6 selected Croatian craft breweries are now on Wine&more.
There is more to Wine&more than wine. The time has come to explore the fantastic world of Croatian craft beers. A lot has happened since 2014 when the Croatian craft beer revolution started. We’ve selected 6 breweries. We deliver their stories. And beers.
Not long ago the Croatian beer scene was basically non-existent. Homebrewing movement was starting to happen in Croatia in the late 2000s. At the time, the country’s beer scene was utterly dominated by industrial lagers. Despite the fact there were smaller breweries in existence before 2014, that year marked the foundation of the first two genuine craft breweries that ignited the flame that will soon spread all over the country.
Those two were Zmajska brewery, founded first, and Nova Runda (fresh round), the one that launched the first craft beer (American Pale Ale). Now experienced homebrewers decided to turn their hobby into a real job.
The vast majority of early years breweries were Gypsy breweries. It all started with pale ales, which are still the most popular beer style, along with hoppy IPAs that are on top of the list of tourists and locals alike. First craft beer bars and specialized beer shops were starting to open their doors in late 2016. Fast forward to 2020 and we have approx 80 craft breweries fighting for their share of glass in the country’s craft beer establishments.
We’ve selected and visited a few of Croatia’s most exciting breweries. Each one has a different, unique story and a loyal following. In the following months, we’re going to write more about most of them, but for now, use this as a written beer tasting experience. We are proud to have each one of their excellent beers at Wine&more.
The one that started it all, Nova runda made the first genuine Croatian craft beer back in 2014. It was American Pale Ale that is still their no1 selling beer. Nova Runda is a project of two friends, IT guy and a banker, two homebrewers whose mission was to shake a boring, Croatian beer scene dominated by industrial lagers.
Their utmost priority was to brew fresh beers oriented on hops, which shaped their #FeelTheHops brewing philosophy. They started their journey as Gypsy brewers, traveling from one facility to another before they finally settled at their very own brewery in 2019.
Following their praised APA, they launched the legendary IPA C4, highest rated beer on Untappd in Croatia for a few years running, and in TOP 50 IPA-s in the world on RateBeer. As the name implies, C4 is an explosion of 4 hops: Cascade, Chinook, Citra, and Centennial.
Red IPA called Fireball is a tribute to a founder’s favorite Deep purple album, made from the hop called comet, popular in the USA in the 70s. It’s one of the top 20 Red IPA’s in the world on both Untappd and RateBeer lists. The new El Tormenta is a juicy IPA, homage to Mexican wrestlers. With Top Manager they’ve entered the fashionable New England hazy Pale Ale era. You can hardly go wrong with any of their canned beers. This is how they promote beer delivery that tells a lot of their unique style and storytelling.
Roughly translated “Brewhouse” in English, Varionica is a craft beer project lovingly developed by friends and family. They were founded in 2014. at the very beginning of the Croatian craft beer story.
Varionica’s journey was a Gypsy brewing operation for more than four years.
They finally moved into their very own state of the art brewery in the summer of 2019. Their first but feisty beer was a Pale Ale rich in flavor, fruity aromas, and amber in color. Dry hopping was the reason for the freshness of hops and citrus along with pine aromas.
Summer favorite Siesta Session IPA is rich in hops, well rounded, light and extremely drinkable, a fantastic beach companion. When you are ready to leave the beach and dive into the sea you should consider the full-bodied, tropical and fruity Deep Dive IPA. Their Neon stout is a little black beer characterized by dark chocolate and coffee aromas. Lively Neon Stout, brewed with cold brew coffee from their friends, local coffee roasters Lively Roasters, is an excellent companion to the regular Neon stout.
The story goes like this: “A bunch of meerkats, a flamingo, raccoon, and monkey decide to go on a zeppelin ride…” Yes we know, it sure sounds like the start of a joke.
These four animals are the main characters of the Zeppelin story. They are crew members who are at first glance completely nuts, but, if you look closely, you will see a family in which each member knows their specific role and does it perfectly. You can read about their story on Wine&more.
Zeppelin Brewery originates from Bjelovar, a small town in the middle of Croatia. They’ve caught the eye of many with the striking visuals and “hovering above all” tagline.
Their goal is to bring the craft movement to the masses with a particular focus on women. Their Merkat is a golden ale that’s gentle as Meerkat’s fur, moderately bitter everyday ale. Flamingo is an amber ale with a boiled bite of bitterness, but also sweetness. They’ve ventured into the dark side with Racoon, a complex porter with a high percentage of alcohol, due to several types of malt.
The taste has notes of chocolates, dried fruit, fried malt, spicy and sweet malty taste. Wheat beers used to be popular in Croatia before the craft movement. That is the reason why beers such as Zeppelin’s Marmun, a refreshing, full-bodied representative of the style, are very popular.
The first Craft Brewery from Istria, the part of the country famous mostly for fantastic wines, was founded in 2016. by Veronika Beckers, the heart and soul of the brewery. Along with her Italian partners, master brewer Claudio Rossi and marketeer/delivery guy Alessandro Zacchinati they are doing their best to offer something new and exciting in Istria and beyond.
Croatia’s coastline is known for the strong wind that sweeps across the Adriatic sea. The name derives from Boreas, the God of the northern wind. Bura brew’s brewing philosophy is strongly linked to the wind’s cool and refreshing breeze, the taste of summer and saltiness of the sea.
The idea to venture into beermaking was born in 2014. and the brewery founded a year later.
They were chasing their dreams by simultaneously developing the concept, analyzing the market and creating the business plan while at the same time improving the recipes for their beers. Optimism is one of the chief virtues of the trio, that’s why their rich golden ale is named Optimist, refreshing, easy drinkable and well balanced. Typical Istrian red soil was the inspiration for Redsand Amber Ale, brewed with four types of barley malt, a small amount of wheat malt, a mix of Slovenian and American hops and yeast.
In the IPA department, there’s Tornado, a flavourful, unfiltered bittered beer that recalls flavors of grapefruit. Hurricane IPA hopes to blow you away with a higher quantity of hops with herbal and tropical fruit notes and long-lasting bitterness. Bura Brew Trippin’ Tripel (Limited Edition) and Bura Brew IBA (Limited Edition) are fine representatives of the Belgian style beers.
A small local craft brewery form Zagreb, Pulfer was founded in 2016. by four friends, local patriots, and homebrewers. The name “Pulfer” originates from the bumper of Zagreb’s trams where rebels and beatniks used to climb to ride for free.
Those trams were the workplace for Paula Landsky, Zagreb’s first female tram conductor.
She continued her husband’s job when he went to war in 1914. Mrs. Landsky gave birth to 8 children. She died in 1981. in her 101. year of life. Landsky Session IPA characterized by citrus and fruit aromas has been made in honor of her life. Pulfer’s first beer was Ziher (“sure thing” in Zagreb’s slang), light and drinkable Pale Ale with a pleasant bitterness and great balance of light citrus aromas along with a mild caramel taste.
Pulfer Brundelweiss hefeweizen is among the top 10 beers in the wheat beer style. The balanced aromas of bananas and cloves stand out in this wheat beer. There’s more to come from one of Zagreb’s favorite brewers on the outskirts of town. They are well known for their pub quiz knights kald “šankattack” (Azzack the bar).
You probably wonder where is #6 brewery? It’s coming soon. This is only the beginning of the Craft Beer stories here on Wine&more. There will be more, soon. In the meantime, why not venture on a tasting session, free delivery included.