Notes From Hairenik
June 9, 2005
This entry may only interest beer lovers who are seeking to find their favorite brew while in Armenia but with exceeding difficulty. A few weeks ago while visiting my place Onnik and I were discussing the quality of various beers and he began to complain again that Guinness on draft was not available anywhere in Yerevan. He explained that Guinness was readily available in bars throughout Tbilisi, but for some reason kegs of the stuff never made their way down to Yerevan, probably because of a lack of market or due to high import costs.

However, I assured him that Guinness in cans was the closest solution to his woe, even though he was skeptical. From my own experience with Guinness, as I am also an appreciator of the black stout, similar in appearance to liquid dark chocolate, I know that the cans include a widget floating about inside that simulates the consistency and flavor found in draft Guinness from a keg when pouring the ale out. And I knew that Guinness in a can was available in several grocery stores in Central Yerevan, including the Europa Supermarket near Sakharov Square on St. Vartanants Street. Or so I thought.

We rushed out that day in search of our grail, only to find no cans were available. Only bottles of the stuff could be found, and two different bottled versions at that. Two other stores were sold out. We instead came back with Kilikia, an excellent, albeit reasonably priced beer and a good enough compromise.

Later I continued my mission alone and went to several high-quality grocery stores mainly catering to tourists and also middle-class Armenians seeking something a bit exotic. SAS supermarket both on Mashdots and Tumanyan Streets were out. The Red Rooster market on Pushkin did not seem to stock foreign beers besides Pilsner Urquel, thankfully available most everywhere, and Holsten, which can also be found on draft at some bars/restaurants. There is another store on Mashdots across from the opera with a Russian name that has many European beers in cans, but they also were out of Guinness, although they told me it is usually stocked. Some stores stocked the bottles, but cans were nowhere to be found.

Last weekend, however, after several weeks I did find Guinness in a can, at long last, in Vanadzor of all places. Presumably Guinness can be found there since most if not all trucks carrying goods from Tbilisi go through Vanadzor, where undoubtedly much stuff is unloaded to be sold at market. Many 500 ml cans were stocked and kept cool in a refrigerator in a typical, no-name grocery store on Dikran the Great Street, near a police precinct. But the price was as high as the cost of a pint in a neighborhood bar in Boston—1500 dram or about $3.50. However, it was worth it, and I bought four cans, to my and Onnik’s delight. Indeed he agreed it wasn’t too bad at all.

As I have mentioned many times you can find most anything you need in one place or another throughout Armenia, but mostly in Yerevan. The fun part is searching for it.

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3 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is it Kilikia or Kotayk that has the dark beer? Not as dark as Guinness but dark enough.

Blogger Ted Richards said...
It's over five years now since your interesting original post in this blog regarding the availability of Guinness in Yerevan. In November I will be following in your footsteps and be trying to find Guinness in Yerevan as part of my quest to try and have a pint of Guinness in every European Capital City - with the next destination chosen at random by the person who pours me the Guinness. See my blog at: http://guinnesseurope.blogspot.co.uk/


I have recently come back from Minsk, Belarus where my next destination was picked out as being Yerevan. I'm looking forward to this challenge and more importantly an opportunity to explore the culture of Armenia.

Would you happen to know if Guinness is more widely available these days?

Regards

Ted

Blogger Christian Garbis said...
Dear Ted,

Thanks for writing. It's actually been 10 years since that post was made. I can't believe how time flies.

Unfortunately coming across Guinness in a can or even bottle is hit or miss in Yerevan. As far as I know it is still unavailable on tap, or if it is I simply don't know about it. You can check the bigger supermarkets, like SAS or Parma, which do stock it now and then. There is a Carrefour in Yerevan as well and they might have it. I heard that a pub called Eden in the Cascade area of Yerevan used to sell Guinness, but this is unconfirmed as I have never seen it there. The closest thing I've seen to Guinness on tap at least is Murphy's, which is available at Pub 37 I believe it's called on Mashdots Street.

Best of luck. Please feel free to contact me.

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