What Beer in Bulgaria?
Beer is one of the most popular drinks in Bulgaria. The history of beer dates back to the 19th century when foreign visitors introduced the beer in Bulgaria. Since then, the production and the consumption of beer in Bulgaria developed rapidly. Nowadays, Bulgaria takes the 25th place by beer consumption in the world, with around 60 liters per person per year.
There are around 13 beer breweries in Bulgaria producing about 580 million liters of beer annually. Today, most of them are owned by foreign companies like Carlsberg, Heineken and StarBev.
The beer brands brewed in Bulgaria have superb quality and excellent taste. Generally, there are two types of beer produced in Bulgaria – light beer (lager) and dark beer. The standard light lager is the most widely consumed beer, especially in the summer, due to its pleasant bitterness and refreshing qualities. The dark beer is sweeter with a slight caramel and dense malt taste and is more often consumed in the winter.
Here is a list with the most common nationwide beer brands in Bulgaria:
KAMENITZA Brewery is one of the leading beer producers in Bulgaria and recently celebrated its 130th anniversary. Since 2010 it is owned by the international company “StarBev Group”. The brewery supplies the following varieties to the market:
KAMENITZA is a light beer with low carbonation, malty aroma, medium bitterness and light sweetness. It has a rich taste, very drinkable and thirst-quenching. Produced from high-quality malt and carefully selected hops.
KAMENITZA DARK has a clear dark amber color; moderate malty and light hoppy aroma; sweet caramel and butter taste; moderate bitter and light sweet flavor. Produced from high-quality malt and special combination of aromatic bitter American and German hops.
KAMENITZA PSHENICHNO is a wheat white beer with predominantly wheat malt content. The combination of wheat and barley malt and the traditional hops makes it soft, fuzzy and very refreshing. This beer has a specific dull color which is due to the lack of filtration.
KAMENITZA FRESH LEMON is an unique combination between beer and fresh lemon juice with a low alcoholic content. It has a lemon and grapefruit juice aroma; medium sweet flavor and juicy lemon bitterness. Very refreshing and drinkable.
ASTIKA Fine Quality Lager is relatively new product on the market. Light beer with soft carbonation and malty and fruity aroma. Very drinkable, refreshing and thirst-quenching due to the perfect combination between sweetness and bitterness.
BECK’S is a licensed brand which is a part from the “Kamenitza” portfolio. The high quality German beer is produced according to the original recipe and technology, following the uncompromising superior German quality standards. The flavor is slightly herbal and malty; taste is somewhat bitter and hoppy.
STELLA ARTOIS is another “star” from the Kamenitza family, brewed under the license of the famous Belgian producer. It is made from the same natural ingredients and under the same technology as in the old days. This guarantees its supreme quality, full flavor and great and remarkable taste.
STAROPRAMEN is a Czech licensed beer, locally brewed by Kamenitza Brewery. In Bulgaria only the standard “light” beer is currently being produced. The original receipt and technology are strictly observed without any compromise in the quality. Staropramen has a distinguish taste and rich aroma, due to the high quality natural ingredients used in its production.
HEINEKEN – ZAGORKA – BRANDS
ZAGORKA Brewery has more than 100-years of history in the beer production. The brand is one of the leaders on the Bulgarian market. It is owned by the international company “HEINEKEN”. ZAGORKA produces the following varieties:
ZAGORKA SPECIAL is the most popular product of Zagorka brewery. It has a sparkling golden color, medium carbonation and thick creamy foam. Nice grainy and hops aroma, slightly sweet corn and barley malt flavor and a hit of bitterness. Very well balanced and highly refreshing taste.
ARIANA LAGER is a high quality beer, brewed according to an old Czech recipe from specially selected ingredients. Golden color, medium carbonation, light malty and hoppy aroma, good balance between bitterness and sweetness. Very drinkable, refreshing and thirst-quenching.
HEINEKEN in Bulgaria is locally produced by ZAGORKA Brewery under the license and strictly according to the famous Dutch recipe and technology. The premium quality of the locally brewed Heineken in Bulgaria is no way inferior to the original Dutch product. With its slight sweet hops aroma, medium carbonation and balanced bitterness, Heineken is extremely refreshing and thirst-quenching during the hot summer months.
STOLICHNO is a premium lager beer, the only “bock beer” produced in Bulgaria. It is made according to an original “Zagorka” recipe and characterizes with a dark red-brown color and granite glimmer. It has a higher alcoholic content, due to the longer fermentation process and maturing time, and the special selection of quality dark malts.
CARLSBERG BULGARIA BRANDS
In 2002 two famous Bulgarian Breweries (the Shumen Brewery and the Pirin Brewery) become part of the Danish Concern CARLSBERG GROUP under the name CARLSBERG BULGARIA. The breweries supply the following varieties to the market:
SHUMENSKO PREMIUM is being produced according to the best Czech brewing traditions since 1882. Shumensko beer characterizes with pale golden color, mildly sweet and grainy aroma, low bitterness and hoppy flavor, medium carbonation. Very drinkable and refreshing.
SHUMENSKO DARK is brewed from specially selected caramel and coffee malts. The beer has an amber color, dense caramel and toast taste, well balanced moderate sweetness, light malty and hoppy aroma. The alcoholic content is 5.5%.
PIRINSKO beer has a fresh and light taste because it is produced in an ecologically pure mountain region from specially selected quality ingredients. It has a malty aroma, clear white foam, medium sweetness, light bitterness and average carbonation. Very refreshing and thirst-quenching.
CARLSBERG is a world-known beer product, famous for its exceptional taste and superb quality in more than 140 countries world-wide. Carlsberg is a light beer, with taste of wheat, hops and fruits. The bitterness of the hops and the sweetness of the summer fruits provide a perfectly balanced taste and aroma.
HOLSTEN is a locally brewed product under the license of the Holsten Brewery from Hamburg, Germany. The beer is being made strictly following the original recipe and in observation of the German purity law (Reinheitsgebot). This is a premise for the purity and the excellent taste of this beer for which production only the finest ingredients (water, hops and barley malt) are being used.
TUBORG GREEN is locally brewed under the license and original recipe of the Danish Brewery TUBORG, which is nowadays a part of the CARLSBERG Group. The beer is produced from bright roasted malts using a special fermentation technology which guarantees its mild, fresh taste and nice aroma. The balanced bitterness and the moderate carbonation make it highly refreshing and very drinkable.
BOLIARKA Brewery is one of the few entirely Bulgarian brewing companies. It was founded in 1892 in the city of Veliko Tarnovo and today is one of the leading beer suppliers to the Bulgarian market and also a big exporter. The BOLIARKA portfolio includes the following varieties:
BOLIARKA LIGHT has a clear golden color, medium carbonation, grainy and herbal hop aroma and slightly sweet and grainy malt flavor. Very well balanced bitternes coming from the world’s best quality Hallertau hops grown in Bavaria, Germany. Very refreshing and thirst-quenching.
BOLIARKA DARK has a dark brown color, moderate malty and hoppy aroma with some notes of coffee and caramel, average carbonation. Moderate sweet flavor with a light bitter finish. Produced from the finest malt products and hops from Germany according to special technology from the Radebeul Brewery.
KALTENBERG PILS is a licensed German beer with more than 700-years history and royal lineage. The locally brewed product has the same superb taste and guaranteed quality as the original coming from the Koenig Ludwig International Brewery in Munich, Germany and is made in observation of the German purity law (Reinheitsgebot).
WARSTEINER PREMIUM VERUM is a high quality German pilsner beer which is imported and distributed by BOLIARKA company. This is an original German product supplied to the Bulgarian market directly from the Warsteiner Brewery. WARSTEINER is one of the most popular beers in Germany with a slightly tart taste, made only from high quality ingredients and special soft brewing water.
LEDENIKA and MM Beer
LEDENIKA and MM Brewery was founded in 2003 after the VARNA Brewery and the LEDENIKA Brewery united. This is an independent and entirely Bulgarian brewing company. Here are the most popular products which the Brewery supplies to the market:
LEDENIKA is an original Bulgarian beer with clear yellow color and white fuzzy foam. It has a grainy malts aroma and a mild sweet flavor; light body with a medium carbonation and medium bitterness. Very refreshing and drinkable.
MM Special has a light malty and hoppy aroma, light bitter flavor with fruity notes and classic yellow color. Very refreshing and thirst-quenching due to medium carbonation and balanced bitterness.
Further reading about beer in Bulgaria: