Tag Archive: Serbia

Dogma: Hoptopod IPA (Serbia: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon colour. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Very large lace leaving loose bubbled white head.

Nose: Piney. Hoppy. Resinous. Slightly oily. Floral. Wheat fields. Pineapple. Jiff lemon. Slight lime. Tangerine.

Body: Bubblegum. Tart pineapple. Raspberry to raspberry yogurt. Dry lemon juice. Sour dough. Lemongrass. Orange juice. Slight oily hop character.

Finish: Bubblegum. Crisp hops. Vanilla yogurt. Slight bitterness. Dry lemon and lemongrass. Slow growing and growling hop bitterness.

Conclusion: Are they sure that Sorachi Ace was not used in making this? It isn’t listed in the hop choice but it sure tastes like there is at least a dash of it in there. So, a bit of an unusual IPA then.

The aroma promises something fairly normal – a piney, slightly resinous hop character. Slightly fresh, so a dry hop bomb with some tart fruit as a mild offset. Pretty standard west coast right?

Not exactly, but not exactly wrong either.

The base is fairly dry, with moderate hop character, but it is absolutely bursting with tart juiciness – almost bitty fruit juice style. Orange juice, pineapple, and … this is where it gets odd … bubblegum with light sweet raspberry yogurt notes. Those last two give a slightly artificial, yet still welcome set of chewy sweet or candy set of notes in the middle of the beer. It results it a more chewy character than the dry start would make you think, but not in an overly malt led way – more like a very bitty fruit shake.

It then leads out into a fruit tart finish that slowly subsides into a growling bitterness that finally pays off the hop promise of the aroma.

Overall, I dig it – heavily fruity but with a dry base that shows the IPA style and uses just enough hop character and bitterness that it is still solidly an IPA. Doesn’t ape other IPAs but still recognisable as one. Tart, unusual and drinkable. A solid hit I say.

Background: I was gifted a free month subscription to Beer 52 recently by a mate – Many thanks! – so here it is. They sent a Balkans themed case of beer, of which this was one. Only had a few beers from that area – mainly when I was visiting Belgrade, so was an interesting box to go with. Would I recommend them? Well beer selection seems nice, they include a guide to the beer with some cool articles, so not bad. Warning however – they are an utter fucking dick to cancel. Yes I cancelled after the free box. My cupboard is scary packed at the moment. First world problems. The issue with cancelling the subscription is you sign up online, pause subscription online, but if you try to cancel – after several attempts to make you stay – they inform you that you cannot cancel online via their site. You have to call them, and be put on hold for ages with a painfully scratchy line that genuinely hurt my ears. I was ready to tell them to fuck right off, but I noticed that in smaller text they mention you can cancel by e-mail. Which I did. The person handling that was great, so cool. Did a lot to restore them to my good graces, so may use them in the future for a short while if they have similar interesting region based boxes. Still a crappy set-up though – if you have to make unsubscribing a hassle, then your service isn’t good enough to stand on its own two legs. Rant over. Anyway – tried for vaguely appropriate music by putting on Goran Bregovic – Tales and Songs from Weddings and Funerals while drinking.


Kabinet Citra Pale Ale

Kabinet: Citra Pale Ale (Serbia: American Pale Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy yellow, with some sediment from the pour. Mounded white froth head.

Nose: Crisp hops. Pears. Dried apricot. Buttery shortbread. Nicely bitter. Kumquat. Chilli seeds. Apples.

Body: Paprika. Dry, but at some points brings a creamy mouthfeel. Spicy. pepper. Soft apples. Solid bitterness. Kiwi. Lightly tart,

Finish: Bitter. Wheaty. Pear drops. Drying. Gritty. Vanilla sweetness. Unleavened bread.

Conclusion: Ok, another pale ale that goes the highly attenuated route. I will admit not my favourite interpretation of the style. This one using the Citra hop as a pick me up to give a flavour burst against the dry backdrop.

So, that is the plan anyway, doesn’t quite work that way. the base is dry, bitter and gritty. By itself that isn’t terrible, but it requires a careful hand at the wheel, and makes it very reliant on the hops for most of the flavour. The hops here are bringing gentle green fruit – apples and pears – and also a resilient hop bitterness. The lightly tart set of fruit flavours is pleasant, but is nowhere near strong enough to work over the gritty base. The flavours are too easily overwhelmed.

So, it either needs to go with stronger flavours to work with the dry bitterness, or rein in the bitterness a bit to give the softer flavours room to roam. So, as is, it is not really one for me. Then again, the American Pale Ale is often like that for me, it takes real skill to pull off one I really like – this does not manage that and ends up too spicy and dry.

Still their IPA is cool.

Background: Grabbed while I was in Belgrade, as I wanted to try more from the Kabinet brewery. Drunk while listening to Against Me!’s live album 23 Live Sex Acts. Very cool album. That is all.

Carlsberg Serbia Lav Pivo

Carlsberg Serbia: Lav Pivo (Serbia: Pale Lager: 5% ABV)

Visual: Light gold. Some carbonation. Small yellow white head.

Nose: Shortbread. Soft lemon and caramel. Custard.

Body: Lemon sherbet. Toffee. Light aniseed. Fizzy mouthfeel. Caramel. Custard.

Finish: Aniseed. Toffee malt. Light liquorice. Palma violets.

Conclusion: So, after that tasty Serbian craft beer, I thought it was time to take a swig of the everyday available cans of Belgrade for comparison. When I tried this on tap I found it ok, it gave a much smoother and superior experience, however for now it is the can in my hands so the can version we will discuss.

First comparison I shall do is against everyday canned lager in the UK. So how does it compare? here, fairly favourably, it doesn’t have that soda stream fizziness of a lot of UK lagers – the main base is soft lemon and caramel that isn’t bad. However it is pretty heavily let down by the finish where dry aniseed and liquorice off notes rise up and shit all over the main flavour. It says a lot about the UK canned lager scene that this still compares favourably despite that. Those elements were not present in the tap version, which is why I hold that one as superior. Meanwhile, back at the can the aroma is pretty much a non entity for the most part.

So, how about a second comparison, this time to the beer scene as a whole? Here this really suffers. It has an ok middle, but really weak front and actively bad end – it really isn’t worth grabbing.

So, anyway, on tap – more gentle, not great but much better than on the can and manageable. This canned version? It just doesn’t hold up. Despite having a reputation for getting a lot worse in the past ten years, I would still say Jelen is the better of the two mainstream lagers I encountered.

Anyway, this is called Lav, and tastes a bit piss. Snigger. I am such a child.

Background: Milos kindly put a few cans of beer in the fridge for me to try while I was in Belgrade, so I decided to do notes on one to see what the standard lager scene is like. I decided to go with this one as it is called Lav. Pivo means beer. So this is basically toilet beer to my ruined British mind. I am puerile. I had tried both light and dark version of this on tap in the pub the night before.

Kabinet Supernova

Kabinet: Supernova (Serbia: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Thin ambered head is a dash that leaves suds but doesn’t take up much space.

Nose: Apricot. Pineapple. Lemon and cane sugar. Stewed fruit. Gooseberry.

Body: Pineapple. Stewed apricot. Light chalk touch. Sharp gooseberry. Light backing bitterness. Fruit syrup. Peach.

Finish: Gooseberry. Pineapple. Peach. Good bitterness and hops. Light menthol.

Conclusion: Ok, I have drunk a hell of a lot of IPAs, so I can be a tad blasé at times, and a tad harsh on a new IPA because of that. I mean, I am comparing them to an insanely high quality top few, however, I try to put that behind me and just enjoy the beer as it is. Which is a long winded way of saying, taken as itself, this is a very solid IPA.

This mixes a thick, fruit syrup sweet base with a real tart gooseberry and pineapple hop character. Well, I say hop character, I am sure that the fruitiness comes from the hops, but there isn’t a traditional hop feel, or even that big bitterness for an IPA. It is discernibly an IPA, but unusual in how it delivers it – concentrating on big flavours over big bitterness.

The exception to this is in the finish where a bit more traditional hop bitterness comes out, breaking up the tart main character. Overall it comes together as a refreshing and large feeling beer.

So, not world class no, but that is hardly an insult in this field – trust me. So, what small flaws are against it? Well the main body is a tad too syrupy, as a single beer that works great, but it still gets a tad sickly by the end – I can’t see it holding up great over a session. Apart from that there is a slight menthol bit at the end that doesn’t quite fit the style. That is about it really.

So, a bit over heavy but for that you get a lovely burst of flavour. Not quite a supernova, but definitely a bang!

Background: Belgrade has a craft beer scene! Since I was visiting a few friends over in Belgrade I thought I should at least give it a try. Drunk at Kabinet‘s pub in Belgrade, this is their interpretation of an IPA. Initially i thought this may have NZ hops in, but looking online it looks like it is predominantly USA hopped. Huh, my mistake. This was served in what looked like a large spirit glass, guess there is not much of a scene for people like me who order small measures. Also, I just looked, on ratebeer this is the highest rated Serbian beer. I had no idea at the time of ordering. As mentioned in the photo this has an EBC of 20. I don’t see that listed often…

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