Open since: November 2017
Head brewer: Norbert Tătar
Just when you thought things were getting quiet on the western front, the city of Cluj-Napoca decided it was time to step up its game a bit, with the opening of its fourth independent brewery.
While Kutuma only started brewing its beers on a commercial level in November 2017, Norbert, the head brewer, has a wealth of experience in both brewing, as well as becoming thoroughly involved in the emerging brewing initiative among Romanian beer lovers. His interest in brewing sparked up back in the olden days of working in construction in Africa. After noticing that beer was quite a scarce commodity, he began to contemplate making his own. With that in mind, he took a slight detour via the Czech Republic, where he picked up his brewing craft, before returning home to partake in a budding industry.
His most notable pre-Kutuma endeavor came to fruition with the beer meeting of October 2015, in Cluj-Napoca. The event itself was quite ahead of its time in terms of what it sought to achieve, and we’re not talking just beer tasting nights. As the first homebrewing competition in the country, it combined both well established breweries, as well as back then home-brewers who would later become a staple on the Romanian scene, such as Hop Hooligans, Bereta, and even Oriel.
With a background as impressive as that, it was only a matter of time before the brewery itself came to fruition, so at the beginning of 2017, Norbert and his two associates decided to tackle the Romanian authorities in order to get the ball rolling. Kutuma made its debut towards the end of the year, and as the name implies (‘cutumă’ is an old Romanian word for common law or well established practices) it came out as the embodiment of a lengthy passion for brewing, aiming to change beer drinkers’ expectations of the finished product.
One thing that makes the head brewer stand out compared to other fellows in the industry is his predilection for using yeast. While most brewers are serious hopheads, or at least showcase a bit of a sweet tooth with their love for malts, the head brewer at Kutuma prefers to contemplate the subtleties of yeast strains, and the unique (sometimes even unpredictable) ways in which they bring a beer to life.
Keeping true to their involvement in the industry and given the fact that they have a more than generous output (they are among the few craft breweries in the country to use 2000 liter fermenting vessels), Kutuma launched a gypsy program in the spring of 2018, to give local aspiring brewers a hand in coming out on the market. So far, they hosted Neuron Mash and it’s first concoction, a triple dry-hopped double IPA that slowly, but surely, came out in the month of June.
Currently available in 500ml glass bottles and 330ml for their Imperial Stout, the Kutuma beers are slowly working their way outside the range of Cluj-Napoca and into the country. With a kegging facility under their belt, you can expect their beers on draft in a pub near you in the year to come. And with the onset of summer, keep an eye out for their plan to open a small terrace on the brewery premises, perfect for sampling their beers straight from the tap.
In the meantime (and for those who are not denizens of Cluj-Napoca), you can buy them online from Berero Store.
- Zăbava – Lager – 5.5% ABV
- Zarva – American Wheat Beer – 6.2% ABV
- Jargon – Amber Ale – 5.2% ABV
- Dambla – IPA – 7% ABV
- Ortu’ Popii – Imperial Stout – 11% ABV
Seasonal/limited edition beers:
- American Wheat Beer with cáscara – brewed for Meron cafe – 6.2% ABV
- Email: Berecraft@hotmail.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/berecraft/