Wrocław: dwarfs on draught

Four weeks after arriving from Lithuania, our Polish adventure was coming to an end. We arrived in Wrocław, our last city, excited but sad that our time was almost up. However, we were hoping to go out on a high as Wrocław has a reputation around Poland for being one of the country’s best craft beer cities. The main market square (which, like in many other Polish cities, was mostly rebuilt during the 1950s but is still impressive) is filled with brewpubs and bars hoping to draw in the tourists. More discerning beer lovers don’t have to venture too far though to find more interesting fare.

One interesting thing about Wrocław is the city’s fascination with dwarfs. The little fellas are everywhere, hiding above doorways and lurking on pavements – it’s a miracle neither of us tripped over one! One afternoon, we went on a free walking tour to learn more about the dwarfs and their symbolism. At the end of the tour, our guide Łukasz – a fellow craft beer enthusiast – told us to check out ontap.pl. It turns out it’s a really handy website; craft beer bars around Poland keep the site updated with their latest offerings, helping you to decide which ones to visit.

4Hops

Łukasz recommended starting our afternoon at the Pinta tap room. However, we’d tried quite a few of their beers already recently so we decided to try somewhere different. 4Hops, a cycling-themed pub just down the road, seemed like the ideal alternative. Bicycles and cycling memorabilia lined the walls and there were 16 beers on tap, all but one from Poland. I sampled the very tasty Birbant Hopsbant Peach Milkshake IPA (4.2%), while Poppy went for a refreshing Wittichenauer Radler (2.5%).

Just a few minutes’ walk away, Kontynuacja was our next destination. We’d visited their Katowice branch a few days earlier, so we had high hopes for this one. Like its sister pub, the Wrocław version featured 18 draught beers (including two handpumps) and some edgy artwork on the walls. I mistakenly asked for a number 4 instead of a number 3 and ended up with a slightly iffy mint witbier. However, Poppy made a much more astute choice with her Cześć Brat Coś na Wieczór (4%), a silky-smooth tonka bean milk stout.

Kontynuacja

During this trip, I’ve done a fair bit of the beer planning, mainly from recommendations online. However, it turns out Poppy has her own secret sources. The next place was one she picked out and I have to say, it was an excellent choice. Marynka may be right on the main dual carriageway but it feels secluded, tucked away in a small courtyard. The beer list was excellent too, with many of Poland’s best microbreweries represented. The hoppy, juicy Ziemia Obiecana Chyba Ty (5.7% NEIPA) was easily one of my top 3 beers of the last few weeks. Our only minor gripe was that we left covered in soot from the wood-fired pizza van!

A short walk along the main road brought us to ul. Świętego Antoniego, where we found Szynkarnia. In many ways, it’s more like a restaurant than a bar with its extensive range of local foods. The beer list isn’t too shabby itself though, with 16 beers including a handful of international names. Poppy opted for Browar Golem Sunstroke (4.7%), a decent attempt at a milkshake IPA. I definitely preferred my choice though, the deliciously velvety Browar Kazimierz Imperium Kara Mustafy (6.5% milk stout).

AleBrowar Wrocław

Just a few doors down the street, we came across AleBrowar Wrocław, a lively tap room seemingly popular for after-work drinks. We’ve tried a couple of AleBrowar beers recently and one of Poppy’s favourite beers from Poland has been their Crazy Mike double IPA (9%), so she was delighted to find it on tap here. Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to sample a couple of the brewery’s range of beers. Highlights included RIS in Peace (9.5% imperial stout) and New England DDH DIPA Citra + Mosaic (7%).

One last venue that craft-beer-loving visitors to Wrocław should definitely check out is Browar Stu Mostów. It’s a little out of the city centre, but easily accessible by tram or bus and well worth the journey. Although their beers are available in quite a few places around the city, I always prefer to try beers direct from the source where possible. The tap room itself was very loud (there’s no barrier between the working brewery and the mezzanine bar), but the outdoor terrace was much more serene. As well as the 10 or so beers of their own on tap, there’s also an extensive bottle list featuring breweries from around the world. We only stayed for a couple, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Salamander Raspberry & Peach Gose (3.5%).

Browar Stu Mostów

Overall, I have to say that Wrocław’s beer scene did live up to the hype. There aren’t a huge number of craft pubs, but it’s certainly a case of quality over quantity. Apparently the annual Festiwal Dobrego Piwo (“Festival of Good Beer”) takes place every June, so maybe I’ll be back next year!

I’m in Wrocław for the day, where should I visit? 4Hops, Kontynuacja and Marynka are all within 5-10 minutes’ walk of each other and easily doable in an afternoon. They each have different vibes, but all serve excellent craft beer at pretty reasonable prices.

Brewery to look out for? We hadn’t seen them before, but Ziemia Obiecana’s Chyba Ty NEIPA was a brilliant example of the style. It’s just a shame we’re leaving Poland so we might not get chance to see them again!

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