Abkhazia is a small quasi-states located by the Black Sea. Currently, after many years of fight for their independence they are trying to set up the foundations of the statehood but you can still find ruins in the cities and bomb craters on the streets. Is it possible to lead normal life in such conditions? And is it possible to find a beer revolution there?
Especially that the main liquor drunk in Caucasus is wine! Georgians are even considered to be its first creators and every family produces their own wine having stored its serious amounts in the basement. Despite that beer finds their amateurs in Caucasus as well. In almost 250 thousand people country there are three breweries, which, next to russian companies, dominate Abkhazian stores and restaurants. The largest of them is Pivovarenniy Zavod Sukhumskiy located in the capital city producing Sukhumskoye beer in two versions: classic and Ivanych – unpasteurised. The other one was reportedly much more interesting but not available today any more. Sukhumskoye is a regular lager with poor foam, golden colour and medium gas. Malt and some hops are present in the aroma. Taste malty, bitterness low. Nothing outstanding.
Another brewery is located near Gagra: Abkhazian Drinks Co. Exactly as the other one located in the capital, the brewery produces one type of beer. Besides that one beer type they also have in their offer numerous non-alcoholic beverages, kvas and so on. Assir beer is their flague product but unfortunately is much worse than poor anyway Sukhumskoye beer. Light colour, poor foam, taste and aroma rather empty, dominated by alcohol.
Last but the most interesting is the new, first in Abkhazia restaurant brewery Old Prague in Gagra. Quite a big place located at the seaside attracts mainly Russian tourists. The average price of beer is here few times higher than in other local restaurants.
We made an appointment with the brewer before opening, took the tour around brewery, saw whole equipment that was brought there from Czech Republic. It looked rather used however the passion of the brewer was great. He told us about his master from Czech Republic who came with all tools and ingredients and taught him everything. Today Old Prague imports malt, hop and yeast from Ukraine. We finished our tour at the tap, where they manually pour beer to 1,5 liter bottles than stick the label and send out for sales.
But about the most important – beers: they offer three kinds of bottom fermentation beers. Two light and one dark. We started from Oldenburg Jantarnoye Light beer, golden colour, no foam. Little bitter in taste, saturation very light. There is nothing more to be said about this beer, in general no faults but no advantages either.
Another beer we tasted was dark beer of very nice deep, chocolate color. White foam, short lasting. Malty aroma with some later revealing flower-honey tones, no hop. In taste we found cofee, finishing coffee-roasted. This one seemed to be the most interesting and the best for us from the whole brewery range.
At the end we reached for Oldenburg light which on contrary to the others had nice and long-lasting fine-foam. Golden colour. But this is all as for the values of this beer. It was fault and should have been dumped , it had a smelly aroma with some merkaptans and cooked vegetables.
Summarising we have to say that Abkhazian beer revolution has not even reached Finlyandsky Railway Station in Sankt Petersburg. People are very nice, full of energy but results medium.
Abkhazia was another wine country, after Moldova, where we decided to check beer market. It looks much worse but we have to remember that there’s a little different reality there. On the other hand Oldenburg beers from Old Prague brewery we can freely compare to first produce of City Brewery Gloger in Bialystok, Poland.