Montag, 31. Oktober 2016

Druga Zmiana - Polish Amber Ale


Polish Amber Ale

After years of drinking typical lagers (and getting bored with them), I have had a (long) moment of getting very extreme with my beer taste – high hops, brutal IBU, good beer starts with IPA or RIS and so on.
After a while, I have realized that its nonsense. Of course, if you give me 200 IBU I will take it, but the fact is that the everyday beer does need to be barley wine. Druga Zmiana (Second Shift) is one of the best examples of that situation. This beer is hoppy and aromatic enough to keep even the majority of the craft-beer lovers calm. On the other hand, it is still very light (12% extract) and low, 4.7% alcohol make it acceptable for the majority of weak lager drinkers. There is one interesting thing about it – this is the first beer I know to use Cascade hops that were grown in Poland. This is a kind of interesting novelty, Cascade are one of my favorite hops and were normally grown only in US. Cascade PL was first planted in 2011 (to my knowledge). The effect is very interesting – after replanting from the sunny California to more moderate climate Cascade seem to be losing a lot of its aromatic hoppy bite. It is still more aromatic than the most of the original, European bitter hops, but not even close to its American ancestor*. Still nice to try.
Summary - Browar Zakladowy is becoming one of my favorite breweries for everyday beers. I am not really sure whether they will attract any high-IBU-dependent aroma crazy people, but they exactly fill the gap between tasteless concern lagers and elite craft. Excellent job.

*I would be happy to know whether anybody have tried the opposite. Does Polish hop, e.g.: Marynka change its properties after being grown in California?

Freitag, 28. Oktober 2016

Bursztynowy Swierzop - Polish IPA

Bursztynowy Świerczop?

“Bursztynowy” is amber. But, what the f… is “świerzop”. Well, in fact nobody knows really. This word has been used by an iconic polish poet – Adam Mickiewicz in a description of a typical Polish landscape. Apparently it is still not clear which plant did he mean…
Still, the name is perfect to describe an IPA made in Poland based on polish hops. In fact, a lot of them Magnat, Marynka, Sybilla, Iunga, Perle. I may not be right but it is likely the widest variety of polish hops that I have ever seen in one beer.

And it works. Based on my previous experience with IPAs made on Polish hops I was expecting something closer to the original British IPA (rather flat and not very aromatic) than something made based on aromatic hops. Well, Świerzop is something in between. There are clear citrus and resin notes in both aroma and taste. Clear hoppy notes, but overall not too bitter. Overall it is a very drinkable beer. Really something that I could suggest to anybody not being IBU crazy and wanting to try something interesting.

Bildunterschrift hinzufügen

Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2016

Buraczana Piana, Sour beer


Brewed: Browar na Jurze
Style: sour beer/WTF
Tested: Bottle, September 2016

At least I was running in an interpretation problem here. Technically it’s a beer. Sour ale, lactobacillus is added, there are hops and so on. The truth is, no matter how I try it does not taste like one.

“Buraczana Piana” should be translated to “Beetrot Foam”. By itself, beetroot sour beer would be interesting, but the brewery has decided to improve the taste with some rhubarb and apple juice. The outcome is a best soft drink of summer, juicy to the extreme (it’s a few days and my saliva is still floating the moment I star to think about it). It is better than any Fanta, cola or Tymbark you can imagine. Seriously. No joke. Great thing. Not a beer.

Dienstag, 25. Oktober 2016



Style: Session IPA
Brewed: AleBrowar, Poland
Tested: Bottle, September 2016

I was wondering whether I need to start this post with a disclaimer. I generally have a deep respect to AleBrowar. In my opinion they have delivered one of the best beers I have ever tried – Golden Monk. On the other hand – I haven’t seen any really ass kicking beers from them recently, therefore I was starting to worry a bit.

When I have seen the (kanga)ROO RIDER, I just had to have it. Especially, that there was a whole discussion from one of the bloggers about the findings connecting bitter taste with malevolent behavior. Just to keep the long story short, a recent PNAS paper once again has proven that there is a connection between bitter taste preference and dark personality traits. The theory is not new, but for the first time data look very solid. For the ones that like bitter beer – no you are not a psycho. But if you normally eat a bitter food and add a 200 IBU IPA on top – there are good chances that you may be one. One more thing – many people say that the taste can be “gained” and it clearly changes with the age. True.
But the same is with many psychiatric diseases, they do not pop up when you are young, they do come with the age. Therefore, the argument – I stated liking bitter taste just recently, therefore I cannot be a psycho is formally not valid.

So much for the science. And the RooRider – well, it smells incredibly. Like a wet dream of hop lover. Really, really nice. Sadly, this is the best part. Session IPA, or not – I don’t give a damn. What I care about is that Roo Rider is only bitter. Bitterness is unpleasant and awful. Aromas of grapefruit and pine are quick killed by the overall bitterness. Normally, I am happy with very bitter beers. If you can give me IBU 100 + I will love it – but those beers usually have a great aromas and tasty notes to offer on top of their bitterness to balance the taste. Roo Rider lacks such add-ons. Flat, bitter, distasteful, bad. In my eyes one of the worst beers I have tried this year.

PS> Thanks to eBrowarium for delivering this one.

Freitag, 21. Oktober 2016

Galopper des Jahres - visit of Hamburg multitap and Kompaan beer

I have visited Hamburg (Germany;) recently. Congress was great, but from the point of the blog, most important is Hamburg beer scene. On the map of Germany, Hamburg is (at least for me) one of the most interesting cities if you want something other than Pils. Hamburg is one of the cities where the craft beer revolution started in Germany (ok let’s call it craft beer movement in Germany. Over 95% of beer sold in Germany is very classical – lager, pils etc. And its stable to my knowledge). Breweries like Ratsherrn or Buddelship are well known to beer lovers around Germany.

On top of the breweries, there are some multitaps there and after some research I have decided to visit the Galopper des Jahres, being described as a secret tip. 

Galopper is located in very nice area of Sternschanze district of Hamburg, 5 minute’s walk from the closest U-bahn station. Very safe, nothing happened. Bar itself is located in an old and impressive building and at the time of my arrival (9 pm, Wednesday) was quite full. Luckily, there was no problem with drinking outside in the fresh air. Also, what is different to e.g.: Belgium – not so many Germans smoke, therefore you can safely assume that the atmosphere outside would be rather clean.

Inside, Galopper is rather dark, with sparsely placed lights and rather cozy atmosphere. You can order at the bar, or have a waiter/bartender coming to you with the beer. The number of beers was quite impressive. 12 taps and a number of beers in bottle. Very nice.

Bit less nice is the ongoing, relatively loud music. Style was OK for the beer, but believe me in the room filled with 50+ people you don’t really need to add music. Its loud enough. It’s a beer bar not a disco. Other thing was that it’s not clearly a beer bar – what you can see on the photo is the solid choice of other drinks.

I was solely hoping for a choice of Buddelship beers from the tap, but they were simply not there, therefore I have decided to try beers from Kompaan brewery. At least something new for me. Maybe a bit unfortunately (should start with lighter beer), I have started with the double porter.

VRIJBUITER (Kompaan 45)

What stroked me was the fact that there was a heavy, brutal, long lasting head over the top. I don’t think that I have ever seen such a head on the porter before. Beer itself is dark brown, clear aroma of bourbon and malt. What I do not really like is the taste that starts clear sweet and alcohol. Bitterness is almost not present and probably does not come from hops. Very average porter, if you can get any other, go for it.

I have decided to continue along the lines of the dark beer and went for the imperial stout.


Again, the beer was served with an enormous head. Deep in my heart I was starting to get suspicious that there is something wrong with the brewing process of Kompaan. Two beers of different style that go high like the Coca-Cola? Strange. Still, I have patiently worked my way through the head and got some aroma and taste after a while. Well, aroma is mostly malts (again), maybe with a decent note of burned coffee and scotch. Taste is again very sweet for this type of beer but complemented with caramel, smoked vanilla. Bit earthy. Light bitter. It is not the imperial stout that I could drink every time, but if this is the only one in the bar – go get it, you will not be harmed

Finally, I have decided to go for the last dark beer from Kompaan they have on tap. Or at least I have decided that it is dark. 

Why that?

Well, look on the description of the beers on the photo above. They simply do not provide the complete information in this bar. I had to spend a serious amount of time after, to decipher what beers I was actually drinking. Why were you able to write that the IPA is called “Handlager” and you were too shy to say that the double porter is called Vrijbuiter (I hope I am correct). BTW: Why do you use imperial stout, imperial IPA and insist on calling the beer double porter? Call it imperial porter.

Normally, I could go to ask the staff member, but the place is so loud that even ordering of the beer is challenging.


(Kompaan 39)

Based on the information found later I believe it’s the barrel aged version of the previous beer. It again came with the huge head. Barrel aging has added some whisky and oak notes to the overall picture. Body is a bit too small for the style, but overall, this was a very pleasant experience to drink it.

I may not be very quick in reacting, but this was a moment when I was almost sure than the guys at Galopper have a damage in their tap and it produces a way too much foam on beers. This thing should not happen in the bar that claims to be a multi-tap and smells like amateur work. I went extra to the bar and took a look there. See the photo? All beers there standing below the tap (different glasses and colors) have huge head. Indeed, something is wrong.

But it is not the tap (at least not only) – this time I have ordered the IPA from the same company and looked exactly how they pour it.


These greenhorns pour beer top down to a glass. Like water. Just dump, don’t even bother to give a glass a certain angle to stop the foam. Now, no wonder that even low carbonated porter will get a humongous head here. It is soooooo disappointing to see a bar with the huge amount of beer and people who do not know how to serve it. My 11-year-old son can pour the beer better than that and my daughter is more exact when describing things.

I have a suggestion, you have the Ratsherrn brewery almost next door, take the 2 hours’ beer tasting tour there. Look carefully how the guy is pouring their beers. You really have a lot to learn. Probably, since you are amateurs you are not aware of the simple fact – you can change the taste and beer experience by the way of pouring the beer. Multi tap. Pffffffff.

Just to be exact:

HANDLAGER (Kompaan 39) Imperial IPA

Overall a bit watery for an IPA, aroma is rather low, exotic fruits mostly. Taste bitter, well balanced with exotic. Medium body, acceptable carbonation. Not the best IPA I have ever had, but at least worth trying.

My summary is clear. Kompaan may have some interesting beers to try, but I am quite sure that there are better places to try them than “Galopper des Jahres”.