This past weekend, the third annual winter beer event Žmogšala took place in Vilnius, Lithuania. We were forced to skip the first two events, so this year we were eager and determined to finally make it to Žmogšala 3. We can’t compare how it evolved over the years, but it sure is getting bigger. Some were dissatisfied with the festival relocating from Vilnius center to suburb Gariūnai, but new location provided more space, more light, more toilets and even a makeshift cloakroom. The team behind Žmogšala did not anticipate such a large number of visitors and even ran out of special tasting glasses, but this only proves that the event was successful. Plus, they promised that everyone will ultimately get their deserved tasting glasses. We’ve read complaints regarding the lack of music (to which we say, what?) and food. Sure, Žmogšala was low on snacks, but you have to understand that it’s still a low-key event and caterers aren’t really keen to participate in it. Plus, all the cool kids were at the Vilnius Book Fair.
But enough about what could have been better! Let’s talk about good things and there were plenty of them, starting with a little home brewing competition that attracted unexpected attention. There were lines, people, like in the Soviet times! Which leads us to another joyful occurrence – the number of former home brewers who went commercial. It’s a great thing, we’re stoked for these people. Sure, as it turned out, Latvians and Estonians are ahead of us as far as craft beer goes (but they have better conditions), but the number of home brewers-turned-commercial brewers shows that we’re going in the right direction. Speaking about right directions, the number of beer importers at the event was also inspiring. There has never been a larger number of imported beers in Lithuania and, as far as we know, it’s going to grow and grow and grow. Glory to the beer gods!
So, as you’ve already understood, Žmogšala made us very happy for many important reasons, but the main reason that led us there was… people! We live far from all the beer scene happenings right now, so the opportunity to meet, greet and talk to beer people was a pleasant one. And we used it as well as it is possible for two introverted people. We talked and talked and all the talking made us understand that things are only going to get better here in Lithuania and even in our Western part of the country. New importers means new beer, new brewers means more local beer. We were promised Polish craft beer, Japanese craft beer, Lithuanian craft beer (or should we say indie beer?)… and we will be patiently waiting for everything.
Žmogšala 3 was a great event for us. We had no disappointments, well, except that there was so much beer and so little time (and only two livers for both of us)! Still, we managed to taste quite a lot of beer and even had some favorites (like Põhjala’s Must Kuld or Tanker’s Mint Stout or Labietis‘ Magic Forest or Malduguns‘ Pelēcis with Earl Grey tea or… or… or…). We hope that next year Žmogšala will be an even greater success (so far they’re planning a two-day event, but let’s wait and see) and if we’ll be available we will try to drop by and say hello to new brewers, new beers, new importers and old friends.
And here are some low quality photos, because we are two little goldfish who forgot their camera.