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Greek beer takes silver award

- by Dabs Banner

A Greek beer has taken silver at the European Beer Star Awards, the first time ever that a Greek beer has figured in the prizewinners.

The Greek beer Nisos, brewed on the Cycladic island of Tinos, took the silver trophy at the contest held in Bavaria in Germany.

The European Beer Star Award is one of the most prestigious beer awards in Europe, and the brewery's win is the second this year after it was selected as National Champion of Greece in this year's European Business Awards.

Nisos (which is Greek for island) is brewed at a microbrewery in the village of Vaya on the island of Tinos and was founded less than two years ago.

The first bottle appeared in Greek stores, bars and restaurants in April last year and the beer has quickly won over Greek beer drinkers with its rich colour and deep flavour.

Beer inspired by the Greek Islands

The Nisos company says the beer "was inspired by the rich colours and flavours of the Greek islands, the golden sun, the blue sea and sand of the Aegean Sea. It is also the work of local artisans, using the finest quality ingredients growing in the Greek soil".

The Greek brewers faced tough competition from 42 countries promoting 1,613 beers at the event with more than 100 judges taking part in blind tastings as well as assessing beers for colour, and presentation.

The Tinos microbrewery was up against traditional brewers with hundreds of years of tradition but managed to see off competition from brewing giants from the Czech Republic, Germany and the U.S.

Since the completion started 11 years ago, Greece has never picked up an award so, to make silver, has been a double achievement for the tiny company.

The Cyclades microbrewery joint owner, Alexandros Kouris, said: "We had faith in the quality of our Nisos Pilsner beer but coming to this competition, were humbled to know that we are competing with breweries that we respect enormously, representing countries with vast and important traditions of brewing."

"We dedicate this award to all our friends that choose Nisos Pilsner as their favourite beer and honour us with their love. We dedicate it also to Tinos island, to the Cyclades archipelago and to all Greek islands that have become our inspiration."

"We would also like to dedicate this award to all entrepreneurs who, against all odds, insist on investing and producing in Greece."

Built on the site of a Greek taverna

The Cyclades microbrewery on Tinos was built on the site of the former Roda Taverna which had to be refurbished in order to house the brewing equipment.

In contrast to industrial mass produced beer, Nisos is brewed in small batches with "craftsmanship, love, passion, enthusiasm and respect for the consumer".

The company says it uses Ingredients of the highest possible quality; water, malt, hops, yeast, and perfection in the production process to "create a rich, aromatic and robust beer for customers to enjoy".

Nisos is certainly something to look out for on a Greek island holiday. It is not widely distributed at the moment but the award, coupled with the blaze of publicity, could see tavernas and cafes queuing up to stock the award-winning brew.

Already famous for ouzo, raki and wine, Greek beers look set to make their mark both in Greece and in other European countries and theyare certainly work seeking out on a Greek Island holiday.

Though most Greek beers are not widely known, there are a few, such as theVolkan Beer from Santorini that are beginning to make their mark in the beer drinking world.

Made from the honey of Santorini and the citron of Naxos island, Volkan Beer won the 'New Section Product Innovation of the Year' award at the International Beer Awards 2013 in Prague.

Once dominated by German brewers, the European Beer Star Awards now attracts brewers from all over the world and this year medals were awarded to breweries from 24 different countries.

When it comes to the medals table, however, German beers still dominate with 18 gold, 22 silver and 19 bronze medals for German brewers this year followed by the United States with 39 medals, 12 of them gold.