Now is it me, or are these new arrivals starting to become slightly rarer now? Perhaps you are not overly bothered either way. Frankly, I'm not sure I am..... but then again I wouldn't like this trend to disappear completely without feeling like I'd really had a good go at trying them all.
We spend lots of time talking about exciting beer trends like Black IPA. Instead, let's talk about beers from the other end of
So let's review, and then perhaps you can tell me about any East European treats I've missed.
Now in Birmingham, the vast majority of these post-2004 beers were Polish lagers, often rather strong ones. For my money, Lech Premium is the best: a very well balanced, firm and quite fresh-tasting lagery beast. Also good was/is Okocim, which is quite unrelenting and full flavoured. Other ubiquitous names have been Zywiec (pleasant, but slightly metallic), EB (OK, but lacking oomph and a teensy weensy bit greasy) and Tyskie (which I don't like, hardly much at all, cos it's too unbalanced). The use of brackets was a bit over the top there. Sorry about that.
In the field of normalish Polish Lagers, other 'highlights' include:
Perla Chmielowa - some flavour
Specjal - quite sweet
Warka - malt
Lech Pils - fairly plain
Perla Export - almost no flavour
Brok - flat, metallic
Harnas - nice label, but a taste of fog, tissues and fizz
Even more 'interesting' were the slightly stronger lagers, often with Mocne suffixed to the title. Of these, I enjoyed Tatra, Zubr and Debowe; but has less success with Warka Strong and Okocim Mocne.
I have a particularly soft spot for Debowe, because for 2 months, I used to walk past an empty can of it, on the way the collect my child from nursery. The hope that I would one day drink this enticing creature, made my stomp down the road through hail and rain, safe in the knowledge that it would be a taste sensation (it wasn't).
My only sadness about the Polish beer importers, is that that they never seemed to bring their best beers with them - after all, how often did we see any delicious Baltic Porters, apart from Zywiec???
Sadly, beers from our other Eastern European brethren seemed slightly more reticent in travelling to the UK, although I did grab an Utenos and a Syvturys from Lithuania (and really enjoyed the latter actually), and an Aldaris from Latvia.
People of Birmingham - please tell me where I can pick up more of these wonderful lagers and which ones.