Tag Archives: Beer


When military border was dissolved in 1871 and the area of Nova Gradiška was adjoined to the rest of continental Croatia, economy drive was huge. The place becomes regional centre, with a railway link to Zagreb from 1888. Economy, culture, and society began to develop. Among the many small enterprises a special one included the grand brewery of nobleman Dragutin pl. Lobe. It was a first steam powered brewery in Croatia and, because of the seasonal production, its first beer was called Ožujsko (March Beer). Accidentally or not, Ožujsko is still one of the two favourite beers in Croatia, produced massively in Zagreb.

Some beer barrels still survive and we were lucky to find one in the Bošnjak family courtyard in village of Sičice, south of Nova Gradiška, near the Sava River. The family is known not only because of the barrel, but because of the homemade craft beer of highest quality, made according to the family recipe. Two brothers, Mario and Dario, run the family homestead, and their father Ivan greets us with a sip of beer brandy (rakija), excellent homemade drink with addition of juniper. The taste is excellent and surprisingly mild, while juniper gives freshness and specific aroma.

Mario comes soon after and takes us in the traditional interior of tasting room, where organised groups can come and enjoy perfect beer. The tradition of craft family brews is not big in Croatia, but the big production is. Still, some families did made beer, due to a simple geographic reason. Wine does not grow near Sava, but there was an abundance of water. Some hundred years ago, Bošnjak family dig a deep well which didn’t run dry even in the greatest droughts. The well was used for mills and for the making of beer. Next to the homemade dried meat and rakija, grand-grandma of today’s owners also made a murky beer, kept in the earthen jars. At the same time, the family made corn rakija, which brings the similar technological process of making beer, as both drinks are made from crops.

Today, the beer is not murky but light and non-filtered, kept in the modern barrels and refrigerators. Their hobby became a new business in 2008 and ever since the Bošnjak Beer makes its brand. Spreading to the full-scale tourist project, today Sičice are a destination for beer lovers and all those who would like to find out how water, barley malt, hops and yeast combine in a beautiful drink.

And indeed it is beautiful! We have tried the original Bošnjak lager. It has nice amber colour and is made according to the traditional Czech recipe in Bošnjak’s manufactory. It contains only water, four kinds of barley malt, three kinds of hops and yeast. Fresh and energizing, non-pasteurised nor filtered, this is light beer that can be used every day. If bottled, it retains freshness for nine months. Bošnjak also makes dark lager.

While we were talking about old times and new beers, Mario brings us some green fluid. It is beer, of course, but green?! The secret addition remains the secret, but the intensive green colour shows also remarkable innovations and marketing strategies of Bošnjaks: this beer is presented for the Saint Patrick Day. And although the cyclists on the bike routes through the Sava villages may drive a bit more jolly, Bošnjak place is for sure one of the must-do gastronomy spots in and around Nova Gradiška.

Bošnjak Brewery is part of the Posavka education road, a local idea of connecting gastronomy, history, archaeology, folklore, and folk heritage, giving an insight in the unique and authentic Posavina architecture, and offering river tourism, hunting, adventures, and cycling. This road of 30 kilometres, leads through the rich Slavonian woodlands and along the Sava River.

OPG Bošnjak Ivan

Sičice 94, 35423 VRBJE
Tel: 035 345 190, Mob: 098 349 490
WEB: www.pivobosnjak.com
E-MAIL: pivo.bosnjak@gmail.com

Karlovac – A Beer Town

Karlovac has long standing beer production tradition. In 1854 the Karlovac brewery was established by Baron Nikola Vranyczany in Dubovac, old part of the city, where it still stands. But the tax books of Karlovac mentions in year 1779 Georg Purstl as a first brewer and merchant, who had in Dubovac his brewery and a shop. At the dawn of 20th century, the brewery was led by beer masters from Germany and Austria. In the sixties, the Karlovac Brewery began its modernisation, and in 1984 together with the town authorities, Days of Beer were staged, as one of the most popular events in Karlovac and whole Croatia. Its current owner, Heineken, is in fact ten years younger than Karlovačka Pivovara.


Beer Festival in Karlovac is the largest beer event in Croatia. Every year, it is attended by more than 100,000 beer lovers. Over ten summer days at the end of August, on the right bank of Karlovac’s beautiful River Korana, an entire small town of entertainment and cuisine celebrates beer. The event is the most visited festival in Karlovac, during which a fifth river flows through the town: a river of beer. There is a rich and varied programme with trade fairs, a wealth of culinary specialities and a wide variety of excellent beers. The Karlovac Beer Festival is a cultural-entertainment and commercial event that has become the trademark of the town of Karlovac. This year the festival will take place from August 26 till September 4.

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Karlovac brewery welcomes visitors every second Tuesday in month, and includes a visit to all procession stages of beer making, from delivery of barley to the bottle filling. Barley and hops are of Croatian origin, from region of Western Slavonia. The process is explained by the guides, experts in beer making.


Unavoidable part of visit is degustation itself. It is led by taste experts, who recognise 21 components of beer, and have exceptionally developed smell and taste. They are having three months training, followed by examinations where 80 per cent of questionnaires must be positively solved. For seven years their exams are 100 per cent accurate.


The line of products is among Croatian favourites. Karlovačko light lager beer is characterized by a golden-yellow colour and a refreshing bitter taste. It is special because of its harmonious malt aroma and fullness of taste. In recent time, Karlovačko Retro makes special appeal among Croats. It is non-pasteurised, of premium quality, with rich taste and freshness.

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A special product is Karlovačko Royal 1854, a lager of exceptional fullness of taste made from special types of aromatic hops and two types of barley malt (light and fried). Those carefully selected ingredients give it a particularly rich and full taste, dark golden colour and a rich foam. Karlovačko Royal 1854 has a pleasant bitter and hop flavor. Karlovačko Royal 1854 was inspired by the original recipe for our beer and is the culmination of the 160th anniversary of the brewery and the highest quality brewing production. Special attention is given to the production of the Karlovačko crno beer, which is made of three kinds of malt, pale barley malt, fried caramel barley malt and fried dark barley malt. Karlovačko crno beer is served in a special glass on a stand.


Karlovačko features also various radlers, Karlovačko 0,0 Maxx non-alcoholic beer, Heineken and Amstel products, etc. For real connoisseurs, Karlovačko made special cookbooks, which combine traditional Karlovac products with Karlovačko beer. Recipes such as mushrooms with beer dough, beer stew, trout in beer sauce, various meet with beer, and especially interesting desserts with beer, can be found here.

Karlovačka pivovara
Dubovac 22, 47000 Karlovac
+385 47 607 111

Photos by: Taste of Adriatic & Karlovačka Pivovara