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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Country #22: Croatia

Beer:  Karlovačko              

Brewery:  Karlovačka Pivovara, Karlovac, Croatia

ABV: 5.0%

...and by 8-6-09 we were in Croatia pounding this stuff. The Croatian words on the bottle there mean something to the effect of "crowned quality, old tradition." Thanks Google!
Karlovačko is a not-so-special beer with a very special place in my liver heart. It is one of the two most popular beers in Croatia, where my wife and I spent our honeymoon, and boy did we drink a bunch of the stuff then.

What else does one do when on a beautiful, tranquil, Mediterranean island (in this case Mljet)? Drink beer and play Scrabble. Obviously. 
Croatia’s borders are contorted into a weird, boomerang-like shape. One wing of the country covers miles and miles of beautiful Adriatic coast, with its requisite fresh seafood and concrete beaches covered with beautiful women dressed as if it were 1987 and hairy, hefty men dressed as if it was Gay Pride week in The Castro. This part of the country has a very Italian feel to it, and wine is the preferred beverage. That’s where we spent our time, and, despite the Speedos, it was stunningly gorgeous, and despite the popularity of wine, we drank beer.

The only thing atypical about this Croatian beach scene is that the chap here is wearing the largest men's bathing suit in the country. (Taken on the island of Rab)
The other wing of the boomerang extends inland, cramming itself between Slovenia, Bosnia, and Hungary. Seafood is out in favor of spicy meat stews, and beer is more popular than wine. I don’t know how people dress, as we didn’t travel to this part of the country, but I imagine that at least the men here have more clothes on.

Textbook-quality annotated map of Croatia and its environs. Really all you need to know.
The city of Karlovac (pronounced KarloVOTS) is smack-dab in between these two wings, at the joint of the boomerang. The beer made there, Karlovačko (pronounced KarloVOTCHko, and just meaning “from Karlovac”), is second in market share and pronunciation difficulty to Ozujsko, but after drinking gallons of both, I'd say Karlovačko is a hair better. It’s a standard pilsner, but a pretty good one. For the sake of Jaime and I being able to drink our fill of honeymoon nostalgia, I have to thank Heineken for purchasing a majority stake in the brewery, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t be able to get it at my local booze emporium. Thanks for owning everything, Heineken!

Pivo was one of about four words of Croatian I learned (it also means beer in Russian,  Ukrainian, and a slew of other Slavic languages). The only complete sentence I remember how to say is 'dva pivo, molim," which means "two beers please." Priorities, right?


  1. Tomislav was our favorite Croat beer, although Karlovacko was much more prevalent.

  2. I agree. Let me offer an analogy. Karlovacko is to squirrels as Tomislav is to snow leopards.