The craft beer phenomenon has reached the shores of the Baltics. For many years, Latvian beer was nothing to shout about, however in recent years this has changed with micro-breweries popping up all over the country. These breweries are now producing some outstanding craft beers, ales and ciders that even the most experienced beer connoisseur would enjoy.
Riga’s Craft Beer Pubs
One of the first brewpubs to open in Riga was Labietis. Tucked away in a courtyard below the famous Piens nightclub, Labietis has it’s own micro-brewery and bar in one location. You can sit and enjoy one of their many craft beers on tap while listening to the beer aficionados talk about the type of hops, barley and even water used to get the different tastes.
Labietis brewpub also do a great mini-tour of their brewery, explaining the process and showing the steps of beer making.
Another fairly new micro-brewery on the circuit is Alķīmiķis (The Alchemist). They have a large selection of bottled beers from around the world, not to mention their own brewed craft beer. Alķīmiķis also has a small kitchen that turns out a concise but delicious menu for soaking up the beer.
The BrewPub is located just off the busy Brīvības iela (freedom street) in a busy part of town. Easily accessible by foot, around 20minutes from the Old Town or 5minutes by taxi.
For a more local vibe, BeerFox is a great place. Owned and ran by a beer enthusiast, BeerFox is actually a shop where you can buy numerous craft beers from around the world. Next door is the Artisan Beer Bar, where you can get craft beer on tap, chat with locals and beer lovers who have ventured out from the Old Town just to find this little gem of a bar.
The aptly named Alus Muiža (Beer Manor) is a shrine to local Baltic craft beers. It’s not the biggest venue but the beer selection packs a punch, plus they offer take-away beer. Located 15minutes walk from the Old Town and not too far from both BeerFox and Alķīmiķis, you can set up your own little beer tour.
Beer has always been a major part of Latvian culture, every May for 4 days the Latvian Beer Festival takes place. This is usually the time when many of the micro-breweries and craft brewers launch their new beers for the season, it’s also a great time to discover new beers and names on the craft beer circuit.
For those who have a sweeter tooth, Latvians like to brew beers that are infused with honey. The likes of Iļģuciems Medalus and Brenguļu are the best known, both are made in tiny breweries and retain their old world charm. The latter sits on the edge of a beautiful river, where people often queue on a summers evening to buy litres of the light and dark beer variations.
Up With The Best Of Them
As the world embraces new brewing techniques and as the craft beer market increases, Latvians can proudly say that they are now a part of this growing culture. Our craft beer tour has become hugely popular with small and large groups, looking to learn more about the processes involved and of course enjoying the results afterwards, with some traditional Latvian garlic bread.
For more information on our guided beer tours, you can contact us on the form below.