Traditionally, Hungary is not a land of beer. Hungarians rather consider themselves a wine nation and, of course, the home of pálinka. Despite this, Hungary is often among the top thirty countries by beer consumption.

While there wasn’t anything too exciting about the Hungary beer scene in the past, nowadays there definitely is; there’s been a massive revolution in the country’s beer industry, first and foremost in Budapest. A few years ago, average beer drinkers didn’t really know what an IPA or Porter was. Today, if you know your beers, or want to act cool, you order one of these non-traditional styles. Here in Budapest craft beer is trending and you have plenty of choices for sampling some of the city’s best alongside locals.

Through Hungary’s ongoing craft beer revolution new quality products and new customers are born, craft beer festivals (hand in hand with street food!) are blooming, craft beer shops are opening on street corners, restaurants are under pressure to put craft on tap, and big beer companies are trying to go with the flow and produce craft-like beers. But the most exciting places, the engine of the beer movement are a handful of bars in Budapest. Though it’s harder and harder to know about all the best beer spots the city has to offer, I’ve made a list of my favorite places from a local’s perspective.

Budapest Beer Guide

Élesztő Budapest

Considered ground zero for craft beer in Budapest, Élesztő is undeniably one of the most authentic beer spots in Hungary nowadays, and is even listed among the top ten beer bars in Europe by the Guardian. The place is fun, smart and democratic with a 21st-century hippie vibe that welcomes anyone interested in not only drinking beer but understanding the philosophy of quality craft brews. Beer lovers can choose from a constantly changing lineup of Hungarian and international specialty beers on over twenty taps. They don’t only serve “simple” craft beers but offer beer cocktails, which are definitely worth a try! Élesztő’s space is urban and industrial, a steampunk take on the local phenomenon of ruin bars. Élesztő offers workshops and many beer related events where you can learn the practises and philosophies of brewing. 

Budapest Beer Guide- Élesztő

Léhűtő

Léhűtő is another beer pioneer in Budapest whose main feature is high quality; six taps are dedicated to the ever-renewing offering of Hungarian craft beers, and there over 30 various bottles available as well, including Hungarian craft beer and top-notch foreign brands. The international range includes different types of IPA, Stouts, Wheat beers and Doubles; the Hungarian bottle range is built on the most well-known local brands such as the Rizmajer, Békésszentandrási or Tuck Barát.

Budapest Beer Guide- Léhűtő

Szimpla Berlin Craft Beer Bar

Szimpla Berlin Craft Beer Bar was among the first members of the developing craft beer network, though like an old boxing champ has had its ups and downs: once upon a time it was known as the first ruin pub ever (the predecessor of Szimpla kert), but the trend evolved past it so the place closed for awhile. After the reopening it was loaded with German and Hungarian craft beers, always focusing on offering something new. The design didn’t change much, but the creators of Élesztő‘s steampunk vision helped craft the final product. Szimpla’s wooden style is reminiscent of a Western movie – particularly when it’s not busy. Just think of the beer scene in Django! Szimpla keeps things simple and doesn’t claim to be more than what it is: a calm place where you can grab a tasty quality beer  – with a bit of history.

Budapest Beer Guide

Legfelsőbb Beeróság

This is a place serving exclusively Hungarian craft beers – and the best ones at that! Legfelsőbb Beeróság offers a selection of beers from 25 breweries, with over hundred bottled beers and ten on tap. Their aim is to make Hungarian beer great again, and just as popular as wine and pálinka. The staff guides you through the labyrinth of beers and there are also small descriptions in the menu. Among the ever changing selection on tap, they offer Lagers, flavored and Stout beers, IPAs and APAs. Legfelsőbb Beeróság is one of the best deals in town when it comes to pricing and perfectly located in Dohány Street, at one of the gates of party district.

Budapest Beer Guide-Legfelsőbb Beeróság

First

The newest player on the scene has big ambitions: First is Budapest’s first show brewery and taproom. This is a professional craft beer factory that aims to bring lighter, American and Scandinavian style beers to ordinary consumers who don’t necessarily appreciate the often heaviness characteristics of beers coming out of small breweries. First has established itself as the local for beer drinkers who want good sessionable beers, and for those who are interested in the brewing process. Absolutely worth the trip to their Újpest location.

Budapest Beer Guide-First

Neked Csak Dezső

Neked Csak Dezső is typically the place where you go with a big group to drink a lot of nice beers at moderate prices. They specialize in Hungarian and Czech brands with more than 20 different varieties. It’s also an excellent spot to try other local favorites such as pálinka and fröccs (wine mixed with soda). Overall it’s a simple place to start your night. 

Budapest Beer Guide- Neked Csak Dezső

Kandalló

Kandalló is the ultimate beer & burger date spot. Both offerings are artisanal and offered in a cozy, warm surrounding. Kandalló staff work with the best commodities just like they were preparing a homemade meal for friends. They have an ever changing selection across their 16 taps with more in the beer fridge, and truly one of the most mouthwatering burgers in town.

Budapest Beer Guide- Kandalló

Csakajósör

Csakajósör is a beer cave with an amazing range of bottled beers. The best Hungarian and global beers can be found here from New Zealand to Scotland. It’s basically a shop but you can stay there and try the colorful selection of drafts.

Budapest Beer Guide- Csakajósör