Beer brewing tradition in today's Estonia is very much alive and kicking. The emerging success of the many microbreweries means that the age-old Estonian brewing tradition is brought from market stalls to supermarket isles and pub taps, with many Estonian beer houses and restaurants including Leib Resto ja Aed, Moon, Põhjaka and Alexander serving up their own speciality beers.
The many ways of Estonian beer
While the most common commercial brews you'll find stacked in Estonian mainstream supermarkets tend to be light and refreshing lager type beers, you can also find speciality ales such as Eesti Rukki Eil by Õllenaut, Virmalised by Põhjala and Vormsi Hele Eil by Vormsi island brewery (Vormsi Pruulikoda). On a warm summer's day, after a hot sauna or for a casual pint at the nearby pub, try Wiru juniper beer and a range of other barley beers on offer produced by the largest Estonian breweries Puls, Saku and A. Le Coq.
The best liqueurs around
Estonia is a gold mine for cocktail enthusiasts looking to mix or order up something truly adventurous. Here you can taste a range of award-winning flavours from sharp buckthorn to creamy chocolate. Vana Tallinn liqueur is the signature local drink and one of the most popular gifts to bring back home. This spiced citrucy liqueur balanced with cinnamon and smoothing vanilla is where medieval and modern taste palates meet. No surprise then that Vana Tallinn has won the highest awards at the prestigious Wine and Spirit Competition in London.
If you wish to explore Estonian spirits a little further, have a sip of the legendary local liqueur Kännu Kukk, which in itself is a tourist attraction. This strong, caraway-flavoured spirit boasts a unique life cycle and you can almost see the sugar crystals as they form in the bottom of the retro-themed bottle.
On the edge of the scenic Toompea hill overlooking medieval Tallinn, you'll find the former Luscher & Matiesen winery which has been brought back to life by some local wine enthusiasts and now operates as the Museum of Estonian Drink Culture. Entertaining legends from the prewar Estonia combined with wine tasting makes for a great introduction to Estonian drink culture.