Monday, 8 August 2016

Piwo od Polskiego sklepu

I was recently staying in Evesham and, feeling a bit peckish, popped out of my hotel to a nearby convenience store for a chocolate bar. It turned out this was a Polish shop, and I couldn’t help but notice the impressive array of different Polish beers, mostly at a bargain £1 for a 500ml can. So I emerged with these to do a bit of research:

Poland is one of Europe’s major brewing nations, and its output often seems to be unfairly disregarded. There was a vogue in the UK for Polish beers maybe about eight years ago, with brews such as Lech, Tyskie and Zywiec becoming popular, but that seems to have faded now. I tried some, but concluded that they tended to be rather bland lagers whose main selling point was being, typically at 5.5%, a little stronger than the norm.

This particular shop must have had about forty different varieties, so it wasn’t easy to pick some at random. I tried to avoid both the ones I’d already heard of, and any that ventured into Special Brew territory. I’d never heard of any of the brand names apart from Okocim, although the one I bought was the stronger Mocne. Needless to say, despite the usual mischievous suggestions, I didn’t drink them all at one sitting and then crash out on the sofa. My conclusions are as follows:

  • Specjal (6.0%); Tatra (6.0%) – hard to distinguish between these. Both pleasant, clean-tasting lagers that didn’t really drink their strength. Oddly, one is described as “Jasny Pelny”, the other as “Jasne Pelne”. As far as I can work out, this just means “light” or “pale”.

  • Warka Strong (6.5%) – noticeably darker and maltier than the others, and quite distinctive in flavour.

  • Okocim Mocne (7.0%) – normal pale lager colour, but at this strength the alcohol starts to overwhelm any other flavour characteristics.
Not the world’s greatest beers, maybe, but all palatable enough and, I would suggest, distinctly superior in quality to your typical British-brewed premium lager such as Stella. If you have a Polish shop near you, it may be worth popping in and seeing what they have available.

(The title, by the way, means “Beer from Polish shop”)

If Jamie Oliver got drunk on Polish lager, would he be a Mocne twat?

And, before someone else points it out, I know it’s a bit reminiscent of this:

6 comments:

  1. Looks like you found Evesham's cultural highlight !

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    1. The argumentative drunks in the Red Lion were quite entertaining too :-)

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  2. I like the way the Polish beers don't conform to the 5% standard of the usual brand lagers if you avoid the obvious likes of Lech and Tyskie. Go off piste instead and look out for Zubr (6% and has a wonderful pic of a bison on the can) or Debowe Mocne (7.something%) as well as the ones mentioned in the article and, if you like lager that's strong and more malty than it is crisp then you can't go wrong - Polish beer's re-invigorated the off licence lager market - And they're nearly always a pound a can. Great stuff.

    Top tip - Mocne means something along the lines of strong, so look out for that.

    Polish/Euro shops are great and, as often as not, they'll sell bootleg baccy under the counter as well if that's your thing.

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  3. One brewery worth looking out for is Browar Amber, especially the Piwo Zywe:

    http://www.browar-amber.pl/en/products/zywe/

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  4. I often go to the Polish shop for various things I can't find, like tvorak and they do have some good beers but some poor ones too. Pilseners can be good or poor.

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  5. A decent range of Polish beers in bottles and cans is available at the Sloneczko Polish shop in Stockport, a few doors up from the Plaza Theatre, although not remotely on a par with the shop in Evesham.

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