Ouzo, raki, mastiha, tsipouro, wine, homemade liqueur... And now you can add beer to the list of the most popular beverages made in Greece. In fact, beer production has a long history in Greece, with the first brewery founded in the 19th century! Today, there are microbreweries around the country producing their own distinctive, unpasteurised and unfiltered beer. New flavours and new experiences, with their own Greek stamp of authenticity!
It’s been brewing for a while
The history of beer production in Greece dates to 1864 and the establishment of the famous brewery of Ioannis Fix in Athens. Its flagship factory on Syngrou Avenue is a monument to industrial architecture in Athens, now housing the relocated National Museum of Contemporary Art. So it’s not surprising that Greeks love drinking beer – refreshing and enjoyable, during the afternoon or at night, at celebrations of any kind, at parties, cafes, bars or at home.
In recent years, Greece has discovered microbrewing. From Argos, Messinia, Patras and Evia to Crete, Santorini, Tinos, Chios, Corfu, Rhodes and Piraeus, Greek microbreweries are on the rise. Their allies: the mild Greek climate, natural freshwater springs, hops and grains, together with other ingredients used to make their beer taste good, such as pure aromatic Greek honey, citrus, spices and flowers.
With around 20 microbreweries around Greece, many offering tastings and seminars, and a growing number of beer festivals, appreciating Greece’s beer revolution whilst on holiday couldn’t be easier.
It’s all in the taste
In Greece, beer has one motto: quality over quantity.
The results exceed expectations: imaginative, smooth and original beer, some designation of origin status. As equally imaginative as the flavours are the designs of the bottles and their colourful labels. In fact, we have all-round award-winners with gold medals from international competitions, famous not just in Greece but around the world.
One of these even achieved the status of ‘top three best beers in the world’ at the international beer festival in Venice.
According to the experts, fresh Greek beer contains all the nutritional value of the grains: “The beer that we produce contains only malt from barley, hops, yeast and water.” It’s produced using traditional methods: it’s fermented and aged in specially-refrigerated tanks, fermentation happens at 15 degrees and the maturing process lasts from one to four weeks. Take it from a German journalist from ZDF who believes that Greek beer is an absolute triumph.