Craft beer in Riga
While everyone searches for kvass upon arriving in Riga, you should also look into the booming culture of craft beer. Like other capitals worldwide, Riga joined the trend and already has lots to offer. Craft beer gained popularity due to exciting flavors, and bigger diversity, about which brewers talk with so much appreciation as a glass of beer was a piece of art. Thus, as a Czech national whose homeland lives on the golden beverage, I was obviously curious about Riga’s craft beer, and now I can say it is worth a pup crawl!
History of beer in Latvia
Although not as popular as in the Czech Republic, beer definitely has a significant role in Latvian tradition. During the German crusades and the German conquest of Latvia in the 13th century, beer was already well-known in the country. Thanks to the Western European brewing traditions, the local primitive techniques were elevated, and brewing further developed. This progress made brewing more popular, and people started making their own beer at home, which allowed for these techniques to survive in Latvia to this day. Beer also stood behind the increase in the number of taverns, which served as the primary selling spot of the beverage. Apart from offering food and beer to travelers, taverns were also a place where landowners and peasants could meet, and soon they became the political centers. The 18th century witnessed a drop in beer production as producers shifted to spirits, bringing them larger profits. However, with the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, large mechanized breweries sprung up around Latvia. For instance, the first industrial brewery in Riga was Kimmel, founded in 1815. At the end of the 19th century, Waldschlossen Brewery was established, later resurrected as Aldaris, Latvia’s current largest beermaker.
Nowadays, breweries in Latvia face similar issues as elsewhere. On one side stand huge breweries like Aldaris, often part of well-capitalized international conglomerates. On the other side stand microbreweries offering very niche products. Regional breweries stand somewhere in between, but their position is the most unfortunate as they cannot compete with conglomerates’ prices and are too big to innovate. While Aldaris takes pride in producing a strong dark Baltic Porter, which has a rich history going back to the court of Russian Czarina Catherine, microbreweries brought fresh air into the field.
Where to get craft beer in Riga
One of the most popular places among locals in Riga is Labietis, offering an experience of craft beer of different strengths and flavors. The brewery owners say that their recipes combine already-known tastes with modern trends that aim to transform the way we look at beer. Their brewery masters play with different types of beer that have been around for more than 12,000 years. Another place offering craft beer is Taka, which charms with a cozier atmosphere, various board games, and books. If you want to support the newbies in the industry, stop by in Alus Rūme Trofeja, which, as the owner says, is not even a micro but a nano brewery. However, they still offer an impressive range of unusual beers.
Hopefully, this article motivated you to explore Riga’s craft beer. If yes, then на ваше здоровье!
This blog was brought to you by Anna, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz in Riga
The images were taken from Pexels