Top 10 beers of the world: #9 – Zlatorog


zlatorog

Not only should a beer taste gorgeous, it should have a great name, label and story behind it. Stand forward Zlatorog, Slovenia’s number one beer.

I had my first Zlatorog in 2006 on a lads holiday in Zagreb, so had assumed it was a Croatian beer. But a few years later I was in Slovenia with Kat, and was pleased to be reunited with this green-labelled beauty.

I found out it is actually Slovenia’s best-selling beer (much better than the number two, “Union”), although it is exported throughout Croatia and the Balkans. Brewed by and sometimes referred to as Laško, I’ve yet to see it sold in UK bars or off-licences. There is a great story behind that great name…

Zlatorog is Slovenian for “Golden Horned-Chamois”. What’s a chamois, I hear you say. I had no idea either – apparently it’s a European horned mountain goat. Let’s stick to Golden Goat.

The story of Zlatorog is a well-known legend in these parts. The mythical beast lived on Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak in the Julian Alps, guarding the area’s treasure. One day a local hunter, in an attempt to impress a woman, shot Zlatorog and tried to steal the treasure for his beloved. Zlat survived, but when the sun glinted off his golden horns, it dazzled the hunter making him lose his footing, and he fell off the mountain to his death.

Zlatorog was enraged that anyone could be so nasty to him, so he ran off and gored his way through the valley, creating the gorgeous Triglav National Park and inspiring the ninth best beer in the world.

At 4.9%, and served on draught or in bottles, it’s a light, downable lager and while it may not trouble the top half of the table, it is tasty enough to feature in anyone’s top 10 beers of the world.

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Categories: SloveniaTags: , ,

14 comments

  1. I agree with this one. Someone in Ljubljana that beer drinkers are either Zlatorog or Union but can never be both – must be like United or City, Villa or Blues?

  2. I like this beer, its a good one! I actually found it on the menu at the Beer Cafe in Glasgow back in October. I asked for it, but they said they had run out. I was back in the Cafe in December only to find that they have removed it from the menu. Such a shame!

  3. One of my favorites too…. Being from Slovenia, I can have it anytime. But difficult to get elsewhere, except the Balkans basically

  4. Used to buy it in crates of 20 bottles at LCBO (Ontario, Canada), but now we only get it in cans. Cheaper transport fees… Since then it lost its punch, became sweeter It used to be my number one beer, but no more. I still buy some if I see it on the shelves, but I’m not as cheerful about it. I’d be curious to try if the bottled version still tastes as before, but I’d need to plan a trip to Slovenia. Maybe.

  5. I am not a beer lover, but for me, Zlatorog is not a really good choice. It is good for thirst, but not for pleasure. 🙂
    In Slovenia, microbreweries are currently very popular. Maybe next time when you come, you should try one of them. I haven’t yet, but I hear, that they are quite good. Bevog (Slovenian guy opened a brewery across the border in Austria) and Human Fish are two of the most known.

  6. I’ve actually just come across this article thanks to Michael Palin of all people. One of the most entertaining parts of his fantastic book “Around the world in 80 days” is when he onboard a Yugoslav freight ship from Madras to Singapore. The entire crew of Yugoslavians, including the captain, spend the entire journey absolutely hammered on the stuff and the anecdotes that result are the funniest in the whole book.
    Glad to have found a little bit of history behind what must be the most Martian sounding beer in the world.

    • It is a great name for a beer. Palin must have some superb drinking stories from his many travels – he’s acting in a straight role in a BBC drama at the moment which doesn’t seem right but he’s very good in it.

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