Best Greek Beers

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Written By: Pavlos

greek beer

Greek beer is not famous all over the world compared to greek wine, but that doesn’t mean Greece does not have some of the most refreshing local beers and breweries in Europe. There is archaeological evidence that beer was produced in Greece since 2000 BC, so what has happened since then? Greece is definitely famous for its wine since the beginning of time, but it’s definitely not famous for its beers. And that is a mistake that needs to be fixed 🍺

It is true that in the last 10-15 years, the beer brewing industry in Greece has been booming, with a new microbrewery popping up somewhere in the country every year. These local breweries usually become an integral part of the local economy and, in many cases, even an attraction for the area or the island, like the wineries in Santorini.

Commercial Beers: Mythos Beer, Fix Beer, Alfa Beer

Microbreweries in mainland Greece and Greek Islands: Mamos Beer, Vergina Beer, Eza Beer, 56 Isles Beer, Ammousa Beer, Chios Beer, Corfu Beer, Donkey Beer, Delphi Beer, Flaros Beer, Fonias Beer, Ikariotissa Beer, Nissos Beer, Zeos Beer, Volkan Beer, Lafkas Beer, Kirki Beer, Samos Beer, Septem Beer, Noctua Beer, Notos Beer, Zythos VAP Beer

Mythos Beer is probably the most famous greek beer but it’s definitely not the only one

In the following list, I have picked up some of the most well-established greek beer brands and some local beers from different parts of Greece (Greek islands and mainland Greece).

Undoubtedly, the most popular beer in Greece is Mythos Beer which is a 4.7% lager that was introduced to the greek market in 1997 and has since grown in popularity.

So…without further ado, let’s see the Best Greek Beers:

1. Mythos Beer

Mythos beer is probably the most recognizable greek beer brand, but it’s really not a very old one. Mythos beer was established back in 1997 and has since become synonymous with the “greek beer”. Mythos is indeed a very refreshing lager that fits perfectly to the greek hot summer. You can find Mythos beer even outside of Greece in many European countries or even in the US as it is exported all over the world. However, Mythos is not produced by any independent artisanal brewery but it is part of the Carlsberg Group since 2008.

2. Fix Beer

Johann Karl Fix founded the first proper Greek brewery, the “Fix brewery” (Φιξ in Greek), in Athens back in 1864. It was his father who had started producing beer in Greece around 30 years before that and he definitely had the know-how. Fix beer was basically the only greek beer for more than 100 years (a monopoly pretty much) as it was the King’s favourite beer. However, the company declared bankruptcy in 1983 and was re-introduced again in 2009 under new ownership but with the same branding which was loved in Greece but also in other countries. Fix beer is a premium lager beer with soft flavors and a light bitterness that leaved a very refreshing taste in the mouth.

3. Alfa Beer

ALFA or ΑΛΦΑ beer is one of Greece’s oldest brands of beer and the first one to bear a Greek name. It is produced by Athenian Brewery in Greece, obviously in Athens. This is a golden-hued beer with a moderate malt yeast fragrance and a sparkling gold colour. This refreshing brew pairs well with Greek cuisine because of its creamy foam and smooth taste that make it ideal for sipping on a hot greek summer day on a greek island. With a golden colour and a mild malt aroma, this beer has a 5% alcohol level. It’s brewed in Greece using only Greek barley and the same traditional recipe for the last 30 years. ALFA’s flavours are both delicate and well-balanced. Tender meats and seafood, home-cooked Sunday roast dishes and any meal that can be shared by a group of friends all work well with this wine. Alfa beer is usually compared directlly with Mythos as they are very similar eventhough my personal preference is Alfa.

4. Mamos Beer

Mamos Beer is a full-bodied beer with a distinct hop scent, a thick head, and a lingering finish. ABV of 5%. This greek beer is a collaboration between the Athenian Brewery and the Patras-based Mamos family business brewery which resulted in the release of Mamos beer in 2018. At the time, the goals set were restricted to Patras and Western Greece, hoping that achieving them would open doors for the local brand’s growth. It wasn’t until the first sip that people began to fall in love with the beer and rightly so, as it managed to conjure up memories and resurrect its distinctive flavour through its original recipe, which is loved all over Greece. A growing greek market for small-batch beers with distinctive labels and native characteristics has been stimulated by this debut, according to analysts. Additionally, the company used its distribution network to spread the summertime vibe of Mamos across Greece in 2018 and distributed the product where it needed to be at the right time in the right place. Mamos is considered a macro lager beer with mildly bitter malty taste and thin body which makes it perfect for these hot summers in Greece.

5. Vergina Beer

Vergina is a Greek pale lager from Macedonian Thrace Brewery in Komotini, Greece in northern Greece (also called Macedonia; not to be confused with North Macedonia, the country) . This is a subtle lager with light hoppy flavour and a hint of malt. Vergina is the capital city of ancient Macedonia, the motherland of Alexander the Great. Was he also enjoying a pint of beer…? Who knows! The fact is though, that Vergina is very popular in northern Greece but can be found pretty much anywhere these days. The founder of Vegina Beer Dimitrios Politopoulos set up the Macedonian Thrace Brewery back in the 90’s and the very first bottles of “Vergina” went on sale in 1998. This greek beer has a very crisp initial mouthfeel and overall taste and if you travel to North Greece, you have to try it.

6. Eza Beer

Eza beer is produced by the Hellenic Brewery of Atalanti, which is a town in central Greece. This greek beer is in the market since the late 80s and it is now considered a big player in the Greek market. The brand has evolved greatly in the last few years and is now owned by an international fund. Eza is one of the oldest greek beers and it’s like a pommy blonde lager with rich aromas and taste. HBA brewery sits next to the famous Parnassos mountain with its fresh artisanal water that is actually used in the production of Eza beer.

7. 56 Isles (Paros island)

56 Isles beer is produced by the “Microbrewery of Paros” on the greek island of Paros in the Cyclades group of islands. Back in 2014, two friends founded this microbrewery in Paros and the rest is history. They wanted to pay homage to the beauty of Cyclades region that actually has 56 islands, thus the name of the beer “56 Isles”. The beer was an instant success in the local market of Paros, and it was loved by visitors of the island. The beer itself has a unique taste and its founders call it the “Aegean Wit”, pretty close to the Belgian Wit in character, but with a greek heart. The microbrewery produces a Pilsener version as well, which is rich in foam and is produced by Parian barley that grows under the Aegean sun. 56 Isles is a beer now internationally recognised and loved by many beer enthusiasts.

8. Ammousa (Patras)

Ammousa beer is another success story by the city of Patras in western Greece. This is a very new and artisanal greek beer that was introduced to the market in 2016 after its founder Georgios Ntanos decided to produce his home-brewed beer in larger quantities in a proper microbrewery. He was literally testing and learning the whole process at the basement of his house! Ammousa has now been awarded lots of prestigious awards from all over the world but it is not a beer that you can find easily, even in Greece. You would only be able to find it in very selected restaurants and delis in Greece and that’s exactly how its founder wanted it to be: a truly artisanal beer for the very curious beer lovers. The beer itself is an English IPA with fruity flavours and hoppy bitterness at the end. if you are lucky enough to find this greek beer, give it a try!

9. Chios Beer (Chios island)

Chios Beer comes from the lovely island of Chios, which is on the eastern side of Greece, close to the sea borders with Turkey, in the Aegean sea. Chios beer has been produced by a local microbrewery on the island since 2012 and it’s a greek beer with lots of varieties. Chios beer is producing a fresh blonde lager, a black stout, a smoked BBQ Beer and a Wheat Mastic beer (the only one in the world with real mastic) and a new IPA. The Chios microbrewery has recently expanded into a larger area as the demand for its beer has grown significantly.

10. Corfu Beer (Corfu island)

Corfu Beer is a beer that (you guessed it right…) comes from the lovely Ionian island of Corfu, since 2006. This is a real ale beer in many variations from this fast-growing brewery that was founded by Spyros Kaloudis in Arillas, Corfu. There is a Red Ale, a Dark Ale, an IPA, a Weiss and a Pilsner. They are all produced with 98% greek malt from barley or wheat with a completely natural process without any added sugars or additives. If you are in Corfu then this microbrewery is really worth a visit as the owner’s family will welcome you in a lovely beer-tasting session along with some of Corfu’s delicacies.

11. Donkey Beer (Santorini)

The list of greek microbreweries wouldn’t be complete if there was no mention of the famous Donkey Beer of the island of Santorini brewed by Santorini Brewing Company. The microbrewery is calling its beers “Lagered Ales”, and they are all unfiltered, unpasteurized and preservative free. There are several different beers, such as Red Donkey (dark lager), Yellow Donkey (greek lager), Crazy Donkey (this is the first IPA ever produced in Greece!), White Donkey (Weiss), Slow Donkey (matured in local Assyrtiko Wine barrels and produced in very limited quantities), Lazy Ass (refreshing lager) and the new Blue Donkey (a Blonde Saison). The microbrewery itself is close to the famous Kamari beach area and there is a bus stop literally outside of it. it is now one of the most visited microbreweries in Greece due to the fame of the island mostly, but its beers are definitely worth a try as they are extremely refreshing and unique.

12. Delphi Beer (Delphi)

Delphi beer is another greek microbrewery success story from the island of Evia, close to the city of Chalkida. Elixi microbrewery is the producer of this awarded beer that is run by a family who really loves what they are doing. Delphi beer is an artisanal unpasteurised pilsener beer with Meditteranean character and flavours that perfectly accompanies the Greek cuisine. The microbrewery produces Marea beer as well, which is a more everyday pale ale and blonde with a fruity taste and finishes of white peach and bergamot.

13. Flaros (Athens)

Flaros is an incredible microbrewery coming purely from the passion of one individual: its owner Othonas Theofanous, from the beautiful island of Sifnos. This is a unique and… “homey” beer that you cannot find easily. Usually, it’s found in artisanal delis and restaurants, mostly in Athens and of course, in Sifnos island but go give it a try wherever you find it because it’s a rare find! The microbrewery is mostly using nomadic brewing, not having an established microbrewery yet but its plan is to expand as much as possible because sales are booming. Flaros greek beer is now producing a Session Ale, an IPA, a Wheat, an Amber Ale and even a new Porter (black) beer.

14. Fonias Beer (Samothraki island)

Fonias beer comes from the beautiful Samothraki island in the northern Aegean sea by the family-run Samothraki Microbrewery. Fonias in greek (Φονιάς) literally means “killer” but it’s also the name of the island’s famous waterfall with its clean and high-quality waters that is famous all over Greece. The flagship beer of the microbrewery is Fonias Pale Ale which is an unpasteurized beer with peachy aromas and a full body. The barley comes from the surrounding north Greece valley of Komotini and the waterfall’s waters. History books say that the first production of beer in ancient Greece was actually on the island of Samothraki, so there is definitely some historical connection here. This is a beer that you can usually find in northern Greece and in Athens. This is also the first greek beer with its name engraved in the Braille system at the back of its bottle!

15. Ikariotissa Beer (Ikaria island)

Ikariotissa is produced on the island of Ikaria, which is one of the less touristic greek islands (but still lovely). The beer itself has been awarded the Superior Taste Award from the International Taste Institute of Brussels in 2020, and it is a greek ale. The microbrewery also produces an ale, a red ale, an alcohol-free beer and an unfiltered ale. Ikaria is an island that is considered the island of “long life”, where people live ten years longer on average than other people in Europe and in the USA. The microbrewery has been named after the matriarchal tradition of the island, and it was founded by four young local people with an extreme love for their island and its traditions.

16. Nissos Beer (Tinos island)

Nissos beer is produced on the island of Tinos by an independent and family-run microbrewery run by the couple of Alexandros and Maya back in 2012 in the middle of the greek financial crisis. Nissos actually means “island” in greek and the beer is inspired by the fruits of the earth, the cycladic light, the white-washed houses and the blue waves of the Aegean sea. This is an artisanal microbrewery in the heart of Tinos town that produces organic beers that are the only ones certified with the prestigious FSCC 22000 Certification and its beers are the first ones in the world to obtain the European AFQ certification for the very high bioactivity of their composition benefiting human healtih and well-being. All beers are organic with rich taste, aromas and natural carbonation. The brewery produces a Pilsener, a Lager, a Keller, a Baltic Porter and a Monastic Double Ale. The great thing about this microbrewery is that it also keeps a cellar in the basement of the St. Francis Monastery on the island of Tinos which is keeping some beers to age under ideal conditions.

17. Zeos Beer (Argos)

Zeos beer comes from the historic town of Argos in the Peloponnese peninsula (mainland Greece). The brewery itself was founded back in 1988 by Canadian brewmaster David Wood and is located in a beautiful area surrounded by olive trees and orange groves. The beer itself is brewed with the highest quality materials and has a cult following. The brewery produces three beers mainly: Zeos Gold Pilsner, Zeos Black Weiss, Zeos Blue Lager.

18. Volkan Beer (Santorini)

Volkan is the second beer that is produced on the island of Santorini by a very unique and artisanal microbrewery using only greek materials. This beer is completely different from others on this list, since it has a different brewing method that includes grape local honey that is added at the end of the brewing process, citron leaves that the beer goes through and nothing more than mineral brew water filtered through Santorini volcanic lava! How cool is that? Volkan is probably one of the most unique speciality beers in Europe at the moment, with many awards and a large variety of beers such as Volkan Blonde (pilsner), Volkan Black (Dunkel), Volkan Grey (wheat exotic) and Volkan White (lager).

19. Lafkas Beer (Crete)

Lafkas Beer is the child of a greek boy and a Belgian girl (Michalis and Aurelie, who now have even more “real children” and live in Crete) who now run this microbrewery in Chania, Crete. This beer is a fusion of Belgian knowledge and culture with the amazing greek produce and climate. The first beer was produced in 2017, and it was the “White mountains – Triple Hop Ale” with citrus aromas and honey aftertaste. The brewery also produces “Chaniotissa” (orange wit) and Orpheus (breakfast stout). If you are in Chania, you can even contact the owners to visit the microbrewery and have a beer-tasting session at their beautiful patio overlooking the famous White Mountains, along with hand-made pizzas.

20. Kirki beer (Peiraus)

Kirki is an artisanal beer that is produced by the Kirki microbrewery in Piraeus (port of Athens). Kirki has operated since 2015 and its beers are now in some of the most sophisticated restaurants and bars of Athens. Kirki produces “Kirki Pale Ale”, “Pikri I.P.A.” , “Niki Amber Lager” and “Pikri Forbidden” (unfiltered IPA). All of the beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized with lots of aroma and flavours. Nowadays, you can even find Kirki beers in some of the largest grocery stores and supermarkets in Athens, Greece.

21. Samos Beer (Samos island)

Samos Beer is a microbrewery that is located on the island of Samos. It currently produces only one beer called “Valsamo Ale” which is an ale made with quality malt, noble hops, coriander seeds and the great local Samos honey from the island. the result of these ingredients is a very refreshing beer with a very rich taste. This is a very small brewery and this is a very rare beer that is definitely worth a try when you find it (mainly on the island of Samos).

22. SEPTEM Beer (Evia island)

Septem is a microbrewery located on the largest greek island: Evia. It was founded in 2009 by the chemist and oenologist Sophocles Panagiotou and has since been producing a large variety of artisanal beers that are distributed all over Greece and abroad. The microbrewery has received numerous awards in the last few years and you can even buy its large selection from their online webshop.

23. NOCTUA Beer (Athens)

Noctua Beer is the only real Athens beer based in the centre of Athens in an impressive microbrewery that used to be a car garage. It is the child of pure passion of a team of young people from Athens. Noctua has the Athens owl as its symbol, and it’s literally the first real craft beer from Athens. Noctua has an innovative approach and philosophy putting pure pleasure in the epicentre of its production with continuous experimentation on the production of new beer flavours and beer types. They also have a very unique distribution method, as you can order directly from their website. The microbrewery currently produces an IPA, a Pale Ale, a Black Pale Ale and a New England Pale Ale, but they are regularly releasing limited series beers and awesome merhandize.

24. NOTOS Beer (Crete)

Notos Beer is a microbrewery and a taproom based in Heraklion,Crete and was founded in 2016. It is currently producing unfiltered and naturally carbonated beers an impressive, such as Lager, Weiss, Pilsner, Dry Stout and a Blonde Ale. The microbrewery itself is in the centre of Heraklion and it is the first independent microbrewery in the city. You can visit the microbrewery and taste the beers in their lovely taproom.

25. Zythos VAP (Rhodes island)

Zythos VAP Beer is the only beer on this list that comes from the lovely island of Rhodes. The microbrewery itself was founded in 2006 by P. Kougios, and it has entered the local market dynamically while being the first greek beer produced in the Dodecannese islands. The main beer that the microbrewery produces is Zythos VAP Lager that has a lovely golden colour and rich aromas with a dry finish. You will mainly find the beer on the island of Rhodes but you can also find it in Crete or even Santorini.

CONCLUSION

Having a greek beer in the middle of the hot summer on a Greek island is definitely an experience not to be missed. There are lots of microbreweries in Greece that produce excellent beers with very unique aromas and flavors and there is no shortage of variety, so there will definitely be a greek beer for you. By combining these unique beers with an epic greek meal you will be achieving an excellent gastronomical level of pleasure and greek-ness. Ya Mas ! (Cheers! in greek)

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