Many people who visit Santorini know about the large number of vineyards on the island, and the great quality of the Assyrtiko grape. If you visit and want to sample Santorini beer, you’ll generally be offered other Greek beers such as Mythos or Fixi. Unfortunately, not a huge selection! Luckily a small microbrewery has been founded on the island to offer its inhabitants and visitors some variety from the more traditional brands.
In 2011, a small but passionate international group of people got together to establish the Santorini Brewing Company, makers of the famous Crazy Donkey brand. A brewer from Serbia (Boban Krunic), an Oenologist from Greece (Yiannis Paraskevopoulos), a brewery owner from England (Steve Daniel) and a multi-talented American (Maida Anderson) aimed to create new and unique Santorini beer experience. It was a risky venture to create a brewery on an island known for its wine, that was still detrimentally affected by the economic situation.
How is this Santorini beer made?
Malted barley is milled and then mashed, which creates the liquid that is boiled with hops gathered from all over the world. Yeasts are added to start the primary fermentation process. Large storage tanks are the location for secondary fermentation, with sugar added that’s created by the natural brewing process. The beer is unfiltered, unpasteurised and free of preservatives which gives it its unique taste.
Tell me more about this Santorini beer…
Being the only microbrewery on the island (they started brewing in 2014) these ‘lagered ales’ have attracted a lot of attention. Currently there are five beers to choose from. Crazy Donkey was the first IPA (India Pale Ale) produced in Greece. Large amounts of Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops create an aromatic bitterness that is an immediate hit (unfortunately its brewed in limited quantities). Yellow Donkey is a blonde brew with a citrusy, bitter taste and is made using hops from Slovenia, the USA and New Zealand. Red Donkey is a red beer made with hops from Slovenia, Washington USA and New Zealand, and Belgian yeast. It has a tropical taste, and also comes in a champagne style bottle if you’re having a nice romantic meal.
Lager and beer afficionados should try and get their hands on the White Donkey (its seasonal and very limited edition), a Weiss beer brewed with both wheat and barely malts. Hops from Australia are blended with Austrian hops (and some secret ingredients) to create a totally original result. The taste is fresh, with exotic citrus aromas and a bitter finish. Slow Donkey is a barrel-aged bottle conditioned ale, produced only once or twice a year in very limited numbers. It is matured slowly for five to six months in oak and acacia barrels that previously held Santorini wine (made from the famous Assyrtiko grape), which leads to rare, dense beer that is almost a wine/beer hybrid. It’s only available at the Brewery, a great reason to add a visit to your itinerary.
When you visit, you can take a tour of the brewery, have a beer tasting session and visit the shop, where you can buy a whole range of merchandise including T-shirts, accessories and other souvenirs (don’t forget to pick up some Crazy Donkey for the rest of your trip, and for family and friends)!
You may arrange an appointment ahead of time by contacting the brewery by phone on+30 22860-30268 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Brewery is open Monday – Saturday, from 12:00 until 17:00 (closed on Sundays). There is no charge for visiting the brewery.
To visit the Santorini Brewing Company website click here