Made in Cyprus
Following my discovery of Octopus Craft Beer at Woki Wok in Paralimni, I called owner Taras so I could find out more, I was intrigued to find they were a local company based in Sotira, not far from my home in Ayia Napa. On arrival, where I would normally get offered a coffee, Taras launched straight into the beer tasting … I love my job!
Cool Fresh Beers
Already converted to their ‘Session IPA’ blend, I next tried my first ‘Cyprus Grape Ale’ and I must say, I was now even more impressed. With my craft beer in hand, Taras, explained as he poured another taster from one of the taps attached to the side of a fridge, “we designed this purposely built refrigerator to keep the kegs cool, so that the craft beer stays fresh”, I thought ‘that’s novel’.
Then Taras showed me their little museum explaining the history of beer. His collection of Beer Goblets & Glasses, an insight into just how many years ago we started brewing beers, which believe it or not was the bronze age, but Cyprus was in fact one of the first countries in the world to start brewing beer some 3,800 years ago. He showed me the first tin goblet, the oldest in his collection found in Germany dating back to 1771 and the eldest beer bottle dating back to 1807.
My first question as always was why ‘Octo Microbrewery’ and Octopus Beer? Ukrainian born Taras said, “we’ve brewed beers in many parts of the world, gaining the experience needed to create quality craft beers, unique, fresh, unpasturised and decided to settle in Cyprus to open a Craft Brewery, mainly because we believe it has the right culture and Cyprus produces some of the finest ingredients required to create unique limited editions, full flavoured, craft beers.
Taras explained, “We found the old Prime Micro Brewery in Sotira, they were the first of their type in Cyprus and as they’d moved on some years back, we took over the brewery added our extra touches and a little more technology so we could get it perfect. We wanted to have a Greek name and one night while eating Octopus with our beer, we thought, we’re a local brewery and the Octopus is a very Cypriot thing, it’s a smart and interesting character and ‘Octo’ is 8 in Greek, so we decided to call our Brewery after the Octopus or the number 8 and that’s how Octo Microbrewery was born and of course you’ll find our Octopus logo on all our beers.
Taras explained there’s 3 of us and it was beer that brought us together, all friends for many years, Michaela and myself linked up with Czech beer master Roman Kozak, famous for his Beer School and Michele Cartaino the infamous Italian master brewer and we decided to make a Cyprus Grape Ale using ‘Xynisteri Grapes’ and one of the best places to do that was Cyprus because we have some of the best grapes in the world on this wonderful island … Check out their Video here
I asked why their beers are so good; Taras explained, “The biggest difference of Craft Beer is it has more flavour and taste, mainly because it’s not filtered or pasteurised, making it a much richer flavour. Craft Beer is like a finger print because we never brew our beer in a bad mood, that’s how we are here at Octo and we hope you are just like us” …
Taras continued, “We’re always looking for new recipes, always experimenting and trying something new. We only brew with quality ingredients, but with attention to detail and lots of love for what we do. In fact many of our bottles are numbered and of a limited edition”.
Taras told me; “creating craft beer is an art based on using old traditional brewing methods with modern technology, allowing us to get it just perfect! Here at Octo we grind our malts, add perfect water, start to make the ‘porridge’ as we call it, the water has to be perfect, for Lager its soft, for IPA its harder, then we heat it, wait, heat it again, wait, heat it again, then pause”, and he continued to explain the very lengthy process of creating such quality craft beers and I now understand that drinking craft beer is different, it’s fresh, with flavours you don’t get in mass produced beers. Often as not its quite unique with limited editions, that are obviously a little more expensive than a normal pasteurised beers.
What I really liked about this Brewery is their mission to bring craft beer in Cyprus up to a new level. And as it’s only a carefully selected list of places that you’ll find their beers, with only about 70 commercial clients in Cyprus at the moment, serving an ever growing market of craft beer drinkers … Here’s the places selling Octopus Beers
One of the best ways to try their beer is at a tasting tour at the micro brewery. They will happily welcome a group of you and your friends to the microbrewery in Sotira to have a little taste of their craft beers. Preferring groups of 6 to 10 people, for tours on Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays, by arrangement only. If there’s only two of you, give Taras a call anyway and mention What’s On Cyprus and you might be in for a nice surprise … Check out their reviews on TripAdvisor
Taras also explained that beer is more popular than wine because they only make wine once a year, whereas beer can be made all year as you just add grain to water. Then you add the required ingredients to get the flavours you need, to end up with the results you want. So I grabbed a couple of bottles of each of their 6 different beers and myself and Louise shared one to accompany dinner each night and I’m now one of the converted, appreciating beer with food, just like I would a fine wine! My favourites the Session IPA and the Cyprus Grape Ale, you really must try them.
Taras’ family own their own farm and cheese factory in Ukraine, of course a compliment to a glass of wine or in fact a good craft beer. He gave me a couple of cheeses to enjoy at home to try with their beers, so when you go for a tasting do ask him for a cheese or two to try to and don’t forget to mention What’s On!
Open all year
Monday to Friday: 9 am ’til 4 pm
Saturday & Sunday: By Appointment only
List of Stockists
You’ll find Octo Microbrewery at Georgiou Karaiskaki, on the Industrial Area, Sotira, 5390 … Click on the google map icon below …
GPS: 35.019109, 33.933616
Craft beers made with love!