is it hops?

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This post is about having some Zaječarsko beer in Zaječar. I also try to visit the brewery, but I only get as far as the gate.

The whole town smells like beer. Or rather: it depends on how the wind blows. Sometimes there is nothing, and then at other times there’s a strong smell of hops in the air. Or is it even hops? I don’t know. What I do know is that it smells like a place where I used to live, just downhill of the Hacker-Pschorr Brewery in Munich.


It’s because Zaječar is home to my favorite brand of Serbian beer: Zaječarsko. The brand has been around for more than 120 years, but it has since been acquired by Heineken.

I walk over to the brewery halfway expecting there to be a museum, a show room, or at least a souvenir stand. But there is nothing. Just the smell of beer (or hops?) that increases as I get closer. And at the end: a guarded gate. I take my daily selfie with the brewery in the background.

Then I go to a bar and order some Zaječarsko.

the bar

The bar belongs to Sladjon. He is sitting outside drinking with his friends. There is no question as to what beer one drinks in Zaječar. I hang out with them for a little while, and I learn that they are among the few people I have talked to in Serbia who like the current president. They also really don’t like NATO.

It’s a friendly conversation anyway, and we try not to dwell on politics. Sladjon loves his dog Blackie and his motorcycle. One of his friends is a successful football coach. And they all love Zaječarsko.



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