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