Krakow

Kraków street art

Hot Beer?

There are a number of ways to survive the winter in Poland, and we’ve tried them all, from dressing up like an Eskimo to staying in bed and refusing to get dressed at all. Of all the methods known, however, none rewards as much as a pint of 'grzane piwo'. That’s hot beer in layman’s terms – essentially a frothing hot pint spiced with artificial ginger syrup, clove, cinnamon and other mulling spices. For some an acquired taste, for others an early Christmas present and others still an utter profanity, but an invention necessary for everyone to try at least once. There are a couple things to consider with regards to hot beer: Firstly, it takes a while (5-10 minutes) to properly heat the drink without exploding it, so prepare to wait and be patient.

Secondly there is a tendency to immediately stab a straw into the glass to mix the syrup at the bottom throughout the drink. If the beverage is too hot this will result in it erupting all over you. This common rookie mistake is an event many twisted bartenders wait for with relish; you can avoid it by simply letting your drink cool slightly and gingerly testing its reaction to the straw. [We're telling you this to save you some face. Ours has had egg on it too many times.] Similarly popular is 'grzane wino' – or mulled wine – as you’ll notice by the barrel-shaped stands selling cups of it on the market square. The popular regional brand is Grzaniec Galicyjski and if you enjoy drinking it in public so much, you’ll be delighted to discover you can buy it in almost any alcohol shop and easily prepare it at home as well.

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