Eastern European beers

Eastern European beers

These beers are with two exceptions the result of a tour throughout the Eastern parts of Europe. The first stop of the trip was Kaunas in Lithuania. Kaunas is a faily modern town with a long history. Finding beers was relatively easy, and a supermrket had a selection of around 30 diifferent kinds. The beer scene in Lithuania is seemingly very similar to the one in Poland. Most, if not all, beers are bottom fermented,most of them pale and fairly sweet. There are also a big number of strong lagers around 7-8% which generally are even more sweet. Most breweries are owned by foreign companies, and the beer is usually of high quality, but unadventurous and conform. The major exception to this rule I found was a beer from the local breweryin Kaunas: Ragutis, whose grey looking buildings can be seen in the ewastern parts of town. They were until very recently owned by a Czechish company which might explain why their Ragutis Desimutkas 10% is an excellent interpretation of a Czechish style pils.

Next country up was Belarus. I stayed in Minsk for two days. This was once the richest part of the Soviet Union, but as they have had tremendous problems since the collapse of the USSR that has changed, and the Belarussian ruble is now nearly worthless. Well assorted shops are harder to find here, and though people are friendly it is sometimes hard to get what you want as it is often behind counters, and if you don't speak Russian you might end up in very confusing situations. Anyaway. The main brewery in Minsk seems to be Krynitsa. Their beer varies widely in quality, from the sour, yeasty and hazy undrinkable Alivariya 10% to the credible (but not trerribly succesful) interpretation of a Czechish pils called Krynitsa Svitanak 10%. I also picked up two Russian beers here, but neither of them were terribly interesting. The Czechish beer I found there, Královský Lev 12%, OTOH was an excellent pils.

After Belarus Ukraine was the next country up, and I did spend 2 days in Cherniv'ci in the SW part of the country. Cherniv'ci is beautiful, but partly worn out town in a beautiful area. There was a good and varied selection of beers in many small shops throughout the town. I must say that Ukrainian beers has improved a lot since I had my first bottle full of white floaters three years ago. The main breweries appears to be Obolon and Slavutych, where Obolon's beers generally seem drier and more well hopped. We also tried two local brews. Cernivske Pivo 11% is a crisp, bready unpretentious clean lager, while Try Korcmi is dark red roasty lager in the Baltic Porter style. It is a confusing beer which manages to have a sour nose, syrupy sweet aroma and mouthfeel and a salty finish.

The last of the ex-USSR I visited was the tiny Moldova, a gently rolling land squeezed in between Romania and Ukraine. The country was poor but pleasant, and though I had very liited time so saerch for beers I managed to pick up a few in Chisinau (the capital). They were all from the brewery Vitanta-Intravest and surprisingly tasty. Arc seemed to be the most popular brand. It was a pilsnerish lager with nice bitterness with a clean, malty body.

From Moldova I travelled westward into Romania. Eastern Romania is the poorest place I've ever seen, and the majority of the vehicles on what was supposedly roads were horse carriages. Still the beers had improved a lot since the unlabelled bottles I had here '96. Most beers were clean lagers without faults. A thing I don't like however is that there seems to be a lot of contract brewed beers nowadays in Romania.


Beers rated November/December 1999
123Královský Lev 12%Czech Rep.3.984 44  45.2%Lager, Light
487Ragutis Desimutkas 10%Lithuania3.39334 3344.1%Lager, Light
936ArcMoldova2.98244 1344.5%Lager, Light
960Obolon PremiumUkraine2.963 33  35.2%Lager, Light
1062Krynitsa Pivo 12%Belarus2.86343 2234.4%Lager, Dark
1115Chisinau Bere BlondaMoldova2.80243 2333.5%Lager, Light
1190Obolon SovorneUkraine2.713 32  34.7%Lager, Light
1190Brok PomeranianPoland2.713 32  37.8%Lager, Bock
1224Krynitsa Svitanak 10%Belarus2.68414 3123.5%Lager, Light
1284AurieMoldova2.63332 2335.0%Lager, Light
1320Vitanta Chisinau BrunaMoldova2.61233 1344.5%Lager, Dark
1386Slavutych TemneUkraine2.52223 3324.5%Lager, Dark
1424Utenos AlusLithuania2.48332 2235.2%Lager, Light
1439Skoglunds BiraEstonia2.454 21  35.2%Lager, Light
1461BergenbierRomania2.43232 2335.0%Lager, Light
1462Obolon BergUkraine2.433 22  35.0%Lager, Light
1504Cernivske Pivo 11%Ukraine2.38313 2323.8%Lager, Light
1530Ciuc PremiumRomania2.34233 2224.8%Lager, Light
1548Utenos PilsenerLithuania2.33333 0234.8%Lager, Light
1574Kalnapilis KarcemosLithuania2.31222 3324.7%Lager, Light
1598Ursus PilsRomania2.28123 2334.5%Lager, Light
1646Kalnapilis EkstraLithuania2.223 22  25.4%Lager, Light
1698Silva Strong Dark LagerRomania2.14133 2226.5%Lager, Bock
1730Zolotaya Bochka KlassicheskoeRussia2.07132 2235.0%Lager, Light
1764Obolon 2000Ukraine2.022 32  18.0%Lager, Bock
1791Ragutis Birzieciu 21%Lithuania1.99322 1138.5%Lager, Bock
1827Ragutis PerkunoLithuania1.94232 1138.0%Lager, Bock
1851Kalnapilis 7.30Lithuania1.912 13  27.3%Lager, Bock
1865Vilko Stiprus AlusLithuania1.88231 1238.0%Lager, Bock
1865Slavutych EkstraUkraine1.88231 1235.5%Lager, Light
1874Slavutych MicneUkraine1.872 12  37.2%Lager, Bock
2088Krynitsa-1 Pivo 11%Belarus1.22121 1123.6%Lager, Dark
2125Try KorcmiUkraine0.93102 0125.0%Porter/Stout
2132Medovoe Svetloe PivoRussia0.851 01  24.1%Lager, Light
2138Alivariya 10%Belarus0.71120 1013.8%Lager, Dark
Rated by: Johan Zetterlund, Mattias Leidebjer, Per Samuelsson, Lars Samuelsson, Cecilia Gårdebäck, Fredrik Huldt and Oscar Hansson

To the News page

Updated 99-12-21 Per Samuelsson