Another Sunday, another country. And this time it’s Croatia, a country in the shape of a deformed banana with a somewhat tumultuous history (thanks Wikipedia!), and about 4 million people (20% of whom live in the capital Zagreb).
Originally split between the Roman empire’s provinces of Dalmatia (famed for spotty dogs) and Pannonia (possibly invented saucepans?), the area was invaded by the Croat people (the origin of whom seems uncertain) in the 7th century. Initially a vassal state of the Franks (Black and Spencer), Croatia soon became a Kingdom. It remained a fully independent country until the 12th century, after which it lost land to the Ottomans, fell under the overlordship of the Habsberg empire, was invaded by Napoleon’s mob, and finally became part of the Austo-Hungarian empire, with its borders changing many times in that period.
Gaining independence after WWI, Croatia decided to join with neighboring regions to form what would become Yugoslavia. Brutally occupied by the Nazis in WWII, Yugoslavia was re-established in 1945. Calls for autonomy or independence grew over the next few decades, until Croatia finally became a sovereign state once more after declaring independence during the in 1991 (although the war of independence rumbled on until 1995). Croatia joined the EU in 2013.
Today (or at least pre-Covid, and no doubt post-Covid too) tourism is Croatia’s biggest industry, accounting for over 20% of national income. Apparently naturism is really big here, although to the best of my knowledge naked beer ticking is yet to really take off. Both the tourism and naturism are driven by the long and gorgeous coast, but other highlights are the city of Dubrovnik, loads of Roman stuff, the Blue Cave, and (errm?) the Museum of Broken Relationships. There’s also Froggyland, a collection of “500+ stuffed frogs doing people things”. Ok then.
Croatia is very keen on its own beer, with 90% of beer drunk there being produced in the country, There are currently 115 active Croatian breweries on Ratebeer, along with a surprisingly high 11 meaderies, but just 4 cideries.
Although there’s an active and growing craft scene (with beers from The Garden probably being the easiest to find in the UK), pale lagers continue to dominate Croatia’s beer scene. The top selling beer in the country is a pale lager called Ožujsko. Funnily enough, Ratebeerians seem to think there are better beers than that from the country - the top-rated Croatian beers according to Ratebeer (all scoring over 4) are:
1 The Garden Imperial Affogato Stout The Garden Brewery
2 LAB Barba Imperial IPA LAB Split
3 Nova Runda C4 Nova Runda
The top raters from Croatia are all still actively rating, and are:
The people with the most rates were:
You’ll need 78 rates to get into the top 50 raters of Croatia brews.
So, what are your vital stats and stories from Croatia?