Open since: April 2015
Head brewer: Răzvan Matache
2015 saw the beginning of something wondrous: the first microbrewery in Bucharest fired up its brewing kettles and put its fermenting vessels to work, and the resulting beers meant that the Romanian craft beer scene would never be the same again. Taking inspiration from British independent breweries (namely BrewDog) and driven by a rebellious attitude towards the generic yellow beers in green bottles, Ground Zero lived up to its name in terms of both inspiring and shaping the way artisan beer is now brewed in the country.
Ground Zero is a partnership between the Matache brothers: Răzvan, the head brewer (or ‘the artist’ behind the operation) and Alin, the poker player whose skills in keeping a straight face actually helped fund their business. With their 7000 liter setup (out of which a 2000 liter fermenting vessel is dedicated entirely to Morning Glory, their best selling beer), the brewery takes great pride in their use of English malts, an abundance of hops from all over the world, and a ballsy attitude towards the way proper beer should be made. And you have to hand it to them, after all, they did brew the first truly strong beer in Romania, a 9% ABV monster of an IPA, riddled with more hops than was considered decent at the time, and going by the no-nonsense name of Imperial Fuck.
Since they first opened, Ground Zero have had a constant growth both in terms of the styles they approached, but also their impact on the brewing scene. Always open to new ideas and making their equipment available to equally crafty minds, they have allowed homebrewers to take the leap into the gypsy brewing field, and have thus propelled breweries like Bereta and Wicked Barrel unto the market. Their collaborations also extended beyond Romanian borders, into countries like the US or Bulgaria. The years to follow saw them grow even further, to the point where they opened their own taproom on the brewery premises, as well as the association with a local bistro in what would later open as the Ground Zero Bar. The bar itself is a good place to not only sample their beers on draft (some of them not available by the bottle, such as their nitro pumped oatmeal stout), but also expand your knowledge of beers through their solid selection of imports.
In June 2017, they released a new range which, while still brewed in their craft beer studio, goes by a different name: Deranj. Currently available in only two varieties, a wheat and a Kölsch style ale, this range is mainly aimed at retail consumers. However, in spite of the fact that it is more readily available in designated supermarkets and not packing as much of a punch as their core range, it continues to challenge the way Romanian drinkers perceive beer and their expectations of it.
In 2018, their expansion plans took on full swing, and after they helped launch 3 Romanian gypsy breweries, they also decided to permanently allocate on of their fermenting vessels to any upcoming brewers who might need a hand making a breach into the market. Needless to say, if you’re looking for the spawning point of Romanian gypsy brewers, the studio in Băneasa is the place to go.
And to top it all, it is worth mentioning the fact that they are also one of the 5 founding breweries behind the Romanian Craft Beer Producers’ Association.
Ground Zero have become a well established presence on the beer drinking scene, and their beers can be found in numerous places across the country, from specialized shops to bars and restaurants, either by 330ml bottle or draft. Apart from their bar and taphouse, you can also sample them in these locations.
- Morning Glory – IPA
- Imperial Fuck – Imperial IPA
- Gipsy Porter – Porter
- Easy Rider – Pale Ale
- Amber Guerre – American Red Ale
- Split the Pot – NE IPA
The Deranj range:
- Deranj Oranj – Orange Wheat Ale
- Dreranj Blonda – Kölsch style Ale
Collaborations & Specialty/limited edition beers:
- Imperial Juice – NE IPA limited edition (collaboration with Bereta)
- Spiced Oddity – Autumn Ale (collaboration with Royal Docks)
- Grounded Stork – Saison/Grisette (collaboration with White Stork)
- Oatmeal Nitro Stout (only available on draft at the Ground Zero Bar)
- Orange Snow – Citrus Hoppy Saison (Collaboration with Bereta)
- Angel Piss – Gose
- Ticket to the Stars – 11 months Merlot Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
- Triple IPA – 3 year anniversary beer
- 8 Years O’Clock – IPA (collaboration with Bereta and Hop Hooligans, brewed for the 8 year anniversary of Beer O’Clock)