Poland has been underestimated before. A country that fiercely repelled the Russians in 1920 and battled back from later being completely wiped off the global map in 1939. Poland's constitution of May 3, 1791, was the first such document adopted in Europe and was the second in the world after the United States. Poland is the birthplace of Copernicus, Chopin, and Marie Curie (she did discover Polonium, not to mention Radium). It was Polish mathematicians who cracked the Enigma code during the Second World War, and Poland was the first Central European country to overthrow their Communist government in 1989.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the brewing heritage of this proud land and her people. Brewing history in Poland dates back 1,000 years, to the start of Polish statehood itself, and they've managed to hold on to some styles of beer that were elsewhere obliterated, like Baltic Porter. These days, Baltic Porters can be found well outside the realm of northern Europe—but that's in large part thanks to the few who kept the style alive, like Poland. Sadly, other styles have not managed to survive. Grodziskie beer, widely regarded as the only indigenous 'species' of beer born in Poland, sadly died when the last brewer to produce it shut their doors in the 1990s. Rumors abound that someone will reopen the brewery, however, so perhaps someday this unique smoked-wheat ale will return. Today Poland ranks 18th in the world for annual beer consumption at 69.1 liters per person (the USA is 13th at 81.6 liters per person, with Anheuser-Busch, or should we say InBEV (set to own A-B by the end of 2008) consuming 15% of the entire U.S. rice crop for brewing beer… what a waste of rice!)
The Polish beer we've selected this month comes from a brewery in the northeast of Poland, in the town of Lomza (brewed by the aptly named Browar Lomza.) Since being founded in 1968 they've focused on supplying just the northeast corner of Poland with their beer, but they do offer some exportation to other countries as well—a fact which we're grateful for!
If you'd like more information about Browar Lomza, check out their website at http://www.browarlomza.pl