How To

How To ... Order a Beer en Español

It’s not quite as simple as “Una cerveza, por favor.”

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How To ... Order a Beer en Español

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How To ... Order a Beer en Español

Want a beer in Barcelona? An ale in Alicante? Some suds in San Sebastian? Depending on where you are, it’s not always as easy as just walking up to the bar and asking for a cerveza. Instead, there’s a whole vocabulary to get the request across, based on what size beer you’re looking for and where in the country you are. While there is a growing craft beer movement across Spain, for the most part beer is beer – light, fizzy, and cold. Cold is the operative word here – a cold beer is a good beer, so many Spaniards would prefer to order more small glasses than one large one, ensuring that each glass stays cold from beginning to end.

So, a whole language has grown up around different beer sizes and orders, with many regionally-specific names. Are you looking for a tiny pour to wet your mouth before dinner? Order a zurito – but only if you’re in the Basque Country. A larger pour to sip on for a little while? Order a doble, unless you want a glass with a handle, in which case you can ask for a jarra. Want a pitcher? Instead get a porrón, a traditional glass flask used by winemakers to pass around a bottle between friends, which can easily be filled with beer or clara, a beer-lemonade hybrid.

Here’s a rundown of popular orders around the country:

Caña: From the word “cane,” a caña is around 200 milliliters (about 6.7 ounces), the standard order at most bars.

Zurito (Basque Country) AKA Corto (León) or Penalti (Aragón): less than 200ml, get these if you like small pours that won’t get warm before you finish them.

Tubo: From the word “tube,” a tubo is ~333ml … something like a taller caña, and closer in size to a standard American beer bottle.

Doble (Madrid): Double the beer, double the fun. If you prefer a mug with a handle, order a jarra.

Litro AKA Xibeca (Catalonia), Katxi (Basque Country) or Tanque (Cantabria): a full liter (1000ml) of beer.

Porrón: A traditional glass wine pitcher, designed to be passed around from person to person without sharing germs. Drinking from a porrón is an art – and is an impressive skill to show off at parties!

Clara AKA Shandy (Mallorca), Champú (Tarragona), or Lejía (Basque Country): a mixture of beer and sparkling lemonade or soda, sometimes drunk from a porrón.

That’s a lot to learn if all you want is a beer! Luckily, at Mercado Little Spain, you’ll be able to sidle up to the bar and just order a cerveza – though you’ll get extra credit if your request is for “Dos cañas y un tubo, por favor.” Try it next time you’re at Spanish Diner for the big match or a drink after work.

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