What’s Up Brew? – Greek Microbrewers On the Rise

All over Greece, energetic micro and nomad brewers are pulling out the stops with hop-heavy brews, impressive foamy heads and original recipes for the hottest days of the year.


Most Greek microbrewers began by pursuing a personally satisfying hobby, so, when they went commercial, they did it with enthusiasm and the desire to share the pleasure of a delicious brew with like-minded consumers. They continue to keep a close eye on developments in the craft scene in Europe and the United States, which means that Greek craft beer has a very good shot at making the global market, even as local brewers find creative ways to deal with the cumbersome local legal framework as they develop and sell their products.

If there’s one trend that’s defining this summer, it’s the comeback of the much-maligned can – so often dismissed as a receptacle for cheap beer. Aluminum has a smaller carbon footprint than glass; it also protects the beer from getting lightstruck, i.e., damaged by exposure to light. Sour ales, usually fruity and refreshing, are another trend, and gains are also being made in the IPA category, a craft beer trademark but, no matter what beer you like, there’s plenty to choose from. -N.D.

Paragon Brewery

Basking in Falifornia

Faliro or California? Both the seaside suburb of Athens and the Golden State inspired the brewers at Paragon, who are helping us brace for the hot days of summer with Falifornia, a 5% ABV American pale ale with plenty of American hops, lending it a depth of flavor and orange and coconut aromas. You can pair it with light dishes like a fresh salad, mussels, steamed fish or even with dessert. Crisp from the fridge, Paragon’s Riviera, a 3.9% ABV Helles-style lager, is a clean, refreshing beer that falls right in the middle between being light and full of body. -G.P.

3 Lemesou, Ilioupoli, Athens, Tel. (+30) 698.194.7030, fb.com/paragonbrewery

Mikònu 

There’s a prickly pear in my beer!

Most of the beers produced by the Mykonos Brewing Company – with a few exceptions, like the aged ones – are designed for the summer. Just as most craft beers are tailored to suit the clientele in the immediate vicinity, Mikὀnu beers are aimed at the vacation crowds. Mykonos, though, is not just a jet-setter party island. “It’s also about a lazy meal at a taverna, hanging out at a bar or lounging on a beach,” says brewer Angelos Ferous. It’s for these relaxed aspects of the island that Mikὀnu has just launched a refreshing pale ale flavored with fresh, local prickly pears. Last August, the team scoured almost every garden and field looking for fruit-bearing cactuses so they could squeeze out the juice, freeze it and bring us Fragos’ko this year. We also recommend their Bohemian, a fruity variation on a Pilsner with generous notes of fresh American hops. -G.P.

Main road between Hora and Ano Mera, Mykonos, Tel. (+30) 22890.779.12, mikonu.gr

Strange Brew

The nomads of Koukaki

The group of three nomadic brewers who created Athens’ first taproom in the neighborhood of Koukaki are making light, fruity beers for the summer. Their Bliss, which comes out every May, uses the best hops that can be found on the international market. A double IPA, it has an alcohol content of 8.5%, which means that it has more body and great complexity, thanks to the double quantity of hops. It isn’t bitter at all; instead, it’s full of white-fleshed fruit like melon and peach, and is delightful on its own or with layered dishes like pizza or spicy meats. As for Uncle Jam’s Sour IPA, it represents the marriage of the brewers’ two favorite styles: sour ale and IPA. Fruity and refreshing, it has an ABV content of 7.5% and only comes out in limited quantities, as it belongs to the experimental beers category. We’d serve it with oily foods or Asian cuisine. -N.D.

86 Falirou, Koukaki, Athens, Tel. (+30) 210.923.2146, strangebrew.gr

Anastasiou

Summer vibes in northern Athens

Located in the leafy northern Athenian suburb of Halandri, Anastasiou Brewery is celebrating the summer with a whole bunch of new recipes. “Beer has seasons. You want dark, stronger ones in the winter and light, pleasant ones in the summer,” says Fotis Anastasiou, as he fills our glasses with, among other labels, Theristis, an aromatic IPA with a low alcohol content that means it can be enjoyed almost like a soft drink, and Wallonia, his own take on the classic Belgian saison, with the addition of pink and black pepper as well as fresh lemon juice. The brewery will also be presenting a sour ale with peach, on top of the brand-new Pilsner launched in early July. “New styles that rely on traditional recipes are constantly emerging. The very summery New Zealand Pilsner has been making a splash recently. It has a Pilsner base, but uses hops from New Zealand, which has a few very aromatic varieties. The result is a beer with a particular sense of freshness,” says Anastasiou. -G.P.

25 Haimanta, Halandri, Athens, Tel. (+30) 694.086.4443, fb.com/zythosanastasiou

Solo

Cretan craftsmanship

This Cretan brewery, known for its fresh, unpasteurized and unfiltered beers recently launched Grapy, which comes in a 750ml champagne bottle. Produced in limited quantities, it’s made with unripe grapes and is a notable addition to the category of sour beers. For the long Greek summer, Solo is pushing its Amerikana, a pale ale made with extra fresh hops. It has spicy notes of pine and fruit, and a flavor profile that balances between the desired bitterness and a refreshing aftertaste, with a 6% ABV. It’s a great match for barbecued meat and rich pasta sauces. Solo’s classic Horiatiki is a 6.5% ABV Belgian-style saison, blending the aroma of sourdough with tropical fruits and the sweetness of lemon blossoms. It goes well with roasted meats, chicken dishes with lemon, and with things like savory cheese pies. -N.D.

35 Κοintoirioti, Iraklio, Crete, Tel. (+30) 28117.502.09, solobeer.gr

Alea Brewing Co.

Here’s to partnerships

This alternative brewery, based in the northern Athens suburb of Metamorfosi, is an active member of the microbrewery community, and a partner with different producers, as well as a fervent supporter of aluminum cans, both for environmental and practical reasons. In 2019, Alea became the first brewery in Greece to launch high-quality beer in cans. Their now classic Chloe, produced together with Strange Brew, is a simply wonderful summer lager. It’s made in the traditional manner of lagers, but allowed to rest for six weeks until its flavors become mellower and more rounded. With a delightful aroma and a full body, it pairs well with a range of foods, from fried potatoes and fish to light tomato-based casseroles. Alea has also teamed up with Sourmena Brew and Mustaki Nomad Brewing to bring us an American Pale Ale, with a fruity, tropical profile and a 5.6% ABV – a dream on a hot day – and also launched New England IPA, full of floral notes and body, as part of its annual anniversary series. -N.D.

87 Clois, Metamorfosis, Athens, Tel. (+30) 213.001.7953, aleabrewingco.gr

Blame the Sun

Athenian exoticism

Surfboards, floral shirts and a tiki vibe – it’s always summer at Blame the Sun, one of Athens’ first taprooms, where its owner, Lefteris Ladopopoulos, has developed a beer brand of the same name with eye-catching labels for its different products. (The taproom serves a wide selection of Greek craft beers from other producers as well.) The eminently summery Beach Bum – my personal favorite – is redolent with summer fruits. It’s a pale ale with ginger and lime, giving it Moscow Mule overtones. “We employ cocktail techniques in our beers,” says Ladopoulos, suggesting that we try a Beach Bum with a ceviche, with sushi, or with Thai or other Asian foods with spicy qualities. The tropics are also evident in Puppenhaus, a German Helles-style lager that smells of bread and lemongrass, and the label has also just launched La Felicita, a brand new Italian Pilsner with botanic notes. -G.P.

60 Veikou, Koukaki, Athens, Tel. (+30) 210.921.3523, fb.com/blamethesunbrewing

Kykao

Patra takes Greece by storm

The brewers of Kykao have built up an impressive portfolio of more than 80 labels in just four years. Their amazing packaging is eye-catching, but it’s their unexpected flavor profiles that craft beer aficionados rave about. Their latest output includes many different styles, which are being packaged in aluminum cans for the first time. These include the West Coast IPA, East Coast IPA and New England IPA. This season has also seen the launch of a delicious beer with a fruity character and incredibly summery flavors: the rich, opaque and extra delightful raspberry and pomegranate Sour Berliner Weisse. In bottled form, we found a delicious – albeit not so summery – barrel-aged Mexican Imperial Milk Stout, with intense cocoa and chocolate notes. -N.D.

Platani, Patra, Tel. (+30) 261.600.7652, kykao.gr



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