Spared For Life

Brewery and Country of Origin: Browar Okocim S.A. of Browarna 14, 32-800 Brzesko, Poland

Date Reviewed: 10-30-12

Few places can say that they've gone through worse times during the 20th century than the Republic of Poland. Yet despite everything that has happened, we are still able to enjoy beer from the Okocim Brewery. Founded in 1845, Okocim was the creation of two business partners, Johann Evangelist Gotz of Germany, and Joseph Neumann from Austria-Hungary. After both had passed, Gotz's son Jan Albin took over, expanding the brewery and adding more modern equipment. During this generation of ownership, the Gotz family became enveloped in Polish culture, with members of the family becoming Polish patriots, Polish politicians, and philathropists of the Polish Arts, all while producing quality beer at the brewery. The brewery experienced massive success, becoming one of the largest in Poland. In 1931, Jan's son Antoni took over for a brief period until Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The Nazi's assumed control of the brewery, suprisingly (and rather mercifully) keeping it rather organizationally intact (though the Gotzs fled to France). After the end of the war and during the communist period of Eastern Europe, the brewery was nationalized, though it was only one of two breweries in the Communist People's Republic of Poland allowed to sell beer outside of the country. One of those beers was seemingly appropriately named O.K. Beer, a Euro Pale which was fairly typical for the region. When the Soviet Union fell, the brewery was reprivatized and sold to investors in the stock exchange. Today, it is a part of the Danish conglomerate Carlsberg. The beer, currently one of more than ten actively brewed by Okocim, is distributed in moderate concentrations throughout the continent, with some errant bottles even making it across the Atlantic to North America. And though you might not find this beer to be the best you've ever tasted, when you realize that it's nothing short of a miracle that Okocim is still around, it might be more special than your senses will have you believe.
Date Sampled: 9-18-12 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Euro Pale Lager
Alcohol by Volume: 5.60%
Serving Type: 330 ml Bottle, 16 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 2.16


O.K. is a pale, light golden colored beer with a very clear appearance, giving it a brilliant shine in the light. This beer pours choppy with a short lasting, moderate density half inch foam head, and a fair bit of lacing on the glass.


This beer's foam head gives off a very strong grainy and somewhat grassy aroma. The aroma is typical for beers of this style. There is a small, but noticeable amount of pale and light malt present, and there is no detectable smell of hops detectable.


This is a medium light bodied beer with a high amount of carbonation and a very low, typical viscosity. This crisp and refreshing light weight beer finishes with a non lingering, mostly dry close.


The flavor is dominated with the usual grainy character, typical of the style. The grainy/grassy notes are accompanied by a fairly bitter presence throughout the entire taste. A small amount of pale malty flavor comes out at the beginning, and gives way to the bitter aspect in a short amount of time. The short lived, non lingering aftertaste is full of bitter and dry flavor.

Our Take

Sometimes it is the journey, the stories that make an otherwise mediocre thing special. But as far as reviews should be concerned, this could have been a beer which has been brewed in the International Space Station, and it wouldn't have made a difference if it still ended up tasting like bird dirt. History and heritage aside, this is sadly, not a brew you're going to make a detour to Warsaw for. This is a rather weak bodied, pale beer with an overwhelmingly grainy and grassy set of flavors and aromas. And though this is nothing new to beers of similar style, we know that this was too much for a beer which was lacking in almost every other department. Even a robust bitter aftertaste was almost too much for what this beer merits. You'll be much better off with a Pilsner from The Czech Republic, but if you have Pollack pride, then hopefully your tastes are different from ours.