Microbreweries in Portugal: Praxis from Coimbra
Coimbra is a stunning, historical city in central Portugal, famous for the University of Coimbra, established back in 1290! The history of the city is long and it’s home to some stunning architecture, but it also has quite some history as a brewing location! In this post we take a short look on Coimbra as a beer city during the 20th century and then introduce Praxis microbrewery, that continues the brewing tradition of Coimbra.
Cervejas de Coimbra and the legendary Coimbra beers
The famous beers of Coimbra were Topázio Pilsner and Onyx Dark Lager, and those two were super popular both in student parties and in the pubs of Coimbra. At some point Onyx was considered to be one of the best beers in Europe, and it’s said that, among other things, the quality of the water in Coimbra made it so delicious.
Praxis cherishes the brewing history of Coimbra
In 1990’s the discussions about bringing brewing back to Coimbra started to lead to actions. The founders of the family-owned Praxis brewery wanted to cherish the brewing heritage of the city, and bought their first brewing equipment from the US in the late 90’s. They building project of a new brewery started already in 2002, but in 2003 it was put on hold due to bureaucracy. Praxis crew continued test brews and recipe development, hoping that soon they would be able to start commercial brewing.
After four long years of paper work and arrangements, Praxis Brewery and Restaurant finally opened its doors to public in 2007. The opening was a big event, with a lot of people gathering to celebrate it. The first beers brewed by Praxis included a Pilsner and a Dunkel. brews that resemble a lot the legendary Topázio and Onyx beers, basically being modern versions of them. In 2021 Praxis managed to get back the rights to use the original recipes, brands and labels of Topázio and Onyx, and nowadays brews them in collaboration with Hoppy House Brewing.
Visiting Praxis brewery and museum
Our visit to Praxis was hosted by Pedro Baptista, who runs the brewery after his father. He showed us the brewery side as well as the adjacent, small brewery museum, that introduces the history of brewing in Coimbra. We also got to pair Praxis beers with tasty food in the taproom restaurant, that is a wonderful venue for both beer tasting and a dinner!
Praxis brews artisan beers in several different styles. The core selection focuses on classic beer styles, but there are also some more experimental beers available seasonally. Our favorite was the Imperial Stout, that actually was awarded in the World Beer Awards 2021 as a best Imperial Stout! It’s a strong and warming brew with nice roasted aroma, pleasant bitterness and notes of molasses and dried fruits. We also liked a lot the crispy Pilsener and Dunkel Lager, as well as fruity American Pale Ale called Portuguese Pedro. Praxis IPA is tasty too, with a malty backbone and fruity and bitter notes.
Other microbreweries in Coimbra
If you are a beer geek visit Coimbra during your travels, a visit to Praxis brewpub and beer museum is a must, but there are also some other interesting artisan breweries in the area. Epicura is a small brewery located outside the city center, but they have a taproom restaurant called Epicura Craft Beer House close to the Santa Clara bridge. The roots of this brewery are in home brewing – back in 2018 three friends started testing craft beer recipes in small scale, and four years later Epicura has grown to be a rather well known artisan brewery.
From the Coimbra District comes also Cerveja Açor, a small brewery located in Pombeiras. Also this brewery has its origins in friendship and home-brewing, and the aim is to keep innovating and creating quality beers, utilizing local and regional ingredients.
Regarding craft beer pubs, there are not that many bars in Coimbra that focus on craft beer, but we do have one good tip for you; Coola Boola pub in Praça do Comércio, right in the old center of Coimbra. This retro-style decorated restaurant has a decent selection of local and also international craft beers, and the location right next to the beautiful, old Igreja de São Tiago church is amazing!
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