Beer, the golden liquid covered in rich, white foam, has deep historical roots. The brewing tradition is almost as old as humanity itself. Historically, similar drinks brewed from malted cereals have been prepared by ancient Egyptians ever since 4000 BC. Needless to say, the delicious beverage has retained its popularity through thousands of years, remaining one of the most popular beverages up to date. BalticTravelnews contacted two Latvian restaurants to find out what kind of beers are on the menu, and which are favored among customers.
Restaurant's Bibliotēka No1 (www.restoransbiblioteka.lv) chef Maris Jansons (Māris Jansons) offers three brands of beer to his clients – Valmiermuižas beer served in bottles, Miķeļa alus beer on tap and Kronbacher non-alcoholic beer. Although the restaurant's main specialty is wine, beer is also honoured by customers. The main criteria for choosing which beers to place on the drink menu are: quality and taste. The chef speaks highly of Miķeļa alus, saying that it is not one of the lightest. This beer has a heavy and sweet-like taste, much to the delight of Latvian beer-lovers. It is also often chosen by the locals, foreigners and tourists. Maris doesn't drink beer often, but when he does, he prefers Valmiermuižas unfiltered beer. Basing on the chef's observations, the Czech, Germans and Austrians are among the most avid beer-drinkers. The chef adds that if it were to him, Aldaris golden beer would be off the menu, since its quality does not entirely meet the restaurants standards.
A representative of the Čemodāns restaurant (www.cemodanskafe.lv) tells they offer their customers several beer brands. These include the Brūveris brewery's light, red and cherry beer, and Riga Original Ginger ale (Rīgas Oriģinālais Ingveralus), as well as Corona beer, which has already become an international brand. Although the restaurant offers a relatively narrow variety of beers, its specialty is serving beer with added fruit (lime, cherry, etc.). These types of beer are brewed with natural fruit juice, so the use of preservatives is avoided. The Čemodāns restaurant is focused on pairing beer with the dishes. "Beer is a specific drink, so it can be difficult to pair with particular types of food," explains the manager. Decisions about what brands of beer should go on the menu are made collectively between the restaurant's management and the staff. When asked which beer is most popular among customers, the manager replied: "There isn't one particular brand. If the customer asks for a glass of beer, we always serve the Ginger draught beer. It has become a classic." The manager rarely drinks beer, and prefers lighter, fruity beers when he does. Some time ago the restaurant manager visited Aldaris brewery, where he tried black beer with chocolate for the first time. "After the first sip I thought – this is insane! But the taste was actually good," jokes the manager. He also shares that Norwegians, Swedes and Latvians are the most avid beer-drinkers. Russians visit Čemodāns restaurant only for the purpose of enjoying fresh beer. According to Čemodāns' manager, Russians drink far less than other nationalities. The restaurant does not intend to add new beers in the drink menu any time in the near future, since customers are satisfied with the current offer.