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Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

Our only excursion during our week in Corfu was a day trip to Corfu town. It is a pleasant place to stroll around, and we ended up at the Old Fortress, with magnificent views of the town and surroundings. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a lot of history if you want to look into it.

Signs pointed the way to a café, where I was pleasantly surprised by the beer list. Almost fifty beers, lots of Belgian and German imports. The standard Greek pale lagers, but also a good selection of Greek micro beers, including smoked lager and a dunkel from the Craft brewery in Athens and the whole range from the Corfu brewery.

I had the smoked lager from Craft. A fine hoppy lager with a little campfire added. Cereals, long dry finish. And a small glass of the Corfu lager, which was not quite in the same league, but it did its job nicely on a hot day.

Note that this bar/café/restaurant is inside the fortress, which is a museum with limited opening hours.

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Corfu beers

It turned out that the beach bar had two beers from the Corfu brewery, luckily the two most interesting ones. They brew two pale lagers as well, but they do not really stand out among the others on offer – and I don’t think they are meant to, either.

The two dark beers are both 5% British style beers. The Corfu Bitter is slightly hazy brown. Unfiltered and with low carbonation, but there is no residue in the bottle to speak of, either. Caramel and toffee, a little yeast. Moderate bitterness. Pleasant bitterness, though I would have preferred a more liberal use of hops.

When I order a bottle of the Special, the bar maid lights up.

- I prefer this one. It is really fresh!

Sweet malt and grainy body. Glowing amber, slightly hazy. Low carbonation. Fine bitter and aromatic hops, a discreet kiss of yeast.

A wonderful beer, and they seem to take the freshness seriously. The beer was bottled just a few days before I bought it, and it had a best before date only two months later.

By the way, I received a kind invitation to visit the brewery, but it did not fit into my schedule for the week, as it was on the other side of the island. Maybe next time.

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Sign of the times

A week with my family on a sunny Greek island does not include any great expectations for beer hunting. Sure, I know there are micro breweries in Greece, a few of them with very respectable beers. I had even sent off an e-mail to Corfu’s own micro, asking if they could deliver a few sample bottles to my hote, but I had not received any answer.

So I was quite content in sipping a few pints of Alfa and enjoying a can of fairly decent Greek versions of German pilsener. But then I managed to wander a few meters down the beach from the hotel, where there was a very inviting sign.

Maybe there is a God after all. At least a minor Greek one.

Corfu Beer sign

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A week in the sun

Luckily, there were more interesting beers than Mythos to be found. Stay tuned!

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Pretty proud of that. Three umlauts in the heading.

When I booked my flight to Lisbon, there were several options, with Lufthansa and KLM the most cheap and convenient. Lufthansa even had several options – I could go back via Munich, Frankfurt or Düsseldorf.

I wouldn’t mind a few hours in Munich, but I realized that downtown Düsseldorf  is only a few minutes from the airport by taxi. And that I could have a four-hour stopover and still get a cheap ticket.

So, even before the schedules arrival I find myself in a taxi towards my first Altbier outlet, Füchschen, on the outskirts of the Old Town. Less than 20 Euros brings me to the doorstep.

There is a crowded bar with standing room only at the entrance, where the oak casks are dispensing the beer by gravity.

I go further in through various large rooms and find myself a table at the back. Lots of groups of families and friends out for their Sunday lunch, very cozy atmosphere. I ask for an Alt, and the waiter is swiftly back with a 0,2 liter glass. This is their standard glass, and you are supposed to drink this in multiples, they stick to the traditions around here.

You might have had bottled versions of this beer type, but I must say this is something you should have fresh from a brewpub. Sweet and sour, rich maltiness, yet oaky dry. Lovely mahogny color, low carbonation, but a fluffy head. In a German polsner served from tap, this is achieved by spending 7 minutes to get a proper head. In this beer straight from the oak, I assume that there is little carbonation in the first place. The wood aging gives the real, rather harsh, character here. Some vanilla, but mostly sourness.

There is an extensive menu, with all the pork dishes you could imagine. Some seasonal offerings, too, I was seriously considering the roast goose. But when I was told that their Christmas beer was only to be bought as a take away, I decided to head for my next stop, as I had some more places to cover. But I bought a bottle, sure.

Fuchschen Alt

Fits in well with the Christmas decorations

 

Fuchschen blackboard

The takeaway offer

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Just now my shelves are filled with the new offerings from Nøgne ø, so it is perhaps lucky that I don’t have access to the most interesting brews from Denmark. (But if any readers are curious about what to buy me for Christmas, please read on..)

Last month saw the release of a range of bottles of barrel aged beers from Nørrebro Bryghus, limited to 250 liters of each beer. Right now Ølbutikken informs me about the new beers from Mikkeller.

There is a Christmas beer, what Mikkel calls a hybrid between a Red Ale and a Wit Bier, with lots of American hops and bitter tropical orange peel. It is issued in 1,5 liter bottles and named Red White Christmas.

Their “ordinary” Christmas beer is named Mikkeller Til Via Fra, and all the vintages from 2006 are also for sale.

What else?

Mikkeller 黑 (Peated)

Mikkeller/Nøgne Ø Tyttebær - with lingonberries and brettanomyces

Mikkeller/De Molen Mikkel & Menno Weizenbock

Presumably they have the Islay Cask Beer Geek Brunch as well….

What’s next?

According to the Mikkeller blog, there will be a collaboration between Mikkeller and the Craft brewery in Athens, Greece. But that’s still in the planning stage.

Photo courtesy of Alex at www.beer.gr

Danish and Greek brewers

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Island in the sun

In case you are wondering, the current photo in the banner is from the Greek island Syros.

There is a waterside bar close to the centre of Ermepolis, the church is dedicated to St. Nicholas.

Don’t tell anyone!

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