EXCELLENT news, chaps. I’ve found another Polish beer on sale at a local shop. And this one is a can of Okocim.
re simply vehicles for the consumption of alcohol cheaply and easily. And nothing more. Will Okocim buck the trend? Somehow, I doubt it.
Okocim looks more like Żubr or Lech than it does Tyskie or Zywiec. On it’s green background, the gold coloured text and smattering of red afford it a premium and traditional quality.
The top of the roundel has the English text “Traditional Polish Taste”. That’s’ unusual. Why is it written in English instead of Polish?
The logo is unintentionally hilarious. It features a goat and a huge glass of beer. It’s not clear if the goat wants to drink the glass, or hump it. Either outcome would make me laugh.
The large banner cutting through the roundel has the name “OKOCIM”. No unusual Polish text this time. Above it are the words “Polish Tradition” and below it “A.D. 1845″. That’s good. It gives it heritage. More established than Zywiec and the rest, but not as established as Tyskie.
Under that, is the word “Beer”. Rather obvious. But I’m just glad it doesn’t say “Lager”. Under that, in very small writing are some important details. Namely, that this is 500 millilitres. And that is has a volume of 5.5%. Okocim, then, is going to be strong stuff.
Below that are what look like medals. Does anyone know if they actually are? Did Okocim win any prizes, or are they just there to look like medals?
Running around the bottom of the roundel, we can spot the name of the brewery. The unimaginative Okocim Brewery, Poland. Again though, why is this all in English? Especially when the big, prominent word at the bottom of the can proudly announces “IMPORTED”.
On the barcode side of the can, the puzzle continues. There is both a Polish “Infolinia” phone number. And a UK telephone number for a “Consumer Helpline”. This particular can doesn’t know if it’s Polish or British. Time to read on for more clues.
The ingredients side of the can has everything, but in only two languages: Polish and English.
If you happen to be interested in such things, the ingredients are water, malted barley and hops. Absolutely nothing unusual there.
The address of the brewer tells us that this was brewed somewhere called Brzesko in Poland. Sounds delightful. The web address is given as www.okocim.pl. Which, as you’d expect from a website ending in “.pl”, takes you to a Polish language website. Some clever navigations however, does led us to http://www.okocim.pl/okocim.htm. Which even I can understand.
The English ingredients text doesn’t solve the riddle of why this Polish beer has everything written in English. Reading the Polish language ingredients list does give us a clue. You see, this seems to have been produced by Carlsberg Polska. The Polish part of the brewing goliath, Carlsberg. And that would explain why this can is more international than, say, Żubr.
In the glass, Okocim has a thick, frothy head. It also has a light amber colour. An lots and lots of bubbles rising to the surface.
The smell is a blend of malted barley and hops. Yes, I know, that how nearly every beer smells. This one does have a blend that is, in some way, different to most others. I like it. It’s got a rich and premium quality to the way it smells.
The taste is not bad. But not great either. The main taste you’ll notice, is the dry bitterness. That bitterness lingers briefly, but doesn’t stick around for long. The malted barley is barely noticeable.
The positives are that Okocim is very easy to drink. And that the blend of tastes and flavours is pretty good quality. You’d have to be very sensitive indeed to find any of it offensive to your palate. Served chilled, Okocim could also be quite refreshing. There’s also a couple of things that are different about it, when compared to it’s Polish counterparts. The blend of flavours being one. And the higher strength being another.
The negatives, though, are that Okocim is cheap and watery. It’s easy to drink because it has the consistency of water. And water that is too sparkling at that. Which means that it’s rather gassy. It’s also lacking much real flavour, but that could be down to my preference from strong ales from the around Britain.
How can I sum up Okocim? Simply, it’s stronger and marginally better tasting than the other Polish beers on sale here in the UK. If you want taste and flavour, it’s not much better than the other Polish beers. But if you want a strong, drinkable beer, this fits the bill nicely.
Have you tried Okocim? Are you Polish? How do you pronounce the name Okocim? What sort of reputation does it have in Poland?
If you have any corrections, opinions, suggestions, ideas or insults, then leave them in the comments box below.
UPDATE: And this is the rather more handsome looking bottle of Okocim. The only difference as far as the label is concerned is the English language paragraph proclaiming its 160 year heritage, fine ingredients and Polish recipe.