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Posts Tagged ‘poland’

Warka Classic

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Another Polish beer now and what might be my last new one for a while now, this is a beer that I actually drank quite a lot of in Poland on my last visit to the country back in August but it’s not one that I gave a proper review at the times. The fact that I never reviewed it whilst in Poland is actually one of the reasons that I picked this one up recently when I found that Asda supermarkets in the UK were selling it, not because I was a huge fan of it in Poland. It’s pretty much a standard, basic pale lager but here’s what I thought of it when I finally tried a bottle and gave it a proper review.

Appearance (4/5): Clear and golden amber with a nice head that sits just over two and a half centimetres tall and looks quite foamy. It’s a white head that eventually settles around two centimetres tall and looks nice, leaving some good lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a clean nose with some biscuit malts and earthy aromas but it’s not a strong one at any point. There was some corn and bread around the middle with a slightly metallic aroma further on but it’s definitely a basic lager smell throughout.
Taste (5/10): Opening with more of the biscuit and corn from the nose, the beer is an earthy tasting one that was again quite light throughout. There was some faint lemon and pepper coming through around the middle with a clean taste and a faint bitterness near the end but it’s nothing to write home about really.
Palate (3/5): Clean but a very basic and light beer, almost weak tasting at times with a faint sweetness coming through as well. It was softly carbonated but easy to drink, likely due to the fact it was so bland.

Overall (12/20): A fairly basic and light Polish lager that was drinkable but didn’t really stand out at any point, although it was a clean and relatively easy-going beer. There was some biscuit malts and corn coming through with a subtle sweetness and some faint lemon at times too but beyond that there wasn’t much to this beer and I doubt it’s one that I’ll have again unless I’m back in Poland.

Brewed In: Warka, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browary Warka
First Brewed: Brewery since 1478
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Asda (Glasgow)
Price: £1.69

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Żywiec Amerykańskie Pszeniczne

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.45

Apparently a new Żywiec beer for the summer of 2017 so I’m not sure if it is a limited release or a new one from the brewery but I managed to pick this one up shortly after its initial release after spotting it in a shop across from my hotel when I was in Krakow last month. The beer is a pale wheat ale from the brewery and follow on from the Żywiec APA that I reviewed here last as the second from them that I tried on my trip; I only managed to review three new beers over the two days I was in the city sadly. I wasn’t sure what to think when I picked this one up given I had never heard of it and couldn’t understand the writing on the bottle but it is always nice to pick up a new beer and add a sixth Żywiec beer to the list of those that I have now tried.

Appearance (3/5): Cloudy lemon coloured with a fluffy looking white head that was about a centimetre and a half tall, holding better than expected too; it’s a thick looking beer but definitely an odd colour for a beer too.
Aroma (5/10): Not a very strong beer at all, this one opened with some faint citrus and lemon notes that seemed to match the colour of the beer for some reason but both could definitely have used being a little stronger. There was some grassy notes and hay nearer the middle of the beer, I managed to get some subtle background fruits too but beyond that there wasn’t much of anything going on sadly and it was quite disappointing as a result.
Taste (5/10): Following on closely from the nose, the taste is kicked off with subtle lemon and citrus flavours that are backed up by a little biscuit and hay. It’s almost like a radler with some cereal in there as well as a background sweetness, presumably from the basic fruits that carried on from the nose as well. There was some lager malts kicking about nearer the end too plus a basic bitterness but again it’s quite a one-dimensional beer.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied, perhaps a little lighter than that but certainly not a thin bodied beer. There was some fresh touches of this one and it seem both crisp and clean but definitely basic at the same time, something not helped by the lack of variety to the nose and taste. There was faint sweetness around the middle but it’s not a great beer on the palate really.

Overall (9/20): Quite a poor showing from the brewery with this one and not a beer that I could recommend given how basic and one-dimensional it seemed throughout. There was some subtle citrus and lemon flavours that were coupled with a biscuit and cereal combination that made up most of the taste. It seemed very basic and quite boring at times too, it’s not a beer that I enjoyed nor is it one that I’d have again either.

Brewed In: Żywiec, Poland
Brewery: Grupa Żywiec
Full Name: Żywiec Jasne Pelne
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Wheat Ale
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Krakow, Poland
Price: 8PLN (approx. £1.71)

Żywiec APA

September 12, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.5

The first of two Żywiec beers that I sampled over in Krakow when visiting the city last month, this one will be the fifth review of one of there beers that I’ll have added here and will also be my fourth new one from them this year thanks to two trips to Poland in the last six months. This one is actually a beer that I tried a few times in bottles when visiting Warsaw back in March but I never got the chance to give it a proper review until I found it in a Krakow bar across from my hotel and decided to give it a proper try. A fairly new beer from the brewery, this one was first introduced back in 2014 and from my understanding it is one of the most widely available beers in the country that isn’t a lager; I managed to see things one in countless shops and bars during my time in Poland but it’s still not one that I’ve spotted back here in the UK which means it’s always nice to try it.

Appearance (4/5): The beer was a light amber colour that seemed bright and sat with a clear body in the glass. There was a thin, basic looking lacing that covered the edges of the beer but not the centre; it was still a nice enough looking beer though.
Aroma (6/10): Subtly hoppy with some faint citrus and a little pine coming through in the early going alongside some biscuit malts and earthy notes. There was a nice balance and freshness to the nose that was complimented by some grassy hops and pale malts but nothing seemed to dominate. A subtle tang appeared nearer the end and whilst it was a nice beer, I’d have liked it to be a little stronger.
Taste (6/10): Floral and fresh to start, there was a nice combination of citrus and orange flavours to liven things up in the early going before some grassy hops and biscuit from the nose started to come through. There wasn’t too much special about this one sadly and like the nose it could have been stronger but there was a few nice spiced and pale malts towards the end which was enjoyable.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and lively to start thanks to the citrus tang, the beer was lighter and perhaps weaker than I’d have liked but there was a semi-bitterness from the hops throughout and the balance seemed good which made for an easy-going and crisp beer with further bitterness seeing things out.

Overall (14/20): This one was a solid, if a little uninspiring, beer that wasn’t as hoppy and bitter as I’d have expected for a beer of this style but it was a well-balanced, enjoyable offering that was edging closer to an American IPA styled offering but at least it was crisp and easy to drink. It’s one that I’d possible consider having again if I found it on-tap in Poland but it’s certainly not one to seek out I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Żywiec, Poland
Brewery: Grupa Żywiec
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Beer House Pub (Krakow, Poland)
Price: 10 PLN (approx. £2.15)

Brackie (358 of 1001)

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

A beer that I was originally hoping to try earlier this year when I visited Warsaw but despite visits to numerous bars and shops it was one of the few Polish beers from the 1001 beers list that I wasn’t able to find; that was until my recent visit to Krakow when I stumbled across it on-tap in the first pub I visited and right across from my hotel as well. Brewed near the Czech border and taking influence from their beers, this one is a lager that is apparently only available in Poland and it is the 358th beer from the 1001 beers list that I will now have reviewed here. Originally brewed not long after the brewery was founded, this beer dates to the 1850’s and is the first of only three reviews from my Krakow trip that I’ll upload here; here’s what I thought of it when I finally managed to try it last month.

Appearance (4/5): Bright orange in colour with a fairly clear body that was topped with a white head that looked slightly creamy at times. There was good lacing on the sides of the glass and the head retention was decent as well, a nice start to this one.
Aroma (6/10): Quite light on the nose with some subtle hops coming through alongside a slightly earthy middle that had some biscuit and hay showing. There nothing too strong or pronounced coming through sadly but I managed to detect some grassy hops and faint citrus before a light bitterness rounded things off.
Taste (6/10): Saaz hops and some hay like flavours opened things here, there was a good biscuit taste and some grassy hops further on before touches of earthy malts started to come through as well. I managed to get some caramel malts which added a little sweetness nearer the end with hints of butterscotch in there too.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and sitting medium to full bodied, this one was definitely thicker than expected and slightly creamy at times too but the carbonation levels were quite soft sadly. It was well balanced but perhaps a little weak, the sweetness however was a nice touch without being anything special.

Overall (14/20): This one was a decent offering that came through quite balanced and was definitely easy to drink, it was however a little weak on the nose and I was expecting a little more from a beer that featured in the 1001 beers list. It was more sweet than I’d expected and had some creamy touches which I liked but carbonation levels were below average for the style and I was looking for it to be more crisp as well. Definitely one worth sampling if you find it in Poland but it’s probably not one that I’d rush back to I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Cieszyn, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Zamkowy Cieszyn
First Brewed: circa. 1850’s
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Beer House Pub (Krakow, Poland)
Price: 6 PLN (approx. £1.29)

Okocim Jasne Okocimskie

August 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A review of a beer that I actually managed to try a few times earlier this year when I was visiting Warsaw, although on all previous occasions I had it straight from the can and was unable to give it a proper review at the time. The beer is the fourth from the Okocim brewery that I’ll haev reviewed here, although one of those offerings was a non-alcoholic Karmi Classic beverage that I picked up in a local Polish shop mistakenly thinking it was an alcoholic beer. It follows on from three previous beers from the brewery that I managed to sample in Warsaw back in March and as I recall, it was one of the better Polish lagers I tried on my trip so I’m hoping that still stands true when I give it another try now.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring quite a bright looking and very clear amber that is topped with an impressive, three centimetre tall head that looks quite foamy and is bone white in colour. There is a little lacing threatening to stick to the sides of the glass and plenty of fine bubbles are also rising to the surface as the head slowly recedes to settles about two centimetres tall in the glass but it’s no less impressive looking than when it was first poured; a great start.
Aroma (7/10): Starting a little more fresh than usual for a lager, there is some lemon and faint citrus notes sitting on top of the usual pale malts and earthy hops. There was a little hay and some grassy hops in there as expected, I managed to detect some corn sweetness as well though and a tiny bit of spice down the stretch. It’s a very nice smelling lager and one that seems quite balanced and lively at this early stage, I’m definitely looking forward to trying it again now.
Taste (6/10): Kicking off with a sweet taste that comes through with some corn, earthy malts and light grassy hops as well as some biscuit touches and even a tiny bit of vanilla. The beer wasn’t as tangy as the nose hinted at but some citrus and lemon did manage to sneak through nearer the middle of the taste with a few lager malts in there for good measure as well. While still a good beer up to this point, the taste was a slight backwards step coming after the nose with the usual lager flavours seeming to be a little more pronounced than I’d anticipated after the nose but it was still a great tasting beer.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and starting quite fresh, the beer did fade a little in this department as things went on but there was no sign of any skunk or off-flavours at any point and it remained quite an easy beer to drink throughout. There was some minor sweet touches in areas along with faint spice near the end but it was a pleasant beer to drink.

Overall (15/20): Very nice stuff from Okocim here, this is definitely one of the better Polish lager I’ve tried and is just a good beer full stop. The taste is nothing out of the ordinary but it’s a well made offering that is easy to drink and went down well, it’s definitely one that I’d have again given the chance and is one I’m glad I brought home to try properly as well; I’m almost surprised that it doesn’t feature on the 1001 beers list given how poor some of the Eastern European lagers I’ve tried from it have been.

Brewed In: Brzesko, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Okocim
First Brewed: Brewery since 1845
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Can (500ml)
Purchased: Modlin International Airport, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 12PLN (appox. £2.50)

Łomża Export (346 of 1001)

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

My third review of a beer from the 1001 beers list in a row now, this one being another Polish offering that I managed to get hold of when visiting Warsaw last month but it’s taking me some time to get round to adding it here. This one was the third of four new Polish beers from the list that I managed to try on my visit to the country and follows on from the recent reviews of Żywiec Porter and Perła Chmielowa on this blog. This particular offering is another I picked up on my last afternoon in Warsaw after stopping off at several convenience stores hunting for this or one of the other beers to feature on the 1001 beers list from Poland. The beer is brewed in the town of Łomża, located roughly ninety miles from Warsaw but even then it wasn’t the easy of bottles to get hold of despite it being one of the most popular beers in the northeast of the country. It is a beer that has managed to win a few awards over the years too, including a bronze at the Australian International Beer Awards in 2009 and a gold medal at the Monde Selection in Belgium the same year; not bad for a brewery only founded in 1968 as a government-run enterprise.

Appearance (3/5): Quite a light and clear bodied beer that was amber coloured and had a lot of larger bubbles rising to the surface in the early going. The head was quite a thin and disappointing one, starting about a centimetre tall as a bubbly white one before fading to a fraction of its original size and turning patchy around the edges.
Aroma (5/10): Fairly light on the nose with some early skunky notes and a faint grassy hops making an appearance alongside some hay and basic adjuncts. There wasn’t really much coming through but I could detect some bread malts and a basic sweetness with subtle citrus notes seeing things out.
Taste (5/10): Similar to the nose, the taste kicks off with some basic adjuncts and a couple of bread malts that carry on from the nose, there was a little sweetness in there too though. This was followed nearer the middle by some grassy flavours and hay as well as a slightly sticky tasting biscuit flavours. Towards the end the adjuncts and hay start to become more pronounced on what was already quite a basic offering but it certainly wasn’t the worst tasting beer out there.
Palate (3/5): Light medium bodied and fairly basic throughout, there was some subtle grassy hops and a slight bit of fizz on top of quite a sweet base to the beer. Sticky patches from the sweet malts featured at times but on the whole it was quite a bland and unexciting beer that wasn’t very complex either sadly.

Overall (11/20): A better beer than I’d been expecting going in, but in truth that is only half the story since I definitely wasn’t expecting much from this one and the fact it came in a 660ml bottle didn’t help matters. Appearance wise the beer got off to a poor start but things picked up a little with the nose and taste at least without really excelling. It remained quite an easy one to drink with a nice balance that made it better than quite a few other Polish beers I’ve tried but I’m still not sure I’d put it in the 1001 beers book to be honest with you.

Brewed In: Łomża, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Łomża
First Brewed: 1968
Type: Dortmunder/Export Lager
Abv: 5.7%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Żabka Supermarket (Warsaw)
Price: 3.49PLN (approx. £0.70)

Saku Porter (345 of 1001)

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Only my second ever beer from Estonia now, this one follows on from the bottle of Viru from the country that I reviewed here way back in June 2013 having been impressed with the nice bottle design but ultimately being disappointed with the beer itself so I was hopeful this one would be better. The beer is a Baltic porter that appears in the 1001 beers list as one of only two Estonian offerings featured so I fully expected this one to be a decent offering when I picked it up on my last day in Warsaw when visiting the city last month. Brewed once a year as a winter seasonal, this one was originally brewed in the town of Saku before production was moved to the Aldaris brewery in Latvia in the winter of 2009/10, since both are now owned by Carlsberg but naturally I’ll still list this one as an Estonian beer. It was at this point that the beers alcohol content was reduced from the original 7.5% to its current 7.0%, although the bottle I picked up came in just under that at 6.9% abv. for the winter 2016/17 edition of the beer.

Appearance (4/5): An opaque offering that was a dark brown to mahogany colour and came with a few red tinges running through the body as well. There was a light beige head on top that started off quite bubbly, sitting about a centimetre tall before fading to leave a slightly patchy lacing after about thirty seconds or so with the odd bubble rising from the base of the beer too.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty offering with a lot of chocolate notes coming through in the early going alongside some vanilla sweetness and touches of caramel. It was a sweet beer but some earthy bitterness featured early too which helped to give the beer a nice balance on the nose, some coffee smells featuring too but they were definitely more subtle. It was quite a strong beer on the nose with some grain and hints of alcohol coming through nearer the end but overall it was a pleasant smelling beer.
Taste (7/10): Starting with a combination of sweet malts and chocolate in the early going, there was some dark malts and caramel sweetness too with the odd sticky flavours towards the middle. I could detect some liquorice and an almost cola like taste with plenty of sugars coming through soon after and then a couple of roasted malts down the stretch before some hints of alcohol seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied with quite a creamy, smooth feel to proceedings and plenty of sweetness too. The beer was syrupy and sticky at times with plenty of malt bitterness and the odd touch of alcohol towards the end giving it a slightly warming feel that seemed stronger than the 6.9% abv. of the beer.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a big, strong beer that opened with a lot of sweetness thanks to the chocolate and caramel flavours sitting on top of a sugary base and some warming alcohol nearer the end. There was a nice complexity to this one as well as a good balance, I felt it was slightly stronger than a 6.9% beer should be but it was still highly drinkable and one well worth trying; I’d go as far as to say that I’d have it again if it was more readily available in the UK.

Brewed In: Saku, Harjumaa, Estonia
Brewery: Saku Õlletehas
First Brewed: circa 1990
Type: Baltic Porter
ABV: 6.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Carrefour Express (Warsaw, Poland)
Price: 9 PLN (approx. £0.80)