The Polish people are resilient and strong, their culture is unique, and has survived and thrived through so much. Part of their culture is Polish beer and the long history of brewing that it comes from. Having been through so much adversity, being able to keep their culture alive has been an important part of their healing as a nation.
As Europe’s third-largest beer producer, Poland produces a whopping 36.9 million hectolitres every year, and there’s a whole lot more to Polish beer that’s just as fascinating.
Brief History Of Polish Beer
Beer has been brewed in Poland for well over a thousand years. In fact, some say that beer making in Poland was happening before her people even arrived and settled!
Everyone in Polish culture drank beer, it was consumed by all classes and genders, and even children drank it too. Beer brewing was done commonly but not by many until the Second World War, during which most breweries were nationalised by the Communist Government.
Once Communism collapsed and Capitalism was back in play, the economy returned and breweries started to pop up all over the country.
Since then, the rise in craft beer and microbreweries has risen exponentially and Polish beer is loved, celebrated, imported and appreciated all over the world.
What Are The Major Beer Brands In Poland?
Here is a list of the biggest Polish beer brands to look out for:
- Zwiec Porter
- Okocim O.K.
- Tyskie Pilzne
- Tatra Jasne Pelne
- Pinta Atak Chmielu
- Perun Jasny Grom
- Ciechan Miodowe
What Is The Most Popular Beer In Poland?
The most popular beer in Poland is definitely Żubr. It’s a refreshing lager with an alcohol content of 6 percent. Żubr has a rich history, it originates from a brewery known as Dojildy. Dojildy has been around for more than a quarter of a millennium. The beer itself used to be called Dojildy because of its origins, but in 2003 it was rebranded as Żubr.
A bottle of Żubr is known for its crisp, light flavour and mild profile. There is no lingering lager-residue and pairs wonderfully with grilled sausage and beefy steaks.
What Kind Of Beer Is Polish Beer? What Are The Styles?
Here is a list of the 5 most popular beer styles in Poland:
- Lagers: These beers are mostly quite light, full bodied and high in strength.
- Pilsner: Pilsner beers are refreshing, malty, and often have a strong taste of hops.
- Baltic Porter: A classic Polish style beer originating from countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. This is a thick, brown, high strength beer and not for the faint-hearted.
- Amber lager: Similar to lagers, but a little deeper and richer than the average lager.
- Bock Beer: A strong, darker beer. They are full of malt and have an underlying sweetness that you don’t find in any other beers.
Which Polish Beer Is The Best?
There is more than one Polish beer that is considered the best beer in Poland. The highest contender would have to be Żywiec. The others to try out are Okocim, Tyskie, and Żubr.
All these beers hail from small regional breweries and are local favourites up and down the country. If you walk into any Polish bar, club or pub and order one of these, you can be sure that you will not be disappointed.
What Are The Best Microbrew Or Craft Beers In Poland?
- Pinta: Pinta brewery was the catalyst of the beer revolution in Poland. It proudly released Poland’s first real craft beer called Atak Chmielu (Hops Attack).
- Pracownia Piwa: located on the outskirts of the stunning Krakow, Pracownia Piwa is an award-winning brewery. It was started by 3 friends in 2013 who all love beer. Their most popular beers are rye stouts, American pale ale, smoked stout and witbiers.
- AleBrowar: AleBrowar was one of the first Polish craft breweries which opened its doors in 2012. They have some award-winning beers, such as Rowing Jack (IPA), the King of Hop American pale ale and the Naked Mummy pumpkin ale.
- Perun: this brewery is named after the Slavic god of lightning and thunder. It offers delicious beers such as caramel tasting American Pale Ale called Jasny Grom and a bold and bitter Zloty Strzal Imperial IPA.
- Artezan: this brewery is on the outskirts of Warsaw and has its own pub in Warsaw itself. Some of its most popular beers are Czarna Wolga oatmeal stout, Pacific Pale Ale and cherry Berliner Weisse.
What Are The Best Polish Beer Brands To Pair With Polish Food?
Beer pairing in Poland is simple. Almost all Polish beer could go with any and all Polish foods. Polish food is often quite rich and heavy and Polish beers are often strong and crisp, so they complement local fare perfectly.
Polish Lagers, light ales and Pilsners pair really well with savoury Pierogi and Golabki (delicious cabbage rolls), Sauerkraut, Polish casserole and all the traditional Polish meats and sausages. Some examples of which beers to pair with these delicious traditional Polish foods are: Żywiec and Okocim served chilled.
Best Polish Beer To Pair With Polish Sausage (Kielbasa)
Kielbasa is a delicious Polish sausage that holds the taste and feeling of Poland in every bite. Kielbasa is best served with a chilled, light pilsner. The combination of the dry, malt flavour of a pilsner and the seasoned pork in kielbasa complement each other very well.
Best Polish Beer To Pair With Pierogi
As mentioned above already, the best beer to serve with traditional Polish Pierogi is a Polish Pilsner such as Żywiec or Okocim
How To Order A Beer In Polish
If you find yourself in a Polish pub and want to order a beer, then you can use the phrase: “Proszę piwo” – Beer, please (peevah prosheh)
If you want to say cheers! then you need to say Na Zdrowie! (Nah zdrov-e-yay). This means to health, and can also be used to say bless you!