Jak sie masz! Polish Beer on the High Steet

Well. Hasn’t this post been a while in coming? I’m suffering from a terrible brewing and writing lethargy at the moment. Lots of work on and the unrelenting wet and cold have rather put me off the whole thing a bit.

I’ve got ingredients and a whole pile of stuff to write up, so I guess I ought to just knuckle down and get on with it…

Last weekend, I found a Polish deli in Witney, and joy of joys it was rammed out with beer – none of which I recognised and all at a bargain price of £1.49 a pop!

So I had a small splurge and got myself and Peter (my father-in-law) a few bottles to sample.

First off:

Zywiec – Biale

Using Google translate and it’s camera mode, I was able to work out that this is a Wit, or white beer. Arriving in a glass, it was very wit-like, with an odd soapy character to the nose. Maybe it’s got spices in it? Coriander can do that. I’d compare it to Hoegaarden or Blue Moon but more approachable…if a little bland.



Brewery Okocim – Cztery Chmiele

A very pale lager indeed, very clean on the nose but there’s some saazy sort of spice if you sniff closely. Lovely light malt sweetness with a touch of fruit on finish. Very refreshing very drinkable.



Zywiec – 1860 Bock

Bock? Lovely. I was in the mood for some solid maltiness and by crikey did I get it. A lovely chestnut brown and suffused to the gills with dark malts character. Sweetly malty, strong with lashings of roast and a tasty bitter note on the back end. An excellent beer I will get myself a few bottles of this on the next outing to Witney. At 6.5% it’s a real big winner of a beer at one pound forty-nine. Bargain!



Brewery Okocim – Piwo Ciemne

Almost impenetrable black. Surprisingly white head.  Eve said the aroma reminded her a lot of jacket potatoes…and on reflection, she’s right: this beer is fairly heavy on the roast malts. I’m suspecting that this is a fairly bockish lager with black malts included. A nice, easy-drinking, black/dark lager.



Zywiec – 1865 Marcowe.

I liked this one a lot, it’s a nice dark malty lager. Slightly spicy with a lovely dose of maltiness with lashings of sweetness. Complex and clean and tasty. I thought that this was another marvellous bargain of a beer.



So there you go, a new source of interesting weird and wonderful beers on the high street. That’s got to be a good thing.


Zywiec Beer

20131101_112314It’s Friday, it’s five-to-five, it’s time for Krakowiac!

…at least that’s what the folks depicted on this beer’s label appear to have been told.  They’re Krakowiacing like it’s going out of fashion.

Feeble jokes about erstwhile British children’s TV and obscure references to polish folk-dancing aside, we’re here today to take a look at Zywiec beer.

I got an opportunity to try Zywiec on Friday lunchtime after a family trip to the photography studio, when we dropped into Amber Cafe Bar in Evesham.   Amber’s food was kind of OK: cheap and utilitarian but not bad in any way…their beer selection was poor: too much generic fizzy keg stuff; so, something seemingly obscure and in a bottle seemed like the best compromise.

Zywiec is a pale polish lager, and by all accounts is one of the most popular beers in Poland.  The Zywiec brand itself is owned by the Heineken juggernaut, so make of that what you will…

Zywiec arrived a typically pale lager yellow and with an extraordinarily dense head of very fluffy white foam.  I’d love to wax lyrical about how the lagering process and locality of the brewing water go to making great head retaining proteins from the malt but I’d be talking outside of my immediate knowledge and also roundly out of my arse, so just take my word that it’s a good dense head…

The aroma was all spicy euro hops and sweet malt with a breezy ozoney edge to it.  The taste was weirdly “tangy”, lightly malty and with a perfumed lilting accent.  The bitterness arrived at the swallow, accompanied by a faint residual sweetness.

I guess I kinda liked this, but it’s not very complex.  It’s obviously meant to be clean and fresh – being a lager – and that’s just what it is, but I do think I’d like a little more rounded malt in the flavour.

All in all: drinkable, but not exciting.  Have a go, it’s always very reasonably priced and is waaaaay better than the usual generic urine the seeps out of the taps of many-a-pub and bar these days…


(which is all in Polish, as the English language version was blocked by Google as a security risk…no I didn’t know that they were the arbiters of gustatory taste, as well as taste and decency…)