mountains, barley, lady dressed in an Algarve costume with our beer and of course, the sun. I think it really captures the essence of our product.”

The beer currently in production is an IPA (India Pale Ale). They both agreed that this was the perfect brew to launch their business. Andre added: “The hops vary from each harvest, so every batch will be slightly different. That’s the beauty of organic brewing. We are developing other blends all the time and are looking into producing a special Christmas beer. We are constantly developing different brews. The batches usually take around one month to produce and require a further two to three weeks of fermentation in the bottle before they are ready for consumption. Each batch produces around 300 bottles, which are sanitized then labeled by hand and delivered to a few select outlets across the Algarve.”

Andre concluded: “You’ve got to do more than just make great beer. It’s really about innovation, creativity—stepping outside the box of traditional beer marketing.”

Both Andre and Ruben agree that “heart and soul” is the essence of their operation, and their aim for the future is to maintain the quality and integrity of their boutique and organic beer.

For more information on Marafada beer visit the Facebook page: cervejaartesanalmarafada

Text Mia Wallace

photos ©Type Photos – NâPhotos Type Photos-Nanci Pires


Author: Inside Carvoeiro

Share This Post On