Sunday 29th September 2013
This was the first night's stay on an odyssey across Poland en route from Berlin to Kaliningrad in Russia. You may not have heard of this Polish city yet it is the eighth largest in the country with a city population of around a third of a million and a conurbation total of almost half a million.
The city was in the first Kingdom of Poland and its charter was granted in 1346. It was destroyed several times during the Polish-Swedish war of 1626 to 1629. On the dissolution of the first Kingdom in 1772 it became part of Prussia. Slowly, over the years thereafter, there was a steady influx of Germans as new citizens and it was known as Bromberg.
Following Prussia's defeat by the Napoleonic forces in 1807 it came under the control of the Duchy of Warsaw but this was short lived and in 1815 it was Prussian again as part of the Duchy of Posen (Poznan). The creation of the new country of Germany in 1871 was a real boost as the Prussian Railways (KPEV) had created a large railway junction at Bydgoszcz where two main lines crossed. A very large railway works was built and trains are still built in the city.
Following the First World War armistice of 1918 fighting in this area of Upper Poland continued between Polish insurgents and the Germans. This had a profound effect of the borders of the newly-created Polish state as following the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 all of the territory gained by these fighters was included in the new country. All residents had to become Polish citizens and this led to a drastic reduction in the numbers of ethnic Germans. During the Second World War it suffered the same awful fate of so many of the cities under Nazi rule and was largely destroyed. It was liberated by the Soviet army.
The Warzelnia Piwa was established as a brew pub on 29th April 2011 and the Polish-built plant is of 3.2 hectolitre capacity. The pub and restaurant are housed in a building on many levels that descend to the river. At street level there is an adjacent shop selling wines and spirits that doubles as a wine bar. I think is under the same management.
Descending the stairs the brewing plant comes into view on the right. Going down further to the bar area you can look up to the brewery. There are several rooms at this level and lower still is the riverside terrace.
Unfortunately we visited in the evening and the nice views of Wyspa Mlyńska (Mill Island), opposite, were not available. The walls have lots of brewery ephemera displayed and the pub has a very comfortable feel about it.
There were four draught beers available: Light Lager, Pszeniczne (Wheat), Koźlak (Dark) and Pale Ale. I was with fellow imbibers, Patrick, Vaughan and Russell. I had the Light Lager, which I thought was quite bitter and liked it a lot. I also tried the Pale Ale, which was just the right taste being quite hoppy, but the body was a little thin. I cadged a sip of the Dark and thought it was nice with the right amount of brown and dark malt tastes. Patrick declared the Wheat beer as being satisfactory.
So, the beers are fine and the dining here is said to be excellent as they have food in the Polish style and also Mediterranean and Indian. The latter is supplied by the next-door restaurant which is under the same ownership. Well worth visiting if you are in the city.
Warzelnia Piwa, ul Poznańska 8, Bydgoszsz PL-85129. Tel: 517 762 197
Open: Sunday-Thursday 12.00-22.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-23.00
The pub is situated on the edge of the old town and several buses
(51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58 and 59) run past.
Many more operate to Plac Kościeleckich which is a short distance away.
Bydgoszsz railway station has InterCity connections to most cities in Poland.