There’s a new beer on the market in Georgia. It’s called “Zedazeni” and it sort of blows Natakhtari out of the water.
I’m not a Natakhtari hater – I’m a Kazbegi hater, actually, and I happen to like most Georgian beers – but this stuff is just a lot more flavorful.
Natakhtari has rebranded itself recently by making its labels white and gold. Not sure if this indicates a different flavor or brewing method or whatever.
In the past two years, beer markets have sprung up all over Tbilisi. Beer Market Krombacher and Beermania are two beer store brands, although they all seem mostly the same and may in fact be operated by the same company. They sell tap beer in sealed plastic bottles, along with various liquors, snacks, and meats. You can get import beers – Krombacher, Guinness, Leffe, etc. – from kegs for relatively low prices (i.e. not five lari for half a liter like you’d pay on Shardeni or Perovskaya). The wine they sell is also pretty good, especially the Kakhetian white. They have a wide variety of European imports.
The newest one I know about opened across the street from my school – on Kostava street, right next to the fast food Doner place and across Kostava from the Philarmonia. There’s also one in Vake, off Chavchavadze just past the Turkish embassy if you’re coming from the city center, and there are two really near each other on Saburtalo street in Saburtalo.
It’s interesting to me to note the increase in beer selection available in Georgia – both in the spread of foreign beer stores and the diversification of the local market. I wonder at the reasons behind this increase. It could indicate greater ties to Europe, greater interest in beer (which is a trend that has also been occurring in the U.S. for quite some time now), or greater affluence (more people with the money to buy foreign beers or the desire to show off their taste).
Now that spring has arrived, I am fond of stopping by the Vera Park beer tents after school. I usually finish at 5 or 6 pm, and it’s nice to sit in the sun and grab a beer before I get on the bus and head home. The Argo tent is my usual spot, although I’ve been known to hit up the Natakhtari tent as well. Beers are a lari and a half. The Argo tent also has good khatchapuri.
I think I will miss Vera Park when I leave Tbilisi.
Almost every Friday, I go to a friend’s apartment and drink beer and listen to music and socialize. One bottle of beer – at around 5 lari, which is around $3 – lasts me the night. When people ask me what I like about Georgia, I often forget to mention that the beer is cheap and the beer is strong. Georgia’s a nice country for socializing and relaxing and enjoying a beer.
Now if only I could figure out a way to import Sabrette hot dogs and Gulden’s mustard, my life would be complete.