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  • Lviv during the quarantine

Where to find Ukrainian craft beer

Danylo Yurchyk

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The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced Lviv to stay at home and has forced many things to be abandoned. But at the same time, it gave us time and opportunities to try new things. Today we would like to tell you about one of things. This things will be beer, but not just beer, beer namely “Craft Beer”

Beer in Ukraine began to brew a very long time ago. It was known by the first Trypillian civilization and Kyivska Rus. Beer was brewed by Jesuit monks and Cossacks, craftsmen and entrepreneurs alike. More about history of breweng in Lviv you can find here.

The development of brewing in our country was facilitated by fertile lands, innate hard work and centuries-old traditions inherent in Ukrainians. That is why the development of craft beer in Ukraine was only a matter of time. But for starters, what is “Craft Beer”?

The first “craft” beer appeared in the United States as a result of the “Great Depression” - a global economic crisis particularly noticeable in Western countries. The Great Depression had a particular impact on entrepreneurship - small business was declining, and large enterprises, which produced products with a single bar, became the most important for the state - which meant no choice and, as it often did, taste. In the United States, the old brewing traditions brought by expatriates have become forgotten, and the light lager has become the standard of taste. This has given impetus to local beer lovers (and not only) to action. The “pioneer” of craft brewing is FRITZ MAYTAG, which in 1965 bought the brewery ANCHOR BREWING COMPANY. This act has inspired many future brewers to experiment on their own. Breweries tried to create atypical varieties and flavors using ingredients that had never been added to beer before.

The term “craft brewing” was first used by American journalist Vince Cotton in 1984, before that breweries were just breweries.

He used the adjective “сraft” to describe “a small brewery that uses traditional methods and raw materials to produce artisanal, uncompromising beer sold locally”. Later, in his book Good Beer Guide: Breweries and Pubs of the Pacific Northwest, Vince Cotton sums up and gives his own definition of the term “craft beer”. In his opinion, this is an ideal, uncompromising beer made by hand in a certain area, in small quantities, using natural raw materials, unpasteurized and bottled. The brewery that first used the word “craft” in its own name should be considered “Dogfish Head Craft Brewery”, founded in June 1995 in Delaware.

The clearest definition and features of a craft brewery is provided by the American Brewers Association, which is a non-profit association of craft brewers that has been created to promote and protect the rights of both breweries and beer lovers.

So, in order to have the status of “craft”, the brewery must:

-small - that is, produce no more than 6 million barrels of beer a year;

-independent - no more than 25% of breweries may belong to or be controlled by members of the alcohol industry who are not craft brewers;

-traditional - the basis of beer should be malt, and all the additional components should only complicate and enrich the taste, not lighten it.

When did modern craft brewing on the territory of Ukraine originate? It is difficult to say the exact date, because this industry is young and only gaining momentum, if in the US craft beer brewed for more than 60 years, then we - not more than ten, but the development - rapid and profitable. Kraft is finding more and more connoisseurs thanks to the unique taste and design of the bottles, and the main thing is that beer is not a powder counterpart, but a really lively malt and water-brewed drink.

We would like to tell you about who and where brews craft beer for Ukrainians.

VARVAR

VARVAR

The Kiev brewery, created by Vasyl Mykulin, a migrant from Donetsk in 2015, at the place of his “Lisopylka” pub, is rightfully the first craft brewery to be successful and well known. Over its short history, more than 60 varieties of beer have been brewed here. The most popular are Milk Stout - dark bitter beer, Pale Ale, and Indian Pale Ale - varieties of bitter and aromatic beer, and dozens of subspecies. Today VARVAR is a well-known brand outside of Ukraine. The winner of international craft festivals is the first brewery to reach the supermarket shelves. So VARVAR products can be purchased from the Silpo and Fozzy networks, and of course in the hundreds of Ukrainian pubs in kegs and taps.

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TSYPA

The Hutsul Brewery located in the village of Kvasy, Rakhiv district, Zakarpattia Oblast, started its history with the idea in 2015 of Alexander Shatalov - the founder of the brewery to create his own pub and brew beer for him. This is how the “Gagarin and Bokorash” restaurant appeared and a small brewery with it. However, the establishment and the beer became so popular that the creation of TSYPA was only a matter of time. The name was chosen not by accident, because the restaurant's design was dominated by oval, symbolizing the egg. The beer here is brewed in the Carpathian spring water, which makes it really special. And all varieties (about 50 are brewed) are divided into “tradition” - classic dark and light beer and “searches” - unexpected tastes and unusual names from which we would like to distinguish the Gose line - sour beer with the addition of fruits and vegetables. TSYPA has its own representative offices in 6 cities of Ukraine: Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhgorod, Rakhiv, and in the village of Kvasy.

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MOVA Brewing Co.

A young brewery in Dnipro, founded by graduates of “VARVAR” Brewing School in 2017 can boast of 33 beers and 24 representative offices in Ukrainian cities. MOVA’s beer is a participant in international festivals, and traditional varieties are popular among Ukrainian craft lovers. The actual name of the brewery “MOVA” is repeatedly confirmed by constant meetings with lovers of craft and beer industry. The brewery team is open to communication and ready for experimentation.

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Kumpel’ Group

When talking about craft beer, one cannot fail to mention the chain of restaurants with authentic Galician cuisine and its own line of industrial and craft beer. The restaurant appeared in Lviv in 2008, under the direction of restaurateur Mark Zarkhin. The highlight of the restaurant is a true brewery right in the heart of the establishment, which allowed connoisseurs to watch their own brewing process. The brewery focuses on classic beers and combines them with national cuisine, but it also has a few specific types of beer.

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Pravda Beer Theatre

Opened in 2014, the pub and brewery Pravda Beer Theatre in the heart of the tourist capital of Ukraine could not but become popular and literally in half a year captured the craft market of Ukraine, and became one of the ten best pubs in Europe. Beer from Pravda is realy diverse, because over the course of its history more than 120 varieties have been invented and brewed, with interesting and specific names and no less interesting visual design. Brewers themselves call their beer “manufactory”, that is, brewed in small batches, but it is perhaps the most recognizable craft beer in Ukraine - the products of Pravda brewery can be purchased in supermarkets, shops and pubs.

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Bierwelle

The well-known Chernihiv Brewery is one of the founders of craft brewing in Ukraine and has fans both abroad. Local brewers started brewing beer in 2013, and the first brewed beer is considered to be Helles -  a light Munich lager. Initially, four varieties were brewed here - dark, wheat, barley and light, but in 5 years the range has expanded significantly.

As of today, the brewery has brewed more than 200 varieties of beer. The pride of the brewery is the non-typical sour beer that came to us from Belgium. Chernihiv breweries were the first to brew this champagne beer in our country and significantly expanded its selection.

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Дідько Brewing Co.

The small, young, but creative and ambitious Kiev brewery is already affecting its name. If “craft” beer can be called an underground in the beer industry of Ukraine, “Didko” is an underground of Ukrainian craft.

The Didko team brews specific beers, adds completely unexpected ingredients, experiments and captivates fans. For example beer with the addition of exotic fruits or tomatoes. As the brewers themselves write: “We brew trash and hardcore, but so bad that it is impossible not to fall in love”.

The brewery brews in small batches that’s why sometimes it sells its beer from the auction, but brewery occupies a niche in the craft industry of Ukraine.

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Ten Men Brewery

A small brewery in the city of Volchansk, Kharkiv region, is the heir to the former Kharkiv brewery Mad Brew, which has won hundreds of fans across Ukraine. The breweries here are focused on brewing IPA and Stout beers, as well as a number of sour beers, an interesting one to note is Berry blood, which is sure to please the fans of Bloody Mary - the Kharkiv people really managed to brew spicy beer. Brewery products are poured and sold in all major cities of the country.

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Underwood Brewery

Another Kiev brewery, with three years of experience brewing its own beer. Underwood - the name was suggested not simply because the pine forest begins at the brewery's gate, and the brewery's founder is called Pidlisnyi Eugene (in Ukrainian “Pidlisnyi” name can be understood like “under the forest”), which symbolizes). Underwood Brewery positions itself as a brewery for creative people, brewing quality, stable beer, but does not shy away from improvisation. The brewery has a minimalistic but recognizable logo, and thanks to good management, the brewery is one of the few that can be seen on the supermarket shelves.

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Hoppy Hog Family Brewery

Very small brewery from a family from Odessa that brews “its own for its own” sake and positions itself as a family brewery, one can compete with the top Ukrainian brands. The story is also interesting - the son presented his father with a small brewing machine, which started the brewery's journey. Hoppy Hog specialize in cooking ale, both classic spruce and IPA, and their own raisins, but Odessa brew other beers that are sure to find their fans. The brand is also interesting by souvenirs and wooden beer containers, which distinguishes it qualitatively against other brands of craft.

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KF Brewery

KF Brewery

Brewers from Zaporizhzhya made their first beer in 2014, and within a year they were recognized as the best new brewery in Ukraine. After launching their large-scale production in 2017, they became one of the first to start brewing beer in banks. KF Brewery brews “home-brewed” beers in small batches, as well as industrial (over 1000 liters) brewery at the local KronSbeeR brewery. Today in the range of breweries more than 50 varieties of beer, presented in pubs throughout Ukraine. The famous beers are: Drunken Monkey IPA, F ... ck Like Chocolate Rabbits (Stout), DUX (Imperial Stout), Drinking Like A Fish (Baltic Porter) and many more.

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DiD Craft Beer

Another young brewery team from Kiev, one of which is confidently recruiting fans and attending all kinds of craft beer festivals. At this point, you can sample beers such as Brown Ale, Rye Ale, Amber Ale, Ordinary Ale, Lager, Ruby Ale, Stout, Urtica Ginger Ale, Dry Stout, IPA, Smoked Ale, Urtica Ginger Lager and Wheat Beer, the latest brewery considers it his favorite beer.

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Gonzo Brewery

For two years, the Kiev brewery with a stylish neon design has been pleasing its fans with dozens of varieties of classic craft beer. You can also try it in the bar in Kiev on Konstantynivska Street at number 19.

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First Dnipro Brewery

Another brewery from the Dnieper, but with a much more ancient history. The brewery was opened back in 1997 and made non-pasteurized beer using German technology, and one of the few in Ukraine had modern equipment at the time. However, at first the local beer could only be bought in some Dnipro shops. Indeed, the brewery started brewing in 2015, after the creation of a project with the network “More Pyva” (“Sea of Beer”) called "The Gourmet Menu". The highlight was that the brewery was producing new beer every week during a year - 52 new varieties in 52 weeks, which can safely be considered a world record. The purpose of this project was to create a beer taste and love for beer among Ukrainians, and indeed - this gave the inspiration to create new cool projects.

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Rebrew

A few years ago, Rebrew or Reformation Brewery rallied professionals and like-minded people with diverse backgrounds to open their own brewery and desire to reform the country's beer culture. This desire has come true and for several years Rebrew has been providing beer lovers with a favorite beer from the city of Brovary in the Kiev region. It can be purchased at the taps of pubs in the largest cities of Ukraine and also ordered directly from the brewery.

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Faynebeer

A young little-known brewery near Lviv that is just starting to write its history will surprise you with six classic craft beer. Bottles of “Fayne” have an interesting design - each beer is symbolized by a portrait of an animal in classic clothes, so IPA is here with the image of a lion, and Pilsner – dog.

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