Cyprus is a Mediterranean island south of Turkey, slightly smaller in size than Sicily. The Keo Brewery was built in 1951 while the country was still a British colony. In addition to owning the island’s sole brewery, the brewery’s parent company, Keo Ltd., is the country’s biggest industrial giant, with monopolistic interests in mining, cement, water, wine, spirits, juice, and packaged foods.
Keo beer is an unpasteurized lager available in a variety of volumes in returnable glass bottles. My bottle came straight off a plane from Cyprus so it tasted fresh, the head was impossibly thick, the color was golden, there were no metallic or off flavors, and it went down as easy an any other light lager deserving of a plastic cup or beer funnel. If I lived in Cyprus I’d probably drink a lot of it, but I’m not so I won’t. Actually, I’d probably seek out the wines instead, although crisp light beers like this with little body or flavor can be darned refreshing when it’s 80 degrees and you’re sitting on a beach.
Keo also makes the unimaginatively-named Five Beer, another lager but this one with 5% ABV, that’s an entire half degree more than plain Keo beer. They also make a beer called Thrylos, another light lager with unremarkable qualities.
The island of Cyprus is currently divided in half as a result of a war with Turkey who claimed the upper portion for its own in 1974 and has yet to relinquish control. From what I can tell, it’s a somewhat similar situation as that of Northern Ireland. The U.N. maintains a narrow zone between the two territories called the Green Line, causing such unlikely scenarios as the one pictured here where a church is surrounded by barbed wire because the front door is in Cyprus but the back door opens into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Traveler’s tip: never order a “Turkish” coffee in Cyprus!