Hophead Brewing

DSC_0176Location: Cluj-Napoca
Open since: October 2015
Head brewer: Darko Jovik

General information:

November 2010 marked the beginning of a grim period for the beer loving denizens of Cluj-Napoca, as it saw the closing down of the iconic Ursus brewery, after it was bought out and became a subsidiary of one of the larger brewing groups. Luckily, this did not mean that the city’s brewing tradition, going back over two centuries, would come to a standstill. If anything, it was revamped and set to head into the realm of independent craft beer production, with the arrival of a very skilled brewer come all the way from Macedonia.

After several years working and developing a taste for beer in the US, Darko and his wife Dana decided to start brewing their own. So they returned to Romania, and in October 2015, they laid down the foundation of what would become the first craft brewery in Cluj-Napoca. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to keep an ever expanding list of bars and beer shops supplied with fantastic craft beer, in spite of the small output accommodated by their brewing setup.

In 2018, after brewing a couple of anniversary beers for the pubs and restaurants in Cluj stocking their beer, as well as a local band, they decided to come out of their Transylvanian confines and indulge in a bit of a collab brew, and teamed up with none other than Hop Hooligans to create a triple dry-hopped rye IPA.

Once it turned out that collaborations are not such a scary affair, they not only went back to Hop Hooligans for a take 2, but in July of 2018, they decide to lend an ear to the beer lovers in Cluj-Napoca and brew a beer that would suit the tastes and the spirit of the city. Part of our raising craft beer awareness schemes during the Craft Beer Festival in Cluj, they partnered up with local breweries Kutuma and Bere a la Cluj and they brewed a one-off IPA dedicated to the city that has been a home to their brewing endeavours.

In 2017, they started kegging their beers, which means that you can now find them on tap in various bars and shops around Cluj-Napoca. What we recommend, though, is buying them straight from the brewery, as it is also a good opportunity to have a chat with either Darko himself or his jolly assistants. One thing to point out is the fact, while brewery tours are encouraged, it’s always best to book in advance, just in case there’s a brewing day scheduled.

Hophead is steadily growing into one of the most instantly recognizable craft breweries available in the country, due to the excellent quality of their beers, as well as the friendly and down-to-earth attitude of the brewers. Their core range, as well as several seasonal brews from their ‘fun series’, is available by 330ml bottles or on draft, through their growing list of partners in crime

Products:

Classic range:

  • Auto Pilot – Blonde Ale – 4% ABV
  • Immigrant – Pale Ale – 5.1% ABV
  • Opium – IPA – 6.5% ABV
  • Red Line – Amber Ale – 5.1% ABV
  • Dark’oh – Robust Porter – 5.7% ABV
  • NeBruna Dupa Tine – India Brown Ale – 6.4% ABV
  • Pure C – IPA – 6.2% ABV
  • Karma – Double IPA – 8.5% ABV
  • Hop Me Up – IPA – 6% ABV
  • Little D – New England Pale Ale (dedicated to their first born child) – 5.1% ABV

Seasonal/limited edition beers:

  • gRoZava – Raspberry Wit – 5.25% ABV
  • Opium Anniversary – double dry hopped edition – 6.5% ABV
  • Opium Centennial Overload – single hop edition – 6.5% ABV
  • Vișne – sour cherry and wild berry Blonde Ale – 4% ABV
  • Chihlimbar – session IPA (brewed for the band Luna Amara) – 5.6% ABV
  • 5 Years of Spirit – session IPA (brewed for Jaxx American Restaurant anniversary) – 5.7% ABV
  • 2 Years of Bujolé – coffee IPA (brewed for Bujolé Restaurant anniversary) – 5.6% ABV
  • Wing Nut – IPA – 5.8% ABV (recipe designed by Andras Adam, one of the brewers)

Collaborations:

  • Screwed Up – Triple dry-hopped Rye IPA (collaboration with Hop Hooligans) – 7.5% ABV
  • Trouble Gum – Belgian IPA (collaboration with Hop Hooligans) – 6.5% ABV
  • Berea Clujenilor – Session IPA/ MNO IPA (collaboration with Bere a la Cluj and Kutuma) – 5.2% ABV

For reviews check BeerAdvocate, Ratebeer, Untappd and Universitatea de Bere

Contact details:

This page was last updated November 8 2018.

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