Last week I found myself in weather more to my liking. It was about 12C (54 F), overcast and a bit of on an off drizzle. Absolute heaven. It is possible that if this was the warmest temperature I ever had to deal with that I would tire of it and wish for the more balmy summer days of home. It’s possible that I would win the lottery if I bought a ticket. However the chance of the latter is extremely small and as I sit here in the August heat, I would say that the probability of the former would be nearly as small.
As you can likely guess, I was not at home in sunny, humid Israel. I was in Warsaw Poland for a short work trip.
Being a short trip I had planned my single beer tasting opportunity with the required thoroughness. I had printed Google maps specifying the exact route to my destination and estimated time of 19 minutes on foot. I had arranged for a suitably interested companion who was at a nearby hotel and off we went.
Our destination was the BrowArmia Krolewska Restaurant & Microbrewery. It sits right opposite the University of Warsaw and is quite prominent and very inviting from the main street, Krakowskie Przedmiescie. That street is an extension of Nowy Swiat, one of the main shopping streets in Warsaw. As I said, easy to find.
The restaurant was large and friendly and my companion and I found a nice table and were quickly shown menus and heard about the beers. I had, of course, perused the website prior to arriving that showed a large number of beers, some of which were clearly seasonal. The day we were there they were limited to four: Pils, Hefeweizen, Stout and a Cherry beer.
I started with the Stout and went on to a Hefeweizen. My companion started with a Cherry Beer which I tasted and was light and refreshing, without that overwhelming sweetness that some of the Belgian fruit beers have.
The Stout was a nice brewpub stout. It was dark and heavy with that roasted barley taste that typifies a true stout. It lacked the rich thickness that some stouts have but few stouts that are rich in flavor seem to have that. That quality of beer is called “mouthfeel”. Guinness has a nice mouthfeel but for me it lacks the depth and roasty bitterness that makes a good craft stout. This one had it. To get an idea of what it’s like I heartily recommend any of the craft stouts brewed in Israel.
I also tried the Hefeweizen. It was a true Bavarian wheat beer with the signature flavor. The local staples of this style in Israel are Paulaner and Weihenstephan. These are mass produced and seem to have toned down that special wheat beer flavor so as not to frighten the natives. Only a speculation, mind you, but that seems to be the case in any beer style when produced for the masses, be it a Pilsner, a Stout or a Hefeweizen.
I liked the beer at BrowArmia very much and look forward to going back. I have to make a plan at work to get myself back to Warsaw. Not simple but within the realm of the “possible”.
My work colleague in Warsaw has been making beer for a while at home. He had a sampling with him in the car that last day but circumstances took over and I was able to taste only one. This was a wheat beer. It was modeled after a Hefeweizen and was quite good. The flavor of a real Bavarian Hefeweizen is in the yeast and somehow my friend got it right. I once made a wheat beer when I was just starting out and it tasted nice but I don’t remember it having that special Hefeweizen flavor.
One more very important thing before I sign off. LiLach Bonanni, who so ably organizes Friday afternoon music at the Dancing Camel Pub in Tel Aviv, is organizing a music festival in Raanana on Saturday September 13. It starts at 4 PM but goes into the night with discount tickets for those arriving after Shabbat goes out. It is called the Bakers Music Festival and is looking to be full of music, food and fun. And of course beer from the Dancing Camel Brewery. I am currently planning to go (planning being the operative word here) so if you show up, keep an eye out for my hat and say hello.
If anybody reading this has any other suggestions or recommendations for beer in Warsaw, please feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always you can contact me at email@example.com