Brewery: Grupa Żywiec S.A.
Country of Origin: Poland
City & State: Żywiec, Poland
Style: Euro Pale Lager
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.6%
First Brewed: 1856
A pale golden, smooth, strong lager with creamy pale malt and herbal hops in both the aroma and the bittersweet taste. The finish starts off bitterless but becomes more bitter.
As I was wrapping up at Purdue (through the Indianapolis campus at IUPUI) I was presented with an opportunity to travel abroad and help educate students in Poland. We hit two cities on our tour of Poland; both sister colleges of Purdue University. While there we drank… a LOT. From the vodka to the beers, we pretty much drank every night of the week. But it was part of it. I have since become obsessed with vodka (mostly potato vodka) and always find an excuse to talk about the trip with friends, family, and strangers alike. Working at Total Wine & More I talk about my time spend in Poland in the vodka aisle. People trust the Polish when it comes to vodka!
I drank beer in Poland, too. This is one of them. I had more of their porter, and while that is on the list and also in the fridge, I wanted to get this one out of the way. It is a Euro pale lager, and while not like the pale beers here in the United States, has a lasting and memorable flavor. I try to order this any chance I get. Whether you are living in Europe or right here in the United States of America, this is a good and readily accessible beer. Tonight I toast my friends from Poland and my time spent over seas. Bottoms up, people!
In the Glass: Boring doesn’t even begin to explain this beer in the glass. It looks like a cheap domestic. There is little head, and the lace is weak. But imagine sitting in Warsaw, drunk with your classmates. Then the beer looks amazing! I have so many memories from that trip. From seeing Juwenalia to waking up drunk, the trip was great for reasons other than the obvious. Anyway, the beer in the glass looks boring!
Nose: This smells better than I remember. It was a few years ago, so I don’t really remember appreciating beer for what it was. Plus, this beer has been made for years. Over 100 years, to be honest. I wonder how the beer has changed over the years. It has a typical European beer aroma to it, and makes me want to just chug this until the glass is empty. I think of German beers when I smell this one.
Flavor: This beer is VERY drinkable. It has some nice notes up front, and then finished smooth and refreshing. This is nothing more than a good drinking beer. They serve these in HUGE glasses (or mugs) over there… and for good reason. The ABV here is low, but you could chug this stuff all day long.
Mouthfeel: It’s pretty boring. Not much going on. Not too many bubbles, and the focus here is the finish and the aftertaste. When I move this around in my mouth, there are some intense bubbles… but that is nothing to write home about.
Aftertaste: Maybe the best part of the beer. It is somewhat dry, with a nice pale finish. It is a Euro pale lager, so there aren’t as many hops as you would expect from something made on this side of the pond… but it’s nice. The finish has me craving for another sip!
Like I said, I spent some time in Poland. I remember drinking this in the airport and in the streets of Jeżów. I remember even ordering this at dinner our first night there. If you have never been to Europe, go. I don’t care what country you visit, just go see how life is over there. From meeting and talking to strangers in Paris to ordering drinks from a Russian in Italy, life overseas is something that everyone should be privy to. This beer has a lot of meaning to me… and I will never forget my time spent in Poland.
Żywiec – The bottle says: “Poland’s No. 1 Beer”
Well, so far tonight’s beer looks kind of like Bud Light in the glass. It’s not quite as pale, but is more of a honey color and looks very thin in the glass. There’s also not much head. It might be a bit carbonated, as I see some tiny bubbles floating up to the top. There’s not a lot of smell to it, at least not much that I get out of it. It mostly smells like beer, with a hint of a sweet scent to it. Let’s see if it tastes better than it looks.
It tastes very thin at first, a pretty light beer. However, it does have a bit of a sweet taste to it. It’s almost like honey. Maybe that’s the sweetness that I smelled. The mouthfeel is pretty much like I described, a very light feel. I actually like it more than I thought I would. While it tastes pretty light, it’s also pretty balanced. This would be a good summer beer, or it even has a similar taste as some German Oktoberfest beers. It’s not one of my favorite beers, or necessarily one I would hunt down again, but it is one I could drink at a party or event. For a somewhat lighter beer, it’s not too bad.