Fine craft wine sips from the Green Ring of Zagreb
Zagreb County has always been known as the home of wine making; along with three wine roads and numerous family wineries, it is best known for its wine. Although people come here primarily for wine, connoisseurs rightly assume that the area with fine wines and the abundance of fruit should also be appreciated for other fine beverages. First of all, where there are grapes, there is also a raw material for making grape brandy (lozovača) and grape marc (komovica). These two fierce winemaking by-products represent the foundations for making a whole range of traditional brandies and liqueurs derived from fruits, herbs or honey. There is definitely no shortage of high quality natural ingredients here, as well as carefully created and jealously guarded recipes. Some manufacturers have gone a step further by making particular drinks such as brandy, bermet or gin. In recent times, a whole scene of small craft breweries has developed, and the Zagreb area has its representatives here as well. If you appreciate a local, authentic and natural experience, it is best to combine the pleasant and the useful, so take advantage of the trip to the green spaces of the Zagreb yard to visit one of the hard-working small manufacturers of beverages that make people happy.
Around the Samobor area there are several manufacturers of brandy and liqueur, the most famous of which is probably the family distillery Perković, one of the first and most active in Croatia. As they are not engaged in viticulture and wine making, the base for their wide range of drinks is an apple fruit distillate, cider. Perković family farm with a charming tasting room, which goes by the name Hedonica, takes pride in its fruit distillates and aged brandy; it is interesting that they distil pear brandy from an old pear variety, tepka, and not from the ubiquitous viljamovka. Franceković family farm made a real small picnic area called Kušaonica Vrh, with accommodation and local food service. They offer brandy made from delicious pear variety tepka, but also brandy called Samoborska zlatna, with a mixture of grasses from the surrounding mountains. Štengl family specializes in liqueurs made from an interesting combination of medicinal herbs and forest fruits and exclusively local, ecologically clean ingredients.
The history of the Brigljević distillery in Velika Gorica started as a hobby; with a lot of enthusiasm and constant experimentation, they have been able to produce the first Croatian craft gin. Also worth mentioning is barricata grappa Dark forest and aged cider Barrelina. Brigljević family likes to share their passion and knowledge, so they often organize workshops and gatherings in the tasting room. Quality fruit liqueurs and noble brandies from the Jastrebarsko region are produced in distillery Patrik. In addition to the line of brandies and liqueurs, in its impressive Plešivica winery, Šoškić family has also created a recipe for the first Croatian craft brandy Dvor, made from old local grape varieties. Another family that, in addition to the wine story, is also developing a manufacturing of strong alcoholic beverages comes from Moslavina. Kezele rural tourism estate is also well known for its brandies and liqueurs produced from fruit of Moslavina orchards and vineyards.
The beer story, on the other hand, develops slowly but surely, in several directions. Varionica, one of the first craft breweries in Zagreb and Croatia, founded in 2014, recently moved its new modern plant to Pisarovina. In the same year, the microbrewery Razum started operating in the basement of the family house in Samobor; it opened its doors thanks to master brewer Franjo Razum. He sells beer exclusively in his brewery, he only produces lagers, and there you can also taste his unique specialty, beer liqueur Pliker. The Zelina area is also very active in beer production, so the craft beer brewing scene is enriched by two small craft breweries, Maximus and Angeluš. Both are currently operating locally, but plan to expand to other regions, so their beers are slowly making their way beyond the borders of Zagreb County.