Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Seven Hills

(Apparently this blog has been locked by "spam prevention robots". I always thought there was a niche in the kids TV market for an avenging army of Transformers type vigilantes going round trashing supermarkets who dared to sell processed meat in cans. No idea when this post will get published in the meantime)

I have more of my holiday experience to post on, but am just back from a short work trip to Iasi in the east of Romania, and needed to let any readers out there know that I have discovered a truly excellent Romanian beer. This is not to say that some of the better Romanian beers (Ciuc, Ursus, Silva dark, etc) are bad, but they're not excellent exactly. They're just reasonably good quality fizzy lagers, not much to write home about. But in Iasi I was introduced to a stunningly good beer. It's called Sapte Coline (7 hills). It's unfiltered and unpasteurised and really it compares well to some of the good Belgian beers. It also comes in extremely cool bottles. Here's their website.

There is, of course, a catch. 7 Coline is only available in certain restaurants and pubs (no shops) and only in Iasi (at least this is what my Iasish hosts told me). I hereby start a campaign for wider distribution of what is by far and away Romania's best beer. I hope you join me, and if not, that you make the trip to Iasi to sample this amazing find.


Anonymous said...

I do support your campaign, but beeing an unfiltered beer is not quite possible to keep it drinkable more than 48 hours... so distribution widely spread is out of question. Is better to convince local producers to sell unfiltered beer in local pubs.

rs said...

That's not really true...unfiltered and unpasteurized bottles and kegs are very common. Most US brewers (including Coors and AB) DO NOT pasteurize their kegged beer. And of course, unfiltered and unpasteurized beer in bottles is the heart and soul of Belgium. The survival of an unpasteurized beer over time depends on how it is stored and the style of beer. Big brewers pasteurize their bottles of lager etc because the styles they tend to choose and the shoddy ingredients they use make for a beer which is more apt to change in poor storage conditions (ie, sitting on a hot market shelf for months). Anyway, it's certainly more than 48 hours, on the order of 1-2 months even for a weak, clear beer. Leaving it unfiltered extends the life a great deal because the yeast acts as a buffer against things like oxidation.

It's probably a matter of how insanely competitive Ciuc and Ursus appear to be for pub business and how little drinkers in Romania seemed to care about beer selection...they also seem to have a lot of deep regional associations with the brands anyway. So probably 7 Coline is just following the pattern that worked well for Ciuc and Ursus in a market that hasn't yet been pwned by them.

That said, I never got to Iasi so I don't know for sure...

rs said...

All that and I didn't even comment about the beer...I'm really quite interested and I wish I had known about this when I was there in June. Let me know if you see other small brewers starting up in RO.

Andy said...

Dan: All it would take is a commitment by 7 Coline fans that they would drink it before it went bad. I'd be prepared to take care of the Miercurea Ciuc excess - could you do Bucharest?

RS: That Ciuc/Ursus fight is actually between Heineken and Miller. Not sure if you knew that. 7 Coline is one of the few beers that exists in Romania that is not owned by some massive multinational corporation.

I do agree and think that the time is ripe in Romania for a big microbrewery movement. There must be at least one microbrewery/pub in Bucharest. Surely?

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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