Minsk for craft beer enthusiasts
Craft beer scene seems to be blooming in the capital of Belarus. We spent 5 days in Minsk in August, and visited three great pubs, tasting products from both domestic and international breweries. There are several craft beer oriented pubs in the city at the moment, some of them just recently opened. The amount of microbreweries in the country is somewhere between 20 and 30, and increasing. Beer brewing has long roots in Belarus, and the oldest existing brewery, Alivaria was founded in 1864.
Craftman is a Belarusian craft beer oriented pub in Vulica Hikaly street, roughly two kilometers north-east from the city center. The bar itself is below the street level, and there is a cozy terrace by the street. There are 19 beer tabs, roughly half of them reserved for local products, and over 90 varieties from around the world in bottles. Burgers, sandwiches and snacks are served also, and the small pub is nicely and creatively decorated, even the toilets. The tab system in the pub is somewhat unusual, with a separate cooling room and a special pressuring system.
Crafthouse in Vulica Jacuba Kolasa, 1,5 km north from Craftman, is a cellar bar with beer and food from snacks to steaks. There are not that much local beers in draft, but otherwise wide selection from around the world. We tried for example a Russian Deadline Mango by Selfmade Brewery, a very fruity and nicely bitter IPA.
Minsk 1067 in Vulica Valadarskaha street in city center (other bar by the same name is in Vulica Ramanauskaja Slabada) is a pub with nice selection of local craft beers (though several brands were not available at the time of our visit), food and good customer service. We had delicious burgers, they even had a vegetarian option with fried cheese. One of our favorites was Prime Time APA by Belarusian Jungle Brewery, and we also tested a pretty good new locally brewed sour ale that was not yet in the menu. Prices are really affordable, in average around 6 BYN for a big beer (0,4) so roughly 2,5 euros, and from 9 to 12 BYN for burgers with fries. Other popular craft beer pubs in Minsk include places like Czapski Bar, BeerCap in two different locations and UltraBar.
There is also a yearly craft beer festival in Minsk, this year it was organized in April, in 2017 in July. According to the festival website, nearly all Belarusian micro breweries and contact breweries took part in the event, and there is also food courts with international cuisine and music performances. Ticket price for the event was 15 BYN in 2018, which is around 6 euros. If you happen to be in town at the time of 2019 fest, why not to participate! For more information and news about craft beer scene in Belarus and beer production overall, check pivo.by site (only in Belarusian, but Google translator seems to work like charm).
Further reading; Exploring craft beer scene in eastern Europe in autumn 2017