Other than industrial juggernauts like Stella Artois and Heineken, imported beers are not often seen in the Czech lands, with very few brews arriving from across the border to the north. Some non-spectacular Polish beers have previously shown up in bottles. But this week, Pivovarský dum is holding the Days of Polish Beer, with four brews from Poland specially chosen and brought in by the Bractwo Piwne, in conjunction with SPP, their cousins in the European Beer Consumers Union.
At the introductory event yesterday afternoon, a cellar full of Czech beer fans got ask questions about Polish beer culture (including Grodziskie) and try the brews, most of which will be around for the rest of this week. Here’s what’s on tap.
From the family-run Browar Amber in Gdańsk:
Amber Żiwe (6.2%). This is an unfiltered golden special that is clear enough to appear filtered, originally brewed at 14.5° though light as a Czech 11° in body (and less colorful to boot). It’s got a slightly minty hop aroma and a pleasant maltiness. Overall, quite nice — and, typical of many Polish brews, stronger than you’d expect.
Amber Kozlák (6.5%). This is an amber bock with a malty nose and a beautiful clear amber color (pictured above). In the mouth there are raspberry and plum notes and a slightly tannic, leathery finish. Really very good — so good, in fact, that it appears to have sold out immediately.
From Browary Łódzkie in Łódź:
Łódzkie Mocne (7%). Brewed at 15°, this is a clear, pale gold, strong lager with a fluffy white head and little discernible hop aroma. Easy-drinking, and probably much lower in alcohol than is claimed.
Łódzkie Glob Premium (4.5%). A clear gold Pilsner-style brew with a slightly thin, American-lager-style body, and a semi-dry finish with very little bitterness.
Thus, two highly recommended brews, two easy drinkers — and some news about Polish beer culture that directly relates to beer in the Czech Republic and anywhere else in the world.
For example, in a parallel to the recent takeover of the Czech Republic’s four Drinks Union breweries by Heineken, Bractwo Piwne member Krzysztof Jóźwiak noted that Heineken originally purchased 11 breweries in Poland, though they only have seven now. Four were shuttered.
As for Grodziskie, the legendary smoked beer also known as Grätzer, I asked about the rumor that it might be poised for a comeback. No news, our Polish brethren said. If Grodziskie is going to return, at least three members of Bractwo Piwne haven’t heard about it. There are not even any homebrewers in Poland who make Grodziskie, if I understood correctly, as part of the problem is that no one produces Grodziskie-style smoked wheat malt anymore.
The members of Bractwo Piwne will be around town all this week, including heading to the Czech Beer Festival on Friday, the festival’s opening day. The remaining Polish beers on tap at Pivovarský klub, however, probably won’t even last that long. If you’re curious, try them now.