Craft Beer Breweries in Ukraine
After we first moved to Ukraine in 2014, craft beer in Ukraine exploded. Craft beer breweries sprung up all over Ukraine, in all the main cities. Regular craft beer festivals attract hundreds of stalls from local Ukrainian craft beer breweries and are packed with people. Craft beer pubs are popping up all over the country, both owned by specific breweries or offering a range of local craft beer.
I originally wrote this post in 2020 during the first Covid 19 lockdown in Ukraine. As a form of entertainment and out of curiousity, we started ordering beer from craft beer breweries in Ukraine, well…from all around Ukraine. They all started to provide a delivery service and we made the most of it! We got a weekly box delivered from somewhere different every week and tried beers from all over the country. Kate found that she likes a stout and a sour beer. Kris tried all kinds of IPAs. It passed the time. We wrote this post on the breweries in Ukraine that delivered.
Since Ukraine opened up post-covid, we went to beer festivals and craft beer bars in various cities in Ukraine to try more of the craft beers that the Ukrainian craft beer breweries had to offer.
Now, of course, we have had to leave because of the Russian invasion. We still follow many of the breweries we enjoyed on Instagram and see them brewing patriotic and anti-war beers. Many have made partnerships with craft beer breweries around the world where foreign breweries brew and sell Ukrainian beers. Others are exporting. We saw a Ukrainian craft in a bar in the UK recently. So whereever you are, you can support Ukrainian craft beer breweries. If you are in Ukraine, go and try some. Why not order a box to drink at home too? If you are abroad, look out for Ukrainian craft beers at wherever you buy your beers
Learn more about Ukraine and the current situation with this selection of films and books about Ukraine
Kyiv Craft Beer Breweries
Underwood Brewery, Kyiv
Underwood Brewery is one of the Ukrainian craft beer breweries in Kyiv that tried early on because they sell their bottles in Silpo supermarkets. They have a large number of beers now, some like Kyiv lager and lime saison are brewed all the time and some are specials. Two of Kate’s favourite beers: Mango Milkshake IPA and Coconut Milk Stout are brewed by Underwood
One of their recent beers is Mriya, brewed with the Berlin brewery BRLO. The Mriya was an Antonov cargo plane built in the 1980s. It held records for the heaviest plane ever built and the longest wingspan of a plane in service. It was housed at the Antonov Airport in Hostomel, near Kyiv, where it was destroyed during the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is available in Ukraine and abroad, so look out for it or order it online.
This company was introduced to us by the staff in Punkraft bar (see below). We had the Munich style lager – Dark Side, and India Pale Ale. Both were good and the bottles are funky. You can order their six beers online for delivery in Ukraine through their online shop.
Interested in learning about Ukrainian food to go with your craft beer? Check out our post Ukrainian dishes you must try.
Reformation Brewery (Rebrew) Kyiv
Rebrew is in Brovary, to the north of Kyiv. It’s available in several pubs and restaurants in Kyiv and further afield. They have recently opened pubs in various parts of Kyiv. Kate is a fan of the Popelka lager. Along with the lager, wheat beer, stout, and neipa (New English Pale Ale), they have a couple of sour ales: wild berry and tropical. Some beers come by the litre, others in 330 ml bottles.
They have been raising a lot of money for military equipment with various events and promotions. They have also been brewing various named beers to boost morale and creating partnerships with breweries around Europe. Look out for ‘The Light After the Darkest Hour NEIPA and a partnership beer with Arpus brewery in Latvia.
Varvar, Bila Tserkva (just outside Kyiv)
Varvar was one of the first Ukrainian craft beer breweries in Kyiv that we found out about, as they have two bars in Kyiv. Their distinctive viking logo is found in other bars around the city, and in supermarkets like Silpo. Around ten beers are on offer, with a Golden Ale, Hoppy Lager as well as more unusual ones like Samurai’s Daughter, an oriental ale, brewed with rice. When we ordered during covid, they added a free bottle of hand sanitiser gel, which was always useful at that time!
Varvar is one of the Ukrainian craft beers we have seen on tap in the UK, and they have partnerships with many breweries around the world so look out for their brews.
Read our post on our craft beer and street art tour around Kyiv.
Gonzo Beer has been available in craft beer pubs around Kyiv for a while, and they a couple of cool little bars in Kyiv. They run fund raising events for the war there. There are several varieties of beer served there and in other bars around the country, including a lavender milk stout, grape milkshake IPA, and hoppy lager, and often interesting sour beers.
Didko means ‘devil’ in Ukrainian and that’s the symbol to look for on the bottle. They brew some creative beers including a tabasco stout and a strawberry gose. They have partnerships with other breweries around Europe and in the USA so keep your eye out for the devil.
Ukrainian craft beer breweries from other cities
Mova Beer, Dnipro
We tried Mova beer a couple of years ago at a Mexican themed event at Art Zavod Platforma. There are now eight different beers, including a lager, citra IPA, Candy fruit pale ale, a porter and two different stouts.
We ordered a mix box of 12 beers one weekend during quarantine which came with free rubber bracelets. Kris still wears it here in Hong Kong.
Since war broke out they (like many other breweries and eateries) have been preparing food and providing inhabitants of Dnipro with fresh drinking water. They also donate money from the sale of their bottles to the Ukrainian army and charities supporting children affected by the war. You can see what they do each month on their Instagram page.
Ten Men, Kharkiv
Ten Men is always available in craft beer pubs in Kyiv, but we had quite a lot of it during our trip to Kharkiv as well, where it comes from. They were quite close to the border when Russia invaded the Kharkiv region, so the brewery was moved.
They have quite a variety of beers, and the website doesn’t sell all the types that we’ve had before. The Chocolate Sauce Pastry Stout, Go Strawberry Go milkshake IPA, Berry Blood BBR Imperial Gose and Berry Smoothie MCB Triple Pastry Gose sound very much like desserts and most of the beers on offer are pretty strong. Not that it matters if you are drinking at home and only need to stagger to bed.
Red Cat Brewery, Kharkiv
We noticed this shop when we were in Kharkiv in early 2020, just before Covid. They have a wide range of beer, including the Travel Range beers: Liverpool pale ale, Goa IPA, Dublin Milk Stout and five different sours: the tomato sour sounds interesting….we ordered some and, well let’s say it wasn’t for us! Tomato beer seems to be a bit of a trend in Ukraine craft beer. It’s like beery cup-a-soup.
Now they brew beers to support the cause like ‘Smoked Orcs’ (if you know, you know….). Breweries around Europe have been using their recipes to brew beers to support so look out for the red cat.
Pravda Beer, Lviv
Another well-known craft beer in Ukraine, Pravda comes from Lviv and makes the politically named beers Obama stout, Frau Ribbentrop Blanche (named for Angela Merkel), Trudeau, Trump Mexican style lager and Putin Huilo blonde ale.
In the centre of Lviv, the Beer Theatre has a full orchestra that plays a range of live music nightly.
In total there are over 25 different varieties of craft beer available, in both 330 ml and 750 ml bottles. We got a box of bottles of various types one weekend, although when Kris went to pick it up, Kate forgot to mention that they were 750ml bottles he had to carry home.,……he wasn’t happy.
When the war started, Pravda turned from bottling beer to using the bottles to make molotov cocktails. You can buy branded tank bullet casings and they just started making candles for the nights without lights after Russia has shelled the power stations. Their owners, iFest has a foundation that runs many projects helping people around the country, including transporting women and children to safety abroad, food kitchens with the World Central Kitchen providing hot food to displaced people and buying ration packs for soldiers on the front line.
Pravda is a craft beer you can buy in many places outside of Ukraine, both in pubs and through online craft beer commpanies. You can also donate money on their website.
Hoppy Hog Family Brewery, Odesa
This brewery was new to us back in 2020; it just came up as an advert on Facebook. They have lots of interesting different beers, with really fascinating flavours going on. There’s a tiramisu stout which really tastes of cake, a milkshake IPA with a chilli aftertaste and a dark ale with rosemary flavours. It’s all very clever.
There’s Hoppy Hog pub in Odesa now, open whether there are blackouts or not, offering a place to charge gadgets and to get a good beer. They raise lots of money to support the army too.
For ideas of places to find craft beer in Odesa, check out our blog post.
Tsypa Brewery, Ivana Frankivsk
Tsypa beer is brewed in the Carpathian Mountains in the west of Ukraine and its beers often look and sound quite Ukrainian in artwork and name. Horvela lager is named after the biggest mountain in Ukraine and Dragoblat is named after a popular ski resort. The cucumber sour is quite original and actually rather tasty and they also make beers out of local Ukrainian products such as cherry, cabbage and malina berry as well.
They have a couple of pubs in Kyiv, and used to have a stall in Bessarabia market in the city centre between both of our old flats where we used to have a stand up beer watching locals sell cavaiar and dried fish.
There are no doubt more craft beer breweries in Ukraine that we haven’t included. Some that we used to like seem to have closed down, unfortunately. These are the ones we are most familiar with and like, that we would like you to look out for. If you are in Ukraine, look out for it in a pub or order a box from the websites. If you are abroad, look out for them in your local crat beer delivery place, taphouse or craft beer shop.
If we have missed one you love, let us know and we will add it.
Happy drinking and Slava Ukraini
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