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Attachment to a single city might seem dull, but living almost a decade in Vilnius has taught me something – a sense for good beer. Both beer in terms of the revolutionary global craft beer scene and in local terms, specifically the world of traditional Lithuanian farmhouse ales.

For a country as small as ours we can be more than proud of our deep brewing roots and close cultural and social connection with beer in our everyday life. It’s a mix of things that makes our country a delight for beer hunters, and there’s no better place to dive into the local beer waters of Lithuania than our capital Vilnius.

Vilnius Beer Bars

The Beer Library (Alaus biblioteka). If you feel like you’ve tried every beer and nothing can surprise you anymore, just go to the library – not the typical one though. The Beer Library is the spot where you can obtain the highest literacy in the language of beer. A supreme selection of bottled beers from all around the world (up to 300 of them) and a solid offering of 17 rotating taps will provide a comprehensive education. And if you’re up for the the challenge, open a library account and collect stamps of all the beers you’ve tried. Once you’ve filled up your ‘account’, you’ll be awarded the main prize – the Beer Style Bible.

Vilnius Beer Guide The Beer Library Taps
Vilnius Beer Guide Beer Library Lamps

Alynas. A pour house with multiple locations in and around Vilnius and Lithuania, Alynas is one of the better places to fill your growler with a local brew. You will be greeted with a selection of at least eight taps offering more than enough choice to get your party started. Majority of the beers are Lithuanian craft or farmhouse ales, but if you saw a familiar name from an export tap, dig in, no judgement! Some folks like hanging around for a round or two, but the most common scenario is that you come in empty handed and leave with a few growlers of freshly poured beer.

Špunka. The heart of bohemian lifestyle in Vilnius, the area of Užupis attracts a lot of pedestrians. Fuelling yourself for the walk around the neighborhood should be done nowhere else than in Špunka, a trailblazer for the ‘quality over quantity’ beer culture in Vilnius. There’s less space than in some restaurant restrooms, but you couldn‘t feel more at home in any other bar in Vilnius. Grab a great brew from Dundulis and fit yourself in between strangers, artists, tourists and all other creatures of the night – there’s no better social environment to be in. Alternatively, switch to the larger, but still highly enjoyable Špunka in the Old Town on Etmonų.

Vilnius Beer Guide Špunka

Šnekutis. Loads of bars in Vilnius have more than a few taps of major beers from around the world, but just a handful of them can be proud to go fully local. And amongst those, even fewer go the route of pouring Lithuanian traditional farmhouse ales since they have the shortest shelf life. Šnekutis, a legendary character in the local scene, is balancing tradition and beer better than anyone else. There are three Šnekutis outposts in Vilnius and picking a favourite can be as hard as saying “nebeprisikiškiakopūsteliaujantiesiems” (the longest Lithuanian word ever). All are unique in their own way, but the common attribute is hearty local food alongside a grand selection of fresh, unpasteurized and unfiltered goodness from old school Lithuanian brewers.

Vilnius Beer Guide Šnekutis Bar

Alaus namai. Just a blink away from the touristic city centre and Old Town lies a basement packed with locals and gallons of Lithuanian beers. Same as the Šnekutis bars, this is one of the better spots to find yourself when looking for distinctive local farmhouse ales. This place is an institution for beer loving students and you will certainly meet a bunch of them later in the evening. Nevertheless, the strong crowds and healthy selection of local beers are the things that make Alaus namai so attractive.

Nisha. Craft beer is becoming a major influence in Vilnius and some places are gravitating towards the trendy side rather than high quality beer. Nisha on the other hand doesn’t compromise – it’s either great from the first sip or it’s not getting close to the tap list. Most of the beers here are gems from small Scandinavian and Baltic craft breweries, but they will surely be the first ones to demand the newest and most interesting Lithuanian brews that reach daylight. Wondering if the place is worth the visit? Check out their tap list online before going to be fully prepped for the hop treatment, especially when there are around 20 taps to choose from.

Vilnius Beer Guide Nishi Tap List
Vilnius Beer Guide Nishi Bar

Prohibicija. One of the newest places to open up, but more than experienced in the field of importing the best brews from Scandinavia and other European regions. To Øl, Munkebo and Lithuanian Sakiškių are their flagship brands so if you’re in search of a specific beer from these breweries you will most likely find it in their bar and bottle shop. Besides the current partnerships, they are constantly making connections with emerging top breweries and looking for new imports. Drinking beer on the spot is a no-brainer with eight taps and full shelves, but consider bringing some with you because this will give you a reasonable discount.

Vilnius Beer Guide Prohibicija

Alaus pirkliai. A small but cosy noise-free spot that has all the necessary elements for a joyful beer tasting. At first entry it might be more reminiscent of a coffee shop rather than a beer bar, an interesting coincidence, but they do have good coffee and even waffles on weekends. The other wonderful thing is the availability of Lithuanian cheeses, which are easily paired alongside the thoroughly curated beer bottles lining the shelves. The selection isn’t huge, but they don’t compromise on the quality of the beers. Though 99% of your choice will be bottles, they have a nice selection on their three taps.

Two other brewpubs worthy of a mention: Būsi trečias is defined by tradition and local eating habits. Generous portions of Lithuanian food are accompanied with beer brewed on site. Nothing fussy with the choices, a solid pair of two regulars: a sweet dark brew or a refreshing light beer. They also brew a brown beer that is matured for three months but sells out very quickly, so is rarely available. A few imports are also on offer if you’re searching for something familiar. The other brewpub is Leičiai, a long term resident on Stiklių Street that’s currently brewing around ten different styles, with four made by the owner himself. The beers here are served alongside traditional food as well. If you’re sweet to the staff, perhaps they’ll give you a peak of the brew house.

Gero alaus parduotuvė (a.k.a. GAP). A bottle shop that’s tied to a macro brewery, it nevertheless has a very good selection of bottled beers from around the globe. Mostly German, Belgian, UK and Scandinavian breweries are featured, with a very sufficient selection for even the pickiest beer geek. They host tastings ranging from a basic introduction to the beer world to a deep dive on a specific style. Another reason to visit is that buying beers here is a better bargain than in any of the bars across the city.

Vilnius Beer Guide Building Mural
Vilnius Beer Guide Old Town

Vilnius Breweries

Vilnius is four times larger than Paris by area and hosts more than a few breweries inside of its boundaries. However, the majority of the farmhouse and craft beer breweries are scattered throughout the country, so to highlight the most interesting breweries I’ve included Lithuania in general with Vilnius being the centre for all the malt liquid merchants to meet.

Sakiškių alusA microbrewery based about 20km from the centre of Vilnius, which was awarded the ‘Best Brewery’ and ‘Best Beer’ in Lithuania by RateBeer in 2016. Nothing strange about the success as they’ve been trying to push the Lithuanian brewing game to unexploited styles from the very beginning, even being the first to brew beers with lactic acid, which up to this day is highly uncommon for the Lithuanian beer market. I, like many other locals, am always impatiently waiting for the new ‘rabbit’ to jump out of their hat.

Vilnius Beer Guide Lithuania Uzupis Angel

Dundulis. A pioneering company that brewed the first commercial IPA style beer in Lithuania and it can easily be said that it built the foundations for the Lithuanian craft beer scene. Although being the first ones to make this world renowned beer style, they are actually not the typical craft brewery you might be thinking of. The main brewer has deep roots in brewing beer in his family, thus influencing the choice of styles to brew on a big scale. Dundulis as a brewery is always coherent with the Lithuanian brewing tradition, incorporating local ingredients such as juniper, wormwood and even rye bread. Besides loyalty to tradition they are still managing to stay true to customs while brewing within a global context.

Genys. You can always lay your bet on heart and soul, but sometimes you need top of the line gear to make things great. Genys was a gypsy brewery for a year and recently opened their shiny new brew house in Kaunas, which is currently the best equipped brewing facility amongst the microbreweries in Lithuania. After all the bumpy gypsy rides, this move will be the key to more consistency and innovation. New brews like a Chocolate Porter are a good testament to what their future holds.

Apynys. This brewery should also be on your beer tasting itinerary, specifically for their Green Monster IPA, which is single handedly the best micro-brewed IPA in Lithuania and an easy choice in some of the city’s bars (i.e. Šnekutis or Alynas). And if you’re lucky, try finding a bottle of the Moonshine Barrel Aged ROPA (Red Oceanic Pale Ale), which is a rarity, but you never know what you might find at the end of a rainbow.

Vilnius Beer Guide Alaus pirkliai

Going deeper into traditional farmhouse ale breweries is another huge rabbit hole as there are so many. But you certainly should write down the names of Jovarų, JoaldaKlausučių, Davra and Biržų alus. Or at least be brave enough to try anything you find in the category “kaimiškas“, which is simply farmhouse beer. And don’t run away if you don’t fall in love with the first one you try as every farmhouse is a new journey. You never know, maybe you’ll stumble upon the beer that you’ll never forget.

Raudonų plytų. First things first, this is a craft beer branch of the biggest beer producer in the country, Švyturys. I know what you’re thinking – it really is a common marketing strategy to ride the global craft train. Despite this, Raudonos plytos is a worthy mention as its beers are highly accessible and would be your safest bet if you end up lost in one of the lesser known bars somewhere in Vilnius. The brewery’s “Bocmano ūsai“ is the best version of commercially brewed macro IPA’s in the country, while its “Ryklio kavinukas“ is a brave and bold Coffee Stout.

Fresh additions to the list of breweries are Black Light Brewing and Kuro aparatūra. Both of these have presented a few brews to the public, but are not as widely spread as the others in the city. It’s kind of a small mystery for now what it’s store for them, but this will surely be solved in the near future.

Šarūnas is a blogger with Spotted by Locals Vilnius. Vilnius beer guide photos by Šarūnas Andriušaitis

About Spotted by Locals

This post was produced in partnership with Spotted by Locals – a series of apps and blogs with up-to-date tips by locals in 60+ cities across Europe and North America. To get more local tips, visit the Spotted by Locals website or download the app.

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Šarūnas Andriušaitis

Šarūnas is a Lithuanian born and raised beer hunter and blogger for Spotted by Locals. Once lost in the woods of dull macro brewed beers, he found himself a decade ago in Vilnius and has since home brewed, traveled for beer, and explored the closer to home Lithuanian beer scene. He considers beer to be his closest relative - sometimes irritating and inconsistent, but always welcome, but some of his best memories.

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