We were expecting January to be a slow, post-Christmas-blues-y kind of month. It was definitely not the case, and with quite a few new releases, as well as some excitement looming on the horizon, we decided to compile a monthly review to do them justice.
We’re starting off the list of new releases with spoilers gathered from last year, when Hop Hooligans announced that their Slice of Pi peach IPA would be one of the first beers to welcome the new year. This month, they have not only worked on new batches of Game Over, Shady Sushi, or doing a retake and canned version of the Screwed Up rye IPA collaboration with Hophead, but they also looked as far east as Russia for their collaboration Zagovor Brewery. The result was an insanely pink, fruit-packed DIPA that received excellent reviews on both Untappd and RateBeer. There’s also word of an Imperial honey Porter due to launch soon, and topped with their announcement that they are now shipping beers all over the EU, we’re surprised they still find the time to attend events in Berlin or doing tap takeovers in Copenhagen.
Zăganu have had an action packed month, and we were very excited to hear that they finally started collaborating with other breweries, none other than their sweethearts at Hop Hooligans. It was about time the Hooligans added a lager to their repertoire, so here’s something to look for in the coming months. In the meantime, Zăganu have also delved into the realms of dark beers, and have released a Russian Imperial Stout that we’re eager to get our hands on, after its release yesterday.
Meanwhile, Hophead found that their Hop Me Up NEIPA took a turn for a less hazy look, so they decided to roll with it, and launched it as a stand alone beer, Hop You Up. There’s also word of a mystery surprise beer due to be released at Blend. Brews & Bites soon, a fruity little number that you should keep an eye on.
Ground Zero were also set on new releases, and after they doused a batch of their iconic Morning Glory IPA with a cup or two of coffee from Kira Roasters, the third beer in their XperimentALE range was launched on January 22. Morning Coffee is a coffee IPA that will definitely work a treat, so make sure to check it out. Also, we were pleased to see that the Deranj family saw a new addition, in the shape of an IPA launched the other day, so stay tuned for upcoming available locations.
As promised last year, the Berărescu brewpub started its series of releases this month as well, currently counting 2 beers: a pale ale and a Weizen. There’s also a cherry beer due to launch on February 14th, just in time for
Valentine’s Berăntines Day. Only available on their premises in Timișoara, but if you’re into Untappd and checking off new beers, we say they’re well worth a visit.
And speaking of checking boxes, if you’re like us and completely missed out on the release of Bere Noah‘s Poet of Pale Ale last year, do not despair: the second batch is already working its way into bottles and out into the world, so hang on to your seats a little while longer.
Back in Black
The Black Pot – a Bereta and Wicked Barrel collaboration – returns this year for it’s 3rd batch, for the first time brewed at Bereta’s brewery. At 10.5%, this imperial stout is big by nature, and The Black Pot version 1 shot to the number one spot on Ratebeer shortly after its release. After such success, the boys thought it was only fair to dedicate a day to this behemoth of a beer, so January 4th became The Black Pot Day, when the beer was brewed once more.
The lads will be releasing 3 versions of their iconic brew, now packed with all sorts of interesting additions: chilies & cocoa, and pistachios & vanilla. Only 600 bottles for each version, so keep your eyes peeled for the release date. In the meantime, you can grab some special re-releases of version 2 from Berero. Bottle aged for a whole year, if you didn’t catch them before, now’s a great time to give it a go.
Speaking of black beers, Wicked Barrel celebrated their 2 year anniversary mid January, with the release of batch two of their Piece of Cake Imperial Porter.
Going for Gold
Oriel Beer have kept themselves busy as well, and congratulations are in order on their being awarded the prestigious title of the 5th Best New Brewer in the world on Ratebeer. Fighting off competition from across the globe, the guys have done the country proud with their range of high quality Belgian style brews. Not only that, but batch 1 of their Quadrupel, matured in Jack Daniels barrels, also took the prize for Best Beer in Romania for 2018.
Fame hasn’t gone to their heads just yet though, and they’ve been busy manning the mash tuns and firing up the kettles this month as well. Several beers have been in the works, though they probably won’t see the light of day for many more months yet: their sumptuous Winter Ale, a new batch of Saison, the tantalizing Blond Wild, as well as their collaborations with Wicked Barrel and HopSaSam. They will benefit from several months of maturation, so look out for these later this year.
Don’t worry if you’re craving an Oriel Beer now though, as January saw the release of the much anticipated second batch of their barrel aged Quadrupel. This time aged in Belize Rum barrels, it’s sure to tick all the right boxes.
Welcome to the stage…
January has seen a good number of familiar brews return to our beer fridges, but it has also been a month for a new generation of gypsy brewers to take up the mash paddle and take the plunge into the world of commercial brewing.
The first Bereta Brewing Community beer was launched in the middle of January, a juicy New England Double IPA. This was the creation of home brew extraordinaire Radu Drașovean and was incredibly well received, with some talk of it being the best of it’s style in the country. If you haven’t had it, there’s still a chance to grab this once in a lifetime brew from Berero.
In the middle of the month, the brewers at Kutuma were roused from their slumber as Player One Brewery entered the game. Their first beer, a super weiss, is currently maturing in the fermenting vessels, and can be expected to be available from next month, as long as the guys don’t drink it all first (we had a wee tipple, and can vouch that it’s thoroughly moreish).
Also in Cluj, Blackout Brewing is living up to their name as they take over the controls at Bere a la Cluj. A roasty, pitch black imperial stout is just starting to ferment as we type, and is expected to finish at around 10.5% ABV. This ambitious brew is just the starting point, with many more recipes in the pipeline.
But, it’s not the first commercial brew that Blackout’s Adi Oros has concocted. Just a few weeks ago he was a humble homebrewer, but he got the chance to play with the Bereta boys as part of their Brewing Community program. Together they created a rich, roasty, vanilla Breakfast Stout, with coffee from Yume Roasters. It’s going into bottles next week, and should be available in February.
There’s also word of a new gypsy brewery set to start off at Bereta: One Two brewery, who are due to head over for a brew day in the weeks to come. We had a bit of a chat with the lads behind it, and we’re only going to tell you this: when we heard what it is they’re planning to brew, we were not only surprised by the niche-ness of the style (something quite adventurous for a debut), but it also got out taste buds going. If you can guess what it is, kudos to you, but we’ll have to wait a little while longer until they get their own page and branding up and running.
That’s it from us. Winter is not over yet, so remember to stay warm and hydrated, and check back in February. In the meantime, you can keep an eye on our New Beers page for the latest releases, available through our partners in crime at Berero Store.
PPS: we also made you this list of new beers, as custom demands:
– Hop You Up – NEIPA – 6% ABV
– Oriel Quadrupel barrel age – 11.5% ABV – batch 2: Belize Rum BA
– Piece of Cake #2 – Imperial Porter (2 year anniversary beer) – 11.5% ABV
– Russian Imperial Stout
– Hoppy Pale Ale – English Pale Ale – 5.1% ABV
– Bumblebee Weizen – Weizen – 5.6% ABV