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Our beers

In brewing beer, like in everyday's life, we follow the rule, that natural is the best. That is why we brew our beers out of natural ingredients... Read More...
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New location

We are very glad to inform you that from 26th of May you'll be able to reach Vunetovo at new location, Petrićevo setaliste 8 :)      ... Read More...
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I love beer

Zoran Vitas wrote: https://blog.vecernji.hr/volim-pivu/sto-piti-ovaj-vikend-aljaski-mrgud-uvijek-je-dobro-pisati-o-lijepoj-prici-s-hvara-9820  ... Read More...
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Otillo Swimrun

Ottilo Swimrun maraton is taking place in Hvar again. More info at https://otilloswimrun.com/ Great job!!        ... Read More...
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Roasted Olives

A lot of Dalmatian rarities were not my cup of tea when I started visiting Hvar fifteen years ago. "Prsut" was too salty, sheep's milk cheese not... Read More...
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After twenty years

Hvar is the most beautiful place on Earth. For me. No wonder that during my first visit to the island (which was precisely twenty years ago), after a... Read More...

After twenty years

bloghvarHvar is the most beautiful place on Earth. For me. No wonder that during my first visit to the island (which was precisely twenty years ago), after a week I've said that I'm never coming back. Nothing like a solid kick at the very beginning of a great love... Hvar is alive. It has its personality and character, sometimes it's misturstful, usually excessively proud, but also sincere and friendly if only it sees that you have honest intentions and that you respect it. One has to learn it precisely and deeply, listening to what it has to say. It hides many treasures and it is only up to you wheter you will discover them. After all, at the first, second, and third glance, it is only an island!

"I'm talking to you now, after so many years, poor and unhappy, a shabby vagabond, you've taken all of my honor, all of my money, because of you, I lost my innocence and love (...) It seemed that I'm still strong and mighty, that I can control all and everything, when my beloved stallion broke the reins, and my head smashed against a rock (...) You know, they say that only at the face of death we see the truth, just think, I saw only you, an island in a constellation, sea and Pharos, so that the wind did not stop and there was no silence. Remeber how well I spoke Greek and Illyrian, and Latin, even Phoenician, I've learned from Plato and Xenophon, and no one would ever thing that I was not born in Hellas (...) You know what a warrior I had been, all of my victories for and against Rome, Teuta, Philip, Hannibal, and Illyrians. And even though back then, it all seemed to be at hand's reach, it was never that reality, dreamt in an immense, common dream, in a long and holy war for the island and the city of Pharos. You also know that I was a profligate and a bad statesman, who in his life, an unfinished instance, learned all the secrets of corruption, cheated on women, friends, and allies, up until, belive me, I finally cheated myself... However, I wanted nothing but you freedom, I may have done some for my own profit, but mostly, be assured, for you. Hear me out, let us try one more time to fly to the stars. You know what a stargazer and poet I was, after all, we'll find some constellation, tumultous and blazing, mighty and passionate. But you already swim, when I brood and repeat: First I ask Teuta for help, when she'll push me away, I'm going to turn to Rome, when I betray him, I'm going to go to Philip and Hannibal. I'll tell eveeryone that I wish to return to Pharos, rule thre again, without ambition, in peace. What a silly and impossible demand! They'll chase me out like a dog, that bites himself, rabid, like a fallen eagle, a lion without teeth, someone completely useless, a rejected vagabond, that I of course am. Who dared, after thousands of years to once again demand the most for himself, stating moreover, that his strategy is impeccable, allies devoted, military invincible, mercenaries befriended, convinced as to the missive, as if never fallen. Showing proudly intrinsic negligence, some say that really a royal airness, as if not an exile and a pillager of centuries, as if the only one who possess, the starry island, his native Hvar."

(Demetrios Hvaranin to Hvar, on some penitential night, lost in the sky above the island. (A translation of the Croatian text included in the book "Hvar - kantinele i kartoline" author Veljko Barbieri, Zagreb, 2000.)

Demetrios was born on Hvar in about 260 BC. Back then, Hvar was soaking with the colofrul mosaic of the contemporary cultures. Greek, Illyrian, Macedonian, Roman, and Carthaginian influences met at that small space. Demetrios was a worthy representative of his times. He waged war, conquered cities, established alliances, and broke them... He was a savior for some, for others a tyrant. Just like many figures of the contemporary world, he had limitless ambitions. But what was most important for him, was his native Hvar. He made it into a fortress which could not be penetrated. However, he broke the alliance with Rome. He did not prepare for how big of a punishment he will face. Rome, the still developing ancient power that would later become the biggest in the world, sent a strong flotilla to completely destroy the forces of Demetrios and punish his disobedience. In 219 BC Hvar has been conquered and Demetrios had t flee. He found shelter with the Macedonian king Philip V, where he tried to form an anti-Roman coalition. However, in 217 BC, during the siege of Messana, his horse fell over and Demetrios died, and with him the dream of freeing his beloved Hvar from the hands of Rome.

I'm wondering what was Hvar like in the 3rd century BC. What was it about the island that made Dmetrios loved it so much? Can you imagine it? There were no charming small restaurants, pubs, and wineries at the square and on the surrounding streets. What am I talking about! There was no square! No cathedral, no arsenal, no theatre, no fortress, no marina, no St Mark's belfry, no Franciscan monastery, no ruins of the Veneranda, no royal manor... There was nothing which is now so inseparably connected with the vision of Hvar, what constitutes its trademarks. I won't even mention tourism in the context of ancient Hvar. The Croatian forefathers were sitting... not really certain where, and it hasn't even crossed their minds to settle for Southern Europe. They'll come up with the idea in about 700 years... However, there had to be something powerflul and beguiling about the place. And it was, I am certain of it, the same thing that is present there today. I believe that none of the people who fell in love with Hvar, can describe "it" in words. I know people who came to visit Hvar for the first time thirty years ago, and still do not even attempt at explaining why does Hvar make them feel from the moment they set foot on it, as if they were living there forever. They are even a bit shy to talk about it, as is often the case when emotions get involved. And that "thing" can be felt. That is why I believe, that if by some miracle I were to meet the ancient Demetrios at the Pjaca by the base of the Spanjola fortress, we would look at each other, then around us, and then one uf us would say "isn't it?". Hvar is called the king of the Adriatic, while it does not really differ from the other islands, especially its neighbors such as Brac, Vis or Korcula. The same Mediterranean climate, the same vegetation, the same landform, fish, transarency of the sea, the same history. Those are islands located so close to each other that it is really difficult to speak of any significant differences. So what made Hvar become the king while other islnads lack such names? I won't feel good about this, but I have to say: I don't know... In fact, I don't have such ambitions, or the will to create definitions, explain things, clarify and convince. Traces found on the island indicate that humans came there six thousand years ago. Before that, the island managed without us since its beginning, circa two million years ago. Therefore, it will also manage now. It will defend itself and convince you. You have two options to choose: either you will spend a great vacation here, swimming, sunbathing, eating seafood and drinking good wine, while not thinking much or you are going to do something more - try to get to know the place, and maybe it becomes something important and unique for you. Because Hvar is not only sun and beaches. It would be stupid to stop tere. Hvar is alive. Treat it well. This text was supposed to be completely diffrent. It was supposed to be funny, light, describe interesting places to see, routs, passages. It was supposed to say where do they brew the best coffe and where does the wine taste the best. It was supposed to present a few funny stories and events. Present linquistic traps. Encourage to try "prsut" with cheese and olives. It all was supposed to be here. But nothing's lost. After all, when you come to visit Hvar, I'll already be here...

 

My name is...

DSC03220In the world of "craft" it is characteristic that the creators of beers put a high value on the image of their products. They outdo one another in more and more elaborate labels, logos and names of beers. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, on the contrary! Thanks to it the world of "crafts" is so colourful and diverse. The names like "light" or "dark" are no longer sufficient. the creators of beers have a much more personal approach to self-created beers: the label and the name usually tell us a story. It's hight time I presented my beers from the backstage. Today Hvarska Medicina (Hvar Medicine), "medicine" because of medicinal herbs, "Hvar" because of the origin. And here the description could be finished, but after all, a self-respecting blogger doesn't write such short entries on his or her blog ;-) I don't remember where the ideas to make herbal beer comes from, I remember, however that I have been wondering quite a long time how to realize the ideas which grew in my mind. It all moved towards a neutral style, lower fermentation temperature for ale beer, the dry finish and Mediterranean herbs, very clearly accented but not overwhelming. The most common reaction, which confirms that my experiment was successful is that drinking beer connoisseurs praise its drinkability. However, I'm not going to tell what exactly I throw at the very end of brewing. But let's face it - there's no lavander and rosemary in this beer, which beer geeks often seek (and unfortunately find!). Experience has taught me to follw the older and wiser. Lavender and rosemary, but above all lavender, is a herb that dominates the rest (I know it because the first batch was with lavender). I often bet visiting us toursist that when they guess the three out of the seven herbs used in Hvar Medicine - the next beer is on the house. Well, it hasn't happened yet...:-)

Craft revolution

craftIn March, it will have been two years since first craft brewery in Croatia was opened. I mean Dragon Brewery - Zmajska Pivovara - established and ran by long-standing homebrewer, founder of the first Croatian brewing message board Pivarstvo.info Andrej Capka. It is hard not to appreciate the success of "Dragons". Both its beers rank highly on well-known brewing Internet portals. Moreover, Zmajska Pivovara is ranked top ten among newly-opened craft breweries in 2014 and its Porter top fifteen among all Porters throughtout the world. At the same time a second project got under way - Nova Runda with its fantastic American Pale Ale. We had no sooner wiped the sweat off our foreheads after a scorching summer that a new sensation came about: Hold'em Brewery with its All In. On February the 6th we celebrated the opening of a new craft brewery Varionica who presented their version of Pale Ale. There is no way around mentioning Mario Bosnjak's brewery, one of the pioneers of Croatian homebrewing. He has been brewing beer at his agrotourism farm for 20 years. He is the only craft brewer so far to brew lagers. Almost all mentioned beers can be bought at specialist shops all over Croatia, among others at Svijet piva, Maksimirska 16, Zagreb; at Magic Beer Room, Dr. Luje Naletića 4, Zagreb or at Mali ducan in Matejuska Street in Split.

More and more brewers take part in international home brewing contests and some months have come to be inseparably associated with particular contests: February with Biela Vrana in Slovakia, March with a competition in Hungary, in June contest in Poland and Croatia take place. I hope that this "beer frenzy", started in the USA 30 years ago, will spread to Croatia. Anyway, there is no other way!

 

Yellow October...

blog-2 00-300"Miss, when we get into boots and foul weather, we will stick in them till March!" This is what I heard on a street in Wrzesnia, Poland, at the beginning of October. Indeed, the weather didn't make us feel optimistic then and the prospect of approaching winter didn't cheer us up. Meanwhile, on the Croatian island of Hvar moods were quite different. "Phew, end of season at long last. Finally, we can have a rest." Well, autumn is not just like.. autumn. The most beautiful months here are September and October. No one who has visited Hvar in that period once will crowd onto the island in a time of hustle and highest prices. With the coming of autumn, usually meaning mild temperatures of 23 degree Celsius and beautiful but not scorching sunshine, hordes of raving youth disappear, "phat" motor boats go away replaced by beautiful, vintage sailing boats. Besides this (and prices) nothing changes. The sea is still warm, restaurants, pubs and cafes are all open and the locals in a good mood. Why? Because their best time has come. First, "their pantries are quite full",second, September and more so October are months when the locals have at last enough time for fishing and relaxing outdoors. Unaware fish are coming back from the open sea to the bays lured by silence ensued after splashing around tourist left. Only yesterday, one of those relaxed anglers caught a 1-kilo dorada enticed with a piece of bread. Doradas are carnivores with no liking for bread. The fisherman was both delighted and surprised because ,first, it was not doradas he was after, second, he caught it exceptionally close to the shore. This story reminds me of my own that explains the difference between catching and having caught. It happens very often on Hvar that a fisherman catches a really biiiggg fish. You may be surprised but it means some trouble. Such a big fish costs a lot and it is not easy to find a buyer. Not everyone is eager to spend € 100 for a fish. Lottery is being organized then. The fish is showed to the community and people ,one by one , buy tickets 10 kuna a piece( € 1,50). Demand is high. It's not a big deal to spend € 1,50 after all and the adrenaline level rises. It's gambling time! Tickets are being collected the whole morning. The drawing takes place at noon. Everybody is happy: most of all the fisherman, who earns much more than € 100, the winner, who gets such a fish for € 1,50 and the rest, who didn't count on the fish and didn't lost much. One day, when I was buying lettuce and tomatoes on the market, I bet 10 kuna on a big fish, why not? I forgot about it immediately. A couple of hours later, equipped as beginning anglers are, I went fishing. Not that I felt like doing this very much. It was just a beautiful day and it would be sorry not to give it a try. So I went and cast my fishing rod. Not only didn't I catch anything, but I broke my rod. The sea bottom off the Croatian coast is very stony and it happens frequently that the hook catches not a fish, but a stone. So the hook and the weight got lost and the line was broken. I came back home not in the best of moods, when the phone rang. The big fish had chosen me! They asked me to fetch the fish within half one hour. Be my guest, I am off. What is the point of the story? It is always worth to cast your rod, you never know when the fish bites.
Now in the globalization era, we often say that the world has shrunk. Then, maybe it would be worth it to leave the foul weather behind and come for a prolonged weekend on the sunny island? It takes only 3 hours to get here from Berlin: an hour-and- a- half flight from Berlin to Split (less with the favorable wind), an hour's journey from Split to Hvar by catamaran. That's it. I will, as is customary, greet you with bread and salt or even with homemade beer, which I have been brewing for years much to the delight of many of my acquaintances. But that's another story.