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|
|123||Královský Lev 12%||Czech Rep.||3.98||4||4||4||4||5.2%||Lager, Light|
|487||Ragutis Desimutkas 10%||Lithuania||3.39||3||3||4||3||3||4||4.1%||Lager, Light|
|960||Obolon Premium||Ukraine||2.96||3||3||3||3||5.2%||Lager, Light|
|1062||Krynitsa Pivo 12%||Belarus||2.86||3||4||3||2||2||3||4.4%||Lager, Dark|
|1115||Chisinau Bere Blonda||Moldova||2.80||2||4||3||2||3||3||3.5%||Lager, Light|
|1190||Obolon Sovorne||Ukraine||2.71||3||3||2||3||4.7%||Lager, Light|
|1190||Brok Pomeranian||Poland||2.71||3||3||2||3||7.8%||Lager, Bock|
|1224||Krynitsa Svitanak 10%||Belarus||2.68||4||1||4||3||1||2||3.5%||Lager, Light|
|1320||Vitanta Chisinau Bruna||Moldova||2.61||2||3||3||1||3||4||4.5%||Lager, Dark|
|1386||Slavutych Temne||Ukraine||2.52||2||2||3||3||3||2||4.5%||Lager, Dark|
|1424||Utenos Alus||Lithuania||2.48||3||3||2||2||2||3||5.2%||Lager, Light|
|1439||Skoglunds Bira||Estonia||2.45||4||2||1||3||5.2%||Lager, Light|
|1462||Obolon Berg||Ukraine||2.43||3||2||2||3||5.0%||Lager, Light|
|1504||Cernivske Pivo 11%||Ukraine||2.38||3||1||3||2||3||2||3.8%||Lager, Light|
|1530||Ciuc Premium||Romania||2.34||2||3||3||2||2||2||4.8%||Lager, Light|
|1548||Utenos Pilsener||Lithuania||2.33||3||3||3||0||2||3||4.8%||Lager, Light|
|1574||Kalnapilis Karcemos||Lithuania||2.31||2||2||2||3||3||2||4.7%||Lager, Light|
|1598||Ursus Pils||Romania||2.28||1||2||3||2||3||3||4.5%||Lager, Light|
|1646||Kalnapilis Ekstra||Lithuania||2.22||3||2||2||2||5.4%||Lager, Light|
|1698||Silva Strong Dark Lager||Romania||2.14||1||3||3||2||2||2||6.5%||Lager, Bock|
|1730||Zolotaya Bochka Klassicheskoe||Russia||2.07||1||3||2||2||2||3||5.0%||Lager, Light|
|1764||Obolon 2000||Ukraine||2.02||2||3||2||1||8.0%||Lager, Bock|
|1791||Ragutis Birzieciu 21%||Lithuania||1.99||3||2||2||1||1||3||8.5%||Lager, Bock|
|1827||Ragutis Perkuno||Lithuania||1.94||2||3||2||1||1||3||8.0%||Lager, Bock|
|1851||Kalnapilis 7.30||Lithuania||1.91||2||1||3||2||7.3%||Lager, Bock|
|1865||Vilko Stiprus Alus||Lithuania||1.88||2||3||1||1||2||3||8.0%||Lager, Bock|
|1865||Slavutych Ekstra||Ukraine||1.88||2||3||1||1||2||3||5.5%||Lager, Light|
|1874||Slavutych Micne||Ukraine||1.87||2||1||2||3||7.2%||Lager, Bock|
|2088||Krynitsa-1 Pivo 11%||Belarus||1.22||1||2||1||1||1||2||3.6%||Lager, Dark|
|2132||Medovoe Svetloe Pivo||Russia||0.85||1||0||1||2||4.1%||Lager, Light|
|2138||Alivariya 10%||Belarus||0.71||1||2||0||1||0||1||3.8%||Lager, Dark|
|Rated by: Johan Zetterlund, Mattias Leidebjer, Per Samuelsson, Lars Samuelsson, Cecilia Gårdebäck, Fredrik Huldt and Oscar Hansson|
Updated 99-12-21 Per Samuelsson