Craft beer and history blends perfectly together in Latvia. Every country has it’s own unique beer culture and Latvias craft beer scene distinct itself from others with it’s connection to history. Both breweries and beers have Latvian names with historic references which make the pronounciation complicated but after a few beers it’s either easier to pronounce them right.
Latvians love their history and they tell it through their beer. Every time you ask about a label or a beer name you end up with listening to long stories so before you ask make sure you have a big glass in your hand.
Riga is the perfect weekend getaway, not too big but it has lots of things to see and taste. The craft beer scene is in full swing and beers are perfectly priced. Most craft beers cost around 4-5 euro the glass. The old town in Riga is small and cosy with many beautiful buildings to watch and its just by the river.
The best tap rooms in Riga
There are both microbreweries making Czech beers as well as excellent tap rooms in Riga. Most breweries are a located far away. So let’s focus on the places in Riga where you can sample craft beer.
There are both microbreweries making Czech beers as well as tap rooms in Riga. Most breweries are a bit outside of town or far away so if you want to smell the brews you need a few hours extra. There are a handful of breweries that has made 40-80 beers each so the beer scene is still developing rapidly. These are the best places to get hold of craft beer in Riga.
Valmiermuiza has their brewery in Valmiera which is an hour drive from Riga. Their tap room in Riga is the place to visit to sample their beers. Valmiermuiza has brewed around 50 beers so far and their lagers, ales and ipas are very popular.
This is the best place to start. Its a few minutes bus ride or a 20 minutes walk from the old town. Its within a small cluster of bars and beer places situated in a few old buildings with a common garden with outdoor seating and music events during summer week ends.
Valmiermuiza is just on the outside and has a small terass but you can also sit inside. The supply of beer is incredible and all the breweries in Latvia are represented here as well as many European breweries. There are 24 taps with excellent prices, in particular if you order the 3 liter growler, it becomes very affordable. They serve everything from ales to imperial sours and if you are hungry they have some cold cuts, cheese and snacks. If Uldis Lisics is there, you are in the best of care since he knows everything about the Latvian beer scene.
It’s both the name of the bar and their brewery. Labietis has made over 80 different beers and they brew very good barley wine and imperial porters.
Labietis bar is just on the other side of the building with Valmiermuiza. Its a vibrant tap room with a spacious outdoor seating. Its crowded on week ends and beer lovers of all ages gather in the bar or outside to enjoy beers on tap and socialize. Durings weekends they need two people to constantly pour out beer since the line to the bar is an nervendeing stream. There is also braggot and mead on tap which is significant for Latvia. Mead is made with honey and braggot is a beer made of both honey and malt.
Craft beer station
Craft Beer station is a new bar in a 20 min bus ride from town. Take bus nr 3 or 20 and then walk a few hundred meters to reach Craft beer station. It’s in a large suburbe with old high rises and the area looks a bit run down. When you enter it becomes clear that the connection between the name and the interiour design matches well. It’s a train station. It’s fresh and modern which surprises the visitor when the surrounding area feels like something from the old Soviet era. The impression is a bit rough for sure so it’s a pleasant surprise with 12 taps and a screen showing the current beers. They have often a few taps with Polish craft beers but mostly Latvian crafts. You can also choose between 20-30 beers on bottle from thge fridge.
Stargorod is close to the river and a big brewpub making three styles of Czech beers. Entertainment and music can be loud during week ends but they have Czech styled food and beer.
Kwakinn has two restaurants in the old town of Riga, both of them serving around 20 beers on tap. Mainly classic Belgian beers like leffe, La chouffe, hoegarden and chimay are served. Just a handful of local craft beers are availbale on bottle.
Zobens un Lemess
The ultimate place for black/death metal and beer. A small but very personal and intense pub with a bar owner that opens your beer with a sword. This is not for the people looking for a romantic and peaceful bar.
The bar is just a few hundred meters from Labietis and Valmiermuiza and they have a few craft beers on tap and also a fridge with good local crafts.
Complicated beer names, cool labels and perfectly priced beer should attract any craft beer traveller. You can easily travel to Riga with either regular flights or with low cost carriers. For example Ryan air is flying to Riga from Budapest, Gothenburg and London. Buses and trams are easy to follow with live updates on google maps.
Went to Labietis a long time ago and those memories still stick to my heart 😀