Beer in Tbilisi

I’ve been holding off on posting this for long enough. I haven’t gotten to go everywhere and try everything, yet, but there’s always more to be done and if I wait until I do it all I’ll never post. So without further ado, here’s my long-awaited guide to Beer in Tbilisi.

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Taglaura

Taglaura is one of Georgia’s most renowned restaurants. It’s where Georgians take out-of-towners who come to Tbilisi looking for some good Georgian food and beer. I’ve been taken to Taglaura by at least three separate groups of Georgians, and I’ve been to all three Tbilisi branches of the restaurant.

So does Taglaura live up to its reputation? Well, sort of. Taglaura is pretty good. The food is pretty good, the beer is pretty good, the prices are pretty good, sometimes they have music and the music is pretty good… you get the idea. I’ve never had a single problem, a single dish that wasn’t good, or a single bad experience of any kind at any Taglaura I’ve been to. When my friends from out of town come to the city, I sometimes take them there. It’s just that for all the hype, there isn’t anything about the place that’s really fantastic. Good beer, good food, good time – but nothing mind-blowing, and as I’ve said before, you can get better and cheaper Georgian food and beer if you know where to look.

Of course, the real draw of Taglaura for me is that it’s one of the few places in the city where you can go to get dark beer. Taglaura makes its own beers – filtered, unfiltered, and dark – and like I said, the beer is pretty good. It can sometimes have a bit of a metallic tinge to it, and I think it’s a little on the thin side for a dark beer, but it’s drinkable and much more flavorful than the typical Georgian pilsener-style beer.

Of course, if you really want an amazing dark beer, you can’t miss…

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Kaiser Brau

Also known as the Bavarian Brauhaus, Kaiser Brau is a brewery located down in Old Tbilisi that serves German-style beers and German-style food. I’ve now tried their burger, their schnitzel, and several of their sides and apps, and I really enjoyed everything. The downside is that it’s fairly expensive.

However, the beer is fabulous. I’ll just excerpt my previous post: “Kaiser Dark was sublimely good. It was smooth and sweet and hoppy and profound, and it managed all this without hitting a single wrong note. It was what Sierra Nevada Pale Ale promises to be on the first sip but then never lives up to. It was never bitter, or astringent, or metallic, or really obtrusive in any way, but it still had a boldness that pilseners can never achieve. It’s a session beer for a lover of dark beers, which is a rare find in this world.”

Beers run about 3.20 lari for half a liter, which isn’t bad, considering how good the beer is.

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Hofbrauhaus and Bernard

Yes, there’s now a Hofbrauhaus in Tbilisi. It’s on Vazha-Pshavela, right across the street from the medical school, and next to a giant beer garden (Bernard) that serves a variety of other imports. I know, it’s a beer Mecca – but I haven’t actually been to either of these places. Hofbrauhaus is expensive, and, when I went there on a Friday night, it was also full and we couldn’t get a table. Bernard comes highly recommended, and of course I loved the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, so I’m going to be trying both of these places. If anyone else has tried them, let me know what you think.

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Mirzaani

I’ve been hearing good things about this place. Again, shamefully, I haven’t been to check one out, even though there are apparently *five* in Tbilisi. They brew their own beer, and apparently serve pilsener, wheat beer, and dark beer. I’ll definitely want to go for some wheat beer when it starts getting hot around here. There’s one located in the big shopping mall at Tbilisi Central (that’s the Vagzlis Moedani Metro) and a couple down by Marjanishvili.

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Beer Market Krombacher

This may well be the official name of the place, or not. They sell draft beer, which they dispense into plastic bottles for you to take home and enjoy. They have Leffe, Guinness, Harp, Bernard, Paulaner, Staropramen, Krombacher, and some other stuff, too. They also sell bottled and canned beers, along with some wine and liquor.

There’s one in Vake on Berdzenishvili Street, and another in Saburtalo on Tsintsadze Street a few blocks west of Pekini Avenue. Draft beers run about 6 lari per liter (Guinness is about 10).

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Anywhere

Georgian beer is ubiquitous. The most common will be Natakhtari, which can be had on tap for as cheap as 1 lari for half a liter, if you know where to go. Natakhtari is a delicious pilsener-style beer that I have never heard a single complaint about. I’ve also had Argo and Kasris in bottles, and enjoyed them both. Kazbegi is another major brand but I’m not too crazy about them. Efes Pilsener, from Turkey, is also sold at most bars.

There are also many European import beers available in some bars. The most common seem to be Lowenbrau and Krombacher. If you can get Budweiser, it’s definitely my favorite of the European imports, and if you order it you can then have the privilege of explaining to your friends that “Budweiser” actually describes three different beers marketed under different names in different markets due to the vagaries of 19th Century international trademark law, and the one you’re ordering isn’t the one from America. (Side note: the Czech Budweisers are both available in America – look for Czechvar and B.B. Burgerbrau, they’re both worth trying.)

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Drink responsibly!

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11 Responses to Beer in Tbilisi

  1. bensweeney says:

    This is a great list, but it leaves off two of my favorites, which you should check out. The first is Alani, an Ossetian restaurant near the abanos. They make their own beer, which can vary a lot in quality although it is usually very good (second only to Kaiser Brau). It is also a great restaurant in general, even mentioned in the New York Times – http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/travel/10next.html?pagewanted=2

    The other place is the Kazbegi Brewery (also known as the Beer Wall) on the embankment between the Marjanishvili Bridge and the bridge to Hero Square. There is a wall of windows on the side of the brewery where guys dispense beer straight from taps into bottles or plastic cups. The prices were the cheapest in the city, the beer the freshest, and the atmosphere pretty interesting. Kazbegi isn’t the best beer in the world, but the fact that it was so fresh and cold made it amazing for a summer’s afternoon hanging out on the embankment.

  2. pasumonok says:

    the beer wall is great only in summer. otherwise, it’s too cold 2 hang poutside. men gather in groups by the filthy river and consume beer. it is interesting. i took my american friend there last year–just 2 observe the beer drinking men as a cultural thing ๐Ÿ™‚
    additionallly, there’s a staropramen (did i spell that right?) bar on kandelaki.

  3. Richard says:

    Definitely try out Mirzaani! The wheat beer is awesome! The food is quite good too!

  4. Noel says:

    Unfortunately I cant remember the name and it maybe what pasumonok is referencing as the beer wall, but there is a place near the river that is run by kazbegi where they serve their new unfiltered beer and you can buy 2 or 5 liter bottles or more if you have the container of fresh beer for cheap. 1,000 times better that kazbegi’s normal stuff which has really dropped off since the owner of the business stop putting a great deal of money in it.

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  6. I’m going to start checking these places off my list tomorrow.

  7. George says:

    Golden mug is a microbrewery/restaurant. Very impressive! Fantastic food and the best beer I’ve had in a microbrewery restaurant. Service is top notch and the it is not very pricey at all.

  8. Scot McKay says:

    Just tried a craft brew today in Tbilisi called Black Lion that was pretty good. Haven’t seen it listed in any of the Georgian beer guides.

  9. Che Medrano says:

    hello guys. do you know any liquor importers in georgia?

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