I decided I had to do at least a little touristy stuff, so I walked up to the Castle Square. The "Castle" wasn't much of a castle, more of a palace. The area was completely destroyed during WWII so this is all reconstruction.
|The Old Royal Castle|
|The Old Castle Wall|
Just off the square (but with an address on the square) is a pub/restaurant that was recommended, Cafe Krolewski.
They had two Polish beers, Krolewiskie and Zywiec. I had the former at Pub Nora and hadn't yet tried the Zywiec. So I did.
Zywiec is owned by Heineken and is one of the largest breweries in Poland, so I was not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. There was a little bit of hop character -- not a lot but it was there. I guess maybe my standards have been lowered this trip, but it was a pleasant beer. So I had another and ordered a bowl of sour rye soup -- served in a bread bowl.
I walked towards Old Town Square and came across Celibar, another recommended place.
A sign out front even advertises their beer selection.
They had two draft beers, Zyweic and Brackie -- I orded the Brackie but alas, they were out. So I asked for the bottle list and ordered a Porter. The once I got wasn't actually the one I ordered, but it was good so I didn't complain. And it's not as if I could have told the difference anyway.
The Porter Warminski (from Browar Kormoran) was very nice. Rich and strong (9%) and lots of chocolate and black malts.
Some of the bottles available at Celibar...
The first porter was so nice that I decided to try another. This one from Browar Witnica, was called Black Boss.
Whoa! Slightly weaker in alcohol than the first at 8.5% it was much bigger in flavor. In addition to the dark malts a bunch of dark fruit flavors you don't often find in bottom fermented beer. This is my favorite so far.
While I was there, a bunch of Finns arrived and we soon became best friends.
After a liter of 9% beer, I needed a walk and some cold air to revive me, so I left my Finnish friends behind.
I loved this sign -- no doubts on what they sell. (Alkohol/Alkohole means spirits here)
I soon got to Old Town Square. Not too much going on but I bet it is nice on a warm day. Not nearly as impressive as Old Town Square in Prague, though)
|Old Town Square|
|Old Town Square|
They had a picture of it in September 1945 when Eisenhower visited. The walls of buildings were standing but that was it, no roofs, no floors, just rubble.
I wandered back to Castle Square to another recommend pub. But since my friend had visited, it was no longer the fake English Pub but an upscale restaurant. I went in anyway.
They had Lech Pils, which while after the Porters came across a bit thin, was pleasant and a nice bitterness. I also ordered some sparking water, as with the cold weather I wasn't carrying my usual bottle of water. Being an upscale place, they brought me a small bottle of Perrier -- which cost more than the beer.
I promised you a picture of the outside of Browarmia, so I walked back that way. Passed some more old churches, so in honor of my Father (who would never pass up an old church) I took some pictures.
Here is the outside of Browarmia, Worth the wait, isn't it?
I ended up passing Bierhalle again, and it seemed wrong to walk by two brewpubs with having a beer, so to fulfill my duty I went in and had their Pils. A Pils it was not (too sweet) , but it was a tasty beer.
By now I was back by Sketch and I remembered they also had the Brackie that I couldn't have at Celibar, plus they had Porters.
I really liked the Brackie --it had a small spicy note that was very pleasant. It went down way too fast.
With the Brackie I had tried all their draft Polish beers, so I turned to the bottle list. A Grand Imperial Porter caught my eye. From Browar Amber in Kolbudy, it kept up the string of very nice, dark, rich Baltic Porters.
I needed some food to go with all these strong beers, so I ordered something that ended up being stuffed Chicken Breast with Chanterelle mushrooms (and Green Pea Puree). It was very good. Don't know if it was based on something traditionally Polish, but I liked anyway.
I was thinking of one more Porter, but by then it was 5:30pm on a Friday and the place was suddenly packed with people in business attire and drinking things made with lots of ice and colors not found in nature, so I went back to the hotel. I good thing, I think -- one more Porter would have been one too many.