Karlovacko Who? A Craft Beer Festival for Karlovac

Total Croatia News

It has a 160 year-old brewing tradition which is older than Manchester United, but now the city of Karlovac is celebrating the Croatian craft beer revolution as well. TCN’s Man in Karlovac has more.

It was only a matter of time before Croatia’s “city of beer” announced its second beer festival. The Croatian craft beer revolution gathers pace with new events or new breweries being announced almost on a weekly basis. Karlovac Craft Beer Fest 1.0 “promoting Croatian craft beer, burgers and music” (to my delight) will happen on the 9th July 2016.

The event is organised by Mirko Begić and Krešimir Štopić and will be held on the summer garden terrace of Konoba Kostanjac in Karlovac city centre. Kostanjac, a family run traditional Dalmatian restaurant, is a pioneer of Croatian craft beer in the city – a city which is slowly coming to terms with the idea that there is life beyond Karlovačko (now foreign owned by the way)! It was fairly evident from the turnout to a lecture on craft brewing hosted by Davor Simičić and Matija Mrazek (Varionica founders) back in May that the home brewing scene is healthy and alive in Karlovac.

Krešimir brews a fine top fermented, unfiltered, unpasteurised American Pale Ale (APA) himself. Pleasantly hoppy, aromatic and softly malty – in my opinion it’s as good as any. I met with him recently to talk about the festival and the chances of Karlovac’ first micro-brewery becoming a reality. I’ve been informed; ideas are forming, people are talking – meeting in dark places. Students of the Food Technology Department of the Karlovac University of Applied sciences already brew beers as part of their curriculum. This festival is a massive step in the right direction and is the perfect opportunity to sample high quality, independent, locally produced beers. Perhaps next year “fest 2.0” will be debuting Karlovac’ first retail craft beer(s). Watch this space.

So far the guys have 8 breweries confirmed for the festival – Varionica, Nova Runda, Zmajska Pivovara, Bura Brew, Pivionica, Aircraft Brewery, Black Hat Craft Brewery and Pulfer – with more to be added in the coming weeks. Mirko will be laying a perfect drinking foundation with his (now legendary) 100% organic beef burgers (home-made at the restaurant). A DJ will pump out indie, rock, disco and electronic music spanning from the 60s ‘til now. In Krešimir’s words it’s going to be “simple and relaxed”.

The festival arrives during the period when the city is building up to “Dan grada Karlovca”. On the 13th July the city celebrates its 437th birthday. Three weeks of events kick off on the 23rd June with the annual midsummers “Ivanjski Krijes”, finishing up on the big day with the traditional birthday ball and concert on the main square. Beer tourism is and has been a thing in many European cities for a long time. In America, tour agencies are now offering “beercation” microbrewery tours. On the 9th July you can say you were there, at the beginning, when Karlovac became the “city of beer(s)”.
More information at https://www.facebook.com/craftbeerfestkarlovac/


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