The brewing revolution is in full fomentation (or is that fermentation?). Craft brewers are creating exciting new flavor profiles and refining classic styles all over the world, from the tip of Tierra del Fuego to the shores of Iceland. Though Belgium, England and the Czech Republic have been leading the pint pack in the public's eye for years, the Baltic country of Estonia is one to watch. Say "Terviseks!" with a pint from one of these outstanding breweries in Estonia.

Great beer is nothing new in Estonia: Not only does the country have a rich history of home brewing, but it's also #4 on the list of countries that drink the most beer per capita, behind the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. However, until a few years ago, most of the pints that people were raising were lagers from foreign-owned domestic brewers. In early 2013, Tallinn-based Põhjala Brewery became the country's first craft brewery, demonstrating that people were willing to pay more for really good beer. Thus, the Estonian craft beer scene began, and it's only getting better. Want to experience it for yourself? 


Põhjala Brewery, Tallinn

via Facebook. Photo by Kati Treimann


Credited with starting the “craft beer” craze in Estonia, Põhjala consistently cranks out amazing beer. The Virmalised IPA (translation: Northern Lights) is as bright as its namesake, creating beautiful patterns on your palate as you sip. But see if you can get your hands on some of the special beers, like the Black Koivunen, a Finno-Ugric rye porter brewed in collaboration with Mallaskoski Brewery with birch sap and birch bark. Bonus: The brewery also organizes the Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend, which brings together more than 200 brews from more than a dozen countries, creating a nirvana for beer lovers.

Serva 28, Tallinn, Estonia 11618. +372 5663 4633; Facebook

 

Tanker, Harjumaa

via Website


Though only two years old, Tanker has made a name for itself in the beer world with the creation of Sauna Session. Made with real birch leaves, like the birch whips that are used in the traditional saunas, it tastes like a sauna smells. It’s unusual, with a strong birch aroma and flavor, but it put Tanker on the beer map. Try any of the 60-plus beers that you can find: The brewers are continuing to experiment with flavors and styles, including creating the first sour ales for production in Estonia. 

Hoidla tee 9, Vaida, Harjumaa, Estonia 75302. +372 504 6789; tanker.ee

 

Pühaste Brewery, Tartu

via Facebook


Pühaste Brewery started in 2014, before it had a permanent space. But the team opened its very own bricks-and-mortar brewery in September 2016, ensuring that this fantastic beer would continue to tickle the taste buds of beer lovers. Sourcing hops from around the world, Pühaste's beers are intensely flavored and true to style. Try the Mosaiik, which showcases the clean and bright Mosaic hops, or the Madame Butterfly, an amber ale brewed with Earl Grey tea and cornflower blossoms. 

Tähe 133c, Tartu, Estonia 51013. +372 5551 2113; puhastebeer.com

 

Õllenaut, Harjumaa

via Facebook


It might be the most patriotic of Estonian breweries. Using all-Estonian ingredients, from the water to foraged hops and rye malts that are typically used for bread, Õllenaut makes forcefully flavored beers that stand by themselves. Look for the distinctive character on the label, like the “old man” and “old woman”: a rye IPA with Estonian rye malt and a wheat IPA with wheat malt and Mosaic hops, respectively. Each beer comes with pairing recommendations, making it easy to enjoy Õllenaut with just about any meal. 

Pärnasalu 19, Saue, Harjumaa, Estonia 76505. +372 5656 3570; ollenaut.ee

 

Pöide Brewery, Saaremaa

via Website


You’ll have to make a bit of a trek for this beer, but it’s a great excuse to visit Saaremaa Island. Influenced by the cycle of the seasons, Pöide’s offerings range from fruity, summery brews to a rich rye beer that is an unfiltered amber, redolent with the aroma and flavors of the ubiquitous bread. 

Tolli 25a, Kuressaare, Saare Maakond, Estonia 93813. +372 525 3023; poidebeer.com

 

Hiiu Õlle Koda, Hiiumaa

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Located in the Kassari Resort on the island of Hiiumaa, Hiiu Õlle Koda provides one of the best opportunities to try the traditional farmhouse-style ales that Estonians have enjoyed for centuries. This rustic outpost provides visitors with a look at the history, traditions and techniques of Hiiumaa’s brewing culture along with some truly unique tastes. You won’t find any see-through lagers here: expect beautifully murky brews with plenty of malty color, fragranced with local ingredients. 

Kassari Küla, Käina Vald, Hiiumaa, Estonia 92111. +372 469 7169; kassarikeskus.ee

 

Lehe, Harjumaa

via Facebook


Brewing anything they want to, the brewers at Lehe offer something for almost any palate, from hoppy IPAs to options like the Little India pale ale, which clocks in at just 2.7 percent ABV. Check out the Chilsner, a pepper-infused pilsner, for a light beer with a spicy kick, or test your mettle with the Übermensch, a quintuple-session IPA that premiered at the 2017 Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend. At 20 percent ABV, it’s sure to be a literal knockout. Bonus: You can usually find Lehe for sale in bottles at the wonderful Tallinn airport, letting you take a taste of the Baltics home.

Paldiski Mnt. 21, Keila, Harjumaa, Estonia 76606. +372 528 9074; lehepruulikoda.ee


By Katie Coakley

Denver-based writer Katie Coakley is a craft beer drinker, inveterate traveler and outdoor adventurer. She's just as happy sleeping on a portaledge as in a five-star hotel. You can follow her travels on Instagram.