From very early times, Lithuanians loved and still love beer. Beer making traditions went from one family to another, but the strongest came from the Biržai side. Let’s find out more about it and disclose beer making secrets in Biržai.
Not just only Trakai has its beautiful gem, Biržai also has its own. Maybe not so stunning, but also well-known, especially in the north of Lithuania. Biržai castle is a Dutch-style fortress built by the duke Kristupas Radvila at the end of the 16th century. It used to defend Lithuania’s northern borders during the 17th-18th centuries. When the castle was built, duke Radvila invited all the town’s people to make beer, build breweries and make the best malt. Nowadays, in the castle there is a Museum “Sėla” and a venue for celebrations and various performances. The museum offers a unique excursion through the beer making process - “the way of beer”.
During the excursion “the way of beer”, you will get to know everything about the local breweries and traditions of beer making, from the early beginnings till the first sip. Since old, old times beer was made in the sauna, in a big cauldron. Thus, one of the most important things for making a beer was to have a very good malt from the barley. Later on, when the beer is ready, the first part when taken from the cauldron is the strongest one, and the second part is more light beer. Almost all families in Biržai had their traditions, and nowadays, there are six breweries in Biržai that make traditional beer.
There are some rules regarding the beer drinking in Biržai: if you are with your friends or family, you need to drink beer from one glass going in a circle. The beer from Biržai is too strong to drink it differently. Also, it is impolite to drink one glass of beer at once. And you need to leave some centimeters of beer in a glass. Differently from other parts of Lithuania, in Biržai, the beer is taken from the glass mugs, not from the mugs made of clay. Since beer can have different colors (dark, chocolate, amber, caramel), that’s why glass mugs were so loved - to know what kind of beer you are drinking and to enjoy the mouthwatering view. Moreover, the beer color depends on what you will put while making it - a piece of black bread or a pinch of sugar or honey.
To find out more about beer making traditions the best is to come to Biržai, to follow their “way of beer” and; of course, to try the beer. So, I hope that at least some parts of beer making traditions in Biržai are disclosed now.
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