Iwona Kowalska, Kajetan Kusina

Pomorskie’s renaissance of brewing

Kajetan Kusina

We keep developing our fascination for local brewing. Bars and restaurants serving beer produced on the spot enjoy increasing popularity. Thanks to their freshness, taste values and traditional recipes, local beers definitely outdo mass-produced beverages.

Brewing traditions in Gdansk date back to the distant past – almost four hundred breweries were operating in the city already in the early 14th century, which made Gdansk the most important beer producer in this part of Europe. The one to win particular popularity in the whole world was Jopen beer, a specialty of Gdansk brewers. At first people drank beer syrup appreciated for example for its medicinal properties, whose recipe later begun to resemble the one we know today. The drink became so important for the city that the street it was produced on was named Jopengasse. The significance of beer for the city is also proven by the fact that the crane in Gdansk was built to lift barrels of this beverage.

But in the Napoleonic times beer was considered unbecoming of a respectable citizen. Only two breweries were still open in Gdansk in the early 20th century, but they were soon closed as well. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. Tricity and the region have recently enjoyed a true renaissance of the fascination for regional beer, which obviously leads to opening bars and restaurants where one can taste beer produced on the spot.

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One of them is Brovarnia in Hotel Gdansk, which is definitely worth a visit. It was the first to revive local brewing traditions, and its brewers can boast a considerable success. Their wheat and dark beer was considered the best beer in the all-Poland Craft Beer Contest in Żywiec, just like their dark beer three years before. It is surely difficult to find better recommendation on both their skills and the taste of their beer.

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Another place of that kind is Browar Piwna located on the old Jopengasse. Although it produces more than a dozen types of beer, only some of them are available all at once. It results from the fact that the brewers strive after perfection and value quality above quantity. One can taste their beer on the spot, but it is also possible to buy bottles or a whole pack, which seems a perfect idea for a gift for every beer drinker.

Those who would like to taste beer brewed outside Tricity should visit the Old Brewery in Kościerzyna. Beer served there is a combination of a hundred-and-fifty-year-old tradition with the latest technological solutions. Describing breweries in Kashubia, one cannot forget about Kaszubska Korona located at the Centre for Education and Regional Promotion in Szymbark. It brews six types of beer based on traditional, Kashubian recipes.

Amber is the best-known Pomorskie’s beer producer. Although it produces beer on a larger scale, it is far from being a huge concern. Its most famous products are unpasteurized “Żywe” and “Koźlak”, but it offers also many other interesting tastes, like for example the new “Czarny Bez” combining beer with elder syrup. Every year the Amber Brewery organizes the Amber Beer and Food Festival Koźlaki Bielkowskie, called the Pomeranian Oktoberfest.

But the real Oktoberfest takes place precisely in Brovarnia in Hotel Gdansk. Its name evidently refers to the famous Bavarian funfair, but it aims at cherishing local brewing traditions. Its participants will have a chance to taste beer prepared specially for the occasion for 5 weeks – from 19 September till the end of October. As befits the world capital of amber, there will be of course amber lager characterized by its deep colour and mild, caramel taste. As every beer in Brovarnia, it is made to traditional Gdansk recipes, but it also follows the oldest Bavarian purity law, the so-called Reinheitsgebot, which dates back to 1516.

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