2019 has been a heck of a roller coaster ride for the Romanian craft beer scene. We've seen an outstanding number of new beer releases, new styles being tackled, the IPA dominion still holding strong, and a few welcome trends that are hopefully here to stay. But with less new breweries compared to last year, and topped with some changes in the market and the industry, it does beget the question of what the future holds. So let's pour ourselves a drop and see where we're come so far.
We interrupt your holiday shenanigans with a message both grim and hopeful. Christmas is over, and for the vast majority of us, there’s not a lot to look forward to beyond the outrageous capers of New Year’s Eve. Ah, but at least there’s beer. And this month has provided plenty to keep us going through the dreariness that is January. So let’s see how this last month panned out, and ponder briefly what the next year will bring.
As the year draws to an end and the nights become darker, colder, and longer, you’ll find that you probably have much more time to spend reading our monthly reviews. And after months of bemoaning the absence of dark beers, it seems that this month we've been quite spoiled for choice. So, go grab a pint of something dark and strong, settle down under a blanket, and find out what’s new in the brewing world.
This month, it wasn’t just the leaves turning all the shades of the warmer colour spectrum, but the beers as well. It was about time too - after an IPA suffused summer, darker beers have finally come onto to the center stage. And to keep them company, we’ve also seen quite a few breweries take on some old school styles, as well as some new players joining the industry before the year is out.
Last week, we got the chance to attend the single, most important craft beer festival to take place in Romania this year: the first edition of Haze Fest, in Timișoara. Given the fact that such an event format is unprecedented in Romania, we were also curious to hear some feedback from the breweries who participated. So, we had a quick chat with them about whether it lived up to their expectations, and got the chance to take a look at everything from their perspective.
It's official: summer has already been put behind us, but it looks like the brewers have yet to get the memo. While this month has seen a constant flow of new releases, everyone seems somewhat loath to leave the sunny days behind. And if there's not much to be done about the days getting shorter, at least the brewers can still capture some of that summer glow in their IPAs and pale ales. So let's take a look.
Romanian breweries took July by storm, with a good number of new releases across the board. And in spite of August being generally considered the last holiday month right before sending the kids back to school, brewers have been very productive. With 26 new releases, we've seen a wide array of styles, collaborations, as well as exciting beers to look forward to this autumn.
For our second entry in the Brew Day Log, we decided to join gypsy brewer Adi Oros from Blackout Brewing, as he took over the controls at Bere a la Cluj on August 13th, to brew batch three of his debut IPA, Delicate Psycho. Each version of this double dry-hopped IPA is slightly different, and this one will feature a generous dose of Galaxy hops.
In the three years we've been keeping an eye on the local craft beer industry, we have often asked ourselves all sorts of questions. 'Should we add this brewery to our database? What makes this brewery 'craft'? Is there even a definition of craft beer in Romania?' So back in January, we sat down and took on an enormous task: trying to come up with a definition ourselves.
Perhaps we've watched too many episodes of 'How It's Made' when we were kids, but we've always been curious to see how the beer we drink is brewed, and we figured you might be as well. So on August 8th, we headed out to the Hop Hooligans brewery in Jilava, to document the making of one of their flagship labels.