Nestled in Estonia’s capital of Tallinn lies the largest beer producer in all of the Baltic region, Põhjala.
This unique brewing operation deserves attention from both locals and visitors alike, and here are the reasons why.
First, the beer is good, and inventive. In their own words, this operation embraces a “particular focus on porters, barrel ageing, and ingredients from the forests of Estonia.” Põhjala’s cool foraged finds are highlighted in their aptly named “Forest Series,” which uses local botanicals and ingredients like lingonberries, birch syrup, mushrooms, pine needles, spruce tips, and more.
And of course Põhjala’s regular rotation of core beers do not disappoint either. Those include styles like Pilsner, Rye Ale, Gose, IPA, and the aforementioned Porter. Additionally, the “Cellar Series” plays around with barrel aging in sherry, port, tequila, and bourbon barrels to develop layers of flavor in these beer options.
Secondly, they have a new brewery and taproom. This taproom features a delightful North American chef who dishes up authentic Texas BBQ. Daily menu specials show innovation in the kitchen, and you just might spot U.S. Embassy employees getting their fill of home at the bar.
Those interested in a brewery tour can register online ahead of time for tours in either English or Estonian, every day of the week but Mondays. Tours of up to 20 attendees will take about 45 minutes and include a few samples of Põhjala favorites. Or, you can simply take a seat in the spacious taproom and sip away without the tour aspect.
Lastly, location location location. In the about-to-boom Port Noblessner area, formerly where Soviet submarines were built, creativity is finding a new foothold. Besides the brewery, the area is home to cool shops, a funky nightclub, fine dining, a self-appointed “embassy of hedonism”, and so much more. Plus, the Estonian Maritime Museum pays homage to the past, while welcoming the upcoming development of this quirky neighborhood. Bonus points that it’s an easy ten-minute drive or less than 30-minute walk from Tallinn’s UNESCO-recognized Old Town area.
Overall, Põhjala impresses with excellent and creative brewing, a fun location, and a welcoming taproom. Be sure to give it a visit if you’re ever in the region or sample the beers stateside since it is available in select US markets. Cheers to the bright future of this Baltic brewery!