Author Topic: Krakow  (Read 368 times)

Offline MDixon

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Krakow
« on: March 19, 2018, 01:34:04 PM »
Don't think anyone has listed this one before. Spending a couple of nights there in May in the Kazimierez area. Looking for any suggestions in that area or the central part of Krakow. We will not have a car, but I believe Uber is plentiful. No desire to do brewery tours on this trip. TIA
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 02:01:52 PM »
Not sure why more people haven't chosen this as a destination. We decided to go as a tie in to a trip to Paris, mainly as a place to stay while visiting Auschwitz. Krakow has a thriving craft beer scene, but the beers IMO are where the US was 15-20 years ago. I suspect it is due to issues sourcing ingredients. But let's discuss Krakow first. The city was not devastated by WWII the way Warsaw was leveled. As such it has all the old world charm you find in portions of Paris or Brussels/Brugge. We stayed in the Kazimierz area and just by dumb luck our hotel (Hotel Karmel) was smack dab in the middle of it and within a two-three block radius we had our choice of restaurants and bars all of which were fantastic. The other main area is Old Town and that is a 20 minute walk from the middle of Kazimierz and we barely scratched the surface of it.

Most every restaurant or bar had a beer on and and if nothing else it was a local Pilsner which was quite clean and refreshing. Often the beers would have names like IPA or West Coast IPA (I found that amusing) and at best they were pale ales. Often ales would have issues with diacetyl, but I did not find any to have contamination or sanitation issues out of anything I tried. It was apparent the hops were not exactly what we would use. I suspect they either used what was available so the bitterness and hop flavors were more rounded, or they had imported hops and the hops had suffered making the journey. Because of the diacetyl issues from more than one brewery I think their ale yeast selections must also be limited. We did not actually go to any brewery in the area, but there are several. We found two craft beer bars each within two blocks of the hotel. Craftownia has something like 18 taps and I think all but two were local. Omerta has two craft beer bars each with about 15 taps and about 60% were local.

Most of the time the beers come in two sizes, 25cl and 50cl. The price varies, but a 25cl in most places is 6-8zl, and a 50cl is 7-10zl. Now here is where it gets crazy. At Craftownia we had several drinks and some water and spent 38zl which equates to $10.76. It is important to remember to tip in Poland using cash. Even when you pay with a card have some cash for tip. Also keep in mind that 10zl note is $2.81 (@ today's exchange rate). We had a fairly large meal with beers, pierogies, and sausage for 60zl ($16.99). We ate at a "high end" restaurant one night and our bill without tip was 81zl or $22.60. One breakfast was a huge omelet, scrambled egg with tomato and onion, and four coffees which was 31zl or $9.06 so I gave her a 10zl tip. Eventually I just took money out of the ATM and paid in local currency, but made sure we used it all up before we left other than a few coins. The Polish currency looks like Euro so don't mix up the two if you are traveling there.

You can walk the entire city if you desire. We left our hotel and went to the Jewish Ghetto, Schindler's factory, back to Wawel castle, Old Town, and back to Kazimierz in a day. Uber is plentiful and they also have a tram system which appears to become very congested at times on certain routes. We didn't have time to give that a whirl.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 03:04:53 PM »
Possibly they have adopted the Czech palate for beers which includes having diacetyl in their beers. I haven't visited yet, but my friends who have visited Czech Republic report that many Czech beers have notable diacetyl content and many a BJCP judge would be offended by that content. But the Czech's apparently like it. I believe that you experienced the same thing in Krakow.

Thanks for the update. I saw your pictures on FB and didn't give them much thought, but your summary makes it much more appealing to visit Krakow now.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 03:51:06 PM »
Talked to a friend on Saturday that has been to Poland. Her rundown was much like yours.

Years back she went with her elderly mother and a tour group to Ukraine. Her mother and late father were Ukrainian immigrants, she also speaks Ukrainian. She said a beer was about $0.20, and food was priced similarly. Her husband said she wouldn’t take him due to the conflicts in Ukraine.

So former Soviet states might be cheaper than Warsaw Pact countries. Czech Republic was cheap compared to Germany, but not as cheap as Mikes report from Poland.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 04:40:52 PM »
We stayed in the Jewish area of Krakow which is a bit of misnomer. Our driver to Auschwitz told us there were no more than 200 Jewish people in Krakow which seemed really low. I checked online and found estimates of 30,000 currently in Poland out of a total population of 40,000,000 so less than 1%. With a Krakow population of 760,000 that would be more like 6,000. I am not of Jewish descent, but wanted to visit Auschwitz and knew little to nothing about Krakow before visiting. After visiting the question on my mind is why doesn't everyone visit. It's an interesting and beautiful city with a thriving food and beer culture and plenty to do and all of it inexpensive.

FWIW - Our flights to get there from Paris (CdG) were $300 each including trip insurance.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 01:40:21 AM »
One other thing to note. In Poland if you pay and say "thank you" it means keep the change. So if you had a 30zl bill and paid with a 50zl note and said TY they would assume you mean for them to keep the extra 20zl.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 01:58:07 AM »
FWIW, prices don't seem to have come up all that much since I was there in '08. Spent just over week in Poland with Krakaw as home base.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2018, 12:06:53 PM »
My wife has been to Poland several times, including Auschwitz. I haven't been yet but eventually I'll get to go. We recently were part of a large group dinner (for a blog) that was Poland themed.  We had borsch, periogis and begos (hunter stew).  Several people brought polish beers that you can get here in the States.  Black Boss porter, which I had had before, is good, but somewhat sweet and "flat" tasting.  Someone brought Komes Baltic Porter and it was really good, dark and roasty like a Baltic should be.  The Okocim O.K. Beer was actually pretty good. We joked about it being the PBR of Poland, the "cheap beer" but it was good. Typical pale lager, clean and refreshing.  I also had a Lomza, another lager but this one was badly oxidized, which was unfortunate.  I think it would have been good if it wasn't old. 

Thanks for the write up.  I hope to make it to Poland sometime soon.  My wife figures we'll do a loop around east Europe and hit up Poland, Germany and Belgium in one trip. 
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2018, 12:30:17 PM »
Tyskie is probably the PBR or for sure the Bud of Poland. I think it is 20% of the market and is actually quite tasty. Most restaurants had two to six taps and often 6-10 bottle offerings as well. It didn't dawn on me until your post I did not see most of what we see in the US while in Krakow.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Krakow
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2018, 10:26:13 PM »
Tyskie is probably the PBR or for sure the Bud of Poland. I think it is 20% of the market and is actually quite tasty. Most restaurants had two to six taps and often 6-10 bottle offerings as well. It didn't dawn on me until your post I did not see most of what we see in the US while in Krakow.

That's interesting.  I wouldn't be shocked if some of them are export only, like Black Boss (or has a different name in Poland).  Originally Baltic Porters were exported to Russia.. maybe now they export them to Europe and US but don't really drink them much in Poland.  That honestly wouldn't be too far fetched..
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