The Wine and Beer of Hungary
May 29, 2019
We had heard in advance of going to Hungary that it was known for the wine that it produced and we certainly weren’t disappointed. In addition to having several wine regions that produce very interesting wines, we also discovered that Hungary has a craft beer scene, at least in Budapest, that is very similar to what we have in the United States. We also went to a specific wine tasting with a charcuterie board where we learned about the various wines as well as the history of Hungary.
The region that we heard the most about for producing excellent wine was Eger, which grows both red and white varieties of wine. As far as red wine from Eger, the Bull’s Blood or Egri Bikaver was really good and came with an interesting back-story. Legend has it that in 1552 a small group of soldiers were drinking wine in preparation for the upcoming seige of Eger and bull’s blood was added to the wine to give them extra strength and stamina. The group was able to successfully beat the larger group of Turks and the legend was born. In addition to the Bikaver wine, we also had an “old” Chardonnay wine from Eger that had been aged for 4 years, which was delicious.
We also tried wines from other regions including a sweet dessert wine from Tokaj, which is in the northeast corner of country. We also tasted an interesting wine from the Sopron region, which is in the mountainous area in the farthest western part of Hungary. In addition to the wine tasting, we tried many different wines during our time in Budapest. We also tried a couple of the fruit brandies called Palinka, which is an aperitif and is quite popular. We tried both the plum and apricot versions of Palinka and enjoyed both.
Many of the restaurants that we went to had at least a dozen different craft beers on draught. The national beer seemed to be Dreher, which is a lager and was available at almost every place that we ate. We prefer darker beers, so we had several of those as well. We didn’t make it out to the countryside, so we don’t know if it is similar to Germany where every city has their own beer, but Budapest seemed to have a lot of choices to offer.
For anyone who likes wine, a trip to Hungary will certainly provide the opportunity to try a lot of different wines. We would certainly recommend a wine tasting, whether by visiting some vineyards or doing one within Budapest. For those that prefer beer, plenty of options abound and all of the ones that we tried were certainly very good.