Location: Jilava, Ilfov county
Open since: November 2016
Brewers: Cristian Mihai Dinu and Mircea Georgescu
It would be safe to say that Hop Hooligans are not only the prodigies of the Romanian craft beer scene, but also the most prolific brewery in the country. Though not the first and definitely not the largest in terms of output, they have quickly become one of the most instantly recognizable presences on the market.
Their story started off when Mircea and Cristi partnered up with Petre Ion, founder of Beer O’Clock, one of the first craft beer bars in the country. Sadly, about half a year since their launch, Petre died in a car crash in late April of 2017, leaving the hooligans to fend for themselves. Times were grim for a while (the name of their Game Over IPA was more than just a gimmick), yet through hard work and an ever growing fan base, the orphaned lads managed to pull through and persevere in the industry.
What sets them apart is not only the quality of their brews (a quick search on either RateBeer or Untappd will always contain at least one of their concoctions among the top 10 beers in Romania), but their diligence in approaching new ideas, as well as equally crafty industry folk for some truly remarkable collaborations.
The Hop Hooligans life motto is fairly straightforward: they only make beer that they would like to drink. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of styles these guys are willing to try, or the kind of adjuncts they’re willing to use to spice things up a notch. So far, their beer portfolio has expanded like a ravenous yeast culture that has sniffed out some fermentable sugars, and they have approached many styles that are a first on the Romanian market: milk stouts, sours, barley wines, brut IPAs, as well as a list of adjuncts that encompasses everything from orange peels to spruce tips and jalapeños. Heck, their Shock Therapy IPA range alone seems wholly dedicated to trying out every hop combo available since people got tired of drinking gruit, so there’s no saying where their experiments will end.
Their array of collaborations is expanding just as boldly, seeing brew days in partnership with both Romanian brewers (such as Bereta, or Wicked Barrel and Hophead), as well as breweries from Wales or, closer to home, in Moldova. And when you’re so busy poking your nose in your neighbor’s mash tun, it’s only normal that someone’s going to take notice. Therefore, they should definitely be proud of the fact that their beers are available (not only by the bottle, but also on draft) in select locations in the UK and Poland, as well as appearing at international beer festivals in Belgium, for instance.
Ever so keen on being revolutionary, in June 2018 they also announced the purchase of a canning facility from the UK, thus making them the first Romanian craft brewery to be available by the can. A very bold move, yet one we’ve eagerly awaited, especially in the light of them considering switching from bottles altogether.
In a few short months since early November 2016, the hooligans have gone from the new kids on the block, to one of the most widely regarded breweries in the country. Less than a year down the line, in July 2017, they have also become one of the 5 independent breweries to join the Craft Beer Producers’ Association aiming to promote Romanian craft beer, as well as helping out brewers set up and further their growth on the market. And at the rate at which they’re growing and exploring new avenues, keeping an eye on their brews is a definite must.
After attending numerous festivals across Europe in the past couple of years, in 2019 they partnered up with Bereta to organize Haze Fest, the first craft beer festival in Romania that follows the same format as other well established events, from the ticketed venue, all-you-can-drink tasting session, and a line-up with international breweries. The second edition is due in 2020, with the Hooligans as the main organizers, so look out for exciting developments in the future.
Their impressive range is available in both 330ml and 500ml bottles or cans, as well as draft in designated pubs and shops across the country. Or, if you prefer to enjoy them from the comfort of your home, you can order them online straight from their website – now shipping anywhere in the EU.
These guys made so many beers, we had to make a separate page just for that, otherwise you’d be scrolling forever. Have a look here.
Check out how it’s made: Crowd Control batch 106
- Str. Sos. Giurgiului 33A, Jilava, Ilfov, Muntenia
- Web: www.hophooligans.ro
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/hophooligans
- Tel: 0799 340 209