We like to think we have pretty sophisticated tastes on this blog. If we are going to write about the culinary scene, it’s going to be about the chic wines from Tokaj or Michelin Star restaurants. It’s fair to say that beer is a bit beneath our radar. That said, things have changed dramatically in Budapest on the beer scene, enough to worth making note of.
While ‘revolution’ is a strong word, and should probably be saved for real revolutions, the rise of craft beers has changed the face of bar culture in downtown Budapest. As of just five years ago, there were only a handful of craft breweries, all competing for space at the few pubs and restaurants that dared offer something customers weren’t accustomed to in a beer choice. This typically meant the odd locally brewed IPA or stout. But now, everything has changed. The more popular craft breweries are not relying just on others to sell their product, but are opening taprooms of their own, and doing so in prime downtown Budapest real estate. There is clearly money and enthusiasm behind what was once a hobby industry.
Who are the players here? Foremost we can look to Mad Scientist, Budapest’s whimsical brewery that has a permanent stand at the fabled ruin pub Szimpla Kért. With a flair for the imaginative, Mad Scientist strikes gold with their fruity mango flavored beer, a cucumber wheat beer, barley wine, and even a gluten-free beer, as well a the controversially named Liquid Cocaine, which is as hoppy as they come. Pushing the envelope, they have experimented with a chardonnay/beer hybrid, teaming with Hungarian winery Vylyan.
Elsewhere, Monyo Brewery just opened up Grand, a dedicated taproom on the main Ring Road, interrupting the influx of cheap party places. According to their website, “MONYO is one of the fastest-growing breweries in Hungary, in 2015 we won the title 'Brewery of the year', and other foreign awards. MONYO Co. has both traditional and new wave beers. Our flagship product is Flying Rabbit IPA, in which the Citra hop guarantees a tropical flavour -orgy.” Not to be outdone by Mad Scientist, they offer a beer called Anubis that is inspired by an ancient Egyptian recipe, using ingredients such as silkweed-honey, saffron, golden raisin and grape juice. Their aforementioned Flying Rabbit has been a staple of craft brew drinkers for years.
Other breweries to open taproom include the lauded Horizont Brewery, and the larger less experimental but dependable Legenda Brewery. International craft breweries have also taken notice of Budapest. Trend-setting, and highly fetishized brew-masters Brew Dog from Scotland opened a dedicated taproom right off Budapest’s central Deák Ferenc Square. The huge space and steep - by local standards - prices evince a local optimism about beer as a higher-end beverage. Beer in Budapest is no longer brewed and sold with just mass consumption in mind.
There are certainly a few more breweries with taprooms out there we have yet to discover, and we look forward to doing that research. Like most things that marry technical know-how and imagination (such as film production, for instance) Hungarians do craft beer exceedingly well. For now, enjoy this small taste of the Budapest craft brew ‘revolution’.
Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.