– But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
– It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same sh… over there that we got here, but it’s just…it’s just, there it’s a little different.
– All right. Well, you can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer. And I don’t mean just like in no paper cup; I’m talking about a glass of beer. And in Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald’s.
In Chisinau too! We found out about it when walking the main street of the city we came across McDonald’s restaurant. Instead of Big Mac advertisement we saw some banners with beer. Beer in McDonald’s? That famous dialogue from Pulp Fiction came to our minds right away. Because we wanted to sit somewhere to feed Ola anyway, we decided to do it there. Probably nothing else from their menu would make us visit this place. Beer that we bought was watery, poor, offering totaly nothing in its taste and aroma. What is more after opening it foamed richly. Taking in consideration the fact that it was nothi really special it was even good that it foamed like that.
To drink a beer in Moldova
We moved on wondering if tasteless international lager already has dominated the whole world and decided to check what Moldovan beer market offers. To drink beer in Moldova seemed a little like to drink vodka in Belgium or rum in Georgia. Well, since we already have decided we have to go on. Today Chisinau is full of bars and restaurants and finding some beer makes no problem. But if you are looking for some draught you keep on finding bottles and cans. In fact you keep on finding the same beer: Chisinau in can and bottle. This brewery completely dominated whole market.
Chişinău is a flagship product of Efes Vitanta brewery located in the city center. We headed there to find out that they do not offer any tours for individual tourists so we had to be satisfied by visiting only a small exhibition room. 10 years ago brewery was taken over by Turkish Efes Group and it was probably then when it stopped producing good beers. Most of today produced ones are regular lagers, reminding those available in whole world. Beer doesn’t impress even drunk in brewery restaurant. It is obvious that the brewery follows the path of other big world breweries. Besides basic Chişinău Blonde, Draft, Aoea and Chişinău Specială Tare they produce also different mixes of beer with lemon or coke. The only thing that distinguishes it from European lagers are fancy bottles and caps opened by pulling the pin.
We continued our beer adventure next day and checked local offer in stores. Shelves were also dominated by Chisinau. Besides it stores offered wide choice of Ukrainian and Russian beers. Since most of them we have already tried before nothing impressed us.
Looking for something special we chose Kellers beer. As we found out later on it was a good choice. Once again we did good job following what local people do. Looking at shelves with Kellers we suspected that Moldovans must like it.
This beer was unfortunately available only in plactic bottles. Such way of sales is popular in former USSR countries. To be honest we have to say that seeing plastic bottles we are not really encouraged to consumption. This time we made an exception for that beer produced by mini brewery Makler Plus in Budeşti. We tested two beers: light with extract 11% and 4% of alcohol and the dark one with 14% extract and 4,7% of alcohol. Both are unpasteurized. Light one wasn’t bad but it was the dark one which turned out to be an instant hit. Very nice color, almost black, rich foam with medium size bubbles, hoppy aroma, nicely crowning. Malty flavour with chocolate and roasted and mild bitterness. We can honestly recommend this beer.
Chisinau Beer House
Beer House as for Moldovan conditions to, is kind of posh place what was reflected in prices level similar to other this kind facilities in western Europe. Customers seem to be western too, there is no local youth who at that time are crowded in other pubs downtown. Besides beer it offers also food choice but unfortunately with not too much of local cuisine. It seems a little as if Moldovans were ashamed of their cuisine tradition. The place itself makes a good impression: wooden benches and tables, walls decorated with stone. It is quite big but although we visited it on weekend night it was almost empty. Central point of the restaurant is a round bar behind which there is brewery heart – brewing vessel with annual production of 2000 hectoliters.
We took places on the big terrace where plants separated us from the bussy street and started checking their beers. One can order them in different volumes. The smallest tasting glass is 250 ml. When we found out that there are only 4 beers to choose from we gave up that tasting glassed and ordered large beers.
Avaliable beers, starting from light, to BH Blonda (unfiltered), BH Blonda (filtered), mixed BH Extra (unfiltered) and dark BH Bruna, also unfiltered. Beers did not seem to be bad, they were much better than the average Moldova level. All very drinkable, slightly bitter without major defects. Rich, thick foam, strong rasted aroma, light bitterness made us really like it.
After a short adventure with the beer we came back to wine without any regret and made some supplies to take home with us. To sum up – Moldova is wine and wine is Moldova. But if you want to grab a beer you might find something good too. In general dark beers seem to be more interesting and of breweries we advise Kellers and Beer House in Chisinau. Beer is not rather the thing making people visit Moldova but being already there it is wort to try some local ones.