Beer is undoubtedly the drink of choice in Croatia, with around half of the adult population stating that they are regular beer drinkers! The most popular form of beer in Croatia are lighter types such as larger and pale ale, although other varieties such as stout and porter also prove well-liked. Taking their beer seriously, around 90% of all beer sold in Croatia is also produced in the country. In recent years, as the interest in craft beer has grown worldwide, Croatia has seen something of a beer revolution taking place, with their classic brands facing some strong competition from new businesses. We take a look at the best of both, exploring classic brands and new craft beers, and what they offer.
The most popular beer type in Croatia, it is estimated that ten bottles of Ožujsko are drunk every second! This equates to around 40 percent of the market share for beer in the country, so it won’t be difficult to find in any bar or restaurant you visit in Croatia. The brand was established almost 130 years ago, making it one of the oldest brewing companies in the country. It is a lager beer with a golden colour, featuring a deep white head. Sipping upon this beer offers hints of sweet corn and malt, while presenting a fruity finish. In addition to the standard lager, the Ožujsko range also includes a wheat beer, alcohol-free beer and lemon or apple flavoured varieties.
Another very famous beer in Croatia, Karlovačko is an award-winning golden-yellow beer that offers a bitter, yet refreshing taste. The name of the beer comes from the city Karlovac, which is where the factory producing this drink can be found. By sales, it is the second most popular beer in Croatia after Ožujsko. The brand also offers an alcohol-free version and a lemon flavour beer.
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While the majority of Croatian beers are pale in colour, Tomislav is definitely an exception to this, presenting a dark colour due to the higher quantity of malt extract used. At 7.3% ABV, it is the most alcoholic beer available in Croatia (most are around 5%) and offers smokey and rich notes with coffee aromas. This double malt beer was first brewed in 1925 in celebration of the anniversary of the first Croatian king, King Tomislav, 1,000 years prior.
Established during the 1600s, Osječko is the first Croatian beer to be created commercially. The beer is produced in the Osijek region, which is renowned for the growth of grains such as barley, corn and cereal, ensuring a quality drink is brewed. A classic Croatian beer, the drink is sold in the now-iconic brown bottles. The golden colour and perfectly balanced alcohol and bitter flavours makes this the ideal beer for any occasion. In fact, the producers even suggest using it to make pancakes! This long-established brand now has several beers in its range, including a dark beer and a citrusy Radler.
While classic Croatian beers remain commercial favourites, over the past few years an incredible number of smaller craft breweries have been popping up across the country, making pale ales one of the more popular drinks. One such craft microbrewery, Zmajska Pivovara, has certainly made their mark in the Croatian beer scene, having been rated in the Top Ten New Brewers in the World. Since opening in 2014 they have released a range of beers including a full-bodied, yet crisp, American Pale Ale, as well as a Porter which has been voted the best Croatian craft beer.
When staying in Croatia, you can enjoy a delicious beer made from a local producer in the comfort of your luxury holiday villas in Croatia, at a local bar, or at one of the incredible nightlife hotspots! Which of these Croatian beers do you think you will be trying?
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