Belgian Beer Board

Birthday trip to Latvia

Started by Jay, August 20, 2022, 11:27:59 PM

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Hi everybody

Well Linda has gone and done it again, for my birthday in January she's booked us a surprise (well no surprise now  ;D ) trip to Latvia, staying in the heart of its capital city Riga.

Super excited to not only be visiting a new city but also a new country, from nothing (travel wise) during Covid lockdown we now have 4 trips in the pipeline...first is Malaga in just 2 weeks time.

Jay  t_u

John B

Sounds like a great destination Jay. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

Cheers! - John


Hi Jay,
What a great birth day present from Linda  t_u  t_u  :appauding-1:
We visited Riga way back in April of 2010. 12 Years ago already, wow  :eyes:
6 Nights at Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel (
Riga will not disappoint you!
There's alot to do, and the medieval village is a pleasure to walk through.

It seems that the beerscene has improved massively!

Also very advised to head to the Baltic sea with a short train trip. Jūrmala beach....wonderful.
Riga Central Market is a must too.
And trying that local Riga Black Balsam is another must-do:

You'll have a wonderful time in Latvia.
I still have some movies that I took there in 2010.
I will try to make a full movie and upload here, so you'll get already that vibe.
Note that that period, there were not than many beer pubs nor breweries.

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson


Cheers guys  t_u  we are both so looking forward to visiting this ancient city, there seems so much to see and do.

We're staying at the French inspired Hotel Relais le Chevalier, the perfect base for exploring sights of Riga.

The central markets sound amazing Filip (we LOVE a market) and the ones in Riga look that bit unique as their made from recommissioned WW1 German Zeppelin hangers  :o

The Riga Black Balsam sounds like some potent liquor, there's a video on YouTube of someone trying it in an ancient bar that dates back to 1293, we'll be sure to visit there.

Thanks for the beery links Filip, some great bars and breweries listed.

Jay  t_u


Hi Jay,
The movie from our vist has just been posted on YouTube

Made with my old digicam in full HD.
The cam takes great movies, but completely fails when filming in darkness. Well OK, that was ofcourse 12 years ago :)
I hope it gives abit of the feeling of Riga.

We have a good memory of visiting Brasserie Bon Vivant -
There were not that many beer bars in Riga, but this one was really great, and they offered Trappist Rochefort 10!
AND.....that place still exists today  t_u
MUCH more beery spots are installed during that 12 years. Quite amazing really how massive the Riga beer scene has evolved.
Already with some small research, I find so many beer pubs!! What an evolution!!

For example: KwakInn Belgian Beer in Riga

Without any doubts Jay, you'll have a blast of a Riga visit !!

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson


Thanks for taking time out to post that video Filip, it really gives us that feeling of Riga...the buildings all have that imposing look about them with ornate facades and intricate carvings (like a lot of buildings in Eastern Europe) it will be such an exciting city to explore.

Like you say a LOT has changed in the 12 years since your visit with multiple craft bars and breweries opening BUT then it's like that here in Greater Manchester, a decade ago there were few craft beer bars in the town centre (Brewdog had just opened) but there was no Beermoth, Northern Monk or Society and breweries like CloudWater, Track and Pomona Island didn't exist.

The craft beer scene really has exploded in the last 4-5 years and long may it blossom.

Cheers mate
Jay 👍🏻


Hi everyone,

We're both back safe and sound from an amazing weekend away in Riga, it was the perfect Birthday getaway and was filled with fantastic bars and beers...a full report will follow

Jay  t_u


Hi Jay,
Glad you returned safe back home  t_u
It really looks like you had some splendid time in Riga.
Looking forward to your findings Jay  t_u
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson


Hi everyone, it's report time  :)

I first want to kick things off by saying what a fantastic beery place Riga is, it far exceeded our expectations with some amazing bars, delicious beer and the friendliest of's a very special place to us .

So then...after a very smooth two and a half hour flight from Manchester we arrived in Riga just after midday local time, after retrieving our bags it was outside to hail a cab into town.
Now a word of warning here, after watching several videos on YouTube about things to do (and not to do) a common "not to do" is get in a cab the wait outside the airport. You are clearly tourists and easy pickings for shady operations, instead we used the local BOLT app (like Uber) to hail a cab and in less than a minute we were on our way - the fare to our hotel just €12.50

Linda had picked us a stunning hotel in the absolute perfect location, we were staying at Le Chevalier Relais on Lívu Square and so after a quick unpack it was off to explore and seeing as there was a Belgian bar located just 2 streets away that would be our first visit.

The Kwakinn, conveniently located less than a 5 minute walk from our hotel. As expected this place was a homage to all thing Belgian...decor, beer food - everything was connected to out beloved Country, is it any wonder we visited more than once.

Our first drinks and two mighty Tripels were ordered in the form of Westmalle and Straffe Hendrik

Next was some food...and another beer, Flammkuchen with a side of fries and a Cuvée des Trolls hit the spot

Even the napkins brought to our table were Belgian themed

Filled very fulfilled we exited and set about exploring, so it was a gentle 15 minute stroll across town to Riga Central Markets and to have our first taste of Latvian beer.

The markets consist of 5 individual WW1 Zeppelin hangers that from the outside (and structurally) haven't changed in over a century.

Each individual hanger houses unique items (the 5th is on its own) fish, meat, vegetables and food and in the food one is a stall from local brewery Labietis, it's a small bar with around 5 taps and a fridge filled with cans and bottles.

A Labietis Porter - rich and roasted, the perfect welcome to Latvian brewing and after finishing a selection of bottles were bought.

After another stroll around town Linda decided that it was cocktail time so across the park from our hotel was the Radisson Blu hotel with their skyline bar on the 26th floor.
This would be my first taste of the infamous Riga Black Balsam (albeit in cocktail form) with outstanding views over the city of Riga, quite the special place.

Our last bar of the day was another located just around the corner from our hotel and another that became a firm favourite - Banshee...a modern corner bar with some amazing local beers on offer

My first choice was a brand new beer that had only been released a couple of days ago and one that had just gone on tap, it was from local brewers ÂRPUS and their QDH - 12% Quadruple IPA...stunning.

A pair of fruited sour beers, so thick and juicy

So with day one drawing to an early end (we'd been up since half three) it was back to our hotel.

Day 2 next  t_u


Day 2 (Sunday)

After a very relaxing sleep and a very welcome and tasty breakfast it was time to venture out on our first full day in Riga.

A quick journey away by taxi (BOLT) brought us to our first stop of the day - to Allus Celle, a bottle shop with 5 or 6 taps (too early for a drink we were here to shop) it's run by a very friendly bloke who was happy to see us a talk us through the many Latvian breweries he had on offer.
I was here to pick up ÂRPUS and in particular the very recently released Barrel Aged Barley Wine and Imperial Stout which I'm happy to say I purchased, he even had an ÂRPUS fridge in which you can see those precious pink waxed barrel aged bottles so bottles were bought along with quite a few other cans.
He was such a friendly guy...he even gave me 2 free cans, money off and a free glass...such hospitality

Store owner with Linda carefully choosing

With bags filled with bottles and cans it was back to our hotel to drop them off before setting out again, this time on foot in the direction of the Riga Markets to pay Miezis & Co a visit, a bar owned by Labietis brewery.
With very little advertising and no signage it was no wonder we walked past it twice (being not yet open and in darkness didn't help) but a quick check on Facebook assured us we were in the right area and in no time at all it was lights, camera, action.
This is what you can only describe as a very angular bar...from the tables, stools, light fixtures and decor. Everything was designed with a ruler with not a curve in sight  :D

There are 20 beers on tap with it being split 10 from Latvia and 10 from the rest of Europe and a large selection of bottles and cans to take away. My first order had to be Latvian so opted for a Sirus Expansion - 8.4% NEIPA, it was everything it should be...juicy, hoppy, caramel, pine...wonderful

Next we opted for a tasting plank consisting of any 5 beers which we coupled with some delicious local cheese made with grain mustard and then smoked (almost a Gouda texture) I enquired about maybe buying some to take away but the bloke serving said it's locally made by one man in very small batches which he delivers to the bar on his bike so couldn't spare any...true artisan products

So after buying a few more bottles and cans and dropping them off we took the short taxi ride to Beera Bar & Shop, a small 2 room bar with 12 taps and a small selection of beers to take away.
I opted for a pastry stout and Linda a proper thick fruited sour...wowser.

After finishing those rich beers it was a stroll a few doors up to Alus Muiza - what I can only describe as a compact and very wooden bar but the beers and bottles available were all top quality

By now we were both feeling a little hungry so a taxi back across town and we arrived at Folk Club Ala, a sprawling cellar bar and restaurant that immediately put us in mind of a La Trappiste / Cambrinus hybrid with an ultra modern bar but with true old world fixtures and fittings

Sharing platter with local roast meats, pickles and Latvian Black Bread served hot and dripping in garlic butter

Pork Schnitzel and Stroganoff...completely delicious 😋

After that fantastic meal it was time to wrap up day 2 and head back to our hotel, what a wonderful day it had been.

Day 3 soon...cheers Jay

John B

What an incredible report Jay! Some stunning photos there of the food, bars and of course beers. I had no idea Latvia was so beery. Can't wait to see the rest of your report.

Priekā! - John


Hi Jay,
What an amazing reports already!!!
When we visited Riga 12 years ago, there wasn't anything that beery as you already experienced.
What a beery evolution over there. Yes, I'm quite stunned !

I'm very impressed with this shot.
Especially that beer on the right side, ie that fruited sour.
What a texture! and what a strange foam too.  t_u

Highly looking forward to part III  :find:  :find:  :find:  :find:  :find:  :find:

Priekā and thanks for sharing all those precious beery moments in Latvia  t_u

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson


Thanks guys, it really is a true pleasure to share  our trip with you all here on the BBB  t_u

That fruited sour that Linda had certainly was unique Filip, it was so thick and fruity but that isn't foam above the beer - it's the beer itself sticking to the glass, here's a pic when Linda had finished...SO thick  :D  it was from Riga brewery ĀRPUS and was a Kiwi x Mango x Strawberry and Coconut sour ale on 5%

It was a bit of fun but one glass was enough.



Right then, day three

After two days of drizzle and wind we awoke on Monday to clear blue skies, the temp may have one or two digits above freezing but at least it was dry.

So after another filling breakfast we were ready to do battle and make the most of our final full day in town.

As this was our last day in town and seeing as the weather was so agreeable we decided to do a bit of sightseeing and shopping so set off from our hotel and across the square in the direction of our first location but as chance would have it no sooner had we started then we stumbled across something special- one of the symbols you see on all tourist souvenirs (mugs, T-shirts, towels etc) is a black cat and would you believe it the original sculpture behind the myth was located across from our hotel, all this time it was there and we didn't know.,_Riga?wprov=sfti1

Just around the corner from the Cat House is the oldest brick building in Riga, comprising of three brick houses they are known as The Three Brothers of Riga and were built between the 15th & 17th Century (the one on the right the oldest)

Further into town and you come to what is one the most photographed buildings in the whole of Riga - the ornate House of Blackheads, originally constructed in the late 14th century it was bombed by the Germans in 1941 before being destroyed by Soviets in 1948. It was however completely rebuilt between 1996 and 1999

Moving on we hit upon Jacob's Barracks, a yellow painted building with the coats of arms for the Latvian Parishes

That's enough sightseeing we were hungry so headed back in the direction of our hotel, however on our way we passed a busy looking cafe so stepped inside.
It was in fact a canteen style restaurant were you picked from hot dishes served to you but helped yourself to beers and cold drinks all from tap, so thought why not.

This proved to be one of the best value and most memorable meals we had during our time in town. The place was seriously busy and busy with locals (just me and Linda the only English voices) we both had a plate full of food each (me chicken and Linda Perch) we both had a wonderful amber coloured beer and a soft drink was just over 20€, the name above door was Beer House but this was all about the food, I love finding these hidden tucked away gems.

With bellies filled it was time to head back and start packing in readiness for tomorrow's early trip home  :(

Once packed Linda suggested that we have a stroll across the Vērmane Park to have a final cocktail overlooking Riga, however when we got to the hotel we found that the 26th floor bar was closed on Mondays - we later found out that a LOT of bars are closed on Mondays BUT never mind Linda to the rescue and in under 10 minutes we were in a BOLT heading out of town.

A short journey later and we pulled up at our destination, situated in what looked like a residential area of town Lauvas Alus certainly didn't grab my attention upon first glance, once inside however...

We were greeted with a small one room shop with a small central bar with just 5 taps BUT the best bottle and can selection I'd seen in the whole of Riga...where do I start?

Now we were already getting pretty full suitcase wise so firstly picked a beer for us from tap, gazing upon the tap list I was too excited to choose so opted for a couple of IPAs.

I hadn't even got back to our seat and Linda was already picking beers for me to look at, we had limited space so had to pick the best I could find, not an easy task when you have this much choice but in the end picked several beers to bring back home.

Like the canteen earlier we stumbled across this by accident, it wasn't on my list of places to visit and if the rooftop cocktail lounge had of been open we would have never visited but I so glad things worked out this way. Two of favourite places and we find them by pure chance on the final day.

With bags jingling we headed back to our hotel to finish packing, it had been the perfect end to our final day in wonderful Riga.

So there you have it folks, three days in Riga and what a three days it was.
We visited some amazing bars, drank stunning beers, ate wonderful food and were welcomed by the friendliest of locals - a return is DEFINITE, this place filled our hearts with the happiest of memories that we'll treasure a lifetime 🇱🇻  but before that Copenhagen.

Cheers everyone
Jay  t_u 


Hi Jay,
What a wonderful 3 days of Xtreme Riga beery satisfactions!!!
It brings back some great memories when we visited Riga long time ago.
Especially that roof top bar is really that must do. That's what we have done too.
Luckily it was closed with your 2nd. visit and by miracle you got to find that great beery gem (with thank to Linda t_u  t_u  t_u  :appauding-1: )
Jay, that's really a truely fantastic posting !!!!  :appauding-1:
in the mean time, the report has been published on the main page. That's a three articles, showing day 1 till day 3.
I'm sure people with a beery mind will find the info very useful. PRICELESS ! Thanks mate  :appauding-1:  :appauding-1:  :appauding-1:  :appauding-1:

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson