The Ultimate Guide to Drinking Craft Beer in Budapest
Budapest is renowned as a go-to destination for partygoers, with thousands descending to the city every year to experience its unique nightlife and drinking culture. This is partly fuelled by cheap prices, with a boozy beverage setting you back a fraction of what you’d pay in most European cities. However, beyond cheap booze served in touristy bars, there is a burgeoning scene for craft beer in Budapest. Propelling the capital as a key destination for craft beer lovers from across the globe. This guide will take you on a journey into the heart of Budapest’s craft beer revolution. Uncovering the top artisan brewers behind the craft beers and the best bars to drink them.
A Brief History
Up until recently, Budapest’s craft beer scene has remained relatively flat, with a very limited selection of sips on offer. Ászok, Soproni, and Dreher are the usual suspects widely available on tap. Although pretty decent, they’re mass-produced and lack the depth to please the palates of astute beer connoisseurs. However, the scene is undergoing a huge shake-up thanks to the rise of a new wave of Hungarian craft brewers. Who through their creations, are positioning Budapest as a serious destination for good craft beer.
The Rise of Magyar Breweries
There was a time where the mass-produced booze was your only choice. However, thanks to the rise of Magyar craft breweries, there’s an increased selection of craft beers on offer. These can be found dotted across the country, but Budapest is undoubtedly the epicentre, home to the best craft breweries around. However, there are some key players, who are carving up a good reputation internationally.
The big dogs on the block are microbreweries Horizont, MONYO and First. Followed by a whole host of other local breweries. All of whom play a key role in the Budapest craft beer ecosystem. These include Legenda, Fóti Brewery, Brew Your Mind, MAD Scientist, Reketye and Fehér Nyúl.
What’s on offer
There are some great bars serving craft beer bar in Budapest. With varying styles and blends of this beloved beverage on offer. So rest assured you’ll find a perfect beer to tickle your fancy. If you love lager, then boy are you in for a treat. This beer variation is the most widely produced, usually crafted using the bottom fermentation method. In Budapest, most of these craft lagers are of Czech lineage. From the pale, slightly bitter pilsners to the dark’n’sweet Bock-style variants.
Brewers recommend by our locals for this style include Fóti Brewery, one of the oldest craft breweries in Hungary. Located in Fót, the team behind this brewery have been hard at work since 1994. Experimenting with different styles and blends to craft the perfect craft beer. Their golden child is Keserű Méz, a tasty lager which is “Tripple-Hopped” in true Hungarian Fashion, adding some extra strength.
There’s also a huge selection of stong, fruity Belgium inspired top-fermented Ales. However, the most popular craft concoction is by far the pale ale. If this is your style, check out the work of Legenda Brewery.
Where to drink craft beer in Budapest
To sample the best craft beer in Budapest, you have to get away from the bars frequented by tourists. Instead, head to the drinking dens where local beer lovers descend to quench their thirst. To save you from having to seek them out, we asked our community of craft beer-loving local insiders to recommended their favourite spots. Helping fellow beer lovers on this adventure into the world of craft beer in Budapest.
This spot isn’t your run of the mill pub, but a craft beer complex where Budapest’s beer-loving locals descend to drink. Known in English as ‘yeast’. Élesztőhaz has been a catalyst for developing the city’s craft beer scene. As featured on our guide to Budapest’s Best Ruin Bars, here you sample the very best craft beer in Budapest. With over 21 taps pouring a variety of alcoholic beverages. It’s also home to Central Europes first cask ale bar, a brewing school, and even a craft beer-themed hotel.
Top Pick: Double Gentle Bastard by Horizont Brewing– A strong 8% ABV IPA, citrus in flavour with shades of bitter.
Opening Hours: Sun-Mon: 3PM-1AM, Tue-Wed: 3PM-2AM, Thu-Sat: 3PM-3AM
Csakajósör is a homely boozer, where you’ll find locals relaxing whilst sipping on the best speciality craft beer in Budapest. The English translation of its name is “only good beer”, and boy do the owners make sure of it. The options here are extensive, with a superb selection of stouts, pilsners as well as more rare variants available for you to enjoy. What makes Csakajósör stand out from the crowd is the huge selection of bottled brews which you can buy. As well as some tasty drinks available on draught, which change weekly. The seating here is limited but, the owner recommends checking out their nearby partner bar, Hopaholic.
Jónás Craft Beer House
Jónás has become somewhat of a spiritual home for Liquid gold lovers from Budapest and beyond. Here you have a selection of eight craft beers on draught, with the crown jewel being the Arany Jónás. A light lager that will without a doubt have you licking your lips. The best thing about Jónás is that you can sip on your craft beer and chow down on some handmade grub. All whilst enjoying a panoramic view across the Danube, featuring iconic sights such as Gellért Hill.
Top Pick: LAB by Rekete – Budapest’s first salty and sour beer blend. An absolute must-try.
Opening Hours: Mon: 12PM-12AM, Tue-Thu: 11AM-12AM, Fri-Sat: 11AM-2AM
Krak’n’Town is Budapest’s standalone Steampunk style underground saloon. Renowned for serving local speciality sips to please the palates of craft beer lovers both local and from afar. They say the devil is in the detail, and this is evident here. Walk inside and it will feel like you’ve stepped back in time. From the quirky, classical yet futuristic decor, and servers rocking the Victorian-style attire. When it comes to drinks, you have a selection of brews, crafted by artisan local breweries, from HopTop to Horizont.
Top Pick: Krak’n Pils – A light and refreshing pilsner with a grainy malt aroma, slightly fruity in flavour with shades of wheaty sour.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat: 4PM-12AM
Neked Csak Dezső
Dezső has been a firm fixture on Budapest’s craft beer scene. Outgrowing its old location on Dohany street, to this bigger and more sophisticated drinking den on Rákóczi út. Despite the change in location, one thing that remains the same is the eclectic choice of craft beers on offer. With 32 taps pouring liquid gold from the best local, small scale speciality craft breweries around.
Top Pick: Boris the Blade by MONYO – A flavourful, full-bodied Russian Imperial Stout. A dark, rich berry blend with a caramel truffle finish.
Opening Hours: Mon-Tue: 11:30AM-12AM, Wed: 11:30AM-1AM. Thu: 11:30AM-2AM, Fri-Sat: 10AM-2AM, Sun: 10AM-12AM
Legfelsőbb Beeróság perfectly embodies Budapest’s growing reputation as a European capital for craft beers. On offer at this Dohany Street drinking den is a selection over 150 types of bottled beers, and 10 speciality brews on draught. Taking your taste buds on a trip through the various regions, and brewers creating these unique concoctions. The uber quirky decor, super friendly staff and the hip crowd create an awesome ambience.
Top Pick: Bohemian Castle by Kecskeméti Brewery – A fragrant German-style bitter brew
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 2PM-2AM, Sun: 2PM-11PM
The craft beer wave has made its way across the Danube, to local Buda side of the city. If you choose to go with this flow, one spot that will definitely sweep you off your feet is KEG sörmművház. This sanctuary for craft beer, like its menu, is pretty sizeable. Here you can enjoy a magical selection of beer, crafted by the best Magyar and international breweries. The team behind this spot have done an excellent job in creating an ambience. Where everyone, old and young, can enjoy a relaxing drink. So spoil yourself by making a pilsner pilgrimage to this liquid gold oasis, you won’t regret it.
Top Pick: Double Mango Madness by MAD Scientist – A tasty double fruited mango flavoured Berliner Weisse beer.
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 11:30AM-11PM, Thu-Fri: 11:30AM-12AM, Sat: 12PM-12AM, Sun: 12AM-11pm
Set in a space that once operated as a fireplace store, Kandalló has become a hotspot for craft brews, much to the delight of beer-loving locals. Located in the city’s iconic Jewish quarter, this joint has a relaxed and cosy ambience. A direct result of the friendly staff, dim lighting and warmth from the fireplace behind the bar. A featured retained as an ode to its past. When it comes to drinks, you have a choice of 16 magnificent beers on tap, crafted by breweries, including Reketye, Fehér Nyúl, Uradalmi, MONYO Brewing Co and more.
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu: 12PM-12AM, Fri-Sat: 12PM-2AM
Hops Beer Bar
If you want to drink tasty craft beer in a quirky and bohemian bar, then hop over to this spot in the heart of Budapest’s buzzing party district. Hops has become a household name amongst lovers of craft beer. Due to its location, friendly staff awesome owner and most importantly, the solid selection of beer. The majority of the beer comes from renowned international breweries. With a limited selection of Hungarian craft brews is also available. None the less, it is still a certified fan favourite place to drink some craft beer in Budapest.
Top Pick: Pils by FIRST Brewery – A cracking light-bodied, Czech-style beer made using a secret recipe passed down by the President of the Bohemian Craft brewery.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 2PM-2AM, Fri-Sat: 2PM-3AM, Sun: 2PM-12AM
Legenda Sörfőzde Pub
Top Pick: Game Over by Legenda – A Strong 12% Bourbon Ale that packs quite the punch.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 12PM-10PM
MONYO Tap House
This spot is the dedicated taphouse for MONYO, the magical Magyar brewery who in the space of 4 years, has cemented itself amongst the country’s craft elite craft breweries. They produce an amazing selection of IPA’s, Pale Ales, Porters, Stouts, all of which are served right here. So if you have a craft beer snob friend, always turning his nose wherever he goes to drink, then take him to MONYO. It will truly leave him satisfied.
Top Pick: Bipolar Bear by MONYO – A cross between a traditional American IPA and Belgian White Beer. This beer has a strong orange citrus vibe with IPA-style bitterness.
This cosy wood-panelled spot is Half tattoo-shop, half craft beer bar, with a little cave of a performance venue downstairs. It’s right around the corner from Nyugati Pályaudvar Rail Station. It’s a bar in the front and tattoo parlour in the back. Where some of the best artists in Budapest plying their inky craft here. Actually the bar is in the front and the tattoo shop in the back, so perhaps that mantra should be reversed. But don’t let semantics get in the way of your craft beer crusade. Chose from 12 taps of local suds and a further dozen bottles, including some killer ciders. Frequently unique musical performances such as the badass Mongolian throat singer pictured above.
Top Pick: Fruit Garden Meggy by Fóti Kézműves Sörfőzde – Something unusual from this local brewery based out of Fót, a suburb just north of Budapest. Meggy means “sour cherry”, an idiosyncratic Hungarian fruit used in pálinkas and desserts.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 12PM-10PM
Every single city has a Liverpool bar and in Budapest that bar is Bölcső. This pub used to go by the name of Kisráblo and had more of a sports bar vibe. However since Dani took over, they’ve classed the place up and turned it into a proper craft beer and gastropub. Tons of rotating local breweries are on taps such as Monyo, First, Horizont, and Fehér Nyúl. Plus a litany of difficult-to-find bottles that line the fridge. The foods not half bad either, with the Bölcső burger being a bloody tasty treat. The best part of this pub without question is the craft beer that can be consumed at the Liverpool corner.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 11:30AM-11PM
This rise in craft beer bars in Budapest hasn’t happened overnight, it’s a scene that has been slowly brewing in the shadows, now rising to the forefront for everyone to enjoy. Hopefully, this guide will help you to navigate through the noise to experience the very best craft of Budapest’s craft beer scene. Oh and if you like this guide, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Palinka. Also if you’re in town and like these spots on this list, use the Like Locals app which is packed full of amazing hidden gems for you to explore. Available for free on both iOS and Android devices. So what you waiting for…Download now and get exploring.