Klaipėda: Thornbridge in Lithuania

Another day, another country. Our first stop in Lithuania brought us to Klaipėda, the country’s third largest city. Summer has definitely arrived too, with temperatures pushing 30° every day during our stay. After a couple of days exploring the old town and relaxing on the beach, we decided to spend an afternoon cooling off in the city’s bars with a few beers.

Švyturys BHouse is a stylish modern brewery tap room and also has a bottle shop attached.

On the beer front, Klaipėda is probably best known as the home of Švyturys (“Lighthouse”) Brewery. You can find their beers all over town, especially in the myriad bars and cafes on the river front. The brewery moved into a shiny new building last year complete with its own bottle shop and tap room, known as the Bhouse, so we decided to start our tour here. The tap room is a huge, airy space with the bar along one wall and another wall made from glass, through which you can see the fermenting tanks.

Like several places we’ve been so far there’s table service, so we found ourselves a seat and had a look through the beer list. There were 3 beers from the Švyturys core selection, a handful of international big-name brands – the brewery is owned by Carlsberg and also has links with Brooklyn Brewery – plus around 6 or 7 from Švyturys‘s craft arm, Raudonų Plytų (“Red Bricks”).

Poppy modelling the Raudonų Plytų tasting flight.

We opted to start with the tasting flight at a reasonable 6. This 5-beer flight is set by the brewery and designed to introduce drinkers to different styles. Our waitress carefully explained each beer, and then it was time for us to try them! My favourite was Bocmano Ūsai (“Boatswain’s Moustache”), a super-hoppy 6% IPA, while Poppy preferred Bėganti Kopa (“Running Dune”), a witbier with coriander and other spices. We stuck around to try a few more from the brewery’s range, including their delicious new mango gose, Atostogų Dreifas (4.8%).

We couldn’t resist a quick look around the bottle shop too before leaving the brewery. There we found a decent selection, including the whole Raudonų Plytų range as well as a few other Lithuanian micro-breweries. There was also a really good range of Švyturys glassware available at reasonable prices. However, we managed to avoid temptation and set off in search of the next bar.

Herkus Kantas had some great craft beers and was the perfect place to escape from the heat outside.

A few minutes’ walk down the road, we came across Herkus Kantas. A cosy basement bar, this was the perfect place to escape from the ever-increasing heat outside. On the bar we found around 10 taps dispensing beers from Dundulis and other Lithuanian craft breweries, alongside a very familiar beer from our Sheffield days: Thornbridge AM:PM. There was also a decent bottle list featuring more small local breweries, as well as a few well-known Belgian beers.

After a short deliberation, I sampled Apynys Green Monster IPA, a lovely hoppy 6.3% pale with plenty of tropical fruit flavours. Meanwhile, Poppy went for Dundulis Džion Borna (5%), a tasty classic wheat beer. I couldn’t resist a pint of Thornbridge too before we left, just for old times’ sake – I can confirm that it travels well!

A familiar sight on the bar – Thornbridge AM:PM!

Our last stop of the evening was Žvejų Baras, again just a couple of minutes’ walk away. The keyword in this modern-looking bar is variety, with around 20 taps lining the bar. They offered a 10-beer tasting flight for €20, so we opted for this. Among the selection were a few breweries we hadn’t tried before, including Klausučių, Gubernija and Vilkmergės. Unfortunately, however, the beers on the flight weren’t labeled and the barmaid only went through them quickly, so we weren’t exactly sure which beer was which! Ultimately, while the flight offered good value for money, it was a little bit of quantity over quality.

The 10-beer tasting flight in Žvejų Baras – don’t worry, we took it slowly!

I’m in Klaipėda for the day, where should I visit? The Švyturys BHouse is definitely worth a visit for the range of Raudonų Plytų beers. I would recommend Herkus Kantas too for their excellent Lithuanian craft beers at great prices (€3 or less per pint).

Brewery to look out for? The Dundulis beers we tried in Herkus Kantas were very enjoyable and definitely worth further investigation. They are based in Panevėžys, which we’re visiting soon, so I’ll be looking out for more of their stuff there.

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