Thursday 20th February 2014
The Gotter brewery is one of two set up in Chişinău in the years that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. As it was now the capital of the new country of Moldova, I guess the founders of Gotter believed there would be a demand for quality beers.
Several of the old Soviet breweries remain in production, now owned by multinational companies, and their products, whilst being acceptable, are not in the same class as Gotter's beers. The pub we are visiting here is accepted as the brewery's tap.
The key to why this small brewery's beers are so much better lies with the ingredients used. There are five beers and they all use tradition malts and hops from Western Europe. Please see below for the full details:
Gotter Blonda (light) (4.5%) is made with a single malt and Czech Žatec hops. It was available in filtered and unfiltered versions.
Gotter Bruna (brown) (4.8%) is made with two types of dark malt and is filtered.
Gotter Psenicnoe (wheat) (5.8%) has wheat and barley malt from Belgium and comes unfiltered.
Gotter Ale (4.8%) is in the Belgian style and uses Dutch and German barley malt with English yeast. It's filtered.
Gotter Porter (5.6%) is made using two dark and one light malt. It is unfiltered.
The brewery states that all of its beers are available in both filtered and unfiltered forms and what is stated above represents what was offered on draught in the pub. There were other bottled beers available.
I thought the Blonda was fine, having some residual hop flavours. However, the Bruna was better, with a nice depth of taste and a hop smack at the end.
The Ale, as it was in the Belgian style had the typical sweet-bitter finish of those beers.
The Porter really did have the right tastes and a balanced bitterness. The only possible criticism was that it was a bit thin in body. In reality they were all good.
This is a sports bar that is also a restaurant; there is no other way to describe it. It is in the basement of an apartment block and you enter down a flight of stairs. On the right of the main room you will find the bar itself and facing it a huge wall-mounted screen. There are other flat screens around the room.
I watched Arsenal lose 0-2 at home to Bayern München, so it was a good job there was plenty of beer available to drown my sorrows. At the back on right of the room there is an entrance to a much smaller room that is decorated more like a lounge with low seats, sofas and tables.
Some of our party wanted to eat and were impressed by the quality of what was offered. As the pub was busy we were seated a three separate tables. Almost as soon as we were seated a couple of bowls of bruschetta were provided at our table. A little later a plate of two different kinds of sausages was presented. They were on the house and there were quite a lot; they finally finished off any desire I had to order a meal.
But now a word of caution; because we were so well treated that night we returned the following night.
There was a completely different set of staff from the Manager downwards and absolutely nothing went right. The beer order was messed up several times, yet this was not the most serious problem; it was the food. Chips arrived before the main course; there was one meal short, two meals weren't properly cooked and there were other mistakes.
The Manager was totally useless, but he did grant us a reduction at the end. BeerVisits doesn't often comment on quality and service of food, but this was exceptionally bad, and has to be recorded. However, the beer quality hadn't changed and was still high. This pub is recommended solely on the first visit which was so good it influenced us to return, to our regret.
Gotter Pub, Boulevardul Traian 22, Chişinău, Moldova. Tel: 079 668 961
Three trolleybus routes serve the pub's stop at Bd. Traian.
No 2 is a circular (clockwise only) route that runs from the city centre.
No 8 runs through the city centre, passes the railway station and terminates at the stop.
No 17 is a partially-circular route. The clockwise direction serves the railway station before passing the pub. Neither the clockwise or anti-clockwise services on 17 are routed through the city centre proper.
Chişinău station is served by a daily train from Bucureşti (Rumania) which takes 13 hours overnight. There is another daily train to and from Odessa (Ukraine) that it not overnight.
Trains on specific days of the week, normally every two, operate to Moscow (two routes) and St Petersburg.