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  • Cypriot Beer: Leon and Keo

    November 17th, 2009LanesyBeer Reviews, Honey Beers, Lagers

    One of the brilliant advantages of being a beer reviewer is that you are easy to buy for. So naturally, my parents just knew to look out for new or interesting looking locals beers whilst in Cyprus recently.

    They did very well – two large bottles locally brewed ales (and as far as I can tell the only Cypriot beers available) – Leon and Keo were my holiday gifts, so naturally a proper Cypriot beer tasting was in order.

    Leon and Keon Beers from Cyprus

    Leon and Keo ales from Cyprus. With added Keo t-shirt in the background.

    First up, Leon beer; an all-malt beer that was the first to be brewed on the Island from 1937. The scent is rather unusual, but distinctly reminded me of fresh pea-pods and poured similar to a typical run-of-the-mill lager: lively and a pale amber in the glass.

    In the mouth, the liveliness caused an abrasion on the tongue that is usually experienced by drinking bog-standard lagers. Unfortunately, there was just nothing in the beer to differentiate from anything I could have picked up from the multipack section of a supermarket. The taste was somehow hidden by the invasive texture on the tongue, whilst the 4.5% ABV was also lost amongst the chaos. It is hard to find anything positive to say about the taste and flavour of this beer.

    By contrast, Keo provided a much more interesting scope. I remember enjoying this brand when I visited Cyprus some years ago; it was ubiquitous amongst the tourist bars and was quite an enjoyable pint in the balmy heat of a Cypriot autumn.

    The white-wine colour beer look very pale even for a lager, whilst the nose gives surprisingly honey-infused notes with a citrusy tinge. Compared to the onslaught of Leon, Keo is very light in the mouth with the slightest of carbonisation.

    Flavour-wise, however, the suggested sweetness from the honey aroma is present, but not in an over-the-top sickly way. It has a lovely balance, without any real sign of bitterness and the smoothness of the mouthfeel complements the silkiness of the flavours brilliantly. In the throat too, there is no hint of carbonisation as the liquid glides down with barely a hint of attention.

    The brilliance of sampling different beers from around the world is that you never quite know what you are going to get. After turning my nose up at Leon, it could have been possible for me to consider Cyprus as something of a brewing wasteland. But Keo didn’t let the island down.

    Although I would consider this to be something of a lager, it would appeal to any ale drinker who enjoys the honeyness of sweeter beers (Holt’s excellent Humdinger springs to mind). If you ever see Keo in an import shop of some description, I would highly recommend giving this a try. If Leon happens to grace your local shelves, buy a Carling – the effect is the same.


    Sam is a life long Leeds United fan and sometime home brewer, using kit that includes a recycled Hotpoint washing machine. When not drinking beer Sam likes nothing more than a hot cuppa and the sound of a crackling record on the long player

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1 responses to “Cypriot Beer: Leon and Keo” RSS icon

  • i couldn’t disagree with you more! i think you got the two bottles mixed up! a true real ale enthusiast will find the keo almost tasteless,watery and gassy as most lagers, except maybe czech are. leon is much akin to the uk palete and is much more satisfying.



    FletchtheMonkey Reply:


    Being a real ale enthusiast is not mutually exclusive to enjoying lager! I love a fresh pint of cask but equally love Morrisons stubbies on a hot day in the garden.

    Keo’s a decent enough BBQ beer but will seek out the Leon and give it a try this summer.

    Cheers Ian!



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