Bosnia was reassuringly cheap, but what about Dubrovnik? Dubrovnik, just over the Bosnia-Herzegovina border is one impressive place. Well preserved walls, glamorous with tremendous eye appeal, a number of picturesque harbours with red roofed villas, climbing up mountainsides, it has everything. It even has craft beer. And lots of tourists.
We spent our last holiday night there and after a wander round the walls - well some of them - there are miles of the things - a beer was required. We had no Croatian money, but a quick visit to an exchange point and with €20 worth we thought we were good for a couple of drinks each. Dinner was going to be a credit card do. Foolish Tandleman. As we wandered we spotted a little bar with that most alluring of signs "Craft Beer". Razonoda looked fairly small, but well appointed and almost empty. Apart from us there were three others. It turns out to be part of the very posh Pucic Palace Hotel. Google is your friend.
I chose a draft pale ale from Zagreb's Garden Brewery. A third of a litre and pretty good it was too. Sort of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in style if you know what I mean. The wine list was comprehensive and meaningless if you, like us, don't know Croat wine. E chose one in the middle of the range. The measure was 0.1 of a litre, making what I first assumed to be a damp glass, a pretty expensive drink. At £6 a glass that's £60 a litre. I reckon Jeff Bell would admire that GP. My beer was an unknown quantity price wise. It wasn't on the menu. We lingered over our drinks and paid up. The waitress asked me if I'd like to pay by credit card. Looking at my paltry sum of Croat dosh and the tab, I agreed with her suggestion. Converted it was a tad under £12. Our subsequent meal was pretty dear too, but in our rather nice hotel, drinks were under half the price and the wine was in little 200ml bottles. The beer was reasonable too.
Sadly there was no craft, outrageously priced or otherwise.
My oldest friend who has recently returned from Croatia assures me prices are much more modest away from Dubrovnik, but he encountered no craft. I'm sure too that better prices can be found in Dubrovnik At least my £10+ a pint beer wasn't murky and I did enjoy it. Craft eh? You have to admire the chutzpah.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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