Zywiec Beer – Happy Paczki Day!

Zywiec Brewery’s Zywiec Beer Review

First and foremost, Happy Paczki Day! Have you got your paczki yet? I hope so, here’s a picture of the paczki I had this morning, and throughout the day. Delicious! Paczki Day Chicago Now on to the beer review!

Polish flag

Żywiec Brewery was founded in 1852, and they currently brew beer in the town of Żywiec in Southern Poland. Apparently it’s one of the oldest breweries in Poland, brewing for over 150 years! Apparently the brewery was acquired by Heineken a few years back and transformed into one of the most modern breweries in the world.

Zywiec is one of Poland’s most exported beers. I picked a pack up as today is a Polish celebration. The beer’s appearance was pretty clear, actually. It looked similar to a Coors Light or something like that.

Zywiec BeerWhat always grabs my attention right off the bat is the can. It’s friggin’ sweet. They are always pints and always cold. You have to love it! They come in a plastic wrapper so there is never any dirt or grime on the mouthpiece. It also has a pretty unique logo, I Zywiec Beer Logothink. It depicts two Polish highlanders in traditional garb dancing. Call it what you want but I think it’s pretty cool. Not to mention the indents on the can; they outline pretty much everything, the pictures and writing. Something you don’t see on most cans of beer.

Sadly, it’s not the best beer I’ve ever had. It’s actually quite mediocre. I love my Polish beer, don’t get me wrong. It’s just, that, compared to most beers that are considered good by the craft brew standards, Zywiec would be considered just another mass-brewed beer.  While it might seem this way, it is quite different from most mass-brews I’ve tried.  Zywiec typically gets reputation as having a funky smell and flavor; and therefore, does not appeal to beer aficionados.  Okay, so it does have a funky smell.  Smell-wise, it’s pungent with grassy or hay aromas.  Another contributing ‘funk’ factor is the skunky smell, which is more common in beers in green bottles; beer that have gone stale. I can assure you this beer is not stale, it was in a can.

The taste is much better than the smell. I actually like it a lot and I drink it all the time. At first, it tastes sweet or like hay or some type of long grass. A bit of bitter hops shows its presence then dissipates back into sweetness.Zywiec Beer Head It’s definitely drinkable to me, almost like a fermented or yeast/wheat taste. Not overbearing, I’ve heard it described as wrong-tasting; not true. The mouth feel is more carbonated, much more bubbly than the last beer review we did. This beer goes great with paczki, obviously, but also kielbasa, gołąbki,hot dogs, anything fried; pretty much anything you eat while drinking a beer, this is the beer for you!

I’m biased in this review, but I don’t care.

Happy Paczki Day – Na Zdrowie!

Beer Rating: 4/5
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3 Comments so far »


    Sean said

    March 12 2011 @ 7:32 pm

    I drank a lot of this beer when I lived in Duesseldorf. My pals and I would go often to the polish bars and repeatedly ask the cute polish waitresses how to pronounce it (as, you know, mostly an excuse to talk to the cute polish waitresses). Still, my best attempt sounds something like “shiveeyitz”. It’s actually pretty good but just a little too carbonated for my taste. Once I discovered that the other beer they had on tap there (Tyskie) was less carbonated I switched to that. The only downside there is that that one’s easier to pronounce.

    Zywiec is sadly under-represented at my beer website, Barley Buddy, so if anyone’s tried it and wants to give it a quick rating there, I’d be real appreciative. http://www.barleybuddy.com/89837_By_Region/89870_Polish/89873_Zywiec


    Peter said

    March 13 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    I wonder if the can you had was from before Heineken purchased the brewery or not? From your description, it almost sounds like the beer has been fermented with a little brettanomyces to give it that funky aroma. Either that or there’s an infection in their lines.

    Although what really worries me is the “skunky” aroma, especially out of the can. Skunkiness is not from old or stale beer, it is a result of a beer being exposed to sunlight/UV light. The interaction between UV light and alpha acids results in a skunky aroma, which can be seen whenever you put a bottle of Heineken in the sunlight for as little as 5 minutes. Seeing a canned skunked beer suggests that sometime during the brewing and canning process, the final beer was exposed to sunlight, which is a very poor decision on their part.

    Despite the possibility of infection and exposure to UV light, you have piqued my interest and I’ll see if I can find this beer in my local bottle shop, or any other Polish beer.


    Beer Blog Buzz said

    March 14 2011 @ 4:44 pm

    Ha, I’m glad someone else is willing to try a Polish beer!

    Per the funky smell, I know it was made after the purchase and I doubt it’s an infection because I drank it down just fine and didn’t get sick at all.

    Per the funky taste, I am definitely familiar with the effect of UV light on beer; we have a Corona distribution plant here in Chicago and I still have yet to receive a “fresh” Corona because they let them sit out in the sun all day! In regards to Zywiec, and most Polish beer for that matter, it’s actually a metal-like taste. If you drink more than one kind of Polish beer you will see it’s a theme. I assume it has something to do with the traditional brewing process they all have in common.

    Either way, I like it just fine but I’m Polak :).

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