Take sip of Trump, Putin: Lviv brew­ery sells ‘po­lit­i­cal beer’

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - WITH ALYONA ZHUK [email protected]

LVIV, Ukraine — Ar­gu­ing about pol­i­tics over a glass of beer has just be­come much more fun in Ukraine.

Pravda, a brew­ery from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, re­leased a new line of po­lit­i­cal-themed beer. Its new beer fla­vors are named af­ter Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, U. S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, U.S. ex-Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

These are the world lead­ers, who, whether they want it or not, af­fect Ukraine’s life, ac­cord­ing to a co-founder of Pravda brew­ery Yuriy Zas­tavny.

When it comes to craft beer, peo­ple pay at­ten­tion not only to the taste, but also to its bot­tle and la­bel de­sign, Zas­tavny be­lieves.

“Ev­ery bot­tle of beer is like a tiny mes­sage,” he says.

The four fla­vors from the “Po­lit­i­cal Beer” se­ries that are ded­i­cated to four for­eign politi­cians have one thing in com­mon — ac­cord­ing to Pravda man­age­ment, each of them has let Ukraini­ans down in a way.

Po­lit­i­cal fla­vors

Obama Hope is an Amer­i­canstyle stout with choco­late and cof­fee fla­vor. On the bot­tle’s la­bel Obama sits in a big leather chair, while U. S. Sen­a­tor John McCain stands be­hind him, wear­ing a vyshy­vanka, or Ukrainian tra­di­tional em­broi­dered shirt.

The idea came to the Pravda’s staff when Obama still was the U.S. pres­i­dent and was, ac­cord­ing to them, “hes­i­tat­ing to pro­vide real help to Ukraini­ans” to fight back Rus­sia’s ag­gres­sion.

“He has all the chances to go down in his­tory as the one who has slept through every­thing,” Zas­tavny said.

This beer re­ceived the bronze award at the World Beer Idol com­pe­ti­tion in 2017.

Obama’s suc­ces­sor, who’s only been in the pres­i­dent’s seat for five months, also got a beer named af­ter him. To mark his “in­fa­mous presidency,” Pravda brewed an im­pe­rial Mex­i­can lager with limes called Trump.

“It was a mock­ery,” Zas­tavny said, re­fer­ring to the choice of Mex­i­can lager for Trump, whose main prom­ise dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign was to build a wall on the Mex­i­can bor­der to stop il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

“Re­fresh­ing, with that beau­ti­ful hint of nat­u­ral lime fla­vor, this beer will make you build a wall around your own heart,” Pravda’s web­site says.

The Frau Ribben­trop wheat beer with a cit­rus aroma and sub­tle bit­ter­ness de­picts Merkel wear­ing a pur­ple suit.

The text on the beer’s la­bel calls Merkel “the new Iron Lady of Europe.”

“From the very be­gin­ning of the war in Don­bas, Merkel in­sists on peace­ful con­flict res­o­lu­tion and re­fuses to sup­ply weapons to Ukraine,” the la­bel says. “…Germany tries to do im­pos­si­ble — to fight and to con­tinue busi­ness with Rus­sia at the same time. Danke Frau Ribben­trop.”

The name is a ref­er­ence to Joachim von Ribben­trop, a for­eign min­is­ter of Nazi Germany in 1938–1945.

The last “po­lit­i­cal beer” is a dry­hopped golden ale called Putin Huilo, which means “Putin is a dick­head” in Rus­sian. This chant was in­vented by the fans of Kharkiv Me­tallist football club in late March 2014, af­ter Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of the Crimea penin­sula.

Zas­tavny ad­mits there is a risk that some of the politi­cians can be dis­pleased and make a move against Pravda brew­ery, how­ever, this risk is small.

“Not a sin­gle clever per­son will ever feel of­fended over such things,” he said.

Pravda brews 1,500–2,000 liters of beer per day, so not ev­ery beer from the po­lit­i­cal se­ries is avail­able at all time. Two or three of them are usu­ally in stock, Zas­tavny said. As of June 24, only Frau Ribben­trop and Putin Huilo were avail­able in Pravda store.

Ac­cord­ing to Zas­tavny, Pravda ex­ports its beer to Czech Repub­lic, Poland, Germany, Aus­tria, U.K. and Be­larus.

How­ever, many for­eign, as well as Ukrainian, tourists don’t waste the op­por­tu­nity to try the po­lit­i­cal beer in Pravda pubs, lo­cated in the very heart of Lviv and Kyiv — on Rynok Square and Khreshchat­yk Street re­spec­tively.

Users of crowd-sourced re­view web­sites Tri­pad­vi­sor and Foursquare have posted hun­dreds of re­views about Pravda pubs. Many have posted pic­tures of “po­lit­i­cal beer” bot­tles, prais­ing it for both satire and taste.

“Beer with a taste of hu­mor!” said user Dziyana K from Minsk, Be­larus, in early Jan­uary.

A man passes by a poster that de­picts Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel wear­ing a pur­ple suit in Pravda Beer Theater in Lviv on June 25. The poster is ded­i­cated to one of Pravda’s beer fla­vors called Frau Ribben­trop. (Volodymyr Petrov)

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