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Location: Măneciu-Ungureni, Prahova county
Open since: October 2013
Head brewer: Ileana Drăghici
Founders: Laurențiu Bănescu & Alexandru Geamănu
Output in 2019: 5187 hectolitres
There’s a very poetically apt comparison to be drawn between the Romanian independent breweries that used to be made in the country and zăganu, a species of vulture that was nearly hunted to extinction.
Romania has had a long brewing tradition, yet with the onset of communism, the vast majority of them began to shut down. By 1990, over 100 breweries either terminated their production, or were slowly assimilated by larger entities. Before that, one of the country’s iconic wildlife species, the zăganu vulture, had also been proclaimed extinct, almost a century before.
Therefore, it was fate that, in early 2013, two friends took a ride to check out a dilapidated brewery at the foothill of the Zăganu peak, and decided to use the premise with the intention of relaunching the country’s brewing tradition, and swerving it towards the realms of artisan and craft.
Little by little, the Zăganu brewery has helped consumers form a taste for beer that’s more than just a very clear, very carbonated concoction, and has also inspired newer breweries in pursuing the same path. Their first two beers may have been relatively tame, a Pilsner and a dark lager, yet by the time their second anniversary came around in 2015, they decided it was time to tease the Romanian beer drinking crowd with the addition of an IPA and a red Belgian ale.
By 2016, the craft beer scene had grown drastically, with more and more breweries prospecting the market. And as luck would have it, 2016 also marked the ‘rebirth’ of the zăganu vulture, which once more took to the skies after almost 80 years of being declared extinct. Now, there’s no official answer from the Romanian ornithological society as to whether there’s a connection between the resurgence of craft beer and the return of this elusive bird, but we’re suckers for corny coincidences. Luckily, so are the lads at Zăganu, as they brewed a pale ale dedicated specifically to Adonis, the name of the returning vulture himself.
In their constant pursuit of popularizing craft beer and making it more accessible, 2017 saw them open their own bar, under the name of Fabrica de Bere Bună (The Good Beer Factory). It is there that you can enjoy not just their beers, but also a 10 tap selection of Romanian brews, as well as bottles, paired with a nice bit of grub and a very fitting decor.
Jumping from strength to strength in terms of growth, Zăganu is not only one of the oldest, but also one of the most iconic craft breweries on the market. With a yearly output of around 5000 hectoliters, their beers are also the only Romanian craft beers that are officially certified as vegan. You can easily find them in most shops, pubs, bars and supermarkets, whether by the bottle (500ml and 330ml options) or by the draft. Additionally, you can still buy them online, straight from their website, or find them on tap at their own bar in Bucharest.
- Blondă- Pilsner – 5.3% ABV
- Brună- Munich Dark Lager (Schwartzbier) – 7% ABV
- Roşie- Belgian style Red Ale – 7% ABV
- IPA – American style IPA – 5.6% ABV
- Imperial Russian Stout – 10% ABV
- Double Rye IPA – 8% ABV
- Hefeweizen – 6% ABV
Seasonal/limited edition beers:
- Adonis – Pale Ale – 5.9% ABV
- Dor – Pale Ale (brewed for the band Coma) – 5.3% ABV
- 500 – Imperial IPA – 5 year anniversary beer – 10% ABV
- ICAR – Pale Ale (brewed for the band Coma)
- Sausage Party – Smoked Lager (collaboration with Hop Hooligans) – 4.7% ABV
- India Pale Lager (collaboration with Hop Hooligans) – 6% ABV
- Sturionul – Pale Ale (brewed as part of the WWF Endangered Colours project) – 5.6% ABV
- Zăganu Roşie – Christmas edition – Spiced Red Ale – 7% ABV – draft only
For reviews check RateBeer, BeerAdvocate, Untappd and Universitatea de Bere.
- Str. Tabla Buții, Măneciu-Ungureni
- Tel: 0244702353 / 0731707344
- Web: www.bere-zaganu.ro
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Zaganu
- Zăganu bar: www.facebook.com/Fabrica-de-Bere-Buna-Romanian-Craft-Beer-Bar/