Today, another episode amateurs of beer-making:after spending some time in Gdańsk-based breweries, it is time to move elswhere: Stary Browar (Old Brewery) in Kościerzyna. Before exploring local flavours, try getting to know the history of the place better. It all began in the XIX century. In the times of its former glory, the brewery manufactured different kinds of beer, all of which were famous all throughout the region. In the 1920s, the brewery even had its branches in Kartuzy, Sierakowice, Gdańsk, and Gdynia. After the war, the factory was transformed into carbonated water factory, which later became mead manufacture. In the 1990s, the factory was closed. Fortunately, this didn’t last long as in 2013 the brewery was re-activated, and with it the best brewing traditions. The Brewery was reborn in a brand new form: together with a hotel and the restaurant Stary Browar Kościerzyna, which I visited.
The restaurant allows you to enjoy a wide range of products of the brewery, and admire the shiny copper vats. As a fan of wheat beer, I tried the local variety, as well as its seasonal spin-off that appears during this time of year: the cranberry beer. If you expect syrupy-sweet flavours, don’t worry: the beer is enriched only with fresh cranberry juice. It is sour and simply delicious. Of course, for all those seeking more pronounced flavours, there are more potent, dark beers. Or, you can go for one of the seasonal beers.
Flavours of the Stary Browar Kościerzyna
Enough about beer, time to talk about flavours that can be found here. The menu, created by Chef Domik Pepliński, is a perfect match with a glass of chilled beer. I start with appetizers, foie gras with caramelised pineapple – savoury offal and sweet pineapple is a match made in heaven!
Having visited a restaurant that is closely associated with beer, I could resist trying beer soup, served with chicken. It is thick and creamy.
For the second course I try dishes that can safely be called the local speciality: cod with potato babka, chanterelles, and pickled cucumber sauce, which received a reward of the Marshall of Pomorskie Voivodeship. It’s quite an unusual combination that goes together very nicely. The texture of the fish, creamy sauce and acidic note of finely diced cucumbers is a neat trio. They are an excellent match for this pleasant piece of crispy potato delicacy. The chef recommends the knuckle or the local twist on zander, served with a hint of lemon and raisins.
As you can see, the menu at Stary Browar Kościerzyna comprises mainly Polish cuisine with Kashubian elements. As the head chef says: “We try to stay within the region I come from Kościerzyna, so I am familiar with Kashubian cuisine. Some of the traditional flavours come from my home. Of course, our menu needs to go along with beer. This is why we also try to smuggle beer in our dishes.”
The menu of the restaurant is changed according to seasons, four times a year. Seasonal dishes appear on a board. The restaurant holds events dedicated to a particular cuisine-related topic. For example, they recently held Kashubian week, during which specialties from Kashubian cuisine were served.
It is worth noting that even if you are beer laymen, the waiters will be happy to help in selecting the right beer to go with your dish. And for those who will fall in love in local alcohol, there is some good news: all the beer available in the brewery can be bought bottled.