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Old 05-26-2009, 06:26 PM   #1
MattHollingsworth
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Default found a source of bottles in Zagreb, yay!

And I'm happy. Just had to share the happiness with some people from my tribe of beer people who would understand.

In Zagreb, the VAST majority of beer is in green glass. Travesty, I know. It wasn't that way when I moved here 3 years ago. And then one by one, all the brewers switched. ****!

So, finding brown glass isn't so easy. Don't exactly want to mail order bottles. I've been drinking a lot of Erdinger to get the brown bottles. And well, I like their beer, so there is that. But I need more bottles.

We've been going to this local gourmet pizza place here a lot for the last few months. We bought a car and it's a drive to get there, so we didn't really go before. But we love it. Anyway, that place serves a lot of Erdinger in bottles. We asked if the owner was there last time and he wasn't but we got his number. And my fiancee called him today. I told her to tell him we'd buy them from him, but to make sure to explain what it's for. They can get money back on the bottles, so figured I should offer to buy them for more than they'd get that way. I won't be brewing likely until September or so, so probably Christmas, I'll have some ready. Told her to tell him that I'd bring him some bottles of homebrew sometime in the winter.

So she called him and said he sounded very excited about getting the beer. And that he was happy to help out. No price was mentioned, so maybe he just wants some homebrew.

Nobody homebrews here. Everyone makes rakija and wine. So for people here, they're very curious about me making beer. Who knows? Maybe eventually a new movement will be started. But for now, I'm just stoked to have a large supply of half liter Erdinger bottles at my disposal. One more obstacle removed. Onward and upward!

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Old 05-26-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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That sounds pretty cool! I know a sixer of homebrew has covered many a debt between me and some friends. Side note: What's rakija?

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Old 05-26-2009, 07:16 PM   #3
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Rakia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are various sorts. The ones I like the best are Travarica (the r is rolled like in Spanish and the "c" is like "ts"). Trava = grass or weed as in marijuana. But in this case it means herbs. So it's a rakija that has herbs in it. Some of that stuff rocks!

Generally, it's very normal for people here to have fruit trees if they have a house, and then make rakija. Grape vines are everywhere. And lots of families have wines. Some of it is awful, both rakija and wine, as you can imagine. But some of it is really great. The best wine I've had here was some wine from a family. Really great. But when an old guy offers you his rakija, you are filled with both curiosity and trepidation. They're usually really proud of it no matter how awful it is. And of course, they want to offer you more if you finish it.

I think the word Rakija is from Turkish like lots of words here. It certainly doesn't sound like Croatian language.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:19 PM   #4
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BTW, that's one of the great things here. When you find a truly great wine or rakija from a family. Or olive oil! We have amazing olive oil here. And you buy it from families for about $13 or $14 for a liter. Last summer I was at the sea and loved this travarica and bought a bottle from this family for around $15 for a liter. Tasty stuff. The olive oil is my favorite though. You just go to the marketplace which is like a farmer's market in the States and buy it there. I usually buy 4 liters in February or so and it's around $50 for all that. Great!

But I don't have hoppy beers here! So, yin yang and all that.

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Old 05-26-2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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Nice. Finding a source of quality bottles is key if you're looking to brew a lot. I once resorted to rummaging through neighborhood recycling bins. No fun, really. Once I started sharing homebrews with friends, coworkers, etc., they all offered to save their bottles for me, and I now have more than I know what to do with.

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Old 05-26-2009, 07:44 PM   #6
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Just wondering where you'll be getting your ingredients?

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Old 05-26-2009, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strngcheez View Post
Just wondering where you'll be getting your ingredients?
I recently went to SoCal and brought back a buncha plugs of Cascade, Amarillo, Chinook, Centennial and Ahtanum. Also brought back 6 Wyeast smack packs, put into my checked bag with cold packs. Colds packs were still cold when we arrived some 14 hours later. I'll make starters for sure though. Stir plate and all that.

Once those run out, hops and yeast via mail order. Place in Belgium sells nice German and Brit hops and Wyeast and I think White Labs. Freshops said they'll ship to me here. Grain from a really nice Aussie guy. He moved to Slovenija and started a little craft brewery there. We've been in e-mail contact but haven't met him yet. Anyway, he'll be selling me Maris Otter. Which is amazing. That's my favorite grain and here I am in Zagreb and I found it. I was ready to drive to the Czech Republic if need be for some Moravian barley. But that ain't exactly close. For Slovenija, though, I'll drive up. It's maybe a 90 minute drive. And if the yeast and hops through mail order don't work out, he's going to be starting a homebrew mail order place up there eventually, so I can order through him and drive up. Getting that sorted had to involve some higher power. Grain was my biggest worry with all that heavy weight.

Curious to see what I have to deal with at the border though.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:59 PM   #8
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BTW, this is the place in Belgium:

Brouwland - make your own wine, beer, liqueur and cheese

They have a ton of stuff. Great! Check out how cheap those Hersbrucker hops are!

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:16 PM   #9
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I love me some croatian cevapcici and I bet it would go great with some homebrew (or Erdinger for that matter)!...

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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I love me some croatian cevapcici and I bet it would go great with some homebrew (or Erdinger for that matter)!...
Yeah, absolutely.

For those who don't know:

Ćevapčići - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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