Beer or Zythos (the original Greek word for beer). However you want to call it it’s my favorite drink. Where ever I am, at the first chance I want to have a beer. All of us started from somewhere. We drank the famous Heineken, Amstel and later Mythos (I can’t forget the commercials especial the one the track driver who offers “a little spinachpie”). We tasted imported beers like Warsteiner, Pilsner Urquell, Paulaner, Chimay and many more.
Sometime later on we met the rest of Greek beers. Craft, Vergina and Fix. The days passed and now we end up having a huge variety of Greek beers. The microbreweries started operations the one after the other. Pilsner and Ales are getting all over the Greek market. With honey, with citrus, unpasteurized or not, they have won a space into our fridge or the menu of our business.
At this time in Greece we count more that 20 Lagers, Pilsners and 9 Ales, without counting all these trademarks that being produced in our country such as Heineken. I don’t want to talk about all of them and tire you. The majority of them are well known, while others less. Each one of them that is produced wants to contribute in something unique, to offer something different. Do they succeed? Without comparing and contrasting the labels I am wondering what all these Greek Pils and Ales have to offer us.
Stand out are the efforts from microbreweries for Porter (Septem Porter) and Bitter Ale (Corfu Microbrewery). Conscientious are the efforts from Hellenic Brewery of Atalnati, for the Greek summer type Corona (I hope Hellenic Brewery of Atalnati and Mythos allow me to write that). It’s a pity that Craft didn’t have any more the ability to produce a Smoked Lager and Weiss. Although we still have the Weiss of Vergina! A beer that conflict everyone, such as the Dark Fix.
In between the consumers there is incapability about, if Fix Dark worth’s our money. It considers that the beer doesn’t worth it, while for other it’s excellent. That has to do with personal taste I think, so I am not going further with that. What I would like to say is that you can’t compare the Vergina Weiss with similar Germans. It’s unfair, although it’s considered better that some imported. Vergina, at this time has the privilege that it’s the only Greek Weiss in the market. None although from the “big” or the “new” none of them has been into the process to produce a new Weiss. They think that the market doesn’t need it? That there will be no demand? Then why they have huge turnover, for the Greek standers all the imported Weiss?
These days came into the market (and I wish to them every success) the Nissos beer from Tinos island and the Delphi from Chalkida (we are waiting for the brewery in Chalkida to be ready in order to visit it) and we are also waiting the new Pils from Hellenic Brewery of Atalnati, coming out in the next few days.
The market, in my opinion is saturated, from Lagerd, Pilsners and Ales. Why they don’t invest their efforts in something more alternative, like another Greek Weiss, so we have something to compare Vergina with. It’s time for both of them to try to produce better beers and recipes. Hellenic Brewery of Atalnati is co-operating with a German brewer, I don’t think, that it will difficult for him to take advantage of the facilities.
Why don’t we try to make a beer with mastiha? If Chios Microbrewery does that, it will make a world famous innovation and certainly a Greek beer (as the mastiha doesn’t exist anywhere else!). Similar goes for Volkan, which uses basalt of Santorini for filtering, honey from Santorini and citrus from Naxos as their ingredients.
BIOS5 form the Athenian Brewery (yes its an international company and their profits doesn’t come back to Greece, but a lot of Greek families live from them) it’s the only beer with 5 cereals. It’s been awarded for that. But it can’t stand in the pitch.. If it wasn’t produced by the Athenian Brewery, I think it would be more popular.
NEDA (a nice Lager, as the German visitors of Greece say), could try to produce a red? The same goes for ZEOS..
Peiraiki produced a Christmas beer (Xmas Brew- Dark Lager), why they don’t try to produce a dark ale all the year? Not just this brewery but others too. Let’s deal with a Brown Ale. Let’s make a Greek Dark Ale, which will be near the 5% abv and will be served in a barrel. All our dark beers are highly rated Ales or dark Lagers are near the 5%.
I am sure that we have the frame of mind, we got the equipment, we are full of motivation but we miss the nerve. We do not dare to make a beer because we are afraid of something. We are afraid of the critics or the rejection and we go to the simple solutions following familiar paths. I hope from the “big” breweries to try. The market doesn’t only have taverns or supermarkets. It also has pubs, restaurants and bars that are supporting the domestic products, they consider their honor to sell Greek beer and of course they suggest food combination with similar tastes. The only thing is that there are some beer gaps that someone has to cover.
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