Despite the size of 20.273 square kilometers, Slovenia is home to roughly around 28 breweries, making it a perfect destination for any beer connoisseur. The two major brands are Union and Lasko, recently bought by Heineken. Avoid getting sucked into the local debate on which of these two is better and rather give Slovenian craft beer created by these small microbreweries a chance. These are the true stars of Slovenia’s beer renaissance.
Our favorite Slovenian Craft Beer:
It’s technically produced in Austria, just a few kilometers away from the Slovenian border, but it’s owned by a Slovenian. The microbrewery is dedicated to making beers of top fermentation, better known as ales. The owner Vasja Golar claims: »Despite the English roots of ales, we here at Bevog are very creative and do not stick to the established norms. We design our beers in our own way, the way we know is right.« With all the awards they have recently received for both beer and the design of their labels they are apparently doing it right. You can give all their beers a chance at the brewery or get some to take home.
Try: Pale ale Tak – very tasty and aromatic. It’s just a bit bitter at the end, and then it mellows down, beginning for another sip.
This is one of the youngest microbreweries in Slovenia, located in Nova Gorica. In their case the saying: curiosity trumpets experience, definitely holds true, because despite being young they are certainly making their mark. They’ve named their beer after the four horsemen of the apocalypse – a force of nature to be reckoned with, just like their Grim Reaper, IPA and Warriors Pale Ale. As the horsemen they deliver a blow.
Try: Grim Reaper starts off with an aroma of tropical fruit and then the sweet bitterness takes over.
A married couple Anja and Urban Florjancic have established their own microbrewery in Kamnik, a few kilometers away from Ljubljana. While husband is in charge of the recipes, they try to further improve them together. In their case being small is not necessarily a disadvantage because they’ve managed to turn it into a lead, as they pay special attention to the ingredients they use and don’t rush the whole process. The results are very delicious bottles of beer.
Try: India Pale Lager (special edition), with a lovely taste full of citruses and it finishes with a bitter bang.
They claim to be the leading family owned microbrewery in Slovenia. Their glass of IPA was actually my first sample of Slovenian craft beer. You could say I have them to thank for getting hooked and I know for a fact I am not the only one. Their microbrewery is based in Vrhnika, just a few kilometers out of the capital. It is worth mentioning since they offer tours of their place and you can check for yourself to see how the job is being done. They have a wide variety of different beers and are constantly experimenting and trying something new. So, the visit will definitely be inspirational.
Try: their IPA, which they named SIPA (meaning squid in Slovenian), hazy orange color of the beer, delicious aroma and a bitter jolt.
Rok Rutar is the owner of the Carniola Brewery and he pays special attention to the ingredients he uses. And if you want a uniquely Slovenian experience give his drinks a go, since he primarily uses Slovenian hops. What will also immediately capture your imagination are the pretty cool labels.
Try: ESB, light and refreshing, making it just ideal for the summer.
Voters of Ratebeer website voted them the best beer and brewery in Slovenia in 2014. Matej Pelicon and Anita Lozar opened their microbrewery in the heart of the Vipava valley in Ajdovscina. They launched their first pale ale beer Pally in the November 2013.
Try: they are most famous for their India pale ale beer called the 3rd Pill. But just to make sure how good they are and check if the awards are well deserved you can have a try of the others as well, because their list is getting longer.