It’s time for a subjective opinion of “Tikras alus” blog, of what gladdened and saddened us this year in local Lithuanian beer scene. The choice was based on values promoted by our organization – beer diversity and choice, appropriate customer information, no history falsification, litter reduction and no encouragement of drinking for teenagers and kids. And so we’re entering the year of the Bull:
Supermarket chain „IKI” and „Fulgor” brewing company deserve the award for installing a special display fridges for local live beer in every „Iki”/ „Ikiukas” chain shop in Lithuania. They are mostly serving „Dvariškas” (light), „Tamsusis” (dark) or „Kurklių I. B. Boiko” (special dry and yeasty type) traditional, unpasteurized brews in special 1 l size re-usable bottles. Though sometimes the empty shelves are filled by “Faxe”. But now we have where to direct the tourists craving for that „your [Lithuanian] unique alive beer we have heard about” (the quote is original, by the way). Big ups, and we wait for bigger variety of brands in 2009!
„Pas Rudolfą II” pub in Vilnius, Gedimino 46 was the leader in the offering of the assorted world beers in 2009, event though other places („Rene”, „BoBo”, „Bunte Gans” and the magnificient local „Šnekutis” to mention a few) also contributed significantly in bringing new flavours to Lithuanian capital beer scene. „Pas Rudolfą II” is named after the Bohemian king and Holy Roman emperor Rudolf II (who was actually a grandgrandgrandson of Lithuanian Duke Gediminas, the founder of Vilnius), originator of the Royal Krušovice Brewery, so it’s supposed to be mainly about Czech beers. However, besides serving Krušovice and other it’s counterparts (Kozel, Staropramen, Gambrinus, Velvet), „Pas Rudolfą” also introduced Tucher, O’Hara, Witterkerke for local beer lovers.
Hop growers for denying the myth that good quality hops don’t grow in Lithuania (allegedly because of unapropriate weather conditions). Lithuanian Hop Growers Association’s hop-garden in Kaunas accomodates more than 30 sorts of hops now, including the Lithuanian varieties (such as “Fredos Taurieji”) selectioned by three generations of hop breeders; our own experiments of hop growing, wild hops’ collection, and brewing with them; decision of one of the biggest traditional beer brewers “Fulgorum” (“Butautų dvaro”) to experiment with their own hop-garden several hectares big – all this confirms that hops grow and yeald pretty well in Lithuania.
Antanas Astrauskas for the book “Per barzdą varvėjo” [“The drinks ran over my beard”] – the first well-researched, multidiscplinary and highly enjoybale attempt on the history of fermentables in Lithuania. Published by “Baltos lankos”, unfortunately, still in Lithuanian only.
Homebrewing for providing an alternative, quality and association This year we ascertained even more firmly that one can brew better beers at home, simply superior and tastier than ones in the shops. We were exchanging recipes with fellow-brewers locally and globally; brewed local traditional beers as well as gruit ales, dunkelweisses, alts and imperial stouts; ordered ingredients from the only special shop in Kaunas, local markets or e-bay; brewed in kitchens, cellars and garages; enjoyed the results, exchanging and organizing degustations with others. Most importantly, we associated and collaborated!
International beer drinkers community and bloggers for inspiration. This year we got a lot of inspiration from fellow writers, writing about beer around the globe – from Great Britain to Poland and United States. Reading them, we discovered most interesting breweries and tasty beers, had a peek at what it feels like running a pub or crawling through stalls in beer festivals, delved deeper into beer history and tradition, participated in beer writing sessions. Big up!
Not effective plastic packaging recycling system in Lithuania – plastic bottles are not refunded, even though that’s been done by some neighbouring countries for years. If some “Green point” organizations and other toadies of plastic industry are claiming that this doesn’t affect pollution in Lithuania, let them go and see any outskirt, lakeside, beach, roadside… We ARE ashamed.
Expansion of “beer coctails”, obviously oriented at teenagers, assortment – no comments needed. The kids are drinking… At least the night trade of these chemical liquids (e.g. in petrol stations) was stopped recently by law.
History falsification when introducing new beer brands. We’re posting soon about one of such pitifull examples…
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