Festival hype and beer galore – a quarterly review

Well, ladies and gentlepants, looks like we’re already halfway through the year. And if you thought the first quarter was packed with excitement, then you better buckle up, because the second quarter has brought even more to the table. So tuck in to one of the many IPAs launched so far this year and get ready to be completely blown away by the growth we’ve seen so far.

New names in the industry

A record 6 independent microbreweries launched just in the past three months. That’s right, a glorious 6, each adding their own strengths and uniqueness to this rapidly growing industry.

April was a busy month, as it saw the launch of Nembeer, the second brewery currently operating in Sibiu (the third if you factor 1717 in as well, though they are still contract brewing in Bavaria). With a diverse portfolio tackling Belgian styles, pale ales and a pilsner, they quickly began making a name for themselves in the Transylvania region and are now working their way across the country.

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Fresh from Sibiu, Nembeer were the first craft brewery to launch this quarter (photo credit: Nembeer)

After keeping an eye on Patos Beer since last year, we were happy to see them make an appearance towards the end of April. Although they only have two beers under their belt so far – an IPA and a American Pale Ale – their launch was neatly timed with the start of the festival season, and we’re looking forward to them joining us in Cluj in mid July for their festival debut.

April was also a busy month for Kutuma who, when not busy working on the third batches of their core range, fostered the first gypsy brewer to spawn from the realms of Cluj. Neuron Mash began brewing their (currently one and only) double dry-hopped IPA in April, yet it wasn’t until June that it made an appearance in the world. And while they’re still getting their name out there among beer lovers, we’re happy to know that their second batch hit the fermenting vessels earlier this week.

Speaking of gypsy brewers, Three Happy Brewers and their predilection for collaborations aided the release of Anagram Brewing at the end of May. Although they plan to open their own brewery in the months to come, Anagram and their West Coast (or Best Coast, as they lovingly dubbed it) IPA were very well received by the beer drinking crowd. So well, in fact, that it pretty much sold out in most locations. Have no fear though, as they’re already working on a new and exciting concoction to add to their range.

White Collar Brewing also fit the format of ‘We brewed, we launched, we sold out’. Debuting in May, their range of four beers stirred such excitement that we barely managed to get our hands on a couple of bottles before they were gone. Chances are you can still find some of their IPAs in shops, but with them releasing a rye IPA in June, we’re hoping that this small brewery will soon see its wares more readily available outside the Bucharest area as well.

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Part of the White Collar Brewing beers in all their glory (photo credit: a very generous Facebook user)

In June, the long awaited Mustața de Bere placed the city of Braşov on the beer map, with an IPA, and while their brewery is still in its early days, we’re confident that they have more planned for us in the months to come.

More beer for the people

It may seem like the new breweries are taking the spotlight in terms of diversifying the options available on the market, but well established names have also seen a tremendous growth. Three Happy Brewers are by far the most the most notorious example. Although they’re only coming up to their first birthday, their fermenting vessels have been put to good use since day one. Not only have they been busy creating new beers to add to their repertoire, but they’ve also hosted numerous contract brews for bars and suppliers in Bucharest, as well as harboring the occasional gypsy brewer. Therefore, an increase in their production line was deemed a definite must, which they diligently approached with the purchase of 4 new fermenting vessels – doubling their potential yearly output.

We were also very excited to see that Bereta finally received their long awaited authorizations and got the ball rolling at their very own brewery in Timişoara. So far, they’ve brought back a number of classics from their gypsy brewing days, such as their iconic Citro Pale Ale, or the tongue twisting Ai Pi Iei IPA, as well as the new Random range. And while their love for hops is still obvious (especially in their second anniversary beer, Another One Down, packed with Mosaic, Centennial, Simcoe, and some oats to keep the malt company), we’re curious to see if they will venture into the realms of dark beers in the months to come.

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While the Random Pale Ale is still due to properly launch, the rest of the Bereta non-gypsy range is already available in both bottles and draft across the country (photo credit: Bereta)

Hop Hooligans have also been busy pumping out awesome beer from their brewery in Jilava, and have currently brewed over 50 batches of their well known Crowd Control IPA. That’s a pretty impressive number, especially for a brewery that has, so far, released over 40 different beers, and has only been around for less than 2 years. Ever so dedicated to bringing about changes for the best in the industry, they also got their hands on a canning facility from the UK in June, making them the first Romanian craft brewery to make their beers available by the can. It was a fairly bold move, and one which needed a fair bit of reassurance, as the natives are as keen on new concepts as we are on cheesy hops, yet we salute the initiative and can hardly wait for all those canned teasers to meet our taste buds.

Sikaru only launched one beer this quarter, a Black IPA, yet the grand opening of their Craft și Draft bar in Bucharest more than makes up for it.

On a similar note, we were also thrilled to see that the elusive Amon-Ra brewery in Bucharest has become more prevalent on the market, especially in the light of them making great beer since June of last year. Their current monthly output is quite small, at barely 15 hectoliters, yet with them considering kegging in the future, we’re eagerly awaiting the day when their beers will be more readily available, as well as seeing them at festivals.

Let the festivities begin!

When you spend all winter hibernating or contemplating the effects of sunlight on your overall mood, chances are nothing will get you more perked up with excitement like the prospect of a sunny day and an outdoor event to help you stretch those weary bones.

It’s probably what the 5 breweries behind the Craft Beer Producers’ Association were thinking when they partnered up with the Romanian Food Truck Association in early April, and tantalized our taste buds and appetites for events with their Picnic in the Garden.

Yet the very first proper beer festival of the year was brought to us courtesy of Beer Hype in Cluj, between 18 and 20th of May. The event was not only the first full scale craft beer festival in the city, but it also marked the debut of a couple of breweries that have never attended similar venues before, such as Carol Beer, KutumaOne Beer Later and even Klausenburger (who have, up until last year, only been available on the premises of their brewpub). On top of that, numerous breweries who have never attended festivals in Cluj before were convinced to join in the fun, such as Perfektum, who used this as an opportunity to showcase their recently launched Session IPA.

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Set in the classy location of the Cluj-Napoca Art Museum, Beer Hype was the first craft beer festival of the year (photo credit: Beer Hype via Komiti Media)

Meanwhile, in Timişoara, the lads at Bereta decided that everyone should partake in the festivities that came about with the launch of their brewery. So, between 15 and 17th of June, they partnered up with local pub and bottle shop Bibliotheka to bring the first craft beer festival to the denizens of the city. The three day bonanza brought together over 10,000 people who tucked into the wares of 20 breweries from across the country, both well known names as well as the inconspicuous Urban Brewery, who came forth to meet its fans after keeping mostly to themselves in Sibiu since late 2017.

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Locked, loaded and ready to serve: Silviu from Bereta manning the stand at their first festival

With their relocation to a larger facility as well as the launch of the Hangar Gastropub, Ground Zero have also been fairly busy using their new premises to host local events, such as the IPA Fest, or the Big Summer Party, featuring both their own concoctions, as well as hosting guest beers from other local craft brands.

What’s on the agenda?

We’re so glad you asked, because summer is far from over, and boy oh boy, do you have a lot to look forward to!

We’re gonna be humble about it and, for the sake of chronological order, we’ll start with our own little endeavours. After the precedent we set last year with our Craft Beer Days event, this summer, we decided to go big. So when Blend. Brews & Bites got in touch and asked us if we want to do a take 2 of last year’s shenanigans, it was such a no-brainer that we couldn’t say no. Obviously, we here at Beerologique also like to go all out, so we thought that craft beer stands and food trucks may be all the rave, but they’re not enough. Therefore, we organized the first Homebrewing Competition in Cluj since the olden days of 2015. Then, we got talking with Brews Brothers and decided that the people of Cluj also need a homebrew workshop, and they were more than happy to comply. After a quick chat with the lads making brewing equipment at Inotec, we decided that they should also drop round and put some of their equipment on display. There’s lots more on the side, apart from the breweries coming (some of which are making their festival debut), as well as a very special surprise we have planned for those living in Cluj. So yeah, we don’t mean to brag, but it’s gonna be packed with awesomeness, so if you’re in the area, do drop by between 13-15 of July and check out the Cluj Craft Beer Festival.

For those not in the area, don’t despair, as the rest of the country has its fair share of events lined up. The Beer Craft @ Art festival in Sibiu is seeing its second edition this year, between August 3-5th, on the idyllic location of the Astra outdoor rural museum.

In Timişoara, the guys at Clinica de Bere have come up with a new festival concept which, rather than focusing on local names, decided it’s time Romania gets on par with the rest of the world. As such, they’re organizing a festival where they plan to bring over several internationally acclaimed breweries. While the lineup has yet to be confirmed, the event is scheduled for the 17-19th of August, so do make sure to check out the Craft Art TM Beer Festival if you want to become acquainted with some new and exciting brews.

Meanwhile, the iconic Bucharest Craft Beer Festival is getting ready for its third edition. Although they have moved their usual dates between August 31st and September 2nd, they promise us the same recipe for success that combines amazing local breweries and delicious food, on the usual Verde Stop Arena hangout.

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No summer would be complete without the Bucharest Craft Beer Festival, and after last year’s edition, we’re all geared up to see what they have ready for us this time around (photo credit: Ioana Epure via Uncle Jeb Studio)

Who’s up for another round?

If you’re too busy working your way through various shades of sunburn at the seaside, grilling some burgers in your backyard, or are otherwise engaged in activities which will prevent you from attending this summer’s beer festivals, there’s still much to look forward to in your spare time.

We currently have our beady eye set on three breweries who hope to launch in August. Those of you who have been following the Facebook page Bere cu Miere will be pleased to hear that this year it will finally take shape, under the name of Berăria Secular, based in the city of Blaj. So far, we have been fortunate enough to have a sneak preview of their pale ale at the Kutuma official launch party on May 3rd, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The beers they promise us will all have honey as one of their base ingredients, however they’re going to approach a wide variety of styles to keep us entertained.

After almost 2 years of waiting for paperwork, Bere Noah have also announced that they are now legally allowed to put their equipment to use, which means that the city of Târgu Mureș will also be joining the industry with its very own craft brewery.

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Noah the dog, co-founder of Ignat Brewery, enjoying what is probably the best 10 year birthday present: their long awaited authorizations (photo credit: Călin Ignat, the other co-founder)

Also, Sibiu seems hell bent on catching up with the rest of the country in terms of artisan brews, with its fourth brewery, Bere Artizanală din Sibiu also due to start producing in August.

Speaking of Sibiu, Nembeer are set on drastically increasing their output in the months to come, making their beers more easily available across the country, as well as expanding their range with an IPA. And with Urban Brewery ready to keg, we’re hoping to see their beers make an appearance in pubs and bars, as well as bottle shops.

Meanwhile, Capra Noastră have released 3 new beers to celebrate their 1 year anniversary, and not only have they gone large with their 500ml bottles, but they are also bringing us some very intriguing specimens, such as their Tripel which features no hops, but endives, to give it that bitter twang.

The long awaited Quadrupel from Oriel Beer has been postponed to mid July, yet to make up for it, they have recently launched a Saison, as well as prepared some limited edition beers to keep us busy in the months to come, such as a Brettanomyces variety of their Blond, a hoppy take on their Blond, and a Maris Otter loaded version of their Dubbel.

Last but definitely not least, keep an eye on Hop Hooligans and their canning shenanigans, as they slowly plan on switching from bottles to a more sustainable form of packaging. With a Sorachi IPA in the making, as well as a very exciting collaboration with Bereta and Wicked Barrel for the 3rd anniversary of Berero Store, their beers are not only sure to impress, but also move the industry forward towards new and thought provoking realms.

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She may be a bit squat compared to bottles, but she’s still got them curves: this Sorachi IPA is just the first of the many beers from Hop Hooligans we’ll be enjoying by the can in the months to come (photo credit: Hop Hooligans)

And because we like to keep tabs on the latest additions, here’s the list of which breweries released what in these past 3 months:

Amon-Ra
Olovina – Classic Pale Ale
Carmilhan – Imperial IPA
Chindia – SMaSH-style IPA

Anagram Brewing – West Coast IPA

Bere a la Cluj – Man Go – Mango Pale Ale

Bereta:
Random IPA
Random DIPA
Citro – Pale Ale
‘Ai pi iei – IPA
Another One Down – 2 year anniversary IPA
Roots Hoppy Roots  – Double IPA (Collaboration with Ground Zero)

Capra Noastră
Noaptea Mâţei – Dark Abbey Beer (neagră de abație)
Oaia e prea creață – Kriek-style beer with bitter cherries and coriander 
Vaca e prea înaltă – Tripel with endives (no hops) 
Măgărița e prea căpoasă – Kriek-style beer with blueberries

Hop Hooligans
Why the Long Face?  – Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Stout
Time – Imperial Stout (aged on Chocolate, Coffee and Vanilla) 
8 Years O’Clock – IPA (collaboration with Bereta and Ground Zero, brewed for the 8 year anniversary of Beer O’Clock)
Shock Therapy IPA
– Version 10: Azacca
– Version 11: Citra
– Version 12: Ekuanot & Centennial  

Hophead
Hop Me Up – IPA
Little D – New England Pale Ale (dedicated to their first born child)

Mustața de Bere – IPA

Nembeer
Amarilla – American Pale Ale
Draculina – Belgian Saison
Boema – Bohemian Pilsner

Neuron Mash – Double dry-hopped IPA

One Beer Later – Einstein Is Wrong – American Amber Ale

Oriel Beer – Saison

Patos Beer
IPA
American Pale Ale

Perfektum – Session IPA

Sikaru – Black Griffin – Black IPA

Three Happy Brewers
– Bohemian Lager
– Bad Baba – American Wheat Ale with thyme and goji berries (collaboration with Ah Craft Beer Project)

White Collar Brewing
Imperator Furiosa – IPA
Chateau Biscuit – Belgian Pale Ale
Zero Taxe – IPA
Amber Galaxy
Pepperye – Rye IPA

Wicked Barrel – Piece of Cake – Imperial Porter (1 year anniversary beer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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