A Guide to Drinking Beer in Slovakia

Sign "Good Pivo 10 metres"There are many good reasons to go to the Slovak Republic, but my favourite is the beer. It’s delicious and very reasonably priced. Pintprice.com has it costing an average of 0.91 Euros. That makes it the fourth cheapest place to drink beer in Europe (Ukraine is #1). If you’re looking for a place to have your bachelor or stag party, a weekend in Bratislava will give you everything you need to make a man rethink a commitment. But before you go, I recommend boning up on a little Slovak. Here’s what you’ll need to know.

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Ranking the Best Beers from Slovakia

I’ve tried most of the popular Slovak-made beers and I have to say that it’s a tight race to the top. Below is a list of links to other sites that have ranked beers from Slovakia. Hopefully, it’ll help guide you on your tasting journey through the Slovak Republic.

Rate Beer
Rate Beer is the beer-drinker’s go-to site for beer ratings.

  1. Kaltenecker Chopper IPA Grand Champion 2012
  2. Kaltenecker Brokát 27 B27 Old Beer
  3. Zlatý Bažant 19% Medový Porter
  4. Kaltenecker White Shadow 15º
  5. Bratislavský Bubák 12º Tmavé

Itchy Feet on the Cheap
Boy oh boy this is a good site. I think it’s because I made it. My girlfriend and I sampled all the Slovak and Czech beers that we could find in Bratislava. The reviews are very informal and were mainly written as entertainment and for our own amusement. At any rate, the ratings are how we felt at the time.

  1. Zlaty Bazant
  2. Topvar 12º
  3. Corgon
  4. Palatin
  5. Smadny Mnich

Slovak Spectator
Their list includes some Czech beers, but I’ve ranked their top 5 Slovak beers below. If you are interested, here’s the article that tells the story of their tasting adventure.

  1. Topvar Zochar Tmavé
  2. Stein 12º
  3. Kelt
  4. Hell
  5. Steiger 11º

Most Popular
Of course, the most popular beer doesn’t mean that it’s the best. In fact, considering the most popular beer in America is Bud Light and Coors Light takes the title in Canada, I’d say: 1) people are dumb and 2) popularity doesn’t equal taste — not in the slightest. That being said, I thought I’d include this list of the top 3 Slovak beers sold in 2012:

  1. Zlatý Bažant 10º
  2. Saris 12%
  3. Staropramen

If you have a favourite beer from Slovakia, please let us know what it is in the comments.


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The Strength (not alcohol) of Beer Explained

Steiger beer labelIn most countries, the strength of a beer refers the percentage of alcohol by volume or ABV. In Slovakia, and other parts of central Europe, the beer’s strength is thought to be the amount of fermentable material used to make the beer. If you look at a bottle of beer in Slovakia you’ll often see a large number with a percent sign after it (usually between 10 and 12%). Many of the beers even incorporate the number in their names (Steiger 10% Classic, Topvar 12% Premium).  This often leads to people thinking that the beers are 12% alcohol but in reality they are probably 3-5% ABV.  The number simply means that 12% of the ingredients’ density is made up of fermentable materials.

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Bratislava’s Microbreweries and Brewpubs

glasses of beerBratislava is slowly becoming one of the best European beer cities.  The Stein Brewery moved from the city in 2007, but since then more and more microbreweries and brewpubs have been popping up in Slovakia’s capital.  Here’s a nice little beer crawl that I put together so you can enjoy the locally brewed beers of Bratislava.
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Slovak Beer Links

Below is a list of links that are relevant to Slovak beer.  Many of them are in Slovak, but by using the web browser Google Chrome you can easily translate them automatically or click on [en] to have the site translated via Google Translate.

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