In short - PAGAN BREWS slogan, which has been decorating our bottles and merchandise for a year, most accurately describes what we - LABIETIS brewery on the threshold of its first decade - represent on the stage of the beer world. Including our roots, our perspective on the evolution of beer culture since prehistory, and the overarching guidelines we follow when we brew our beers. Below, more broadly, in a slightly manifest spirit.
ON THE FRONTIER OF THE BEER WORLD
If Europe can be more or less safely considered as the cultural centre of modern brewing, then Latvia has always been somewhat on the outskirts. We are the marginals. Christian culture came to us last and not completely. Unlike the rest of Europe, it has never been forbidden to brew beer at home. Also, Latvians have never replaced herbal healing with prayers, as elsewhere in Europe. This has made it possible to keep the tradition of collecting medicinal plants not only alive, but widely practised. Which Latvian does not have a jar of herbal tea he has collected by himself in his pantry at home?
We look at this heritage of ours with the eye of a contemporary brewer, who uses this tastable piece of cultural history of the Baltic Sea region for inspiration, but in the end brews the beer to meet modern tongue and quality standards.
BOREDOM OF THE SINGLE FAITH
Looking at the history of about 10,000 ancient fermented beverages, including beer, the belief that beer needs only three ingredients - barley, hops and water - is a novelty. And what is beer anyway? We believe that any fermented grain and herb drink can be called a beer. Hop is just one of the herbs that can enrich the taste of beer. Similarly, barley is only one of the sources of sugar - with us, beer can also be made from wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat, as well as enriched with honey or a variety of berries and fruits from the forest and garden. Beer is no place for prejudice!
TASTE OF PLACE or TERROIR
We don't know what beer tasted like 200 years ago, let alone earlier. However, one thing is certain that beer as well as other fermented beverages have always been mostly made from local ingredients. Like brewers since time immemorial, we also use local ingredients as much as possible in our beers, braggots and meads, because their taste is closer to our souls and therefore a better medium for you to taste a piece of our cultural history. Accordingly - if an ingredient is commercially available in Latvia, then we will use it. We use Latvian barley, wheat and rye malts, honey, more than 10 different local forest and garden berries and fruits on everyday bases, as well as wild yeasts caught by ourselves in our coolship. And, of course, almost 30 different local medicinal herbs besides hops. We also often use specialty malts and yeast strains from Europe, as well as hop varieties from around the world, for the best possible snapshot of our contemporary culture or to emphasise a historical flavour. But the basis of our endeavours is the desire to make organoleptic fixations of our environment in the widest sense of the words.
We return to the roots of Latvian brewing with modern taste and knowledge - local ingredients, traditional view on taste of the Baltics, at the same time with an open view of the world. Like an oak tree whose roots are deep in our land, but whose branches are caressed by the winds of the seas - a balanced taste of culture and nature.
Call us children of nature, call us modern savages, call us the pagans that brew.
Labietis beer team