History of Beer Brewing in Birzai
Historians say that Lithuanians started to brew beer around 11 century. Home-made beer was usually brewed for festivals or when neighbors gathered for communal work, and sometimes also for funerals. In those times beer was made using yeast and sometimes sugar was added. To make the foam thicker, some brewers added peas into the recipe. Some regions of Lithuania were brewing beer using bread. In the old times brewing was mostly done at homes of local brewers. They were brewing beer for their own needs. But when someone needed a very good quality beer, they would call an expert into help, that is, the most famous brewer of the region and he would brew beer for a fee. Around 16th century beer became increasingly popular in Lithuania and the need arose to brew beer in an organized manner and in bigger quantities. At that time the first breweries in Lithuania appeared that needed to get permits from the Grand Duke of Lithuania. Even in those times, Birzai region in Lithuania was famous for the beer produced there. Historians have collected numerous songs, riddles, proverbs and legends about beer from this region. This proves the deep tradition of beer brewing in Birzai. In the old times, almost every family was brewing beer in Birzai, and each family had their own secret brewing technology that could only be passed from father to son. Many of the old brewing recipes have been preserved even to this day. In Birzai, beer had a very important function in the daily life of the people. It was brewed for happy occasions and for sad, for rituals and for traditional festivals. Beer was a very important means of connecting people in the village – it was the only drink that would bring people together and help them socialize. Beer was also helping people to carry on their family traditions. Beer was handed down from generation to generation with love, only from father to son. Throughout the ages, people from Birzai have revealed many of their beer bewing secrets. They brew beer with love and consideration, beer brewing is like a sacred ritual – this is the main secret of Birzai beer. Since the old times, the name of Birzai region was associated with high quality beer and especially with good strong beer. People even have a saying about Birzai beer: “one glass is not enough but two glasses are too much.“ Beer had magic powers, it was believed to be guarded by several beer gods. Beer was used for ceremonies and rituals, like for example „Sambarių“ beer: it was believed to bring better barley after the sowing of grain. During this ritual, all the people would bring their own barley and contribute to brewing „Sambariu“ beer. After the beer was brewed, village people gathered in a house decorated with flowers, they listened to the music, danced and drank beer. Today, „Rinkuskiai“ brewery still produces traditional „Sambariu“ beer. Beer was also a drink of death. A scoop of beer was usually placed into the coffin with the dead.
History of Rinkuskiai Brewery
Jonas Čygas was one of the famous brewers in Birzai. He was well known for his high quality beer that he would gladly make for different occasions. He taught his brewing skills to his son, Rimantas Čygas. Rinkuskiu beer is created by Mr. Rimantas following his father‘s secret recipies and long traditions of the Birzai region in Lithuania. Rinkuškiai brewery was established in the year 1991. Today Rinkuskiai brewery is the 5th largest in Lithuania.
About Rinkuskiai Products
Only the finest natural ingredients are selected for production of Rinkuskiai beer: pure high quality water, original yeast, hops and traditional light malt. For some brands caramel malt is used. No peas, rice and other non-malt products are used for Rinkuškiai beer production. We do not add any water after fermentation. The smooth and refreshing taste of Rinkuskiai beer is created by blending the ingredients in a unique way and using natural fermentation process. Every brand of beer is brewed seperately from the very beginning. The wart is extracted from 100% barley malt, then the beer is fermented and matured for a long time without shortening the process artificially. Today‘s technology allows brewers to artificially shorten the period of time that beer needs to mature. However, in this case beer does not achieve full richness of flavour and the carbonation does not take place naturally. This is not acceptable at Rinkuskiai brewery, where beer is made naturally and with care. Rinkuškiai offers a wide assortment of beer – from light lager to strong stout beer. The brewery puts great emphasis on beer quality that is strictly monitored every day. Rinkuškiai offers its customers several new brands of beer each year. The beer is bottled in 0.33 liter and 0.5 liter glass bottles. Rinkuskiai is currently exporting beer to the United States, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and several African countries.