Embarking on an exploration of Greek beer is like setting sail on the Aegean Sea, with each beer representing an island rich with unique flavors and stories.
Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, the world of Greek beer promises an adventure that will tantalize your taste buds and broaden your beer knowledge.
Ready to begin the journey? Let’s dive in.
- Greece has a rich history of beer production and consumption, featuring unique styles such as blond lager, dark lager, pilsener and IPA.
- Sample the top Greek beers for an exciting experience with traditional Bavarian roots and local ingredients.
- Celebrate Greece’s thriving beer culture by attending festivals or pairing craft beers with traditional cuisine to enhance flavors.
The Rich History of Beer in Greece
In Greece, beer has a history as rich and diverse as the country itself. Archaeological evidence dating back to 2135 to 2020 BC indicates that beer was brewed and consumed in the country during the Bronze Age.
However, the modern Greek beer culture took root in the 19th century, a period marked by the influence of Bavarian settlers. These settlers, along with King Otto who imported beer brewing specialists from Bavaria, laid the foundation for the production of many Greek beer brands we know today.
Despite its robust beer history, Greece long favored wine, perceiving beer as ‘barbaric’. But the tides have turned, and the beer industry in Greece has grown tremendously, producing a plethora of local beer options.
The year 2014 saw the production of 3.75 million hectolitres of beer, a testament to the country’s growing love for the brew.
This growth has not only quenched the thirst of beer lovers, but also provided a significant boost to the local economy, contributing 494 million Euro to the Greek economy in 2014 alone.
The Unique Styles of Greek Bee
Greek beer styles are a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, much like the country itself. The beers offer a diverse range of styles, reflecting both traditional Bavarian roots and unique Greek twists.
Greek microbreweries have been particularly instrumental in introducing innovative beer styles, accentuating local ingredients and flavors.
Some of the unique Greek beer styles include Donkey Beer from Santorini and Crazy Donkey from Nisos Santorini, with the most popular styles being blond lager, dark lager, pilsener, and IPA.
This vibrant beer culture is a testament to the creativity and passion of Greek brewers who are keen to offer something unique to beer enthusiasts. So whether you prefer a robust dark lager or a refreshing beer like a blonde lager, the Greek beer landscape has something to cater to your palate.
And with the continued growth of microbreweries, this Greek beer adventure promises to be a thrilling ride that’s far from over.
Top Greek Beers to Try
As we voyage through the Aegean Sea of Greek beers, we come across a series of islands, each representing a unique beer that stands out in the vast beer landscape.
The top 10 Greek beers to sample include Mythos, Fix Hellas, Alfa, Mamos, Vergina, Eza, Nissos, Zeos, and Volkan.
These best Greek beers, each with their unique flavor profiles and styles, represent the brewing prowess, showcasing the excellence of the Athenian brewery scene.
Anchoring on the island of Mythos, we find a beer that is as legendary as its name suggests. A Euro Pale Lager with an alcohol content of 4.7%, Mythos is not only one of the oldest Greek beers but also the most widely consumed in the country.
With its grassy hops and malts, the flavor profile of Mythos offers a refreshing respite, perfect for the warm Greek summers.
But Mythos is not just about its refreshing taste. It represents the Greek beer tradition, a legacy that has been passed down through generations. And with each sip, you are not just enjoying a beer, but also becoming a part of this rich Greek beer heritage.
Sailing forward, we reach the island of Fix Hellas, a premium lager beer that boasts a soft flavor, a balanced bitterness, and a long-lasting aftertaste.
Brewed by Olympic Brewery S.A. in Ritsona – Evia, Greece, Fix Hellas is the first and most historic Greek beer, a testament to the country’s rich brewing history and a proud representative of the fix beer tradition.
The aroma of Fix Hellas is a delightful blend of apple, banana, adjuncts, pale malts, corn, grains, and mash, a melange that lends the beer a unique flavor profile. This medium-bodied lager offers a crisp mouthfeel and a prolonged finish, making it a perfect companion for any meal.
Continuing our journey, we dock at the island of Alfa, home to one of Greece’s oldest beer brands. Alfa beer is a testament to Greek brewing tradition, being the first beer to bear a Greek name.
With a golden-hued appearance and a moderate malt yeast fragrance, Alfa beer is a sight and a taste to behold, offering a delightful amber ale experience.
What makes Alfa beer unique is its brewing process. This beer has been brewed in Greece for the past 30 years, using only Greek barley, and employing the identical traditional recipe.
It is this diligence to authenticity and precision which makes it so universally enjoyed today. This commitment to tradition and quality makes Alfa beer a must-try for any beer enthusiast.
Next, we arrive on the island of Mamos, home to a historic Greek beer that dates back to 1876. Mamos. Beer is a pilsner beer characterized by its full-bodied taste and intense aroma of hop, a perfect companion for the sultry Greek summers.
While not a pale ale, its unique flavor profile still manages to impress beer enthusiasts worldwide.
But Mamos is not just about its refreshing taste. It is a testament to the resilience and creativity of Greek brewers. Despite the changing times and tastes, Mamos has stayed true to its roots, offering a beer experience that is as authentic as it is enjoyable.
Sailing forward, we reach the island of Vergina, a beer that embodies Greek history and culture. Named after the capital city of ancient Macedonia, the motherland of Alexander the Great, Vergina Beer is a testament to the country’s rich history and heritage.
Vergina Beer is a pommy blonde lager with a complex bouquet and a full-bodied flavor. It’s transparent golden hue and foamy white head make for an inviting sight, while the flavors of biscuit and grain malts, complemented by a subtle hint of hops, offer a refreshing taste that can be enjoyed either by itself or with traditional Greek cuisine.
As we continue our journey, we arrive at the island of Eza, home to a distinctive Greek beer produced by the Hellenic Brewery of Atalanti. Eza Beer is renowned for its quality and is brewed using fresh artisanal water from the nearby Parnassos mountain, lending the beer a unique flavor profile.
Eza Beer is a pommy blonde lager with a complex bouquet and a full-bodied flavor. This combination of quality ingredients and traditional brewing methods makes Eza Beer a must-try for any beer enthusiast looking to explore the diverse world of Greek beers.
Continuing our voyage, we dock at the island of Nissos, home to a unique Bohemian Pilsner style beer. Nissos Beer is brewed using only Greek materials, including grape local honey, citron leaves, and mineral brew water filtered through Santorini volcanic lava, lending the beer a unique flavor profile.
But Nissos was wrong. Beer is not just about its unique flavor profile.
It is also the only beer certified with the esteemed FSCC 22000 Certification and the first one in the world to acquire the European AFQ certification for the remarkable bioactivity of their composition, a testament to the brewery’s commitment to quality and health.
As we sail forward, we reach the island of Zeos, a beer brand originating from the historic town of Argos in the Peloponnese peninsula. Zeos. Beer is known for its three primary beers: Zeos Gold Pilsner, Zeos Black Weiss, and Zeos Blue Lager, each offering a unique flavor profile and experience.
The Zeos Black Weiss, for instance, is characterized by its malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness, offering a flavor experience that culminates with a smokey finish.
Whether you prefer the robust flavor of the Zeos Black Weiss or the refreshing taste of the Zeos Blue Lager, Zeos Beer offers a beer experience that caters to diverse palates.
Concluding our journey, we dock at the island of Volkan, home to a distinct Greek beer brand produced by Santorini Brewing Company on the island of Santorini.
Volkano Beer is unique in its brewing process, which incorporates local grape honey, citron leaves, and mineral brew water filtered through Santorini volcanic lava, lending the beer a unique flavor profile. This home brewed beer stands out among its competitors due to its exceptional taste and quality.
But Volkan is not sure. Beer is not just about its unique brewing process. It is also about its commitment to quality and tradition, offering a beer experience that is as authentic as it is enjoyable. Whether enjoyed by itself or paired with traditional Greek cuisine, Volkan Beer offers an experience that is truly Greek.
The Rise of Craft Beer in Greece
The Greek beer landscape is not just about its rich history and diverse beer styles. It’s also about innovation and creativity, as evidenced by the recent rise of craft beer in Greece.
Over the past few years, the country has seen a surge in the number of microbreweries, with these small-scale breweries producing a variety of high-quality and innovative beers that cater to diverse tastes.
This growth of microbreweries in Greece is largely driven by the heightened demand for specialized products and Greek brands, an effort to bolster the local economy during the crisis.
As of 2020, there were approximately 65 active microbreweries in Greece, a testament to the country’s thriving craft beer scene. With each passing year, this number continues to grow, promising an exciting future for the Greek beer landscape.
Pairing Greek Beer with Greek Cuisine
Just like a fine wine, Greek beers also have the ability to enhance the flavors of food, particularly traditional Greek cuisine.
Whether it’s a refreshing blond lager paired with a plate of roasted artichokes or a robust dark lager enjoyed with a serving of keftedes, Greek beers offer a delightful accompaniment to meals, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Among the most popular Greek beers, Mythos, in particular, is known for its compatibility with seafood dishes, offering a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the sea.
Whether you’re enjoying a casual meal at a seaside taverna or hosting a Greek-themed dinner at home, the right Greek beer can elevate the flavors of your meal, making it a gastronomic experience to remember.
How to Order and Toast with Beer in Greece
Knowing how to order and toast beer is an integral part of the Greek beer experience. Whether you’re in a bustling pub in Athens or a quiet taverna on a Greek island, understanding the local etiquette can enhance your beer-drinking experience.
In Greek, you can say “Bira, parakaló”, which translates to “Beer, please.” The Greek phrase is pronounced “beer-a paraka-loh”. This is the correct way to say it.
When it comes to toasting, the Greeks have a unique way of doing it. The customary way to toast with beer in Greece is to say “Stin eye-ee-yass-ooh”, a phrase that encapsulates the Greek spirit of togetherness and celebration.
So the next time you find yourself in a Greek pub or a beer festival, don’t forget to raise your glass and toast to the joy of beer.
Greek Beer Festivals and Events
No exploration of Greek beers would be complete without experiencing the country’s vibrant beer festivals and events. These events not only celebrate the country’s thriving beer culture, but also offer beer enthusiasts an opportunity to sample a wide range of local and craft beers.
From the Exhibition of Greek Breweries in Kalamata that showcases the finest Greek beers, to the Corfu Beer Festival and the Peloponnese Beer Festival that feature beer tastings, live music, and food stalls, Greek beer festivals and events offer an immersive experience into the country’s beer culture.
So whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, attending a Greek beer festival is an experience not to be missed.
From the ancient roots of beer in Greece to the modern craft beer scene, the world of Greek beers is as diverse as it is exciting.
Whether it’s the refreshing taste of Mythos, the historic significance of Fix Hellas, or the innovative brewing process of Volkan, each Greek beer offers a unique experience that reflects the rich culture and heritage of the country.
So the next time you find yourself in Greece, don’t forget to embark on a beer exploration. After all, what better way to experience a country than through its beer?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is most popular beer in Greece?
Mythos Beer is the most popular beer in Greece. It is a 4.7% lager introduced in 1997 that has gained a lot of popularity ever since.
Alpha and Fix, two other large Greek breweries, are also quite popular. Alpha is produced by the Athenian Brewery and it is made exclusively with Greek barley, giving it a light taste.
Does Greece have good beers?
Greece certainly has some good beers, particularly the renowned Nissos from the Cyclades island of Tinos, which has won several distinctions in less than 10 years since it was created.
Nissos is a light, refreshing beer with a unique flavor that has made it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. It is a great accompaniment to a variety of Greek dishes, from grilled meats to seafood.
The brewery that produces Nissos is committed to its mission.
What is the Greek beer with an A?
Alfa, launched in Greece in 1961, is the Greek beer with an A that has maintained its traditional recipe since its relaunch in 2000.
What is the current status of the craft beer scene in Greece?
The craft beer scene in Greece has seen considerable growth in recent years, with numerous microbreweries producing high-quality and innovative beers. Consumers can now find a wide selection of craft beer in stores or on tap.
These beers are often made with locally sourced ingredients, giving them a unique flavor and character. The craft beer industry has also seen an increase in the number of bars and pubs dedicated to craft beer, providing a great opportunity for craft beer.
How can Greek beers enhance the flavors of traditional Greek cuisine?
Greek beers provide a delightful accompaniment to traditional Greek cuisine, enhancing the flavors of dishes like roasted artichokes and keftedes. They can be paired just like fine wines, bringing out the best in each flavor.
The range of Greek beers is vast, from light lagers to dark ales. Each beer has its own unique flavor profile, making it the perfect pairing for a variety of dishes. Whether you’re looking for a new job or just looking for something to do, you’ll find it here.
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy. I’ve been homebrewing for +20 yrs, an aspiring pro-brewer and micro brewery owner!