What Exactly is Grzane Piwo, Poland's 'Hot Beer'?

Grzaniec in Przystan | © Jonny Blair / Northern Irishman in Poland
Grzaniec in Przystan | © Jonny Blair / Northern Irishman in Poland
Photo of Jonny Blair
18 February 2018

Hot beer? You must be kidding! You mean warm ale right? No. This is Grzane Piwo, or Grzaniec, which is exactly as it says – hot beer. But not just beer that has been heated up. Spices and flavours have been added, and it is served to perfection in bars all over Poland. It’s a must-try for tourists, especially in winter months. Here’s a quick guide.

Grzane Piwo / Grzaniec | © Northern Irishman in Poland

What exactly is Grzane piwo?

Grzaniec, also known as Grzane Piwo (hot beer) is exactly that. It is beer that is mulled and served hot – not cold, not warm. But there is more to Grzaniec than just the temperature. The beer also contains added spices and ingredients to give it a unique zesty flavour. However, the name Grzaniec can also mean hot wine or mulled wine, so be aware of this when ordering, in some cases, it might be best to simply ask for ‘hot beer’ in English. A popular brand of the wine variety is called Grzaniec Galicyjski.

How can you make Grzane piwo?

Recipes for Grzane piwo can differ, and venues all over Poland offer different varieties. The most common types are with cinnamon or raspberry. Here is a quick guide on how to make the cinnamon and ginger flavour Grzane piwo:

  • turn on the hob
  • pour 500 ml of normal unpasteurised beer into a saucepan
  • add 3 tablespoons of honey
  • add 1 large orange 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
  • add 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • stir for a few minutes
  • once it bubbles, it’s ready!

Grzane piwo / Grzaniec | © Northern Irishman in Poland

Where can you try Grzane piwo?

Grzane piwo is generally sold all over Poland and is very easy to find in bars and restaurants, especially in winter. You can also buy it in bottles from off-licences or supermarkets. These bottles are ready-made with the mixture and are ready to go – simply pour it into the saucepan at home and heat it before drinking. However, these three venues in these top Polish cities of Warsaw, Poznań and Gdańsk serve up a decent drop. As the Polish say, Na zdrowie!

Gruba Ryba Restauracja, Gdańsk

Restaurant, Polish, Seafood, $$$
Map View
Gruba Ryba (fat/large fish) is right by the pier in Brzeźno, Gdańsk and is a superb spot to sip a Grzane piwo and eat some good seafood by one of Poland’s nicest beaches.
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Basilium, Poznań

Bar, Polish, $$$
Map View
Basilium, Poznań | © Northern Irishman in Poland

The city of Poznań is famous for its ice festival every December, which takes place in the Old Town Square. Nearby there are a few bars and restaurants that serve up a good drop of Grzaniec. A great place to try it is Basilium Bar, which has over five types of hot beer and also specialises in craft beer. Get a cosy seat and order up their finest hot beer!

Łysy Pingwin, Warsaw

Bar, Pub, Polish, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View

A great haunt to try two different types of Grzane piwo is the Łysy Pingwin (Bald penguin) bar in Warsaw’s Praga district. They have a hot, dark beer and a light, dark beer to sample in a cosy artistic setting on the famous Ząbkowska Street.

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