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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

2 Croatians To Race At Tour de France For 1st Time &...Ins & Outs Of Buying Beer In Croatia






The 2016 Tour de France starts up in just a few days, and for the first time ever 2 Croatian racers will be taking part. Robert Kišerlovski and Kristijan Đurašek will be Croatia’s representatives during the multiple stage race that starts on Saturday. I don't really follow cycling racing or the tours, but I did do a few posts in April about the 2nd annual Tour of Croatia that took place. I never watched cycling races before, except maybe some parts here and there during the Olympics, but I ended up watching all 6 stages of the Tour of Croatia this time since I posted about it. And in the process developed a whole new appreciation for this sport considering all the training, techniques, conditioning and intestinal fortitude involved. (there will only be 2 measly off days during the whole 21 days of race stages, 21 days = 3 weeks for those not in the know)

If this is already your thing and are already familiar or just are curious to know more, hit the previous post links below for much more information, cool images and video footage that took place during all 6 stages all across Croatia this past April.




A scene from the Tour of Croatia stage races this past April.




The 2nd post below that I threw in just for the hell of it, I personally don't drink much these days but is some good to know information for the benefit of the reader. From my personal experiences the last few times I went, if you're not planning on going out I recommend getting those 2 litre bottles that are available at practically every store, they're brand name Croatian beer, taste good, stronger than beers on this side of the pond...and inexpensive. Pretty well any of the local beers in the stores there are cheap. As for drinking out, like the article says, it all depends where you go. Most patios and pubs/bars are still a good deal I found, for pretty well any brand, but if you're at one of the busy and trendy popular summer hotspots then be prepared to pay more.

(Not that much different from when you go to the movies here, or some sporting event or some festival-ish thing, like 4 bucks for a shrivelled up greasy hot dogged sausage thing, 5 bucks for a little bag of popped corn and liquid yellow topping, $3.50 for a cup of ice with liquid soft drink flavouring and a straw, 4 bucks for larded potato slices or melted orangey cheese material on some crunchy round or triangular things etc. Dubrovnik mentioned in the article, although a summer hotspot, it's not nearly as bad as Monaco though, there at some places it's 10 bucks for a can of Coke)

If there I would also recommend trying out some of the newer Croatian microbrewery craft beers available, some of which have won European and other awards. Also, my last few times I made sure to try out the different Croatian beers available at the locations I was at, each one was different in it's own way, but they all tasted good...and were cheap. I ended trying every major Croatian beer brand available at the time. Various imported beers are available, but more than 90% of all beer sold in Croatia is domestically produced brands. predominantly by one of the six largest beer companies...Osječko, Karlovačko, Ožujsko, Pan, Tomislav and Velebitsko. But like I said, the growing microbrewery regional beers have become another option lately also, such as Zmajsko Pale Ale, Vunetovo Aljaški Mrgud, Nova Runda Pale Ale, Varionica, ABV – 5th Element, Križevačko Tamno Pivo, Vukovarska Pale Lager, Velebitsko Pale Lager and beers from Croatia's 1st microbrewery Pivnica Medvedgrad based in Zagreb and celebrating it's 20th year.

There's also interesting facts one can learn while trying different beers, for instance many people may not know that it's Osječka Pivovara (Osijek Brewery, post link at the bottom) that is actually the oldest Croatian beer brewery and brand, they've been making beer for over 300 years in Croatia and its history officially dates back to 1664, (although it was being brewed for decades even before that), and that makes it officially the oldest Croatian beer. It's actually even older than the popular oldest British beer and brewery Shepherd Neame. Also probably surprising to many outside of Canada, the most popular sold beer in Canada is not a Canadian beer but Budweiser, it's been Budweiser for even the whole last decade, I think all the Walmarts opening up here might also have something to do with that, and maybe even partly explain why Jerry Springer show reruns are still popular and regularly on television. (see and-most-popular-beer-in-croatia-is or vinepair.com for the whole beer/countries map) Anyway, enough of the pointless intro babbling......



photos-of-day-tour-of-croatia-cycling-taking-place

2nd-annual-tour-of-croatia-races-to-begin

photos-of-day-2nd-annual-tour-of-croatia-concludes





Robert Kišerlovski taking 2nd place at stage 8 of the the 2014 Giro D'Italia. Today he rides for UCI ProTeam Tinkoff. Image: bikeraceinfo.com






Two Croatian Cyclists To Race At Tour de France For First Time





For the first time in history there will be two Croatian riders at the the biggest cycling event in the world – the Tour de France – which will be held from 2 – 24 July 2016…

Two Croatian cyclists were named on Tuesday to take part in the prestigious race which is in its 103rd year. Robert Kišerlovski and Kristijan Đurašek will be carrying Croatia’s hopes when the multiple stage race starts on Saturday.




Kristijan Đurašek winning the 2nd stage of the Tour of Switzerland in 2015. Earlier in the year he also was victorious as the overall general classification champion at the Tour of Turkey, scoring a historic result for Croatian cycling. He currently rides for the UCI World Tour team Lampre–MeridaImage: www.cyclingnews.com




Kišerlovski will race as part of the 9-man Tinkoff team, whilst Đurašek last week signed fot the Lampre-Merida team. This year’s Tour de France on 2 July in Mont Saint-Michel and ends in Paris on 24 July.

Đurasek (28) from Varaždin will be racing in his third Tour de France in a row and is hoping to realise his dream and notch up a stage win. It will be 29-year-old Robert Kišerlovski’s second Tour de France after he took part for the first time in 2012.






Beer Price Guide to Croatia 2016, What Are The Differences?...




Karlovačko is one of the two best selling beer brands in Croatia, at 5.4% alcohol it is brewed in and named after the city of Karlovac since 1854. *Note - 10 Croatian Kuna will run you about $1.91. (For those not in know, the logo of the beer brand Karlovačko actually is the official city of Karlovac coat of arms dating back to 1781)





Source: www.total-croatia-news.com


We all know that nothing quenches your thirst better on a blistering hot summer day than an ice cold beer. We also know that drinking beer in Croatia is almost as necessary as drinking water. You almost never see a cafe table without a half liter sitting pretty atop it, and you know all the local bars are pumping up taps with your favorites. Since beer is considered the cheapest way to drink in Croatia (and the definite quickest way to get drunk) what does cheap beer mean in Croatia and how do you know when you’re getting ripped off? We’re here to bring you the beer pricing guide to Croatia in hopes that you’ll never order wrongly at a bar or restaurant again.

The cheapest beers you can get: Obviously, whatever is domestic is typically going to be the best bang for your buck. Pan, Karlovačko, and Ožujsko run about 12kn for a 0.3 liter, and about 15kn-20kn for 0.5 liters. Paying upwards of 20kn for any of these is a rip off, and even paying 20kn for these beers is a steep price. Another great thing? You can find domestic beers in 2 liter plastic bottles in supermarkets for around 15kn, so if you’re really trying to budget your drinking, you know where to go.

Croatian craft beers: Croatia is currently going through a craft beer revolution, and with that comes some great new beers, at prices still reasonable for the product. Craft beers such as Barba, Zmajska, Medvedgrad, and Nova Runda name just a few of the bustling bunch of craft beers we have in the country now. You can typically get 0.3 liters of a Croatian craft beer for about 15kn-18kn, and 20kn-24kn for 0.5 liters.




Just a few of the newer Croatian microbrewery and regional craft beers available at pubs, bars, patios and restaurants in Croatia these days. Image: TripAdvisor.



 Osječka Pivovara (Osijek Brewery) in the city of Osijek is actually the oldest Croatian brewery and beer brand, they've been making beer for over 300 years in Croatia and its history officially dates back to 1664, (although it was being brewed for decades even before that), which makes it officially the oldest Croatian beer. It's actually even older than the popular oldest British beer and brewery Shepherd Neame. (see days-of-first-croatian-beer-osijecka post for more)




Other top 6 best selling Croatian beers includes Tomislav, (named after the first officially recorded Croatian King Tomislav from the year 925 of course), it's the second strongest beer in Croatia with a 7.3% alcohol content...



Velebitsko, brewed near Gospić on the Velebit mountains in the Lika region by the Pivovara Ličanka (Ličanka Brewery), has alcohol content of 5.1% and 6.0% for the dark lager...



Vukovarsko named after the eastern town of Vukovar, interestingly it is produced naturally according to the Bavarian Beer Purity Act of 1516 with absolutely no preservatives and is 4.5% alcohol...



...and Pan. (pronounced like "Pawn" or "Pon", short for Panonski Pivovara/Pannonian Brewery) including lager, light, and lemon beer. This beer has also been a regular sponsor of the Zagreb Bears hockey team (KHL Medveščak Zagreb) and related sports and entertainment events....



Interestingly, Daruvarska Pivovara (Daruvar Brewery) in the town of Daruvar has been producing beer officially since 1840 and today it brews mainly popular regional beers. It makes Daruvarsko beer but its most well known popular brand is Staročeško beer (Old Czech Beer) It was named after Czech immigrants to the Daruvar town region and has been produced under this name since 1893, it is also the only Croatian beer using a traditional Czech recipe. (The town of Daruvar still today is the political and cultural centre of the Czech minority in Croatia, see post daruvar-croatia-festival-beer-festival) In addition to light beer, under the same name the Daruvar brewery makes Staročeško red, Staročeško winter, Staročeško 10 (slightly less alcohol) and Staročeško limun (lemon radler) More interesting background information about this less well known Daruvar Brewery and their beers at www.starocesko.com, but it's in Croatian though.



Among other beer brands is Hajdučko pivo (Hajduk beer), oriented mostly towards fans of the football club in the city of Split, but also available throughout the coastal Dalmatia region. Brewed by Carlsberg Croatia in the city of Koprivnica it is a pale lager with 4.5% alcohol content, Carlsberg made a promotional contract in 2011 whereby 1 Croatian Kuna from every litre sold went to the Hajduk Split football club. (Coincidentally to the previously mentioned beer, HNK Hajduk Split was officially founded in 1911 while drinking beers at the U Fleků pub in Prague. (more about that at hajduk-split-plaque-hangs-in-u-fleku-prague)



Also worth mentioning is a few of the beers available from Croatia's 1st microbrewery Pivnica Medvedgrad, based in Zagreb and celebrating it's 20th year. Grička Vještica is the strongest Croatian beer with 7.5% alcohol. (It's especially popular with the historical reenactment actors and crowds because it's similar to what they drank in medieval times)




Bottled beers: If you’re getting a domestic bottled beer, you’ll usually be paying the same price as draft, give or take a few kuna. Imported beers are where you need to watch out, as those can knock you back 25kn and upwards just for a 0.3 liter! At the end of the day, we have so many good beers here it’s usually never worth it to order a Corona (why?) or anything relatively similar.

Where you’re drinking: Another massive factor that will come into play with your beer drinking is where you’re drinking it. Split and Zagreb for instance boast some of the cheapest beer prices for Croatia, and being the one and two largest cities in Croatia, that’s pretty reasonable. If you’re in Old Town Dubrovnik and Hvar Town? Good luck. Since those destinations are known as tourist traps and attractions, they’ll up the prices generously. And by generously we mean starting prices for 0.3 liters are around 20kn. Pintprices.com even justified this, naming the average price for a pint in the city of Zagreb is €1.45, in Split €1.84, on the island of Hvar starting at €2.3 (this is not for Hvar town), and Dubrovnik a whopping €3.22.

The very basics of modern-day beers and beer brewing hasn't changed much in many centuries, not since German monks introduced hops as a vitally important main ingredient, codified and recorded their recipes and started brewing beer in their monasteries during medieval times, water was unsanitary many times, equipment was not always hygienically clean and without hops the ales would spoil very quickly (historically "ale" being a type of beer brewed without hops). Interestingly, beer was actually the most consumed beverage already and an important source of nutrition in the medieval world, it was drank by children, nursing mothers, the old and the sick and everyone in between. A pretty cool Croatian site these days devoted to all sorts of beer news topics, articles, new and retro images/posters and the interesting history of beer in Croatia up to today, as well as in Europe and elsewhere around the world is www.pivnica.net.




As an example, Tkalčićeva Ulica/Street near the central upper old town section of Zagreb is a long pedestrians only street that is mostly 18th-19th century buildings and bar after pub after patio and more of the same, a popular place to head out in the summer especially and where lots of different beers are available. It's sort of the rundown ghetto part of the city where crack whores are plentiful and most of the people are just mutant riff-raff types, (even worse than Walmart people), it's quite disgusting and appalling. But I spent a fair amount of time here during my times in Zagreb and I can vouch that local domestic beers were by far the most seen on tables, ordered and drank by customers, same goes in Rijeka, Zadar, Split and other locations I was at.



And lastly rounding out the top 6 list is Ožujsko beer. (named after "Ožujak" which in Croatian is the month of March). Brewed by Zagrebačka Pivovara which was founded in 1892, it's currently the most popular best selling beer brand in Croatia and is a lager beer with 5% alcohol content. Along with Karlovačko pivo they are the most sold beers and can be found pretty well anywhere you go in the country.




All in all, be conscious, be aware, and use this guide so as to not get ripped off. Beer is love and we want you to enjoy it just as badly as you want to enjoy it. Order wisely!





And lastly as supplementary information for the benefit of the reader. Besides being well known as a natural conditioner/shampoo for smoother, shinier highlights and softer hair, remember there are also many other less well known and beneficial uses for beer besides just drinking it. (beer is like magic in a way when you think about it)





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