Locally made artisanal beers are experiencing a golden age in Budapest, and while Magyar brewers continually pay meticulous attention to the flavor of their suds, they’re also being increasingly creative in the conceptualization and design of their best bottles. With beautiful labels and intoxicating tastes, these local craft beers – all available in Budapest – are just as pleasing for the eye as they are for the palate.
Angry Beast cannot be called very elegant, but we decided to include it in this beauty contest anyway, since it has the only label that can rival with the dinosaur of the Bevog Kramah Indian Ale, which is quite the achievement. This dark, coffee-cocoa drink is coincidentally also one of the strongest beers in the country, a type of Russian imperial stout. This beer variety was invented in the 18th century, when empress Catherine the Great ordered a kind of beer from London that can withstand the journey to St. Petersburg. To ensure success, the brewers simply increased the drink’s alcohol content.
Black Mamma is a special beer with a unique taste, which is only enhanced by the tribal design of the label. The green colors form a perfect contrast with the dark beverage, which is on friendly terms with one of the most ancient mind-altering agents: coffee. Its label was inspired by Central America, which “abounds in ancient secrets, and writhes in modern filth and rich spiritual places”.
Csupor is a new place in the Budapest scene, seeking to highlight the passionate side of beer, and to prove that with hard work and learning, the door to success is open to the youth of Budapest, as well. The design of the Csupor beers reflects this mentality, too – it is simple, but definitely knows what it wants to achieve and whom it wants to captivate. From their products, we would like to give the design prize to Bunny Hop: on the label of the American Citra-based dark-brown-to-almost-black drink, the color green mingles with various darker colors, thus creating a very exciting look. The marketing was so effective that we drank a bottle immediately.
Credo of Hedon Brewery is our favorite for several reasons. First of all, we appreciate that it is not a beer with a bland taste. In the case of this 6% drink, the first sip is a little sweet, followed by the strong bitterness of the hops. However, we paid attention to the bottle’s design instead of its content this time: the team’s logo is already pretty cool – portraying a man casually leaning back, which might start to resemble a bottle opener after two beers – but it is Credo’s label that really piqued our interest. The minimalist design resembles the painting “Ceci c'est ne pas une pipe” by René Magritte, and could easily be the icon of a cool iPhone application. At the same time, its color scheme fits perfectly with the amber hue of the beverage inside.
All of Horizont’s beers are the creations of young, skilled Hungarian brewing masters. We tasted the Horizont India Pale Ale, which is a 6% light IPA made from Cascade and Magnum hops, and has a floral-citrus aroma. However, the reason of our choice was the bottle’s design – a simple, minimalist label with a lighthouse on it.
The brewery of the Reketye brothers produces real ales and lagers from high-quality ingredients. The duo’s first beer, Ravasz Hód (“Crafty Beaver”), debuted in 2014 in the Jónás Craft Beer House. This brew is easy to remember because of its flavors and design: at first taste, the beer is bitter, full-bodied yet aromatic, but it is the alcohol content of 6.5% that ultimately gains dominance, so we should be careful. Regardless, Hód will always be appealing with its purple-plum-colored label.
Szent András Brewery
The history of the Szent András Brewery dates back to the beginning of the ’90s, and it is also the birthplace of Hungary’s first premium craft beer. The quality and the design of the beverages testify to their experience: in this brewery, we found more than one bottle that we would like to highlight, even though most of them are quite similar in visual design. One of their most well-known products is the Ogre, which is unsurprisingly dominated by the color green; however, we also find the drink called Szent András könnye (“St. Andrew’s tear”) rather beautiful with its purple hues. The Cherry Beer stands out most from the rest, dressed in a bit more of a modern red uniform. Black Rose is worth highlighting as well, as its burgundy-black combination complements the richly malty yet soft and velvety flavor of the beer perfectly.
Távoli Galaxis (“Distant Galaxy”) by the Rothbeer Brewery is a genuine success story in the domestic beer revolution, which is equally earned by the brew’s quality and design. This typical American IPA aims to provide the unique aroma of the entire galaxy, but the design, featuring an astronaut taking off from a cratered celestial body, definitely helped a lot with unfolding the balanced, mango-character hop flavor in our mouths, accompanied by the mild bread-like malt.