The afternoon of day two of my brewery trip around Lithuania was wearing on. So, it was time to move on to my third and final brewery of the day, and of my visit. The final destination was Craft and Draft Brewpub in Vilnius.
The Three Gediminas’
As my fun and energetic visit to Kuro Aparatūra came to a close, sadly Tomas also had to leave me to go open his bar in Kaunas for the evening. Thankfully he dropped me off at my final location before heading off, so I knew where I was going.
Craft and Draft Brewpub is located in central Vilnius, and is the former sister venue of Avilys in Kaunas. Both venues used to produce on-site the specialist honey and lager beers. However, Craft and Draft is now under new ownership.
As I reached the brewpub, I was introduced to the Brewmaster Gediminas Navickas (my third Gediminas of the day!). Immediately, there were some visual differences to Avilys. Facing immediately above the main entrance are some conditioning tanks. The mash tun and kettle were right next to the stairs before you entered the bar area. I imagine it smells amazing on brew day!
Beer for Beer Drinkers
Like Avilys, production here is around 500 litres. If they wish, they can brew twice in one day. They also have four fermenting vessels at their disposal.
There are other differences, though, to its former sister venue. Where Avilys focused on the honey beer and the lager, Gediminas at Craft and Draft has broadened the horizons of what is produced at the brew pub.
They still have a honey lager amongst their beer choice. However, it is accompanied by ‘Bright Future’ and ‘Dark Past’, light and dark lagers respectively. These are also fitting names for anyone who understands even just a little of Lithuania’s history with the old Soviet Union. Joining the lager is ‘Little Devil’, their IPA. They also produce seasonal specials.
Gediminas told me that he “tries to make beer for beer drinkers”. The range produced here is testament to Craft and Draft trying to cater for the beer drinkers’ palate.
200 Years Old
We continued our tour of the brew pub and Gediminas told me a bit more about their tools, process and the venue.
Also like Avilys, they have maturing tanks that the beer is transferred to once it has completed fermentation. When ready, they are then able to make the beers available immediately on the bar. This makes for some super fresh beers!
The building itself is around 200 years old and became Craft and Draft just 2 years ago. Apparently, it also one of three brew pubs that exist in Vilnius. I will have to seek out the other two.
The ‘Craft’ in the venue’s name doesn’t just relate to the beer. They also develop their own food recipes and create almost everything on-site. Including down to things like sauces.
As we walked through our tour, Gediminas poured me two beers direct from the fermentation tanks and then, later, at the bar. The freshness was clear, however the thing that also came through was quality. Like many of the others I met during my trip, Gediminas is passionate about taste and quality.
I tried the honey beer, which naturally had similarities to the one brewed at Avilys. In this particular version, they use 50kg of honey at the fermentation stage. The result is a refreshing, light honey beer, that wasn’t overly sweet as some honey beers can be.
Next up was the refreshing and crisp 4.6% ABV ‘Bright Future’. This one showcased German hops. I then tried their IPA. This was a classic American West Coast style IPA, which featured all US hops – Citra, Centennial and Simcoe. It was also dry-hopped to add the extra bit of aroma and taste.
My final beer was a Belgian wheat beer, brewed with coriander and orange peel. This was a refreshing palate cleanser (especially after a day trying lots of beer!) and a good beer to finish on.
Gediminas was a fantastic and knowledgeable host, who is passionate about his craft and was so willing to share everything with me about the beers and the venue. For me, it was really great to see a brew pub of this size experimenting and offering a range of different beer styles brewed on site.
As we did our beer tasting, Gediminas also introduced me to Aldona. Gediminas is the Brewmaster and recipe developer for the Brewpub, however Aldona does the day-to-day brewing. Although her English was limited (as is my Lithuanian!), it was great when she joined us for a beer. You could see how she was also passionate about quality and taste. These two made a great team.
A Thank You or Two
Over the course of two wonderful days, I got to visit seven awesome breweries, and the brilliant people who run them. Here are my posts on the trips to Apynys, Avilys, Genys, Kauno Alus, Sakiškiu Alus and Kuro Aparatūra.
I want to extend a huge thank you to Tomas Savickis, who helped arrange and guide my visits across Kaunas and Vilnius. I first met Tomas a few years ago after coming across his bar in Kaunas – Vingiu Dubingiu Alude. Just a few minutes’ walk away from the hotel I usually stay in. Since then, it’s been fantastic to share our beer passion together when I’ve been visiting Kaunas.
I’d also like to thank him and Tomas Josas, who runs Bar Prohibicija in Vilnius, for giving me my first international opportunities at hosting beer events, in their bars. It was great to have both events so well attended and the experience was invaluable.
My final thank you goes to everyone who I met on my two-day journey. Everybody was so welcoming and friendly. I’m really grateful you all took the time out to talk to me about your breweries and beers.
It really was a fantastic trip, and I’m already looking forward to what Tomas may have in store for me on my next trip!If you enjoy reading our content, please consider sharing with your friends using the sharing buttons at the bottom of each post. Also, you can subscribe to receive notifications about new blog posts via email. Simply enter your email address into the 'Subscribe to Mike's Tap Room' box at the top left of this page.