Korça E zeze beer, Leke 150 – in a bar in the centre of Saranda, 4.5%
There is a normal blond, more available, lager type of Korça beer that I prefer to most of the other beers on offer, but this dark beer is in a different league.
It reminds me very much of the home-brewed beers I made a number of years ago (the practice to which I have recently returned).
It’s a dark beer with a burnt caramel smell and taste, which is a pleasant relief if you are a bitter drinker and are fed up with the lager beers you get presented when out of the UK. It’s a light beer when compared to the likes of British stouts, not as opaque and allows the light to pass through so it looks like fresh and sparkling. Not being a stout it doesn’t have that creamy sensation that comes with drinking something like a pint of draught Guinness and therefore the after-taste doesn’t linger as long.
On the other hand, in comparison to British Brown Ales (if you can find them) it’s not as sweet and I think you could drink a few more of the Korça before the UK brown ales became too much of a challenge. (This point is based upon memory as I can’t remember the last time I even drank a bottle of brown.) And, importantly, as a bottled beer, it’s not too gassy and doesn’t make you feel bloated. (As I re-read that I realised that most out-of-Britain piss poor lagers are not as unpalatable as their cousins in the UK. I can only assume that in Britain CO² is cheap, that’s why we get a surplus of it.)
On the Richter scale it’s not a strong beer but it gives the sensation that it’s much more powerful than indicated on the bottle.
Not as readily available in bars as the lighter, lager version from the same brewery and you might have to look for it, but I think you’ll find the search worthwhile if you’re successful.
My favourite beer, so far, in my three visits to Albania BUT still coming a poor second to a good British Bitter – my only concession to British nationalism.