By George Kassianos
A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces a small amount of beer. Exact definitions vary, but the terms are typically applied to breweries that are much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries and are independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterised by their emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing technique.
The Hadjicharalambous brothers – Stamatis and Loizos – behind the Prime Microbrewery in Sotira, Famagusta are now doing for a living what many thousands across the world must dream of – making beer. Their new venture is the result of a passion for brewing that has been in their mind since 2008 and was influenced by their love of beer. Loizos says he got the bug from travelling abroad, while the brothers have been home brewers for more than four years.
Stamatis and Loizos are among many beer lovers around the world who are turning their hobby into a profession. Beer sales globally are down but are up for quality beers. “It is massively exciting,” Loizos said when we visited the brewery. “We’ve now got more people interested in creating breweries in the country,” Loizos said.
It was through their travels abroad the brothers discovered quality beers, visiting and tasting numerous micros and brewpubs. They enjoyed some amazing beers. They were discouraged though by the taste of imported beer, possibly due to long sea transportation and long storage time in poor conditions. Stamatis and Loizos were seeking a different taste and character, one that suits the island. It was up to them to create it.
Prime is not the only microbrewery in Cyprus, there is also Aphrodite’s Rock brewery in Tsada, Paphos, but could they shift the beer industry’s attention to quality and not quantity? Either way, this is the perfect time to discover the artisanal brew.
After the difficulties encountered getting a government licence to open the brothers set out to make a beer with a different taste. ”There is no point for a small brewery to try to make a beer like other people make,” said Loizos. “We set out to try and make something very distinctive that people would drink and think ‘Oh, that’s different’.”
And, people are starting to wake up and realise that you don’t just have to drink tasteless mass-produced lager, and, there is actually some quality and variety out there.
Prime White 0.33cl Abv 4.5%
The style, according to experts, is Belgian Wit, bright light yellow colour the ‘white’ beer is designed and manufactured to celebrate the beauty of the aroma, the taste and the quality of Cyprus local fresh ingredients. Doughy on the nose, you can detect freshly ground Cypriot coriander, orange zest from hand peeled un-waxed Cypriot oranges together with fresh chamomile straight from the mountains, all beautifully combined with aromatic hops. A taste of Cyprus with every sip. 100% natural and unfiltered – a tip always serve with an orange wedge. Food Pairing: salads, poultry and fish dishes, amazing with shellfish! Cheeses: Monterey/ Pepper Jack, Brick, Edam, Feta. €1.20
Prime Pale Ale 0.33cl Abv 4.5%
This Pale Ale comes from a revered medieval recipe and it’s made with the finest variety of British hops and unparalleled malts. It has a hazy golden orange colour with thick, long lasting head. Well balanced and hearty, malty aromas with oranges, grapefruit and light citrus zest, flora, malt and yeast. The palate tastes of light citrus and hoppy bitterness, sweetish, lingering fruity and sour finish – this is a true Artisan brew to be enjoyed anytime. €1.15
Prime Amber Ale 0.33cl or 0.50cl, Abv 4.5%
The Amber Ale is made with a complex mix of nine supreme malts and three audacious varieties of American and British hops. Clear amber colour, there are fruity aromas, bready and malty on the nose. This orange beer explodes when opening the bottle, so there is a very large off-white head. A hoppy taste, more sweet than bitter, some sour but hardly any sweetness. Bitter remains when it comes up to the aftertaste. Medium carbonated, matured to perfection to satisfy the most demanding taste. €1.20/€1.45
Prime Golden Ale, 0.33cl Abv 4.5%
The Golden Ale is made only with noble varieties of hops and a delicious combination of supreme malts. Yeasty, slightly fruity aroma, yet crisp and clean on the palate. There is a slight amount of hop bite. Very effervescent, head lingers for quite some time. Very pale straw colour yet slightly cloudy due to the yeast in the bottle. Nice un-offensive beer, deeply refreshing that is a great alternative to the global lagers when you want something on the lighter side. €1.15
Prime Black, 0.50cl Abv 4.5%
The style is oatmeal stout – this is a freshly produce stout, produced by pale ale, CaraGold, Oats, Chocolate Malt, East Kent Goldings hops and Prime’s Lazarus Yeast. Pouring into a snifter glass, Prime Black has an inky-black appearance with creamy, tan head. The aroma is stout-like, comprised of fresh-roasted coffee beans with complementary graininess. In tasting, the beer has more of the same: fresh-brewed black coffee and deep roastiness with a hint of toast. The finish is quite bitter via the bittering hops enhancing the roasted malts. This stout has a medium body and a slight, but pleasant oiliness, likely from the flaked oatmeal addition. This beer is pretty clean on the palate, and combined with the dryness, easy to drink. In general almost everything will go well with this brew. Really great with game dishes, as well as hearty stews and grilled meats as well as with desserts that contain chocolate, caramel or dark fruits. €1.45