Ljubljana related

10 Oct 2019, 16:19 PM

The world of Slovenian craft beer is a fast moving one, and to help you follow the latest developments we’re hoping this will be the first in a series on what’s new, put together with aid of Damir Galijaš, the multi-lingual, multi-talented man behind the Lajbah Pub (Grudnovo nabrežje 15, Ljubljana) and the Že V Redu, Primož beer store and tap room (44 Trubarjeva cesta, Ljubljana), both offering a huge, varied and evolving selection of the best local and imported craft beers.

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"When I go out I drink a pale ale, then an IPA, a sour, double IPA and finish with an imperial stout."

Here are four recent Slovenian craft beers, and one cider, that Damir has been enjoying, in the words of the man himself.

"Dr Orel is back. It was one of the first craft breweries in Slovenia, and it was totally focused on gluten free beer, which was good but ahead of its time. Now Hopsbrew (Domžale) have bought the licence and they’ve relaunched it, which I think is going to become more and more popular."

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"This cider is from Karlovček, a small farm in Šentjernej with lots of apples, and so they started to make a craft cider. Of course it was very popular over the summer, but it’s gluten free and so on, so it’s something you can enjoy all the time."

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"This is a coffee porter from Pivovarna Kralj, a very small brewery with very nice beers, based on the outskirts of Ljubljana. They have an old farm that’s now a brewery. This porter is fantastic, which we also have on tap at Lajbah, with a very good price and performance. Going into autumn and winter the dark beers will be more popular, and this is a great one to sit on the couch in the evening and enjoy alone or with a friend."

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"This is the new Kromberger pilsner from Reservoir Dogs, in Nova Gorica. It’s a fresh beer, maybe just one month old, and a craft beer for people who don’t like craft beer."

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"Pregl is new beer from the experimental range of Kamnik’s Maister Brewery. A very nice sour with passionfruit and mango."

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All our stories on craft beer in Slovenia are here

01 Oct 2019, 21:29 PM

Three days turned into 12 and now I sit in the UK dreaming of being back, sipping an iced cold beer along the riverfront in what can only be described, as one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. BUT I wasn’t here for leisure. I am fortunate enough to work in the best industry in the world – CRAFT BEER. I work for Collective Arts Brewing, a grassroots beer company that fuses the craft of brewing with the inspired talents of emerging artist and musicians. The brewery, based in Hamilton, Canada, is dedicated to promoting artists and raising creative consciousness through the sociability of craft beer.

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So why am I in Ljubljana? Collective Arts is now exporting to Europe and beyond and I get to go around presenting the beer and what Collective Arts is all about to you!  It started off with a Tap Takeover and Paint-a-Pint (a concept you guys fell in love with) at the cool and stylish, Pivnica Lajbah, this gem is only 5 minutes out of the way of the busy streets of the river but boasts peace and quiet with a large outside area (perfect for a sunny day), children’s corner, food to die for and 23 fresh taps!

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I then ventured to Ghetto Something, which again is a dreamy bar hidden away in the seaside town of Koper for another Tap Takeover, it had a great turn out of locals and the beer went down a treat! It was then meant to be home time but the guys from Lajbah had already started on me from the second I landed to convince me to stay for the following weekend too, especially as it was the famous Beer and Burger festival. At first I was hesitant, but then 2 hours before my flight I hit the button and extended my stay an extra week and this was the best decision I ever made.

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We continued to spread the Collective Arts love throughout the week with a Fridge Takeover and art in the street at Že v Redu Primož Beer Shop, which is a an awesome craft beer shop and tasting room tucked away down the backstreets of Ljubljana (on Trubarjeva cesta), and then also made an appearance at both Open Kitchen and Beer and Burger Festival over the final weekend, bringing not just beer but helping visitors to the festivals channel their inner child and paint more pints and kegs. Some real artist shone through and we hope to collaborate with them in the future!

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Admittedly, the craft beer scene is still somewhat behind in Slovenia, but there is a definite breakthrough happening, with a good amount of imports from different countries and a huge number of microbreweries popping up with good quality and variety of beers appearing on the market.  The food festivals are also starting to push the concept of beer and food pairing and it’s so good to see the support between all the breweries and local restaurants and bars. Slovenia is definitely one to look out for, and I will be back soon.

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All our stories on craft beer in Slovenia are here

12 Sep 2019, 12:07 PM

Few things go together as well as grilled meat and beer, and fans of this choice combination will have much to enjoy this weekend in Ljubljana, with the 13th edition of the Pivo & Burger Fest coming to town on 14 and 15 September (2019). Run by the team behind Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna) and happening in the same place, Pogačarjev trg, visitors will be able to enjoy more than 230 craft beers and dozens of stalls offering a great variety burgers and more, from some of the best known names on the scene and with vegetarian and vegan options available.

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If you haven’t been following Slovenia’s flourishing craft beer market then you’re in for many surprises. While IPAs are still important, local brewers – from small scale operations like Omnivar, through to established favourites like Pelicon and relative giants like (the semi-Austrian) Bevog – are now exploring a wide range of techniques and flavours, with my own obsession being sours and personal favourite anything from Bevog’s fruity Lolita range. Pivo & Burger Fest is thus a great chance to catch up with such developments, as well as with friends, and a good start, middle or end point for a visit to Ljubljana.

Related: All our stories on craft beer are here

In addition to burgers – which will give the square a thrilling aroma – there will be a variety of foods that go well with beer, as well as desserts and various other delights, including the usual lively music that gives all Open Kitchen events an added party vibe.

Foreigners Speak Slovene enjoy a Pivo & Burger Fest in 2016 - read out interview with them here

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On Saturday the event runs from 11:00 to 23:00, while on Sunday it’s 11:00 to 21:00, giving you the opportunity to enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner and supper, with perhaps a quick drink and a snack in between. While I wouldn’t recommend my lifestyle to anyone, as usual when Pivo & Burger Fest comes to town I aim to visit twice on both days, as much for the atmosphere as for the food and drink, with the diet and detox beginning Monday.

28 Aug 2019, 11:30 AM

With its distinctive bottles and interesting names (Out of China is a way to teach non-Slovenes to say Ajdovščina, The Third Pill is a reference to Slavoj Žižek, Walter Wheat is from Breaking Bad, and so on), Pelicon is one of the leading names on the flourishing Slovenian craft beer scene. This Saturday, August 31, it will be celebrating its 6th birthday with a craft beer festival in its hometown, Ajdovščina, that promises “(almost) endless beer” to ticketholders - which (I checked) means you get to try everything.

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All our stories on craft beer in Slovenia are here

More than 40 different beers, foreign and domestic, are on offer, including some novelties and collaborations, with the aim being to highlight the full range of beers now bring produced – porters, sours, lambics and so on – rather than simply dozens of IPAs. There’s thus much for beer hunters to enjoy, while those looking for something different should seek out for Pelicon’s latest venture into the world of tonic water and gin collaborations.

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The event, which is also being supported by the Municipality of Ajdovščina, offers food and live music to go along with the beer, starting at 13:00 and ending at 22:00. Sunday morning, from 08:00 till noon, everyone can enjoy a “brewery breakfast” at the Pelicon Brewery showroom itself, with ticketholders getting the added bonus of some beer. More details (in Slovene) are on the brewery’s website.

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Pre-sale tickets are already available on the Olaii web portal and at all OMV service stations and 3dva Trafika across Slovenia.  The event will be held at MC Hiša mladih, mladinski center, Cesta IV. prekomorske 61, 5270 Ajdovščina.

31 Jul 2019, 14:22 PM

STA, 31 July 2019 - Slovenian beer exports grew by almost 20% in 2018 year-on-year, while hop exports increased by 17%, showed the Statistics Office data released on Wednesday, ahead of International Beer Day, which is observed on the first Friday in August.

The country's beer exports exceeded imports last year - exports topped EUR 34 million, while imports reached EUR 28.5 million.

Slovenia exported most of its beer to Croatia (30%), Italy (21%) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (19%), while most of Slovenian beer imports, which decreased slightly last year (by 3%), came from Austria (40%), Croatia (19%) and the Czech Republic (10%).

The number of Slovenian beer makers is on the rise - there were 61 registered in Slovenia last year, which is quite an increase compared to 2010 when there were only 13 of them.

Beer lovers paid some 2.8 euro on average for half a litre of pale ale in pubs or some 90 cents in stores in 2018.

Slovenian hop growers produced more than 3,000 tonnes of hop, which is a record amount since 1998 and a 43% increase on 2017.

Slovenia ranks third in hop production among EU countries, following Germany and the Czech Republic. The country's hop exports outweighed imports by far, amounting to EUR 26 million. On the other hand, hop imports totalled EUR 2.1 million.

Almost half of Slovenian exported hop went to Germany last year, with China (16%) and the UK (10%) being target markets as well.

23 Jul 2019, 09:36 AM

STA, 21 July 2019 - Six years after it was launched as one of the first craft breweries in Slovenia, Pivovarna Pelicon has grown into a fully-fledged company with six employees that is looking to crack the million euro revenue mark.

Posting net sales of EUR 584,000 for 2018, up over a quarter on the year before, the company expects annual revenue to rise by about 30% to roughly EUR 900,000 this year, co-founder Anita Lozar told the STA. Virtually the entire profit is reinvested.

The company sells its range of craft beers in Slovenia and Italy. This summer it has decided to enter the Croatian and Danish markets.

Starting off with a single product, a pale ale, Pelicon currently offers nine types of beer and has the capacity to produce up to 250,000 litres of the hoppy beverage a year. It has also branched out from beer to produce a craft gin and a "hoppy tonic" with real quinine.

"Over these six years we've grown, seen where our shortcomings are and slowly started to tackle them. We've slowly improved our product portfolio and started bottling beer. We currently sell half the beer bottled and half on tap in pubs, which we had not been doing before," Lozar said,

About a year ago the brewery also started to work with retailers. According to Lozar, this means having to increase output, which again required production adjustments. "But these are sweet problems," she said.

26 Jun 2019, 20:04 PM

Heavy rain caused the event scheduled for 22 June to finish early, and if you couldn't attend last week, or left when the heavens opened, you're in luck - as this Saturday (29 June) the Pure Craft Beer Festival is back in action. We thus present a slightly revised version of the previous story...

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Slovenian craft beer scene over the last 18 or so months then there’s a lot for you to catch up on. There’s been an explosion, both in the number of producers and variety of brews released. The developments have been especially exciting for those drinkers who aren’t fans of IPAs, your correspondent included, with sours, saisons, wheatbeers, porters, radlers and ales of all varieties making their way into bottles, cans and glasses all over the country, and gaining increasing attention abroad.

But where can dedicated beer hunter, or casual drinker, go to learn more about the scene and sample interesting brews with likeminded folk in a non-bar setting, one that’s suitable for all the family? Or to quote Tim Earles, organiser of the Pure Craft Beer Festival: “There are a variety of events around Ljubljana where the craft brewers all come together, but the environment doesn’t always present the quality of the beers in the best light. The Open Air Museum in Rogatec is an undiscovered gem on the border between Slovenia and Croatia, which seemed like the perfect place to run a garden-party style event, where the smaller breweries could represent their beer in an atmosphere befitting their products.”

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The Open Air Museum. Photo: Pure Craft

The festival will take place on Saturday 29 June (2019), and the breweries set to appear include Human Fish, Green Gold, Omnivar, Loo-Blah-Nah, Crazy Duck, Mali Grad, Maister, Barut, Lobik, Bevog, Haler, Old Franz, APE, and Clef. The event runs from 10:00 to 22:00, giving you enough time to sample many, if not all, of all the beers. What’s more, your adventures in liquid sunshine will be accompanied by gourmet delights, with a full culinary program from the highly recommended Gostišče Jurg.

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The breweries and beers to enjoy 

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Karikature Boris

In addition to food and drink, including some wine and even non-alcoholic beverages, there’ll be entertainment suitable for the whole family. This includes museum workshops showcasing the skills of blacksmithing, bracelet making, basket weaving and bread making; pony riding and carriage rides; dance workshops; a supervised climbing wall; a giant art wall; laser maze, a slackline and more, such as free caricatures from Karikature Boris. Music will be provided by from Jeanette & Počeni Škafi.

Tickets come with a Rogaška Crystal souvenir glass and cost €10 on the door, with the price including a museum tour. To keep things simple all the beers at the festival will be sold at the same price, €1 for a 150ml sample pour, a size that gives you a chance to safely enjoy all the brews on offer.

For more information please visit the website or Facebook page.

12 Jun 2019, 18:30 PM

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Slovenian craft beer scene over the last 18 or so months then there’s a lot for you to catch up on. There’s been an explosion, both in the number of producers and variety of brews released. The developments have been especially exciting for those drinkers who aren’t fans of IPAs, your correspondent included, with sours, saisons, wheatbeers, porters, radlers and ales of all varieties making their way into bottles, cans and glasses all over the country, and gaining increasing attention abroad.

But where can dedicated beer hunter, or casual drinker, go to learn more about the scene and sample interesting brews with likeminded folk in a non-bar setting, one that’s suitable for all the family? Or to quote Tim Earles, organiser of the Pure Craft Beer Festival: “There are a variety of events around Ljubljana where the craft brewers all come together, but the environment doesn’t always present the quality of the beers in the best light. The Open Air Museum in Rogatec is an undiscovered gem on the border between Slovenia and Croatia, which seemed like the perfect place to run a garden-party style event, where the smaller breweries could represent their beer in an atmosphere befitting their products.”

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The Open Air Museum. Photo: Pure Craft

The festival will take place on Saturday 22 June (2019), and the breweries set to appear include Human Fish, Green Gold, Omnivar, Loo-Blah-Nah, Crazy Duck, Mali Grad, Maister, Barut, Lobik, Bevog, Haler, Old Franz, APE, and Clef. The event runs from 10:00 to 22:00, giving you enough time to sample many, if not all, of all the beers. What’s more, your adventures in liquid sunshine will be accompanied by gourmet delights, with a full culinary program from the highly recommended Gostišče Jurg.

 pure craft beer festival rogatec slovenia june 2019.jpg

The breweries and beers to enjoy 

www.karikatureboris.com pure craft beer festival rogatex 2019.jpg

Karikature Boris

In addition to food and drink, including some wine and even non-alcoholic beverages, there’ll be entertainment suitable for the whole family. This includes museum workshops showcasing the skills of blacksmithing, bracelet making, basket weaving and bread making; pony riding and carriage rides; dance workshops; a supervised climbing wall; a giant art wall; laser maze, a slackline and more, such as free caricatures from Karikature Boris. Music will be provided by from Jeanette & Počeni Škafi, while true wonder will be brought to the festival by Magic Aleksander.

Tickets come with a Rogaška Crystal souvenir glass and cost €10 until 15th June, €15 thereafter, with the price including a museum tour. To keep things simple all the beers at the festival will be sold at the same price, €1 for a 150ml sample pour, a size that gives you a chance to safely enjoy all the brews on offer.

Tickets can now be purchased at eventim or on the day. For more information please visit the website or Facebook page.

05 Apr 2019, 22:19 PM

I’m a big fan of the Slovenian craft beer scene, especially now it’s moved on from hoppy IPAs to explore a fuller range of what’s possible. My personal favourites are sours – the perennial “next big thing” – and Bevog’s work in this area in particular, but I’m willing to give anything a try in the name of research.

However, with well over 100 brewers in the country a little guidance might be needed, and one rather surprising place to find it is Rampant Lion Reviews. Surprising because it’s a YouTube channel run by a Scottish guy in Skåne, Sweden, with a focus on beer, whisky and saké, and 1,640 videos posted as of typing, seemingly a new one every day. 

Related: All out posts on craft beer are here

Among these are currently 21 reviews of Slovenian beers, from the standard Laško to more indie producers like Pelicon, Lobik, Reservoir Dogs, and Tektonik, as seen in the following playlist. Skålslàinte and na zdravje!

Curious about how Pelicon's The Third Pill got it's name?

02 Apr 2019, 12:20 PM

The team behind Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna), who this year are bringing their open air food and drink markets to at least six locations around Slovenia (Ljubljana, Celje, Koper, Nova Gorica, Ptuj & Novo Mesto, as reported here), also run another, more focused event – the Pivo & Burger Fest in Ljubljana. These see the usual venue, Pogačarjev trg (the marketplace between the Cathedral and Plečnik’s Arcades) full of stalls selling craft beer, burgers, BBQ and other delights, the air full of the smells and sounds of grilled meat, along with music, conversation and laughter.

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It’s a fine chance to catch up and sample what’s been happening in the world of Slovenian brewing and – if you haven’t been paying attention – then you could be in for some surprises. A few years ago the scene was still focused on IPAs, often of the ever hoppier variety, but now with well over 100 brewers in the country, from one room operations like Omnivar to (semi-Austrian) giants like Bevog, there’s been an explosion in variety. So alongside IPAs and lagers of all kinds you’ll find, among the more than 200 brews on offer at the festival, wheats, porters, ales, pales, reds,  and many other types, including my current obsession – gose, or sour beer, a refreshing, fruity drink that’ll change the way you think about beer.

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Indeed, the choice can be a little overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to walk around, see what’s on offer, and eat something to ensure you don’t get lost after the first few glasses. With regard to eating you’ll be able to choose from dozens of burgers, grilled in the square by big names and small, all tending to the gourmet variety, including vegetarian options, as well as pulled pork and other BBQ’d delights, in addition to some other food choices. What's more, the team at Open Kitchen have put together a series of food and beer pairings, which will be included in the catalogues you can pick up on the day, with the characteristics of different beers aligned with the foods on offer, whether savory or sweet, hot or cold.

The event runs over two days, the weekend of April 6 and 7, starting at 11:00 and ending 23:00, making it possible to enjoy burgers and beer for brunch, lunch, dinner and supper, with perhaps a few light snacks in between. It might not be the social event of the season, but for those of us for whom a burger and beer is the Platonic ideal of a weekend meal it’s a gathering not to be missed.

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