"Why," I've been asked, "do you have an article on wines of Greece, but nothing on the beers of Greece?"
I could explain that there are few breweries in Greece, that those that exist have very little in the way of an online presence, and that foreign beers are dominating the Greek market. These explanations, while accurate, are untrue. The real reason is that (horrors!) I am not a beer drinker, or at least not much of one. In strongly pro-beer environments (Irish pubs come to mind) I've even been known to resort to the subterfuge of ordering a hard cider to give me the appearance of drinking beer, or so I think.
But my own taste (or lack of it, as some would assert) is a poor reason for neglecting this beverage.
How to Find a Greek Beer in Greece
The bad news is that there are relatively few Greek beers on the market, even in Greece. The compensation (?) is that travelers in Greece can expect a decent selection of imported beers, particularly German, especially since a Greek company, Perseus, is making a point of increasing foreign beer distribution. However, the domestics, though not abundant, are available. Beer reviewer Tom Ciccateri suggests that this surprising scarcity is because European breweries have bought up (read: wiped out) many domestic producers.
He covers some of the foreign beers available on Crete. A review of Marathon gives a little info on an apparent survivor.
But the picture is improving. With the advent of microbrews becoming popular in other parts of the world, visitors to Greece have been expecting - and finding - better local beers. Cycladia lists a number of smaller breweries.
A list of Greek breweries mentions all of two, Athenian, and a Lowenbrau affiliate in Aigaleio which is classed, promisingly, as a "microbrewery". Amstel has a Greek brewery, but it makes standard Amstel beer.
Sparti is a favorite with some beer drinkers, and the return of Fix Beer has thrilled its fans.
The Advent of Mythos Beer
Setting aside my personal prejudices, I am pleased to report that for the past decade or so a Greek beer called "Mythos" has been readily available in Greece and is even being exported. I first ordered one in San Francisco, and my uneducated palate pronounced it "bright", with a good golden color. More experienced companions assured me that it was, indeed, "bright". This beer is now widely available in all forms, with the draught variety best of all. I've tried it in Crete in the bright green bottle, and I must admit, in lustrous Crete even beer tastes better.
(It also has increased the amount of green sea glass found on the beaches).
There is another beer, Henninger Hellas, said to be an "Aegean Lager beer", but I've found no more information on it. Where to find Mythos beer is one of my most-asked reader questions - but it's best enjoyed in the Greek islands. There's also a "Mythos Red" which is growing in popularity, but to me, the bright gold of "regular" Mythos wins in the Greek sunshine.
More Greek-ish Beers
Cyprus is exporting a beer called Keo, which is selling well in Canada. Aegean brand beer is still brewed in Greece but seems easier to find abroad than in Hellas itself.
Had a Greek beer that was memorably good - or bad? Let me know about it.
Reader Answers - Where is the Best Place to Drink a Beer in Greece? - read other suggestions or post your own!
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