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    February 29, 2020 11 min read

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    A Guide To Beer In Poland

    An Introduction To Polish Beer

    Beer in Poland is more than just a beverage—it's a cultural institution, revered alongside vodka and cherished by Polish people nationwide. From the bustling cities to the quaint villages, Polish beer holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Poland's beer market boasts an impressive array of offerings, ranging from traditional favorites to innovative craft brews. Did you know that Poland ranks among Europe's top beer producers, trailing only behind the UK and Germany globally, with Polish craft breweries contributing significantly to this achievement? This speaks volumes about the nation's deep-rooted love for beer. Whether you're seeking a crisp pilsner, a robust stout, or a bold IPA, Poland's craft breweries have something to satisfy every palate. The renowned Baltic Porter is among the common beers enjoyed, known for its rich flavor and high alcohol content (ABV). So, as you explore Poland, be sure to sample the best beer this vibrant country has to offer and immerse yourself in the dynamic world of Polish brewing. Cheers to discovering the richness and diversity of Polish beer culture!

    How do you say beer in Polish? Piwo!

    The answer is piwo (pronounced pee-vo)! Knowing this Polish word for beer will come in handy when you find yourself in the country craving good Polish beer to accompany your lunch, dinner, or snack! And have no regrets here—after all, beer is filled with vitamins and health benefits if drank wisely.

    There are even Polish beer tours that you can hop on as a tourist or as a local, taking you to the most important landmarks for beer lovers, including visits to renowned Polish craft breweries. In Poland, beer is often drunk along with your main meals, and it tends to be the favorite drink among the younger population. In the present times, it's more fashionable to drink craft beer than any other beverage. If you want to try strong Polish beer, ask for mocne piwo.

    Lots of Polish beer brands are actually on the stronger side, containing high alcohol. During winter times, Polish hot beer (mulled beer or piwo grzane or Grzaniec) is served flavored with honey, cinnamon and cloves. And during summer days, don't be surprised to see people drinking fruit juice and beer with a straw.

    The History of Polish Beer

    Since ancient Egyptian times, beer was one of the first alcoholic drinks made by men. Next to honey (yes, fermented honey!), it was the oldest alcoholic drink known to the Slavs. Beer was drunk during celebrations and important events, as well as with meetings, sometimes even with vodka on the side (as some tend to drink the two today, too!)

    The Polish word comes from the pre-Slavic word meaning simply - a drink (or, to be more banal - something drinkable). Numerous Slavic languages share the same word, so if you're feeling like a Polish beer - just shout out piwo!

    Kvass, the oldest type of beer, was prepared by soaking bread in boiled water with the addition of herbs. Then, in the Middle Ages, beer started being made from various cereals (but wheat mostly). It got so domesticated in the Polish culture and cuisine, that cooking fresh Polish sausage in beer and making beer soups even became common.

    Taverns became the places to enjoy quality brewed beer, and rulers began regulating brewing activities (like taxes and the conditions for becoming a master brewer). The competition grew, and every brewer wanted to be known for making the best Polish beer.

    The love for Polish beer then had its ups and downs, depending on the times, reflecting the dynamic nature of the Polish beer market. At the end of the 19th Century, beer bottling went from cork to caps and this helped preserve the beer for longer. During World War I and World War II, brewing of Polish beer was kept low-key.

    In the times of communism that came afterward, all breweries were nationalized. Polish beer quality changed as ingredients were scarce and conditions in which beer was made were inappropriate.

    In 1990, after introducing the free market, breweries were privatized again, and foreign investments helped them. The Polish beer industry was free to bloom, create numerous Polish beer brands, and focus on craft beers.

    Polish Breweries And Popular Beer in Poland

    Poland boasts a diverse array of traditional Polish beers, ranging from classic Polish lagers to unique varieties such as honey and dark beers, all of which are cherished favorites among locals and sought after abroad. The refreshing taste of these beers caters to a wide range of palates, offering a variety of tasty options to suit every preference. Additionally, Poland's beer market includes an expanding selection of alcohol-free options, catering to the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverages. As beer holds a significant cultural place in Poland, these options ensure that everyone can enjoy its irreplaceable presence in various social settings. Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of Poland or sampling Polish beer brands overseas, this comprehensive Polish beer list provides a delightful introduction to the nation's rich brewing heritage.

    Żywiec Beer 

    Zywiec is undoubtedly Poland's most popular domestically and internationally beer, showcasing a prominent position in the Polish beer market. Dating back to 1856, the Zywiec brewery has expanded to encompass five breweries, with its major operations now under the control of the Heineken Group. Despite its growth, Zywiec maintains its commitment to traditional brewing methods, utilizing natural ingredients and pure mountain spring water. The company's range includes pale lagers and dark porters, each crafted with precision and care. Notably, Zywiec Polish beer is among the Polish beer selections available in America, showcasing the widespread appeal of this iconic brew.

    Zywiec Porter

    Zywiec Porter is a renowned Polish beer produced by the Zywiec Brewery, one of the country's oldest and most esteemed breweries. Zywiec Porter is a classic Baltic porter, a style of beer that originated in the Baltic region and is known for its dark color and rich, complex flavors. Zywiec Porter is characterized by its deep mahogany hue and full-bodied taste, with prominent notes of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and caramel. It often has a higher alcohol content compared to standard lagers, contributing to its robust character. Zywiec Porter is highly regarded by beer enthusiasts for its depth of flavor and smooth, satisfying finish. It's a favorite choice for those seeking a beer with a bold and indulgent taste experience.


    Tatra beer is a well-known brand in Poland, produced by the Zywiec Group, which is part of the Heineken Company. It is named after the Tatra Mountains, a picturesque range in southern Poland. Tatra beer is recognized for its affordability and accessibility, making it a popular choice among consumers across the country. It is typically offered in various styles, including lagers and pilsners, catering to different taste preferences. Tatra beer is often enjoyed on various occasions, from casual gatherings to social outings, reflecting its widespread popularity in Poland.

    Tyskie Beer

    Tyskie, originating from the historic town of Tychy, stands as another beloved beer brand in Poland. With roots tracing back nearly 400 years, it ranks among Europe's oldest breweries. Recognizable by its distinctive white packaging, Tyskie is not only a local favorite but also enjoys popularity internationally, readily available in many countries. Additionally, in 2004, the Tyskie Brewing Museum was established, offering a glimpse into the rich heritage and craftsmanship behind this esteemed brew.

    Tyskie Gronie

    Tyskie Gronie is a popular brand of Polish beer produced by the Tyskie Browary Książęce (Tyskie Prince's Breweries) located in the town of Tychy, Poland. Gronie is a type of beer, and in the case of Tyskie Gronie, it refers to a classic Polish lager. Tyskie Gronie is characterized by its crisp and refreshing taste, with a balanced flavor profile that makes it enjoyable for many beer drinkers. It is one of the flagship products of Tyskie Brewery and is widely consumed both in Poland and internationally.

    Tyskie 0.0%

    Tyskie also offers a selection of alcohol-free options for those seeking a lighter alternative. These alcohol-free beers retain the crisp and refreshing taste that Tyskie is known for, making them perfect for those looking to enjoy the flavor of beer without the alcohol content. Whether you're abstaining from alcohol or simply prefer a lighter option, Tyskie's alcohol-free beers provide a satisfying choice for any occasion.

    Okocim Beer

    The Polish beer Okocim, steeped in tradition and now part of the Carlsberg portfolio, holds a special place in the hearts of beer enthusiasts. With its roots tracing back to Bavarian brewers, Okocim embodies a rich brewing heritage. Its diverse range of brand SKUs reflects the brewery's commitment to quality and innovation. Considered an integral part of the Polish beer tradition, Okocim enjoys widespread appreciation both domestically and abroad.

    Warka Beer

    Warka Polish beer stands proudly as a testament to Poland's brewing heritage. Originating from one of the country's oldest breweries nestled in the historic heart of Poland, the brand shares its name with the town. Legend has it that Warka beer was once reserved exclusively for the Polish court in the region, adding to its allure and prestige. The marketing narrative surrounding Warka emphasizes its deep-rooted tradition and expertise, tracing back to 15th-century brewing practices in the area. Warka also offers a variety of tasty beers such as: 

    Warka Strong

    Warka Strong is a beer produced by the Warka Brewery, one of Poland's oldest and most esteemed breweries with roots dating back to the 15th century. Warka Strong is a lager known for its robust flavor and higher alcohol content compared to standard lagers. It is characterized by its deep golden color and full-bodied taste, with maltiness and hop bitterness in balance. Warka Strong is often appreciated by beer enthusiasts who enjoy a more intense and flavorful drinking experience. It has gained popularity both within Poland and internationally, contributing to Warka Brewery's reputation for quality and craftsmanship.

    Warka Classic

    "Warka Classic" is a popular Polish beer produced by the Warka Brewery, one of the oldest breweries in Poland with roots tracing back to the 15th century. Warka Classic is a traditional Polish lager known for its crisp and refreshing taste. It typically has a golden color and a balanced flavor profile, with notes of malt and hops.

    Dębowe Dojrzałe Mocne

    "Dębowe Dojrzałe Mocne" is a Polish beer known for its unique qualities. Its name translates to "Mature Oak Strong," hinting at its rich flavor profile. What sets it apart is its high extract content, measured at 14.2% by weight, which contributes to its robust taste and aroma. This elevated extract content places it among the highest quality beers, appealing to discerning palates. With its deep amber hue and inherent strength, Dębowe Dojrzałe Mocne promises a gratifying experience for those who appreciate beer savored slowly, allowing each sip to be relished with delight.

    Lech Premium Lager

    Lech, renowned as one of Poland's best-selling beers, proudly offers a diverse range of brews, including variations of Polish non-alcoholic beer and options with light alcohol content. With its widespread popularity, Lech has secured its place among the favorites of Polish beer enthusiasts. 

    Perła Beer

    Perła Brewery, formerly known as Browary Lubelskie, boasts a rich brewing legacy dating back to the 19th century, when beer production flourished within the abandoned ruins of a monastery. Today, Perła Polish Beer stands as a hallmark of this esteemed heritage, offering a diverse array of brews including lagers, pilsners, and wheat beers. Among its flagship products, Perła Chmielowa shines with its harmonious blend of balanced bitterness and smooth finish, earning appreciation from beer connoisseurs. As the largest independent brewery in Poland, Perła continues to uphold its tradition of quality craftsmanship and innovation, captivating the palates of beer enthusiasts both domestically and beyond.


    Łomża Brewery, established in 1968, has earned a reputation for its steadfast dedication to traditional brewing methods. Łomża beer, a product of this commitment, is celebrated for its refreshing crispness and deeply satisfying taste. Embracing time-honored techniques, Łomża Brewery continues to craft brews that captivate beer enthusiasts, ensuring each sip delivers an experience of pure enjoyment.

    Ciechan Brewery

    Ciechan Brewery stands as a beacon of Poland's burgeoning craft beer scene, offering a diverse array of brews that have garnered increasing acclaim in recent years. Renowned for their commitment to quality ingredients and meticulous brewing processes, Ciechan beers boast distinct flavors that captivate the discerning palate. From traditional styles to innovative creations, each Ciechan beer reflects the brewery's passion for excellence and dedication to craft. With its rising popularity, Ciechan Brewery continues to make a significant mark on Poland's dynamic beer landscape.


    Żubr is a well-known Polish beer brand produced by the Kompania Piwowarska brewery. Named after the European bison, which is a symbol of Poland's wilderness, Żubr beer is celebrated for its quality and distinct flavor. It is available in various styles, including lagers and pilsners, and is appreciated for its crisp and refreshing taste. Żubr beer has a loyal following in Poland and is also exported to other countries, where it continues to be enjoyed by beer enthusiasts. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with traditional Polish cuisine, Żubr beer remains a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.

    Polish Craft Beers

    Poland's craft beer scene represent a dynamic and flourishing segment of the country's brewing scene, offering an exciting array of innovative and artisanal brews crafted with meticulous attention to detail. In recent years, Poland's craft beer movement has gained considerable momentum, with a growing number of independent breweries pushing the boundaries of traditional brewing techniques and exploring new flavor profiles. From hop-forward IPAs to rich and complex stouts, Polish craft brewers are renowned for their creativity and commitment to quality. These breweries are not only redefining the perception of Polish beer but also contributing to the vibrant tapestry of the global craft beer landscape. With an emphasis on quality ingredients, bold experimentation, and a passion for their craft, Polish craft beers continue to captivate beer enthusiasts both at home and abroad.

    Beer Culture Terms

    Jasne Pełne or Jasne Lekkie

    "Jasne Pełne" or jasne lekkie is a term in Polish that translates to "light full" in English. In the context of beer, "Jasne Pełne" typically refers to a style of beer known as a "full-strength lager" or simply "pilsner." It's a type of beer that is light in color and has a moderate to high alcohol content, typically ranging from around 4% to 6% ABV (alcohol by volume). This style of beer is quite common in Poland and is often enjoyed for its crisp, clean taste and refreshing qualities.


    "Browar" is a Polish word that translates to "brewery" in English. In the context of beer, "browar beer" doesn't refer to a specific type or brand of beer but rather indicates that the beer comes from a brewery. In Poland, you may find various types of beer labeled as "browar beer," indicating that it is a product of a brewery. The term highlights the origin of the beer and may be used to emphasize the craftsmanship and quality associated with brewing.


    "Bock" refers to a style of beer that originated in Germany but has gained popularity worldwide, including in Poland. Bock beers are typically strong lagers known for their rich, malty flavors and higher alcohol content compared to standard lagers. They often have a deep amber to brown color and may feature notes of caramel, toffee, and dark fruits. Bock beers are brewed with a higher proportion of malted barley, which contributes to their full-bodied and slightly sweet taste profile. In Poland, bock beers are appreciated by beer enthusiasts for their complexity and depth of flavor, especially during colder months when their rich character provides warmth and comfort.


    "Pils" refers to a type of beer known as Pilsner or Pilsener, which originated in the Czech Republic in the city of Plzeň (Pilsen). Pilsners are a type of pale lager characterized by their golden color, crisp taste, and balanced hop bitterness. They are brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast and a process known as lagering, which results in a clean and refreshing flavor profile. Pilsners typically have a moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 4% to 5% ABV (alcohol by volume). This style of beer gained popularity in the 19th century and has since become one of the most widely consumed beer styles worldwide, including in Poland. In Poland, Pilsners are commonly enjoyed for their refreshing qualities and are often a staple offering in many breweries and bars.

    Polish Beer in USA

    Polish beers in the USA are relatively easy to find, especially in this day and age of online shopping. Brands such as Żywiec, Lech, Dębowe, and others can be easily bought in online shops or local Polish stores. You can even treat yourself to some genuine Polish beer glasses, a Polish beer mug, or even better - a Polish beer stein to follow up your experience at home, and then - why not, try cooking Polish sausage in beer to complete the meal!

    1 Response


    April 28, 2024

    Thank you for such informative information on Polish beer! Your blog affords a pleasant ride through the wealthy and various world of Polish brewing traditions. From historic insights to tasting notes, it is an exceptional resource for beer lovers like myself. Cheers to you for sharing your passion for Polish beer with the world.

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