March 2023.

Reader “Duncan” is waiting eagerly for my report on Skopje beer. Sadly, it’s no Paraguay. Or even Paisley. Yet.

Mostly, in (many) restaurants and (fewer) bars you’ll find this;

It’s actually “Skopsko” (Macedonian: Скопско), and my attempts to ask for “c-konko, please” in bars and restaurants met with much hilarity. About £1.40 a half litre of typical southern European lager (think-Keo), it was OK after 3 days.

But you need to know about craft, what with the CAMRA AGM about to define “craft” in Sheffield this month, and I obviously turned to the internet for my own reseach.

Both Ratebeer and Untipped were inconclusive, but luckily there’s a digital nomad called Di who had blogged about Skopje recently, and try valiantly to talk you through the different names for the same places, often successfully.

Di (and Dan) had done their research and concluded there were 3 places worthy of a visit, but the one called “Cosy” had apparently disappeared and you should never trust a place called “Cosy” anyway.

So we did the two (2) places owned by the craft brewery.

One is the old town place near the bazaar on the right*.

and the other is Kolektiv, the Old Town brewery’s newer bar over the river in the giant (and largely empty) Macedonia Square.

It shares the square with a casino, Burger King and a some ramshackle shacks selling earnest novels and Dire Straits vinyl. Oh, and a huge screen where they show the national team beating Italy, I guess.

Mrs RM was making us go here for breakfast on account of the humorous sign (top), the equivalent of a board saying “Male creche” outside a pub in Solihull, I guess.

It was 10:07am, I was about to become the earliest pint drinker in Skopje (till Duncan gets there, anyway).

Not very crafty, but quit cosy, and my limited notes describe the “superb homebrew” (NSkopjeHomebrewSS 3.5).

Great coffees, and the omelette caprese with fresh bread was the first of many, many good meals in the Balkans that week,

and here’s the first bill, about £9.50 value fans. Actually, the beer on that ticket is Ckoncko, the national brand, isn’t it ? I give up.

The next night we headed up the steep little hill to the Old Town brewery,

quieter at 7pm than you’d expect, and with only a couple of their beers. Now these were homebrew, but a good attempt at a porter and a peppery pils.

Really good, helpful service, and very cheap beer snacks here, and the joy of foreign tourists (probably Danes) clapping to “Smooth Criminal” as the jukebox went through the whole of Jacko’s Greatest Hits.

It feels a bit like a treehouse. Oooh, now which Wolverhampton classic pub does this remind you of ? (if the tree was in the loo).

If a tree in the bar says “trad pub” (it doesn’t), then a swing for a seat says somewhere very crafty, like Halifax. Or Crewe.

Go on ! Sit on the swing” urged Mrs RM yesterday, looking for blog material in Kantina just behind the Architectural School, and recommended by Imogen of worldwide_wanderer fame who we’d met on the bus from Pristina.

They had craft beers here, bottled stuff from Pivolabs. Looks like Casey was doing the same on Untappd today.

Genuinely good murk, this, and I suspect the only barrier to this and other interesting stuff popping up in the dozens of small cafes in Skopje is price. These bottles cost more (250 Macedonian denar, £3.60) than a pasta or pizza dish anywhere in town.

But never mind the beer, it’s the culture you want to read about, isn’t it ? Isn’t it ?

*Yes, I know that the word on that map looks like cr*p but it’s actualy cr*ft.

11 thoughts on “CRAFT BEER IN SKOPJE

  1. Those swings may be the most dangerous looking bar seats I’ve ever seen. Almost asking for a lawsuit. They must be very professional drinkers to manage those. Impressive.


  2. Strange how Skopje hasn’t gone a bit more home brew craft crazy. We were so fed up of Skopsko and Zlaten Dab after a week in the country, so sipping the stout in the brew pub was a delight when we reached the capital.
    Looking forward to seeing your pics of Pristina.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will get to Kosovo by the weekend, Nick. Pristina had some really fantastic bars, but even there it was a choice of half a dozen beers that felt a bit like Camden/Meantime if you get my drift. Never seen so much coffee drunk, well into the night.

      I never had the Zlaten Dab !


      1. A Zlaten Dab promo team swept into the first bar we went to and gave me a baseball cap and keyring, so I’m fiercely loyal to them!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “now which Wolverhampton classic pub does this remind you of ? (if the tree was in the loo)”
    I was very nearby and should have gone there on Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Green King Black IPA if I remember correctly.
        I saw Holdens 101 Black Pale Ale in the Great Western on Monday.


    1. I sense time will bring bottles to the growing number of bar-cafes in the newer part of the city, a string of bars just north-west of the main square. I doubt you’ll be seeing keg taps on the wall though.


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