A group of friends from Thessaloniki created “Ali” (Άλη), the first small brewery in the city. The team is comprised of four people: Antonis, Nikos, Thomas, and Lina. Their backgrounds include chemistry, agronomy, and food technology, so this helped their decision to get involved with brewing, all being quite close to the subject.
“A few years ago, our relation to beer was strictly as consumers. During our postgraduate studies however, we started getting more involved, discovering many new types of beer but also the culture of breweries. Slowly this new passion was born and we wanted to try home brewing, and experiment with our own recipes. In the following years, we got the idea to develop our hobby into a more professional activity, and really get involved in brewing.”
What is the meaning of the name Ali?
“Ali (άλη) means wander. It’s the wandering of a free person who dares, risks, fights, does not compromise, and constantly rethinks things by looking for new experiences and ideas.
It’s the taste and the perfumes that keep us company. It’s a wander in the world of beer. We believe the name Ali fits perfectly with our philosophy since we always look for new recipes and techniques, with our one and only aim being a wonderful taste and unique perfume to our beers.”
What kinds of beer do you make?
“Ali is non pasteurised and non filtered – it is fresh beer. Regardless of the type, our aim is to produce beers which stand out for their taste and perfume. We started with two types: Ali Weiss and Ali I.P.A. Ali Weiss is a more wheaty beer, quite refreshing and pleasantly fruity, and it’s our number one suggestion!
We believe that with its sweet perfume and its quirkiness it can become a favourite. Ali I.P.A. is a particularly perfumed beer, with a balanced bitterness and a pleasant, long aftertaste. I.P.A. is quite an unknown type in Greece, but at the same time one of our and other brewers’ favourite ones. Ali I.P.A. has already become quite popular and we’re happy with that.”
What does brewing really mean?
“Brewing is an art, and same as every art, it has its secrets! A good recipe is not enough for good quality beer. We keep trying to enrich our knowledge and apply what we learn on each boiling. Our current batch capacity is 2 tonnes, so each of our productions is around that much.
The production process is quite easy, although time consuming. Every batch is ready for bottling in about 40 days.”
What does non pasteurised and non filtered beer mean?
“Non pasteurised means that the beer has not gone through pasteurisation, which is a kind of thermal processing which acts negatuvely on the beer’s taste.
A pasteurised beer has a more flat and neutral taste. Non filtered means the beer hasn’t been filtered which shows because it is more cloudy rather than transparent. Filtering, same as pasteurising, affects the taste negatively.”
Where can we find Ali products?
“They are now sold in many places in Thessaloniki – bars, cafes, pubs, restaurants, cavas and shops. We deliver the products ourselves in refrigerated trucks so we know everything is done correctly. We are also very keen on being in close contact with our customers, to maintain a unique bond with each one of them.
We want Ali to become Thessaloniki’s beer, to be sold everywhere in the city. Apart from Thessaloniki, you can also find Ali in specific places around Greece, with people who care equally about the product.”