It’s hard to say when the tide began to turn. Micro-breweries slowly came out of the woodwork in the 90’s and have grown steadily over the last decade. In Warsaw, one brand in particular is associated with Warsaw’s micro-brewed revolution: Ciechan. This small brewery from a small town an hour north of Warsaw embodies the long, rich, troubled, tragic and ultimately triumphant story of Polish micro-brews. Craft brewing in this town dates back to the 13th century and the brewery itself began brewing in the middle of the 19th century. After being ransacked in WWI it hung on by a thread during WWII (and even helped the home cause) only to be heavily subjugated by strict controls during Communism. In the 90’s the brewery emerged fully modernised and ready to fill the glasses of the newly freed market. Ciechan focused on technology and on developing unique beers, different to everything else on the Polish market.
Year by year they increased production and introduced new beers. Slowly but surely their craft beers started showing up in Warsaw pubs in the early 2000’s. In 2004 they launched their now signature honey beer (Ciechan Miodowe) which solidified the breweries cult status and the bohemian bars of Praga (W Oparach Absurdu, Sen Pszczoły, Po Drugiej Stronie Lustra, etc.) began stocking their fridges and filling their taps with Ciechan brews. Soon the beer could be found in every bar, cafe, club, restaurant, alcohol shop and even mini-mart.
Ciechan quickly had company and now there is a veritable deluge of delicious craft brews literally pouring into the capital on a daily basis. Dynamic and stylish multi-tap craft beer bars and brewpubs are popping up everywhere, much to the elation of the masses. It seems the days of the Zywiec-Tyskie industrial complex are now officially over and the golden age of Polish micro-brewing has begun.