Best Croatian Beers You Got to Try!

4 beers in the background from the dark to pale and the text "Introduction to Croatian beers"

Beer, next to wine is a super popular drink in Croatia and there are quite a few excellent Croatian craft breweries I got to share with my fellow beer lovers!

You see, to us locals, beer or in Croatian “pivo” means more than a drink, it’s a perfect excuse to hang out with your old friends, meet new people, or pause work.

Beer is the reason why our pubs are full during the week when people should be at work, and while this might seem counterproductive, Croatians always find a way to survive and build their careers, but never at the cost of good company!

I can finally use my experience gathered from homebrewing beers and trying 90% of beers available around me to write this article, so, let’s dig deeper into Croatians’ beer arsenal. 

Best Croatian Beers to Try

I’ll name some of my favorite Croatian craft beers that I can recommend and that you can easily find.

Bear in mind that I can’t make a full list of all awesome Croatian craft beers, so don’t hesitate to try other beers from excellent Croatian craft breweries when you get a chance!

Zlatni Medvjed

Zlatni medvjed pilsner beer

Zlatni Medvjed by Medvedgrad Brewery is an excellent craft Czech-style lager (let’s just call it a pilsner) for such an inexpensive price. 

From what I have tasted it’s made from pilsner malt and enriched with a few different hops of which one is surely Saaz.

While this sounds like it should taste similar to a popular Czech Pilsner Urquel, I find Zlatni Medvjed to be quite different.

It’s a pilsner, but not a traditional one.

From its beautiful golden color, medium head and carbonation, noticeable but not vigorous bitterness such as is present in Pilsner Urquel, to interesting floral, almost honey-like aromas, Zlatni Medvjed deserves to be praised as a decent beer.

Grička Vještica

Grička vještica beer

Grička Vještica by Medvedgrad Brewery (eng. The Witch of grič) has an authentic character and is one of those beers everybody talks about in the town.

Why? Well, it’s a German doppelbock style, a strong, malt-sweet lager that gives off lovely toasted bread aromas. There are not many such beers you can buy in Croatia, so I believe this is the reason why it took over in popularity, plus it’s a decent quality beer.

Grička Vještica, a ruby red and full-bodied beer that stands at 7.5% ABV won’t let you have more than a few pints in a row, and its strong, sweet malt flavor demands relaxed enjoyment with every small sip you take. 

If you are fond of such vigorous beers that age in barrels, its strong aromas will remind you of toffee, prune, and raisins and will ensure you have a really good time at a local pub!

Fantom 30

Fantom 30 beer logo

Fantom 30 by Medvedgrad Brewery is trending right now and in the opinion of many it’s the best Croatian IPA in 2024.

Fantom 30 has the best of New England characteristics such as strong fruity hop aromas and juiciness, but also medium bitterness (45 IBU) and haze.

It’s made from 7 quality hops and you’ll find plenty of tropical hop aromas of pineapple, orange, and mango.

Just like it’s the case with any IPA, the 6.6% alcohol will quickly accumulate its effect after you have a few too many over the limit, so you’ll need strong power of will to enjoy Fantom 30 without needing to order a taxi!


C4 IPA beer by Nova Runda

C4 IPA is one of my favorite IPA beers from Nova Runda Brewery, a brewery renowned for its IPAs.

C4 is one of those low-bitter, but in hops very flavor-rich IPA for us who can’t stand super bitter IPA and APA.

C4 utilizes 4 lovely American hops such as Citra, Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook and such a colorful combination delivers. 

This lovely IPA tastes almost like juice, as you can feel a strong citrus aroma from peach and apricot to passion fruit and pineapple. It doesn’t have a strong lasting head and is minorly carbonated which fits well on the stomach, but it’s so easy to underestimate its strength (6.1% ABV) and drink a few too many over the limit!

Double Imperial Chocolate & Vanilla Stout

The garden brewery stout beer

I had to put on the list this delicious stout by The Garden Brewery, a brewery known for its mastery at making stouts.

While plenty of chocolate flavors with some vanilla aromas in the background and plenty of lactose which gives it the sweetness and the body make this beer a delicious dessert, it’s not a beer to take lightly due to its astounding 10% ABV.

The Garden Brewery has a variety of stouts in its collection, so if sweet stouts aren’t your preference do not worry!


3 different Velebitsko beers

While the brewery isn’t focused on a trend of craft beers, Velebitsko pale and dark lager by Ličanka Brewery is a surprisingly decent beer! 

As soon as I had my first sip of their beer I realized they were using some high-quality water. Later, when I checked I found out they use water directly from the spring of Ričina at 700 meters of altitude in the heart of glorious Velebit mountain.

They signify the importance of the old Bavarian purity law from 1516 which states that beer should be brewed from only 4 ingredients, water, grains, hops, and yeast. Moreover, they avoid additives and preservatives in their beer.

You might not find Velebitsko at every pub, but if you do try it as it’s a decent beer of pure lager taste without any deviances, and the quality of water stands out, making every sip enjoyable until there’s no more in the glass!

The most popular beers in Croatia

Frankly, I don’t want to waste words on commercial beers when there are so many great craft Croatian beers that deserve attention, but when most restaurants, bars, and pubs in Croatia only hold commercial beers you should be aware of their existence!

1. Ožujsko 

Ožujsko beer

Ožujsko also referred to as Žuja, a crisp lager that has been the number one beer by sales in Croatia for decades, originated back in 1893 and is produced by Zagrebačka Pivovara.

This is one of those famous Croatian beers associated with football, music events, and big-budget commercials starring famous Croatian actors, musicians, and sports people.

Is it good? Well, it’s a 5% ABV, decently carbonated lager that serves as a great refreshment as long as it’s properly chilled. 

People are used to its “somewhat watery taste” with reminiscence of what a true lager should be, yet for a massively produced commercial lager it’s just a beer that fits the purpose!

2. Karlovačko

Karlovačko beer

Karlovačko is the biggest competitor of Žuja, as people in Croatia either fall for one or the other as long as they can choose in their favorite pub.

Karlovačko is another lager which is not a surprise when an average Croatian has only heard of a lager and any other style is completely unknown to them!

At 5.4% ABV, this lager doesn’t differ too much from Ožujsko, but you can feel the difference by tasting them.

To me, Karlovačko has better taste as I perceive it as “less-watery” and a bit maltier, but It’s far from an excellent lager some craft breweries make.

3. Tomislav (the strongest beer)

Tomislav beer

Tomislav made in 1925 and brewed in Zagrebačka Pivovara stands as your best choice for a dark lager as long as you are looking for one of the strongest Croatian beers at 7.3% ABV.

It’s dark as a night with the head that doesn’t last, noticeably sweet on the tongue, moderately carbonated, medium bitter with robust flavors coming from malts and it has a dismissable hop character. This is how I remember it, I don’t usually drink it at pubs as I prefer stouts of dark beers. 

Moreover, I don’t find a rich tapestry of flavors and aromas in Tomislav, but you can notice some pleasant caramel, minor coffee aromas, and dark fruits such as plums that are typical for dark lagers. 

While many think there are craftier dark lagers in Croatia, Tomislav is also by many called the king of dark lagers!

The growing trend of craft beers in Croatia

The craft beer scene grows bigger every year across the globe and the trend got serious traction in Croatia in the past decade.

It seems people are finally awakening and starting to demand good beer instead of cheap volume-based commercial beers that have been forced into our throats by big-budget commercials and breweries that emphasize quantity over quality.

New microbreweries are being opened every year, and I am trying to keep up with all the new beers as I don’t want to discriminate and only drink beer from a single brewery.

MedvedgradZagrebOne of the first independents in Croatia, Medvedgrad has been brewing additive-free beer for over 20 years. Located on Tkalčićeva in Zagreb, it offers a variety of beers, including Fakin IPA, Grička Vještica dark lager, Baltazar fruity lager, and seasonal options.
San ServoloIstrian PeninsulaHailing from the Istrian peninsula, San Servolo is known for eminently drinkable lagers, with a red and dark variant in the core range. They also offer two varieties of pale ale and are known for unfiltered and unpasteurized beers. The brewery operates a four-star boutique hotel and spa in Istria, offering a unique experience.
5th ElementDaruvarThey produce a range of craft beers, including the Bonner Bohemian Pilsner, Lela lager, American Blonde Ale, and a delicious wheat beer. The brewery prides itself on the quality and diversity of its beer.
VarionicaZagrebOriginating from Daruvar, Nova Runda is now a fully-fledged brewery in Jastrebarsko, southwest of Zagreb. They have a range of beers with a focus on pale ales, including the lip-smackingly good American Pale Ale and the knockout C4 IPA.
If you are looking for a true Croatian IPA, Nova Runda is the best ambassador!
Nova RundaJastrebarskoOriginating from Daruvar, Nova Runda is now a fully-fledged brewery in Jastrebarsko, southwest of Zagreb. They have a range of beers with a focus on pale ales, including the lip-smackingly good American Pale Ale and the knockout C4 IPA.
If you are looking for a true Croatian IPA, Nova Runda is one of the best ambassadors of the style!
ZmajskoZagrebZmajsko, one of Zagreb’s earliest craft breweries, changed the craft beer scene for the better. Their orange-labeled IPA was Croatia’s first and is complemented by a range including wheat beer, seasonal specials, and the country’s first porter.
BeckersOsijekBeckers, based in Osijek, is a testament to the spread of the craft beer revolution. Founder Bojan Pap, a former head brewer for Zmajsko, produces cloudy and carefully crafted beers, with their American Pale Ale being an award-winner and a highlight among six regular offerings.
BrlogZadarBrlog is a cooperative brewery that started from a homebrewing hobby of Ana Teskera and Maja Šepetavec, the women who recognized the lack of good beers in their town! Now they produce excellent American blonde Plavuša and red ale Neposlušna, both worth trying.
Garden BreweryZagrebFounded by British entrepreneurs, the Garden Brewery is not just a brewery but also a music venue. Known for being the first to produce beer in cans in Croatia, they use all-natural ingredients, including fresh hops, and export successfully. Their seasonal beers are highly anticipated.
Garden brewery is the ambassador of Croatian stouts!
Craft beer breweries in Croatia

Is Croatia cheap for beer?

Croatia has very cheap beers that are of decent quality with some lagers such as Ožujsko starting at €1.45 in stores for 0.5L.

Beer TypeAverage Price (EUR)
Domestic beer (0.5L)€2.00 – €2.70
Imported beer (0.5L)€2.70 – €3.35
Craft Beer (0.5L)€3.5 – €4.70
Draught Beer (0.5L)€2.00 – €4
Prices of beers in Croatian pubs

You can find the same beers cheaper in stores. For instance, a decent craft beer that costs €4 in pubs can be found at €2.7 in a store.

How do you order beer in Croatian?

To order a beer in Croatia learn to say “pivo molim” or simply speak in English or even in Italian or German as every Croatian bartender, just like most Croatians speak multiple languages!


With the emerging trend of craft beers, Croatia is slowly becoming a hotspot for excellent craft beers.

As a local who has tried most of these beers, I can assure you that taking a trip to Croatia and enjoying local craft beers is a smart investment for any true beer enthusiast.

You can also combine the trip of discovering craft beers with other attractions Croatia is known for and finally get some deserved rest from everyday occupations!



Dino is a local who has spent 27 years of his life in Croatia. He's here to provide you with useful information and some local guidance.

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