The Cretan Brewery

Two years ago, when, we first stayed in Eastern Crete, I was thrilled to find out there was a local microbrewery. Located in the village of Zounaki, 25 km from Chania, it turned out that The Cretan Brewery, was only 6 km from the villa we were staying at.

We visited a couple of times that year; the first for drinks and supplies, the second for food, drinks and supplies. You could either buy bottles to take away, or they’d fill various plastic containers direct from the taps. I bought a lot of bottles.

This year though, due to COVID-19, the only option for takeaway, was plastic containers, which was disappointing. Unfortunately, like a lot of breweries, they’ve had to dump a load of beer due to lack of demand, so weren’t bottling, my loss.

We visited a couple of time this year, both times for food. My wife and I both had the Blonde to start with, it’s slightly hazy, with a good balance between malt and hops, a decent body, smooth and not overly carbonated. It’s pretty much perfect beer for drinking in the late afternoon Cretan sun. The kind of beer that you have to be careful not to neck in a couple of gulps, as it slips down so easily.

We managed to find the Blonde all over Western Crete; with our lunch in Mesostrato, Chania; our dinners at Elaias Thea and The Well of the Turk, Chania; I even spotted signs for it at a taverna on the shore of Lake Kournas. One word of warning though, it was listed as the draft beer at a taverna in Palaiochora, but what they delivered to the table certainly wasn’t what we ordered, looking and tasting like Alfa.

We didn’t just drink the Blonde. The American Pilsner was very pale, with a thinness to the body and flavour. The Charma Cretan Ale was slightly darker than the Blonde, but otherwise initially similar in mouthfeel, a touch maltier though, with a noticeable herby flavour at the end. Unfortunately the Pale Ale had just been replaced, so we didn’t get to try that this time, which was a shame, as I remember it being really good.

As for the food, I went for their Vegetarian Cretan Mezé, which had a bit of everything, plus a side order of herby wedges. I was so stuffed I barley had room for more beer. The kids went for one of the chicken dishes, the one cooked in the Blonde, they loved it and ordered it both times they were there.

If you like your beer and find yourself in Crete, I was definitely recommend hunting down some of their beer. If you’re staying near Chania, then I would absolutely recommend a lazy, late afternoon visit for some beer and food.