I’ve been coming on and off to Estonia for about 15 years now, and I always opted for their tume (dark) beers. However, following a visit this trip to the large island of Saaremaa for the first time, I really fell for the ‘farm’ beer as well as rye brews, both taking off in the craft beer sector, to such an extent that even the big boys are producing them now too. Today’s were sampled in an excellent 4-floor tavern that was transformed from an old windmill in 1974 in the centre of the port town of Kuressaare (host of an outstanding castle / fort), and the fayre we were served up was superb too.
The traditionally dressed waitress was extremely friendly – I quite forgot I was in Estonia! The Pahtla regional “talu olu” (farm beer) came straight from the barrel, a draught sahti-style (“kodu” in Estonian) beer worth making the trip for. 7.6% beers are the sort of refreshment a farmer needs after a hard day.
I’ve continued to spread the word about BOTF, and it intrigues people that an Australian beer blog will go to such extremes to send its correspondents so far around the world. “Your round!” I explained to my new friend.
“You’re rounder,” he retorted. I hope you feel you are more informed about Estonian beers through BOTF – it’s surprising how a country of just over 1 million folk can have developed so many varieties of ales,. I leave you with Poide rye beer that to me sums up Estonian culture… independent, local (Saaremaa), Eastern European, new, innovative, earthy, a pagan attitude to beer, a real dark horse. It’s 5.2%, with the same hazy brown colour of rye bread – matching its flavour perfectly. Cheers, or “Tervist!” as they say round here…