Together with a group of Polish journalists, on 20th June 2009 I had the opportunity to visit Bracki Browar Zamkowy (Bracki Castle Brewery) in Cieszyn, close to the Polish-Czech border. Director Janusz Konieczny and Brewer Dominik Szczodry guided us through the ancient walls dating back to 1846, and both agreed in their statement: “We are not working in a brewery, but in a brewery museum!” And during the tour around the premises, we could confirm that this was true.
Today, the Castle Brewery in Cieszyn belongs to the Żywiec Brewery, one of the largest brewing companies in Poland, which – in turn – is owned by Heineken. It has specialized on brewing mainly two beers: The regional specialty “Brackie”, a light brown and tasty, non-pasteurized lager with a distinct metallic taste, and the “Żywiec Porter”, a pitch-black specialty with 9.5% alcohol – a beer that is a very typical representative of the old “Baltic Porter” style. Both varieties are brewed in almost century-old brewing kettles and fermented in open vessels. One of the brewing kettles has the special feature that it has a rectangular shape, instead of being round just like all other brewing kettles in the world…
In particular the Porter goes through a very long lagering and maturing period. When it is ready to be bottled, it has already had a 120 days lager period – an unusual long time, especially taking into account the fact that the Bracki Brewery is under strict control of the parent company in Żywiec. After this fermentation period, the beer is transported in large lorries to the mother company in Żywiec some 50 km away, where it is filled into bottles and cans.
During the time of our visit, we had the chance to taste the beers unfiltered, directly poured from the fermentation tank. The Brackie as well as the Porter have been offered to us in five-litre Erlenmeyer flasks – a fantastic taste and experience.
Once we got to the end, we were presented a carrier bag with a couple of glasses and bottles as a souvenir. It was a perfect excursion, an interesting tour through the brewery, and definitely worth the effort to drive 50 km by bus over here.
Bracki Browar Zamkowy w Cieszynie Sp. z.o.o.
ulica Dojazdowa 2