Gijón: Exploring the sidra and food of Asturias

Having set up my tent and dropped my backpack at the campground outside of town, I drive into Gijón to drop the rental car and begin exploring this coastal town on the northern coast of Spain. Gijón wears its commerce and labor roots proudly: ships are in and out of the port rapidly, the air is salty, fishermen line the piers, the food is hearty and filling, and sidra is paramount.

The original settlement of Gijón, the peninsula of Cimadevilla, is a narrow spit jutting out into the Bay of Biscay, bordered by beaches to the east and harbor to the west. Quick to traverse in only minutes, old town is a tangled web of narrow cobblestone streets and colorful old-world architecture.

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The Iglesia de San Pedro cathedral sits on the northern edge of the town’s Plaza Mayor.

Asturian cuisine is exquisite: the famous fabada asturiana, a hearty fava bean, chorizo and morcilla stew, is rich and filling. Octopus, squid, cod, sardines, prawns, mussels and snails are pulled from the water fresh and served in nearly every Gijón kitchen, and sidra is the preferred pairing, almost without question.

pulpo and caracoles

With a bike rental I spend my days exploring the small but growing beer scene in Gijón: no breweries to speak of but a small number of Spanish microbreweries are available in select bottle shops, La Tienda de Vino having the largest selection. Vor Bier Bar, Valonia Maison de la Biere, and new upstart Cerveceria Alemana provide locals and travelers with a few choice Spanish beers among a larger selection of more common Belgian and German imports.

A visit to La Galana is mandatory: pulpo ala gallego (better known as a Gallician dish), fabada asturiana, caracoles and other tapas are served alongside sidra natural (poured by staff only, to be sure).

fried sardines with jamon and sidra

What else to do but eat, drink and lay on the beach? On my third day in town, somewhat last minute, I decide to head south via bus through Oviedo to the small town of Nava, the home of sidra natural in Asturias, to explore the sidra culture more in depth. That’s when the fun started…

BJCP-certified beer judge, photographer, and software developer from Boulder, Colorado. I use this site to chronicle my worldwide beer adventures shared through photography and stories, with a focus on traditional old world brewing practices.

3 thoughts on “Gijón: Exploring the sidra and food of Asturias

  1. Nice!
    Just a pitty you had no time to visit “Lúpulo Feroz”, in Oviedo. IMO one of the best places to have craft beer in Spain. Maybe next time (and pleae, mail me on RB)
    Cheers.

    Lowenbrau.

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