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 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.