Zywiec Beer – Poland’s #1 Beer?

Now, I don’t know about you folks but I wouldn’t say that I’m an avid beer drinker even though beer is my first go-to when I want something that is fairly light in alcohol, that’s not sweet like wine, and isn’t too complicated, flavor-wise. And the thought of Poland brewing beer never actually crosses my mind, you know what I mean? If you’re a typical American, nothing outside of America really occurs to your mind. I certainly don’t really think about it. And I’m Chinese (or to be accurate, Chinese by descent). And while I do keep track of whether Chinese people have their own breweries (they don’t), I do keep track of what’s popular within Chinese culture. (Or at least I try). And by Chinese culture, I really just mean specifically Hong Kong culture as I grew with watching HK films and TV shows when I was a young and budding adolescent. You have no idea how much HK culture has influenced my opinion about a lot of things in America (and I’m born here in America) but that’s another story for another time.

Getting back to Zywiec beer though, the first thing that came to mind when I took a sip? It has a surprisingly clean taste. It’s actually rather easy to drink. The labeling on the bottle advertises this beer as containing just three simple ingredients: malted barley, hops, and mountain water. It doesn’t skunk up nearly as badly like other foreign beers I’ve tried thus far where they haven’t even hit room temperature and the smell of skunky-ness is already present. (Funny enough, as I was finding the expiration date, it told me that the “best by date” was June 2, 2016.). For an expired beer, it certainly seems to retain its flavor characteristics pretty well. (But to be fair, the “best by date” is really just to tell you that this beer (or food item) is at its ‘peak freshness’ any day prior to the date indicated. It’s not really an expiration date and you can certainly continue to consume it after-the-fact, even though it might not taste as good. Neat fact of the day!)

Carbonation is not really a big thing in this beer. In fact, it would seem like carbonation is not really a big thing in foreign beers in general. It would seem as if American beers are the only beers where carbonation is a really big factor. (Maybe to dumb down the shitty taste inherent in most domestic beers but I digress).

So far as body is concerned, it tends to be on the light side. This basically means that there’s not much of a heavy taste to it, I guess one can say. The mouth feel is not syrupy thick, in other words. If anything, it’s almost like water except it’s not and yet you can taste the barley, if only briefly. So far as hops are concerned, I can’t really taste it. No “characteristic” bitterness that you feel on the sides of your tongue or towards the back of the palette. None of that. It’s pretty clean on the whole.

All things considered, this is a foreign beer I wouldn’t mind buying again at $2.69 a bottle at Bevmo. It’s pricey but it’s still under $3 for a pint. I wouldn’t really recommend the 6 pack of this as the price is $12.99 at Bevmo. At that price, I can easily get a better tasting craft beer of the equivalent 6-pack variety but this isn’t a craft beer. It’s a domestic beer in Poland. When compared to apples and oranges, it’s hard to say where this beer falls under. But when you compare this to American domestic beers, this Polish beer (like other foreign beers) is basically where the benchmark should start with. I would drink this beer more often if it weren’t so much more expensive than a 32 oz of Miller High Life for $1.99 at my local Smart & Final supermarket. Granted, it’s only a $0.69 difference but those cents add up over time.

At the end of the day though, I would recommend this beer. You might find its complexity lacking but it’s actually rather refreshing for a non-light beer of non-American origins.

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