When I think of craft breweries in Europe, Romania is not on the top of my mind. Yet, after this trip, I think Romania should be added to everyone’s European vacation list. We love traveling to Eastern Europe! It is a bit cheaper, less crowded, and a different culture. When we travel, we definitely try to seek out the local favorites. In Romania, it would be their wine! Yet, they also have an up and coming craft beer scene as well.
We rented a car and drove to Transylvania. Our first quick stop was Sinaia. In this place, we learned what beers were macro owned. Of course, we do know many craft looking beers are not actually craft, but when you just land and drive two hours, from Bucharest, a cold beer sounds good. We walked to a decent local looking pub and learned that the craft looking Silva is Heineken owned, along with Gambrinus and Ciuc also being Heineken owned. Just a heads up, when you are in the area!
After some sightseeing, our next city stop was Brasov. Tipografia was a place we enjoyed visiting. There, we were able to drink beers from, our now favorite Romanian Brewery, Hop Hooligan. We enjoyed their Crowd Control IPA and Sencha, a Tea Pale Ale.
We also made a quick run into Bistro de l’Arte. There we tried two more different craft beers. Those included: Mustata de Bere IPA and a Perfektum IPA.
Another recommended pub is JAR and a recommended bottle shop is The Liquor Store. We just ran out of time to fit it all in. We were also enjoying our Romanian wine and of course sightseeing.
After Brasov, we had a brief night in Cluj-Napoca. It is a college town, so there are many bars and an assortment of places with craft beer. Beerologique has many recommended places. Despite arriving pretty late and having to leave in the morning, we
did make it to Klausen Burger, for dinner, as they are also a brewery. We only had two at there: Arrogant IPA and a Clovus Pilsner. Both were as expected, decent, but not our favorite.
From dinner, we ventured to a recommended bar called Sisters. This was one of my favorite spots of the trip for beer.
We tried the following:
Kutuma – Dambla IPA
Hop Hooligans – Angel’s Kiss – Cherry Strawberry Milkshake Double IPA
Hophead Brewing – HopYouUp – NEIPA
Hop Hooligan – Slice of Pi – Cinnamon Peach IPA
Three Happy Brewers – East Coast IPA DDH
Hop Hooligan – Screwed Up – Rye IPA
We were making our way through many different Hop Hooligans and enjoyed the variety.
Next stop was Sibiu. A charming old town, that I fell in love with! It was one of my favorites stops this trip.
There are two main places where we found craft: St. Andrew’s Scottish Pub and NOD. The Scottish pub is everything you can imagine from a themed pub. Yet, they had a decent selection.
Here is what we had:
Ground Zero – Split the Pot – NEIPA
Hop Hooligan – Royal Execution – ESB
Hop Hooligan – Chupacabra – Spiced Stout
Hop Hooligan – Cannon Fire- Coconut Porter
Urban – IPA
We also enjoyed another placed called NOD. It was smaller and more my style. A cute cafe with a patio area. We sat at the bar and enjoyed talking to the bartender. He was very interested in the beer we were trying and did tell us that the craft beer industry is very new to him. We figured as much but were very glad the industry keeps expanding.
We enjoyed the following:
Nembeer – Amarilla – Pale Ale
Zaganu – IPA
Perfektum – Black IPA
In Sibui, our hotel was right near a very small, quaint bottle shop called EcoZen. The person helping us, who we believe was the owner, was very excited to show the selection and talk to us about the beer. Their selection was extensive for Romania.
We ended up buying:
Hops Hooligan – Yuri’s Cosmic Basil – Berliner Weisse
Hop Hooligan – Night Light Black IPA
Bereta – Big Bang But Some F*cking Bureaucracy First – Saison
Hop Hooligan – Game Over NEIPA
Perfektum – Eco Zen Hoppy Black
Hop Hooligans – Jilava Cake – Imperial Stout
Then, another road trip! We took the long way to Bucharest for a more scenic drive.
Once in Bucharest, there were many places that have craft beer, but due to a short amount of time, we tried to go to the most highly recommended ones. We only had Friday, and some of Saturday, to partake in sampling beer. The old town was very active on the weekend nights. A family restaurant in the day will not be family friendly at night.
We spent a good amount of time at Beer O’Clock. Where we tried:
Bereta – Juicebag – NEIPA
Hop Hooligan – Modern Mosaic – IPA
Hop Hooligan – Alien Juice – Blackcurrant Milkshake Session IPA
Bereta – Dark Side of the Hops – Black IPA
Bereta – Little Sister – Session IPA
Perfektum – Double Black IPA
Bereta – Morning Shot – Breakfast Stout
Another stop was at La 100 de Beri.
HopHead – Grozava Smoothie – Milkshake IPA
Hop Hooligan – Pulp Friction 2 – NE IPA
Zaganu – IPL
Three Happy Brewers – Pumpkin Ale
There are many other places in the capital city. More information can be found from Beerologique. Bucharest, of course, has more offerings, being the biggest city. Yet, from a touristic perspective, it was my least favorite place that I visited.
I highly suggest that Romania is considered when making travel plans. We left the U.S on a Friday night, arrived on a Saturday night, and had 7 full days before leaving on a Sunday morning. You can easily visit castles, travel to the wine region, enjoy patio cafes, see quaint old towns, wine bars, and enjoy craft beer. The people were all very friendly, it truly is a lovely country!
A few tips:
- This website, Beerologique, is a very helpful guide to different places with craft.
- The legal limit, while driving, is 0.00%
- March is definitely off-season for tourists.
- To be able to drive/rent a car and you have a US license, you must have an international license. Some places will not accept the US license, and by law, they are not supposed to! Yet, the International Driver’s License is only valid for one year. Note: we did not have one and rented a car. Enterprise told us, no, but a local, very affordable agency let us. We had no issue with the local car agency.
- Use “Merci” to say thank you. The Romanians even know their language is hard and have shortened their word of thank you to just saying merci.
- Highways are lacking, but there are a few around. For the most part, the one lane roads were well maintained so it was not an issue, just had a lot of traffic.
- Romanian wine is a must try. They have their own grape varieties in their wine region, A red variant called Băbească Neagră and Fetească Regală, and a white grape variant called Fetească Albă.
- Currency: 1 Romanian Leu equals 0.24 United States Dollars