There really couldn’t be a better time for craft beer lovers to visit Bucharest than now. After dropping to just 20 in 2012 nationwide, the number of breweries and in particular that of local microbreweries producing original and bold craft beers has soared recently. The Romanian capital in particular, is bubbling with the talent and energy of young beer makers who are giving it their all to create the best craft beers for their growing enthusiastic and increasingly demanding following.
What can come out of a meeting between two brothers with a dream, Kerouac, some of the finest ingredients in the world and a heap of madness? The answer is, Ground Zero, producing some of the most groundbreaking Romanian beers to have ever graced local bar countertops. Having started off in 2015 with money obtained exclusively from playing online poker, they now make Morning Glory, the first IPA beer produced in Romania and their most popular beer, the incredibly potent (coming strong at 9%) Imperial Fuck, an Imperial Pale Ale whose main ingredient is carefully sourced dust from a comet’s tail, Amber Guerre, a red beer, the controversially named black beer Gipsy Porter, Easy Rider, a light summer beer and several others resulting from a host of collaborations with fellow brewers and like-minded people.
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The pioneers of the nascent Romanian craft beer scene, Zăganu is the inspiring story of two people passionate about craft beer who one day decided to do something about it. After buying an old beer factory 100 kilometres away from Bucharest at the foothill of Zăganu Mountain in 2013, they brought to the market a blonde and a brown beer, an IPA, a red ale, and some limited edition beers in-between. Some say the local craft beer market would not be where it is today without them, so make sure to pay your respects in the closest bar available.
In order to bring the best beers from other local craft beer makers and highlight the best of the very market they helped create, the owners opened a bar in Bucharest serving a carefully selected list of beers from 15 microbreweries around the country.
According to the creators of Sikaru Beer, ‘life is too short to drink a boring beer’. Inspired by no less than the Sumerian beer making tradition – Sikaru is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer – they’ve been producing since 2013 a good assortment of beers including white, blonde and red beers in their Bucharest brewery. Constantly amazed by the variety of flavours resulting from the mix of a few basic ingredients, they pushed through red tape to be able to do what they love under the proud ‘crafted in Bucharest’ label. The goddess has been generous with them, so while in Bucharest, make sure not to miss what can be a fateful encounter!
As expected from a beer with such a resounding name, Berestroika started after a bunch of beer lovers revolted against ‘the average’ beer. The only microbrewery-cum-restaurant in Bucharest, it brings good quality beer closer to the people and allows guests to witness their honest beer making process while enjoying delicious food. Their offer consists of three beers, namely a red beer whose making includes ‘seven days of fermenting and 21 of waiting’, Berestroika Blackie and Berestroika Blondie. Safe to say, once you taste this, you’d rather leave family and friends behind and seek refuge in the mountains rather than go back to these beers’ mass-produced distant cousins.
When visiting the city, Belgian beer lovers need look no further than the fine selection of artisanal Belgian style ales produced in Bucharest by Oriel Beer. Established in 2015, their offer includes Oriel Blond and Dubbel and the spectacular Quadrupel BA, which has no less than five awards to its name obtained only in 2017. Judging by these credentials, their new and very appealingly sounding brainchild, Quadrupel Barrel Aged, arriving in the spring of next year, is truly something to hold your breath for.
Three Happy Brewers
The latest arrival on the list, Three Happy Brewers beers are the merry result of a serendipitous meeting between a Belgian engineer, a food-loving Italian and a CEO who decided to explore his entrepreneurial side. After making beers for their own consumption, they decided Bucharest, the country and soon, the world, could be a better place provided they were able to enjoy the results of their soulful beer making. Delivered under the labels Czech Pilsner, English Amber, Belgian Enkel, Australian Pale Ale and West – Coast IPA, their ‘made in Bucharest’ craft beer breathes the cosmopolitan vibe of their very own colourful lives.
By their own confession, the makers of Hop Hooligans beers only make beer they want to drink. Luckily for us, they have an out-of-this world taste and like ‘powerful, flavorful crazy sh*t’. Excuse the expletive if you may, and expect nothing orthodox from them. Their wacky and quite comprehensive selection of beers include sencha tea leaves, coconut flakes and vanilla beans, blueberries, mango and more, alongside the very special mix of original ingredients, namely their very own ‘blood, sweat and tears.’ Rebels of taste, Bucharest is happy to have you!
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Amistad Craft Beer
Amistad Beer are so new their emergence is forever cementing the idea that many in Bucharest have, that fantastic craft beers are popping up on a weekly basis nowadays. Starting off with a gutsy selection of seven beers, namely Brit Porter, Indian Pale Ale, Brown IPA, Indian Passion, Patriot Ale, Red Ale and Spicy Chocolate, they reiterate the fact that the old-age combination of passion and hard work yields sweet results, making the spectacular Romanian craft beer scene even richer.