Beer Review: Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer

AFTER yesterday’s ghastly Kosovan Birra Peja Pilsner, it’s back to the relative safety of a Polish beer. This one appears to be called Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer. You don’t find it very easily. Unlike the big-name beers from Poland, I could only find this one in a Polish shop up in Wealdstone.

It doesn’t look at all bad. It’s the combination of green coloured labels and green bottle glass. It does it every time.

The neck label doesn’t tell us much though.

All it has is the logo and some hop imagery. The logo looks like a shield with an animal, possibly a goat, either tending to, or fighting some hops. I’m as baffled as you are.

The main front label is an oddly shaped roundel. But that doesn’t stop it from looking good and doing a nice job.

Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer front label

The top border says “Since 1846″. Which makes it one of the oldest Polish brewers out there. It has some smaller words hugging the inside of the border too. These ones say “Traditional Recipe”, “Best Quality” and “Excellent Taste”. All the usual marketing drivel, but it tells us that this bottle is aimed at people who read English.

Under the big “PERŁA” banner is another word. What does “Chmielowa” mean? It looks like it’s part of the beer name, which is why I’ve titled this review “Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer“. But I could easily be wrong. What you can’t mistake, however, is the little description around the bottom border. This one simply describes it as “Premium Pils Beer”.

As well as straightforward little descriptions, it also has something to say about where it’s come from. Which, as a clueless outsides, I love to read. This one says “Brewed and Bottled by Perła – Browary Lubelskie S.A.”. That’s a welcome sight because it doesn’t ring a bell. Nearly every other Polish beer I’ve tried has had printed somewhere on it a big-name like Żywiec or Tyskie.

Another welcome sight is the upfront vital statistics. No need to peer around onto the back label with this bottle. That’s because it’s 500 ml size and strong, 6% alcoholic volume are right there for you to see. All in all, it’s a good piece of design.

It’s a similar story on the back label as well. And we don’t even have to struggle with the Polish language. It’s all there in English. Which begs the question, why isn’t it more widely available in this country?

Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer back label

The top of the label has what look like medals. But they’re too small to read what they’re for.

Then the description starts. And this is a particularly interesting one about hops. That’s interesting because you normally only find this sort of thing on bottles of English ale. This one informs us that this Perła Chmielowa has acquired it’s “excellent taste and distinctive aroma” to the local Lublin hops. Never having seen that name on any other bottle, I’m intrigued to discover what this one is going to taste like. Not to mention amazed that I’m evening thinking that about a Polish beer.

Next down the label is the full technical description. They describe it as “Full Light Beer”. Whatever that means. Also that it’s “Pasteurised”. They then go even further by letting us know that it contains E-300. Blimey, that’s a lot of detail. Sadly, it means it’s not going to be a wholly natural experience. Not with that great big ‘E’ number.

The ingredients they mention include water, barley, malt and hops. No surprise there. They also recommend that you keep it in a cool and dark place.

There’s a full address on there, in case you want to write them a letter or visit them. They really do come from Lublin. The web address they provide is www.perla.pl. It’s nice enough, but yet another Flashy website that looks more like a television commercial than a website. One interesting thing I did see on the website, amoung the dodgy translations, was that Perła Chmielowa seems to mean “Hop Perl”. Is that right? Polish readers, as usual do please leave a comment at the end of this post with your translations, pronunciations and thoughts about what reputation this has in Poland.

Under all of that is the name of the importer. In this case, it’s BDD Limited from North-West London. For the curious, the website they have on the label is at www.bdd.net. An imported whom, according to their website, is the biggest supplier of Polish beers in the UK. It appears I’ve them to thank for the Polish beers I’ve been enjoying and hating over the last few months.

The big question is, will Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer be the best Polish beer I’ve tried so far? All it needs to be is above average to claim that title. Time to open the bottle and find out.

Watch out for the froth. Perła Chmielowa needs you to put the brakes on toward the end of the pour. There’s still a fair bit still in the bottle. After a couple of minutes, the huge head and settled into an undulating layer of froth, sitting on top of a dark amber. It’s surprisingly dark amber in colour. Most pilsner lagers a quite a lot paler.

They talk about the hops on the label, so lets see how it smells. For a pilsner, it smells good. Quite rich and malty. I can’t make out much hoppiness though. And in the time it took me to write this much further, the head has shrivelled into a thin layer.

How does it taste? First impressions are not bad, but not stunning either. There’s no flavour of course, it’s a pilsner lager. But it does have a full aftertaste. I’ve had a few gulps now, trying to figure it out, and it doesn’t seem to have that lagery “bite”. It has a bit of tanginess, but not the same sort of sharp “bite” as other pilsner lagers. The aftertaste with Perła Chmielowa walks into your mouth calmly. It tastes a little of malted barley, and yes, even I can make out the taste of those Lublin hops. It lingers for a while, and isn’t at all strong, rough or unpleasant.

What is there to like about Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer? I’m rather enjoying this one. Presumably it’s those Lublin hops that are doing the trick. The taste is so much more distinctive and interesting than the dross I’ve been enduring recently. It’s well made. It’s potent stuff at 6%. It’s easy to drink for all but the most bitter averse. I’ve also hardly burped at all, which means it’s not gassy. It’s rich tasting, and smooth drinking. This could be one of the best pilsner style beers I’ve tried.

Are there any downsides? Yes there are. It doesn’t really have much flavour, even though the taste of the hops does it’s best at compensating. One of the reasons that it’s so light and drinkable, is that it’s on the watery side. That means you don’t always feel like you’ve just taken a gulp, when you just have. The pilsner style won’t be to everyone’s taste either. I get the feeling that it wants to be an ale. If the boffins at Perła could come up with a bottle conditioned ale using their Lublin hops, the results could be outstanding. Sadly, we’ll never know as long as they limit themselves to the pilsner style.

To sum up, Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer is one of the best Polish beers I’ve tried. In fact it could be the best. It’s also one of the best lagers I’ve tried. If you can find it and you like lagers, this is one to try. It’s also worth a go for people like me who don’t normally go for pilsner style beers.  It deserves to take the place of the inferior big-name Polish beers that occupy shop and supermarket shelves across Britain.

Rating: 3.65

Have you tried Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer? What did you think of it? Can you offer up and translations, pronunciations, explanations, opinions, requests or recommendations? Then do please leave a message here!

Thanks for reading and check back here soon for another bottle of Polish beer.

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15 Responses to “Beer Review: Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer”

  1. island1 Says:

    Hey Hewl,

    “Perła” means “pearl” as in the thing you find in an oyster if you’re lucky.

    “Chmielowa” means something like “hoppy.” “Chmiel” is the Polish word for “hops” and this is the adjective from this word. You’ll notice the prominent pictures of hops all over the labels.

    Never tried it.

  2. nondrinker Says:

    Perla Chmielowa is from Lublin’s brewery, located at eastern part of Poland. They had many hoop farms in that region. They supplied all polish breweries in hoops days ago.

  3. rzeznik Says:

    I live in Lublin, so I know everything about my favourite beer – Perla. Perla is much better than polish disgusting fluid names beer, like Tyskie, Zywiec, Warka. First of all, Perla still is produced like beer – crystal clear water, hoop, barley malt and a lot of time to grow up (look at the factory product, like Tyskie or Zywiec – rough products and a few days and you can drink something such beer, but, this is no beer – this is only fluid taste like beer). E-300 is only vit. C(why? – this is only antioxidant – beer is 12 months fresh and still the same colour and flavour).

    Finally, Perla is the last star on the sky of polish beer. You can taste also Zwierzyniec, Goolman, Naleczowskie, Lubelskie from Browary Lubelskie – taste also is great and hoopy.

  4. Maciej Hady Says:

    Thanks for the encouraging review. We are increasing distribution all the time, so if you know of any shops we should be talking to please let us have their details and we will do all we can to encourage them to stock Perla. Or give us a call on 0208 955 6878.

  5. noizex Says:

    By the way, the picture on the neck label (and bottle label aswell) is Lublin’s coat of arms.

    I agree, Perla is really promising beer, one of few polish beer’s left that I can still drink. Mainstream “beers” are horrible. I agree its way too hard to buy it, I found it in some local shop in Warsaw, but other than that I can only remember seeing it in some “exclusive” markets like Piotr i Pawel.

  6. Peter - Perth Western Australia Says:

    I am a founder of P&H imports who introduced Perla Chmielowa to Australian market some 6 years ago. Now, Perla is selling allover Australia and growing with each year. Recently we have also introduced Perla Export and Perla Czarna Extra Strong. I agree with many comments made, that some other big polish brands which had been taken over by the big global breweries, have totally lost their character as polish beers and taste more like the standard mass produced euro trash lagers. As for Perla’s quality, just check out the lenghty list of awards.
    Cheers and Beers,
    Peter – Perth, WA

    • Matt Says:

      Really Peter? Perla selling all over Australia? I have tried to find it numerous times and have not found it anywhere. I can’t even import it from anywhere. Any ideas on where to purchase it in Australia? It truly is one of the best beers out there.

  7. Michael Says:

    You did a really great job reviewing Perla, nothing more to add. It’s indeed a good lager, you liked it so you should also try Lomza. It’s really hard to get in the UK, even in local Polish shops but it’s worth to be reviewed.

  8. Robert Bieniasz Says:

    Thanks for the review.
    You can buy Perla in local off-licence shops and in Polish bars and restaurants.
    You can also buy it on-line: http://www.bdd.net/store

  9. Blau Says:

    Perła is one of the best Polish beer at the moment. Try it also in “export” version, which is more delicate.

  10. Pawel Says:

    Perła is not the best Polish beer, there are at least tens of much better beers here, but it’s the only beer you can buy in Poland relatively easy (I wouldn’t call Żywiec or Tyskie a beer). The best beers are from the smallest breweries and very few people know about them.
    If you want something more hoppy, I recommend Lubuskie (not Lubelskie – similar name, but Lubusz is at the opposite side of Poland) from Witnica. However, pilsner lagers are not the only beers here. There is for example Grodziskie (a beer style brewed from Middle Ages until mid 1990s; http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/polbrew.htm#grodziskie ) and Baltic Porter. Historically, Poland was known for very good beers, partly due to the fact that hops began to be cultivated here in 9th century. It’s sad that the situation now is almost the opposite, but it’s slowly getting better.

    Unfortunately there are almost no ales in Poland, but that’s why I’m currently brewing a very hoppy pale ale with three Polish hop varieties (including Lublin hops). I hope it will be very tasty :) And by the way, Lublin is a noble hop variety similar to Saaz.

  11. Bartek Says:

    Best beer I know!
    Oh and by the way…cheerz I’m just drinking it!

    Greets from Poland!

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Matt,
    Perla Pils & Export is selling in Perth and major other cities in Australia.
    In WA it is mainly through a smaller chains – not BWS or Liquorland
    For locations you can contact Peter on 0414864913

  13. Chris Says:

    Perła is one of the best light and easy-to-dring Polish beers, but if you want to try something more complex and distinguished, you should try Porter Warmiński or anything from ‘Pinta’ brewery. Pinta makes one of the most expensive beer in Poland, but worth its price, really. It’s hard to get in Poland, but I hope you” be lucky.

    Cheers!

  14. Pawel Says:

    I live in Poland, and I tried a lot of our national beers, but I couldn’d find anything that is better than Perła Chmielowa. Even two times more expensive beers was for me worse than this one.

    chmiel = hop, so chmielowa = hoppy

    Cheers!

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