Occasion: My Dad is turning 50 today
Date: 7th July, 1965
Today`s post will be somewhat unique in terms of the blog and myself as well since this day is a lot more special to me and my family then probably to most of you reading. Since this is my dad`s fiftieth birthday today (Happy Birthday Tibike!) I decided that since I am writing a blog I have the opportunity to write about my dad`s favourite drink and thereby introduce you a beverage which is most likely unknown to you but definitely worth trying for those of you travelling to the island of Cyprus. So let`s all familiarise ourselves with the Cypriot drinking habits and their signature lager, KEO!
Cyprus being located in the eastern Mediterranean has a very warm and humid climate but throughout the Troodos mountain range the conditions are perfect for grapes hence the island has a really advanced wine (and brandy) production and Cypriot Mavro and Xynisteri grapes were even said to be exported to France after the Great French Wine Blight during the mid-19th century. Like most of the Mediterranean countries Cyprus has the perfect conditions and climate for wine production and they are producing and exporting great wines and dessert wines (the Port-like Commandaria is worth another post on its own) but the people over there do love their beers too. The beer consumption per capita in the island of Aphrodite is around the double of that of Italy, France and Greece and considerably higher than the amount they drink in Spain and Portugal. Let`s have a look at the reasons behind this and explore Cyprus` rather unique and bipolarised beer market!
Wine tasting in the picturesque village of Omodos
The island has two breweries (the UK has 1500+), KEO and Carlsberg and these two account for nearly 90% of the country`s beer sales. Carlsberg Cyprus is being brewed locally and was the first to get a licence to produce the product outside Denmark in 1968. Both of them are award winning breweries, KEO winning the world bottle lager competition gold medal in 1987 and Carlsberg Cy being named the best international brewery of the brand on three different occasions. Locals do recognise and understand quality products hence their choice will almost always be one of their own rather than the ever present and well-known international brands. Some of them prefer the lighter and easier to drink Carlsberg and some of them the more robust, heavier tasting KEO but today we`ll have to go with my Dad`s choice and that is always KEO.
Live Life Cypriot – Relax on the beach with a pint of KEO
They call it Cyprus` local beer and the `taste of Cyprus and it all began in 1951 when some Czech brew masters designed this Pilsner-like product that had been adjusted to the higher temperatures experienced compared to the Czech Republic. The recipe was left unchanged and it includes the main ingredients (malted barley, hops and maize) and also that the beer is unpasteurised before packaging (so no flavours are being lost in the heating process) making it unique in Cyprus. KEO has started expanding outside the island in recent years appearing on 5 continents (mainly in countries with major Greek diaspora). Countries include Australia, the UK, USA and Greece so watch out for the famous 630ml yellow bottles on the shelves of your local shop because you may find one of these refreshing golden delicacies and if you do, give KEO a try! Be prepared though that as you can see everyone wants to keep it for themselves…
Credit goes to KEO for their video and inventive ice melting techniques
Beer cocktails are still not necessarily the most popular drinks around but I do believe that with a little more openness to drinks that could sound weird at first (most people like their beer untouched..) the result can be a pleasant surprise. One of my favourites is the Aperol Mist which is a manlier version of the Spritz and I can only recommend it, specifically to the bitter taste lovers. Enjoy the drink and see you again on the 9th when we arrive to Argentina and talk about their revolution and amazing wines!
25ml Lemon juice
Combine Aperol and lemon juice in a pint glass filled with ice
Top up with KEO