This blog documents my attempt to drink a beer from every country in the world and every state in the United States.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Country #17: Montenegro

Beer: Nikšićko

Brewery: Pivara Trebjesa, Nikšić, Montenegro

ABV: 5.0%

My goodness, that's a mouthful! (The pronunciation guide can be found a couple paragraphs down).
Happy birthday, Montenegro! You just turned six years old on June 3rd, but instead of being into Spongebob, you’re into being a booming budget tourist destination, scarfing delicious seafood, and swilling unpronounceable pilseners by the liter. 

Look at all of the crazy Slavic words here. "Doesn't Montenegro kind of sound Italian?" you say? You're right: while the rest of the world calls it Montenegro, Montenegrins call their country Crna Gora. Both translate to "Black Mountain" in English.
Although it is the world’s second youngest country (after South Sudan), Montenegrin culture and history go back far beyond 2006. It’s had its own language and customs for centuries, but has been swept up into a variety of empires: Roman, Serbian, Ottoman, and Yugoslav, to name some, before finally achieving independence again after 15 years of Balkanization slowly but violently exploded Yugoslavia into seven separate countries (see if you can name them without looking at the map below!). Montenegro is so new that it doesn’t even appear on the map I use for this blog. Oh well.

At least Google Maps is up to date.
Nikšićko is Montenegro's most popular beer, and it's been around 110 years longer than has independent Montenegro (that’s since 1896, math wiz). This name is as Balkan as they come, with diacritical marks on the S and the C. So, the name is pronounced “Neek-SHEECH-ko,” not “Nick-Sicko,” and it just means “from Nikšić,” which is Montenegro’s second largest city. (Watch the old commercial below not only for laughs, but to hear this mouthful pronounced). If you’ve ever had a beer from any of the Balkan countries, Nikšićko is just like them: an average pilsener named after the city where it’s brewed. Other examples include Sarajevesko from Sarajevo, Karlovačko from Karlovac, and Skopsko from Skopje.

The popularity of the beer, and probably the only reason I was able to get it at BevMo here in San Diego, is because when Montenegro was part of the union of Serbia and Montenegro, Nikšićko was one of the two or three biggest beers in the country. Good luck finding the Macedonian Skopsko here, for instance (but seriously, if you do, let me know because I want to try it). 

How do you say bottle cap in Montenegrin? Apparently it's boca kapa, which seems about right.

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