Time flies when you’re having fun and the year 2016 seems to have flashed by. That said, it has been a busy year for the Romanian craft beer scene with more breweries than ever entering the market. Bars and restaurants seem to be waking up to the craft beer revolution. Good beer is becoming increasingly more available. We look forward to seeing the trend continue and hope that the next year sees even more craft beer filling our glasses.
What happened here?
Since the beginning of the year, we have seen several new breweries and projects slowly creep onto the scene. But let’s take a look at what the older breweries have been up to first of all.
The guys at Hophead celebrated their first birthday this September, having achieved a lot in such a short time. Things look set to improve even more as their beer finds its way around the country. This year introduced seasonal beers such as the delightful Pure C – IPA, gROZava – raspberry wit and NeBruna dupa tine – an Indian brown ale.
Things continue to boom for the boys at Ground Zero, with an ever expanding lineup of beers and the inauguration of their taproom. The year has also seen collaborations with other breweries, resulting in the wonderful Grounded Stork and the sublime Spiced Oddity. We understand a new batch of Spiced Oddity is shortly on the way.
The guys at the ever expanding Zaganu brewery celebrated three years of operating in March. Celebrations included the introduction of Adonis pale ale.
This year saw Sikaru celebrate one year on the market. Their output is constantly increasing and they shortly became the first Romanian craft beer found in supermarkets. The year also saw a collaboration with Moldova’s Sunstone Alehouse to create Summer tide – APA.
Romania’s first real cider producers entered the market at the end of last year. 2016 has seen their range increase and introduced an entirely new product to the market. For those who haven’t yet tried a real cider, they are miles apart from commercial variants. Tasting is believing.
This year has seen several new craft breweries enter the market, all offering fantastic new beers and styles. With more and more craft breweries cropping up, good beer is rapidly becoming more visible in bars and restaurants.
This year saw the introduction of the first Romanian gypsy brewers. The guys from Bereta have already teamed up with Ground Zero several times to produce some truly stunning beers. Ai pi iei (batches one and two), citro and most recently, juice bag are all expertly crafted, well balanced beers. These guys are consistently raising the bar and the future looks as bright as a pint of Citro.
Perfektum appeared on the scene at the beginning of the year and 2016 has seen their beer make it’s way around the country.
The lads from Hop Hooligans have just begun to emerge onto the market, introducing an interesting range. Pushing the boundaries and thinking outside the box, we’re looking forward to seeing their beer spread around the country.
Bere a la Cluj
These guys are another recent addition to the market. The second brewery in Cluj sees the city bubble into a hot bed of brewing. With three beers in their initial range, they look set to expand throughout the next year. They’ve been busy with tastings and getting the word out and can already be found online.
A fantastic and fairly small operation, Cazino currently expertly craft two types of beer, with a third, dark beer coming soon. They can be found in Constanta at their market stand and on tap locally.
July of this year saw Romania’s second real cider producers enter the fray. Based in Transylvania, they are quickly getting their product out there and aim to be on tap in bars and restaurants shortly. For winter, a real mulled cider has been concocted, which is a wonderful, warming drink on a cold, frosty evening.
Craft beer for the people
Aside from new breweries bringing in more exciting new beers, it seems as if this year there has been a general shift in attitude towards craft beer. It’s slow and subtle but great beer is becoming more and more common. Of course, commercial beers still largely outnumber the humble artisan beers. If you walk into a typical bar, you’re unlikely to see the masses drinking IPAs or stouts. However, slowly but surely more bars and restaurants are stocking craft beer. Word is spreading and there are some places one will notice more people drinking craft beer than commercial.
Away from bars and restaurants, craft has beer has been getting around. This year we’ve seen several food festival featuring craft beer for the first time. Music festivals such as electric castle had a craft beer corner this year. For the first time ever, Bucharest hosted a craft beer festival. Times are changing and with it attitudes. As far as we’re concerned, the more breweries the better. The more craft beer is out there, in the face of the public, the more likely it is to get noticed. New converts will demand more brews and breweries, I’m sure, will be happy to oblige.
Beer of the year?
Perhaps it’s a little too early to make a decision. We still have four weeks left until the end of the year after all. Who can tell what else may come out in time for Christmas? We tend not to do beer reviews here, there are people far more able to provide an informative review than us. However, if pushed to answer the best Romanian craft beer this year (of the one’s we have tried) we’d have to say…
Too tough to answer, for now. That’s an idea for when we actually reach the end of the year. We have a few more beers to get through first. If anyone does have a beer of the year, please let us know in the comments!
It’s been a year since we visited Romania and it seems that in this short time, the whole market has suddenly exploded. Craft beer is certainly far more available than it was and there are many more beers to choose from. We hope that 2017 will be just as productive or even more so! There are several interesting looking projects in the pipeline already. Exciting times lie ahead. So kick back and enjoy a great beer that you might not have been able to get your hands on a year ago and let the good times roll. Noroc!