This is a repost from Abu Dhabi Beer Man about the beer scene in Bosnia which is similar to the beer scene in Vietnam in 2014-2015.
Your guide to craft beer in Bosnia and Hercegovina for 2022. Breweries, craft beer bars and a few tourist tips. Start in Sarajevo and sip your way through Mostar and Banja Luka.
Sarajevo ! Charming small capital with amazing bars in 1920 speakeasy style and craft beer. Cheap to travel to and the perfect size for a 3-4 days visit. Both wizz air and ryan air runs to Tuzla, Sarajevo and Banja Luka. Sarajevo has around 700 000 inhabitants and the tourism is not too heavy. The town is in the middle of green mountains and pine forests. The river Miljacka is flowing under the famous Latin bridge. Visiting in April can be tricky with temperatures on 15°C (60°F) or snow some days, aim for May to September. Hotel prices are low and most restaurants depends on locals, not tourists. Instead of spending all your money at expensive destinations with expensive beers and food. Come to Sarajevo enjoy the freedom of having excellent craft beers for 2-3 euro each.
Sarajevo is calm, people are welcoming and many speak English. Take a taxi from the airport to the city center, check in and run out. Begin with a cup of espresso or a Turkish coffee. Save time by eating some cevap, the local grilled kebab with delicious bread and chopped onions.
Make sure you have saved all the pins from this guide at your offline map, it’s time to start the journey. Begin along the main promenade and make the first stop at Fabrika which has 6-8 beers on tap and a good selection of craft beer. Delicious mixed meat platters goes perfect with beer. Their own beer should be ready now since it was on fermentation during the time of the visit. Fabrika is small and personal with helpful staff. They do also have happy hour with lager beers.
Continue to the the next craft beer bar which is a few hundred meters away. Gastropub Vucko has an extensive beer list with craft beers from Serbia, Croatia, Belgium and a couple of beers on tap. The sign outside says they have over 150 different beers to offer. Probably the best best beer selection in Sarajevo.
There are two speakeasy bars nearby. Zlatna Ribica (right picture) is a popular place for drinks and beautiful decorated. Balkan Express has live music on week ends and is just 200 m from Vucko. They serve regular lagers and sljivovica, the local spirits made from fruits.
Sarajevo is small and its easy to walk through the city center in less than 30 minutes. But there is also trams. Take tram nr 3 to Dolac Malta which is 300 meters from VOPI, the best craft beer bar in Sarajevo. It’s a three kilometers walk but the road is boring so better take a taxi or tram. If you are early, jump in to one of the beer yoga classes. The bar is situated in a quiet neighbourhood and you can order food from the restaurants near by. The brewer and owner Demir Dizdarevic is always there. He knows about all beers and beer related events in Bosnia. So if you are interested to know more about craft beer, visit VOPI. Pivo means beer and VOPI is just the letters turned around a bit. It’s a new brewery and very interesting to see where it goes. Demir is enthusiastic and involved in many beer events. The first beer registered on untappd was the Mornar pale ale in 2021.
Pi brewery does also play with words, π as in pivo. Pi brewery is from Sarajevo and has been in operation since 2015 and has 19 beers on the beer app untappd and does modern crafts. Beers are sold on bottle all over Bosnia. The imperial IPA Utopia on 8 % is the most consumed.
84 Olympics Brewery is also from Sarajevo and has a handfull of beers, mainly ales and IPA. The 84 Pale Ale is the most popular beer. And yes, the Olympics took place in Sarajevo in 1984.
The third one from Sarajevo is Gelender, also a micro brewery and has six beers with the IPA Vasco Da Gama and the ale Nonchalant as the most popular. Both of them has over 400 check ins on untappd which is rare for many Bosnian beers. The craft beer boom started in 2012 in Bosnia and Gelender brewery in 2014. Gelender means handrail and refers to the balance required to ride it with a snowboard.
The smallest brewery in Sarajevo is probably Shaman Brewery that has three beers so far. It’s difficult to find their beers but they are served at Viking pub. Viking pub offers rock music together with Shaman beer and regional crafts from Serbia and Croatia. No need for a description of the interior design. Vikings + Shamans = …?
Another brewery is Pivara Semizburg that is brewing both beer and other spirits. Semizburg is having their own brand but does also brew for Walter Ego pub 1 and 2. Walter Ego 1 is a bit up the hills but worth a visit.
The Prikaza IPA on 6.7 % is the most popular beer out of the 20 beers they have made since 2018. The main brewer Haris Piknjac was part of the early brewing society in Vietnam 2012 and has been one of few home brewers in Pakistan before returning to Bosnia. Bosnias population is on a steady decline with the exodus of young people. But the outflow is slowing down and there is also many entrepreneurs that return with new inputs.
Gorstak craft brewery has around 10 different ales, IPAs and a hoppy wheat. The brewery in Laktasi is far away from Sarajevo but their beers are sold on bottle at many bars around the country. They define themselves as a nano brewery but most of the breweries in Bosnia would be considered nano. Most of them brew about 100 liters at a time and some less. In USA, micro breweries can brew up to 1.7 million liters a year. Which is more than all Bosnian craft breweries together. The definition in Europe is smaller and often referred to batch size with 100 liters batches considered as nano size.
Maybe you visited all places the first night and feel like having some regular lager to start with the day after? Visit Sarajevo Brewery before 4 PM and get a fresh lager or their unfiltered lager, Nefiltrirano on tap. It’s very nice inside and they have some classic dishes that goes very well with the beer. Combine the visit with visiting the old Olympic bobsled track on top of the mountain. The cable car is not far away from the brewery.
The pearl in Bosnia, surrounded by beautiful mountains and the river Neretva passing under the Starimost bridge. The best thing with Mostar is that sightseeing, history and craft beer comes together as one. You have everything within a few hundred meters radius. Craft Beer Garden Imaimoze is just by the Mostar bridge and Old Town. It’s a must visit ! This is Oldbridz own bar but other local crafts is also served.
Oldbridz Craft Brewery is one of the oldest craft breweries in the region and was established in 2012. The brewer Arslan Mesihovic is producing excellent beers and has so far introduced over 30 different beers. The Marakuja pale ale is the most consumed so far. There is often Croatian craft beers available. There is ten times more craft beers in Croatia but the prices are also 50 % higher so the magic Beer-Money rate is lower.
If someone opens a brewery in Bosnia, the first call will probably be to Imamimoze craft beer garden. You can feel the weight and importance when sipping on a beer from the now oldest craft brewery in Bosnia. The question is who the first one was but a hand full breweries has already also closed down. For example Castrum craft brewery closed down recently after a few years of business.
Mostar has two important beverage producers. The second is Cooltura Pivovara that introduced their first beers in 2016 and has made about 10 beers until today. Their beers are sold on bottle in many bars around the country. When walking around in Mostar. Pub Beer Ti&Ja is a safe card for a good beer menu and lies a 20 minutes walk from Imaimoze craft beer garden.
Banja Luka, Srebrenica and Brcko
Brcko is a small town in northern Bosnia where Laufer craft brewery started in 2018 and has two stouts, a wheat and an ale. VOPI in Sarajevo has their beer and many more.
MCB, Master Craft Brewery in Banja Lukas sells beers on both bottle and in keg. They brew very nice beers and their pale ale is excellent. Which was served together with their IPA at Fabrika in Sarajevo. They have nine beers so far and more is coming. Absolutely a must sip !
Silvertown Brewery is one of the smaller ones but has so far five beers and the blonde ale Pivovica on 9 % is the most popular. The brewery is in Srebrenica but more beers are sold in the Netherlands than local. They have a collaboration with Brouwerij Fierbier in Tilburg, a smaller town in the Netherlands. Their beers are available at Craft Beer Garden Imaimoze in Mostar.
Did i miss something ? send me a message or comment . Hope you will enjoy it as much as i self did in april 2022.
Cheers ! / Jonathan Gharbi de Mare, aka Abu Dhabi Beer Man