Maltese people have been consuming alcohol for centuries, but it was only in the 1920’s that Maltese companies started to mass-produce beers. Farsons started with a simple yet popular Pale Ale – but in the decades since, Malta’s beer-brewers have stepped up, with locals and foreigners alike creating unique beers that win prizes regularly.
In the last decade especially, Malta’s cold coffee enthusiasts have really started creating some unique amber brews, with craft beer breweries popping up around Malta as well as Gozo.
Together, they offer a lip-smacking list of Maltese beers. In no particular order, these are some of the best Maltese beers on the market.
1. Stretta Indian Pale Ale No. 1
Strada Stretta, the infamous street in Valletta that was home to many a raucous party and been the cause a host of things – some good, some bad – but last year the street even inspired a craft beer.
Local brewer John Borg Barthet created the Indian Pale Ale from home, perfected the recipe, has since garnered widespread recognition and praise.
It has even made it all the way to the top of the Maltese beers on the ratings website ratebeer.com – and the company’s second beer, the Transatlantic Pale Ale, is in second place – expect big things from this local Maltese brewery in the years to come.
2. Lord Chambray San Blas
Lord Chambray set up shop in Gozo after a €1 million euro investment just a few years ago, and has spearheaded the local beer movement to greater heights. The company chose to set up in Gozo specifically – they say the water is better there – and have created these gloriously dry English IPA that has proven popular with the Maltese.
Their “Golden Bay” and “Blue Lagoon” beers are also exceptionally tasty – and exceptionally Maltese.
3. The Brew Gallery
This beer is the official beer of Valletta 2018, and incorporates the flavours of the Maltese capital, adding an intense freshness to the malt sweetness. This is a perfect summer beer for people who don’t like summer beers.
4. Cisk Lager
The most famous of all the Maltese beers, and with good reason. Cisk’s eponymous lager has won awards all over the world, and is the go-to beer for locals and foreigners alike.
It’s golden colour is distinctive and its flavour impossible to replicate anywhere else – you literally need the Maltese church bells to be ringing and the bread-makers and fishmongers to be on the streets selling their wares for this beer to reach its level of flavour.
5. Farsons Blue Label
Another classic Maltese beer that has been garnering top international accolades, this amber coloured, top-fermented ale is mixed in with a special type of mild malt that gives the beer its rich colour and smooth taste. It’s velvety texture and subtle chocolate and caramel notes may have you thinking you are actually eating a bit of chocolate – especially if you are a few cans in.
6. TAR Robust Porter
The Robust Porter comes from the team at Phoenix Raw Beer, and this take on the flavour profile for a classic English Porter adds another layer of flavour profile, with crushed coffee beans giving the beer further complexity.
And don’t be surprised if you get an aftertaste of toffee – that’s on purpose.
7. Cisk Chill
The Cisk Chill line has already stationed itself as the go-to summer beer for many drinkers. The line offers beers that are light, refreshing, and fruity with a medium body and moderate carbonation.
You can choose between Lemon, Berry, or their recent Ginger and Lime version as you please or depending on what you’ll be pairing the drink with.
8. Blonde Foral Ale
The Phoenix Raw Beer’s second beer to make it onto this list, this cloudy, golden beer lives up to its name – you can taste everything from apple to pear to cloves in this beer. It provides a truly unusual flavour that will have beer enthusiasts coming back for more.
9. Rubin Double Ale
The Rubin Double Ale is inspired by the classic Belgian Trappist style of brewing, usually called “Dubbel”. It is a rich full-flavoured beer, with biscuit overtones, and is moderately hoppy with a rich malt aroma. Great as a winter beer or an accompaniment to a Lord Of The Rings marathon.
10. Farsons Lacto
As its name suggests, this is a Maltese-produced milk stout. With caramel added from flavour, this dark-coloured beer comes with an aroma of roasted malts, metal, lactic tones, coffee.
The coffee tones and added lactose practically makes this a morning beverage, which gives you a great excuse to have it for breakfast – just make sure you don’t anything else planned for the day.
11. Hopleaf Pale Ale
The origins of the Hopleaf Pale Ale go back to the days of the British Empire. It is typically British, pouring with a straw-colour and incorporating a light hop resin and biscuity malt aroma. A bit spicy and peppery, try to avoid the topic of Brexit whilst enjoying this beer.
12. Farsons Traditional Shandy
The lightest beer on the list, coming in at just 2.2% ABV, this is for anyone who does not enjoy the bitterness of most beers. As a mixture of ale-based beer and lemonade, it is probably the most refreshing beer on the list, and perfect for when you want to take it easy for a night.