beer in Hungary
Although Hungary is better known as a wine-producing country, beer has been made there for around a thousand years and the country has a significant history of commercial beer production.
The first commercial brewery in Hungary was established in Budapest in 1845. During the heyday of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the Kobánya district of Budapest became the centre of Hungary's brewing industry. The Dreher brewery, named after Anton Dreher (creator of the Vienna lager style) who started a brewery in Budapest in 1862, came to dominate the Hungarian market before the Second World War.
Today, Hungary has only four large commercial brewers (three of major significance) which produce mainly lagers and German-style dark beer:
- The Dreher (Kobánya) Brewery (Dreher Sörgyárak) in Budapest. Its main products are the Dreher Classic and Arany Ászok pilsener-style lagers but it also brews Kobányai Világos, Dreher Lager and Dreher Bak (a double bock). Kanizsa Brewery also belongs to the group. It produces beer under the brands of Kanizsai Világos, Kanizsai Kinizsi, Balatoni Világos and Paracelsus.
- The Borsod Brewery (Borsodi Sörgyár): In addition to the local beer brands of Borsodi Világos, Borsodi Barna, Borsodi Bivaly, Borsodi Póló and Borostyán, it brews under license Beck's Stella Artois and Rolling Rock.
- Brau Union Hungária Breweries is a member of the Heineken Group and has breweries in Sopron and Martfu. Its brands include Soproni, Talléros, Arany Hordó, Soproni Kinizsi, Sárkány Sör and (under licence) Heineken, Amstel, Gösser, Kaiser, Steffl, Zlaty Bazant, Schlossgold and Buckler.
- The Pécs Brewery (Pécsi Sörfozde) is majority owned by the Ottokringer Group. Its brands are Pécsi Szalon, Szalon Barna, Tavaszi Sör, Három Királyok and (under licence) Gold Fassl.
A number of small microbreweries have also emerged in Hungary over the past few years including Ilzer and Blonder.
In Hungary, people traditionally do not clink their glasses/mugs when drinking beer. This is usually explained by a legend about Austrians clinking their beer glasses when celebrating the execution of the 13 Hungarian Martyrs of Arad in 1849. Many people still follow the tradition, although younger people often ignore it.
In the supermarkets you can buy both Hungarian and non-Hungarian brands and the price is between 90 and 500 Forints (30 Cents-2 Euros), depending on the brand and the location of the store.
Pubs have a wide selection of beer in glasses, but most of the pubs supply just 3-4 kinds of draft beer. The more expensive clubs, bars, or pubs have a large selection of draught beers, too. Beer prices in Budapest pubs are between 200 Forints and 1 000 Forints (80 Cents-4 Euros). It also may be a useful information that in Hungary many pubs serve the beer in 0.5 litre pitchers.