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Arena’s New Beer House

Paul Niland
15 June 2018

This is not a new building – I have walked through these doors many times. But the establishment once known as Arena Beer House is indeed a new venue. And it’s worth checking out.
With the exception of leaving in place the German-manufactured stills that have long produced a fine range of beers onsite, there isn’t much that remains from the original pivovarnia that once attracted many to the Arena/Mandarin Plaza development. Now under new management, and a new name – simply and logically Beer House, the venue has been totally redesigned and refurnished to cater to the more discerning clientele in Kyiv these days.

What Could Go Wrong with That?
On arriving at Beer House, the changes are easily noticeable and impressive. The room seems to be more wide open, the soft furnishings are luxurious and reminiscent of a gentlemen’s club. This is a place you should have on your list to watch sports on the plethora of large TV screens dotted around the room, and lounge in the comfortable atmosphere.
As it is a taphouse, the only way to start off this session is with a flight of beer. Four taster sized pots of gloriously diverse beers are put in front of us in no time at all: there’s a stout, an American Amber Ale (which is rather good), a Munich style Helles, and then there’s their seasonal special to complete the set. This last option is dripping with notes of apple and citrus spice, contributing to the overall success of the taste and making it special indeed. Beer snacks of seeds and nuts accompany each order, which is a nice touch.
On the menu Bacon Chips catch my eye as we sip, and what could possibly go wrong with that? Across from me my beautiful date for the evening is mulling over whether to plump for the slightly pricey Royal Shrimp. For the main courses our waiter Constantin (never far away, never intrusive, ready to offer advice, and quick and efficient) nudges me in the direction of the steaks, advising the meat (both Ukrainian and American) is dry aged on-site for 70 days to bring it to perfect tenderness.
As the food is ordered more drinks are needed too. The by-the-glass offerings on wines is limited but fortunately the first on the list is a South African Pinotage and for the second time in the evening the rhetorical “what could go wrong with that?” is mused and left unanswered.

The Brew Master
As the Bacon Chips and Royal Shrimp arrive, we get a chance to chat to Oleksandra Vasheka – the brewmaster at Beer House, who has spent time studying in Germany and now manages the process here. Though she prefers stouts and porters, tossing back a minimum of a litre of beer per day, Vasheka says every beer is like her child. She’s got a few ideas up her sleeve for the coming months, such as rice beer, and a pumpkin ale once the weather starts to cool.
Caught up in chat, we eat slowly: the bacon chips is literally a pile of deep fried thin bacon slices and delicious, while the shrimp are big, beautiful, and disappear just in time for the mains.
The presentation is great: the steak, looking like a one-sided T-bone, has a lovely slab of Maitre D garlic and herb butter melting into it. The burger is big and the tower is stable thanks to a knife skewered through the middle.
The steak (I chose Ukrainian of course) is excellent, and a range of sauces are also offered as an afterthought, so I plump for pepper, which tops things off nicely. Across from me a petite lady digs into a huge burger. When it is devoured, all of it, the commentary is simple. “Good classic burger: has everything it should have and the meat is cooked well. Gives the venue across the courtyard a run for their money.”
Though Beer House has only just reopened its doors once again, it has done so in a way that will bring back the regulars and no doubt entice a new generation to fall in love with good beer, good food, and good service. Like the bacon chips, what can be wrong with that?

Edible Inventory:

Bacon Chips 180 UAH
Royal Shrimp with Spicy Batter 420 UAH
Flight of Four testing beers 200 UAH
Signature Beer House Steak (price based on weight) 400 UAH
Rustic Potatoes 65 UAH
Beerhouse Burger 290 UAH
Seasonal Beer (0.3) x2 120 UAH
Pinotage 90 UAH (x 2) 180 UAH
Total  1 855 UAH

 

Make sure you try:

Boiled Crayfish            890 UAH
Salo Carpaccio with Croutons                        165 UAH
Beer Snack Platters – option of chicken wings, ribs, or homemade sausage

 

What’s On Checklist

English Menu +
English-speaking staff +
Wifi +
Price $$
WO Rating 4.5 stars

 

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