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.