As craft coffee, the craft beer movement is spreading ever deeper into the Budapest mainstream with new microbreweries popping up at a head-spinning pace. At the bars below, you can sample everything from crispy lagers to hop-forward double IPAs, sourced from both Hungarian craft breweries and international producers.
Good news: most of these bars are near one another in Budapest's Jewish Quarter and District 8, so you easily visit more than one throughout the evening.
If you're curious about Hungarian craft beers and what Budapest looks like a bit outside the city center, be sure to head to Élesztő. From a total of two hundred Hungarian craft beers, Élesztő has a rotating set of 25 on tap, including everything from light crowd-pleasers to sour IPAs. Hoppy-beer fans should go for Hara'Punk's tellingly named "Son of a Bitch," an imperial IPA with a hearty 8.5% ABV and an astringent finish..
Hopaholic, located inside Budapest's party district, is a snug craft beer bar famed for its dizzying range of international craft beers. They source bottled beers from over 250 microbreweries across the world, supplemented by 10 rotating beers on tap. Do you feel like downing a cloudy, yeasty hefeweizen? Perhaps an imperial stout from Denmark sporting a 10% ABV? Or, rather, a tarty and fruity Moldavian-Hungarian lambic beer? Not a problem..
Hops Beer Bar is a divey-looking craft beer bar in the heart of Budapest's party district. The moment you realize this isn't your average dive bar is when you get a glimpse of the more than 200 types of bottled craft beers stacked in the fridge. It's this extensive beer selection, and the witty, loud-mouthed, and charismatic owner-operator, which make Hops Beer Bar a pilgrimage-site for craft beer fans in Budapest. .
In 2018, Scottish craft beer giant, BrewDog, expanded to Budapest with a massive space inside the city's party district. The decor looks as if it came straight out of a “trendy interior” design book: there are leather banquettes, reclaimed wood table tops, Edison bulbs, and a vintage sign board listing the 25 tap beers available. BrewDog's own beers flow from ten of those, with the remainder coming from a rotating set of local—Mad Scientist and Horizont during my visits—and foreign breweries..
Due to bad urban planning, cars have better access to the Danube than city residents in Budapest. A handful of bars, however, can boast a precious river panorama, and Jónás Craft Beer House is one of them. So, while sipping your citrusy pale ale, you can marvel at Gellért Hill and the stately building of the Budapest University of Technology on the opposite bank. If you come from the city center, take tram #2 for a scenic ride along the Danube, and get off at Zsil utca, which drops you almost right outside Jónás.
KEG is a spacious craft beer bar in Budapest’s increasingly trendy Újbuda neighborhood. The place is just off Bartók Béla Boulevard, the artery of the area, inside a remodeled brick-arched basement. Digital flap displays show the 32 (!) types of draft beers available, most of them sourced from local breweries. But you can also run into foreign beers such as a 15% ABV imperial stout from Denmark’s hyped-up Mikkeller brewery.
When it opened in 2013, Léhűtő craft beer bar was an early bird in Gozsdu Courtyard, a tourist-heavy area now teeming with bars and restaurants inside Budapest's party district. The below-ground space seats approximately 30 people, on high wooden stools. A set of 11 rotating beers flow from the taps, and plenty more from the bottles, including Californian and New England IPAs, porters, stouts, and even sour beers. Most of the Hungarian beers are sourced from Horizont, a local brewery in charge of Léhűtő..
Neked Csak Dezső is a craft beer bar inside the spacious, high-ceilinged ground floor of a pre-war building, near Budapest's party district. For now, the gleaming white, brightly-lit room feels too polished despite attempts to spruce up the decor with patches of red brick and exposed fermentation tanks. .