The beer scene in Croatia is currently going through somewhat of a renaissance due to a growing interest in craft beer brewing. Classic Croatian brands Ožujsko and Karlovačko, which have over 100-year histories, now face some stiff competition.
To give you a guide to what Croatian beers you should be trying out whilst in the country, we have enlisted the help of some resident ‘experts’ to compile a list of the top 10 Croatian beers in their opinion.
1. Zmajsko Pale Ale
Zmajska pivovara (Dragon Brewery) was the first Western-style craft microbrewery to open in Croatia and was rated in the Top 10 New Brewers in the World by RateBeer. A combination of four varieties of hops is used in their excellent American pale ale to give it a refreshing, crisp taste with a mango and citrus scent. The beer is full-bodied and has a pleasant bitterness. Smooth and will leave you wanting more!
Alcohol – 5.3%
2. Vunetovo Aljaški Mrgud
From the island of Hvar in Croatia and new on the scene, this is a very good drop. It is darkish in colour with a caramely, chocolatey, fruity aroma. There is are also notes of citrus and herbs coming through. Medium-bodied and a nice drop if you can find it.
Alcohol – 5.9%
3. Nova Runda – American Pale Ale
Another beer part of the recent craft beer revolution in Croatia. Nova Runda are recent arrivals on the beer scene in Croatia but their APA suggests that they will be around for a while. This hops-bomb (brewed using a combo of 3 American hops – Magnum, Citra and Cascade) is a bold beer with a pronounced aroma and a certain bitterness that works. A great refreshing drop with a long finish.
Alcohol – 5.2%
4. Varionica Pale Ale
A great full body and tasty drop. Hints of grapefruit, bitter orange and herbs and spices makes this a very palletable beer. Excellent clean and crisp craft beer, especially those who like hoppy beers. Nice finish too.
Alcohol – 5.2%
5. ABV – 5th Element
Brewed by Daruvar brewery, 5th Element is unpasteurized and unfiltered. It has a clear, clean golden colour and is great tasting with a citrus and fruity aroma. Not too bitter, it is a refreshing beer and the balance of sweet and bitter works well. Not a heavy beer, 5th Element is Fresh with plenty of flavour.
Alcohol – 5.3%
6. Križevačko Tamno Pivo
A hoppy aroma which has a fruity, caramel and roasted finish. A good, medium-bodied dark beer which has a stable and creamy beige head.
Alcohol – 6%
7. Vukovarska Pale Lager
Branded as using 100% local ingredients, Vukovarksa beer has a tradition dating back 1516. The beer has a lovely golden colour and is extremely full-bodied with a scent of bitterness. This beer does not contain any preservatives and is unpasteurized. The crisp finish makes this bold beer a great choice in the summer.
Alcohol – 4.5%
8. Velebitsko Pale Lager
Brewed near Gospić on the Velebit mountains in Lika by the Pivovara Ličanka, Velebitsko pale lager has won a number of awards. This clear golden lager is a clean beer and has a touch of sweetness about it. It has a decent aroma with some grainy notes. Lightish body and easy to drink.
Alcohol – 5%
9. All In
Brewed by Hold’em brewery in Zagreb, this craft beer is very good. All In is a hoppy beer with a number of notes (fruity, grassy, citrus) coming through. It has a solid malty base and a light bitterness which pleasantly surprises. Smooth and again very drinkable.
Alcohol – 5.1%
10. Pivnica Medvedgrad Range
Brewed by Croatia’s first mircobrewery Pivnica Medvedgrad, the dark clouded wheat beer ‘Dva Klasa’, which has a purplish-redish colour and a specific fruity scent and taste which comes from wheat malt, is a very good drop for those who fancy their wheat beers. Pivnica Medvedgrad operate pubs in the capital and also has a ‘Gold’ ‘Black’ and good ‘Dark’ beer.
Alcohol – 4.6% (Dva Klasa)