Polish Beer: Na Zdrowie!

Polish beer has earned a reputation as some of the tastiest suds around, thanks to centuries-old tradition and a dedication to high quality and local ingredients. Let’s take a stroll through the history of beer in Poland and learn how it is made and what makes it so durn tasty. 

History of Polish Beer

The area of present-day Poland has been inhabited by various peoples for thousands of years. It is known for a few “firsts,” including the first ever written mention of vodka and the first evidence of European cheesemaking. Beer has also been brewed in the region for well over a millennia. 

Polish beer as we know it today, however, dates back to the Middle Ages when monasteries were the primary brewers. Over centuries, beer evolved from a local craft to a national staple, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries when industrial brewers flourished. Despite challenges during wars and political upheavals, Polish beer culture survived and is now Europe’s third-largest beer producer. 

Why Is Polish Beer So Good?

Polish beer stands out due to its unique blend of tradition and innovation. The country’s brewers use high-quality ingredients, including locally sourced hops and barley. Polish beers often have a balanced flavor profile, with a crispness that makes them incredibly refreshing. The expertise passed down through generations, combined with modern brewing techniques, ensures consistent quality and delightful flavors.

One particular style of beer, Grodziskie, was once considered the Champagne of Polish beers. It was unique in that it was produced from wheat malt that had oak smoke circulated through the grains. It was also exceptionally clear, distinguishing it from other wheat beers, which typically take on a hazy or cloudy appearance. The clarity was achieved by filtering the beer and adding isinglass, a special form of collagen derived from sturgeon and cod. 

Unfortunately, the last remaining brewery to produce authentic Grodziskie closed in 1993. Many craft brewers today aim to recreate the style in a nod to the historical brew. 

What Is the National Beer of Poland?

While there isn’t a single “national beer” of Poland, Żywiec and Tyskie are among the most famous brands that have gained international recognition. These beers incorporate traditional Polish hops and malt and are generally low on IBU and exceptionally crisp. They can range from 3% to 9% ABV, but the majority fall between 5-6%. 

What Kinds of Hops Are Used in Polish Beer?

Polish beers are known for their unique hop varieties, contributing to their distinctive flavors. Diebolt Brewing Company’s “Made There” Polish pilsner uses Lunga hops, but several other varieties are common in Polish brewing:

  • Lubelski is known for its mild and pleasant aroma, complemented by earth and herbal notes.
  • Marynka offers a robust bitterness with a slightly spicy and floral aroma.
  • Lunga provides a delicate balance of bitterness and aroma, ideal for pilsners.
  • Oktawia adds a fruity and floral character to the beer.
  • Izabella is known for its aromatic qualities, imparting a subtle sweetness and floral notes.

What Can You Eat With Polish Beer?

Polish beers pair great with various foods, enhancing the dining experience. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a few Polish classics:

  • Pierogi (dumplings)
  • Kielbasa (Polish sausages)
  • Bigos (stew)
  • Oscypek (smoked cheese)

Celebrate the 10th Installment of “Made There”: Polish Pilsner

Diebolt Brewing Company is celebrating the 10th installment of our “Made There” Polish Pilsner. This brew is a tribute to the rich tradition of Polish beer-making, showcasing the fine qualities of Lunga hops. Join the celebration and enjoy a can or glass of this meticulously crafted pilsner, reflecting the best of Polish brewing heritage. Visit Diebolt Brewing Company in Denver, CO, and try our Polish pilsner today! 

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Heather Kleinman

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