One of the best things about travelling is trying new things — like different beer! Whether you have a favourite beer-producing region you’d like to visit, or a type of beer you’d like to try in its home city, the options for beer drinking (and beer tasting) are endless. Here are our top places to drink beer around the world.
Beer is one thing that Germany does particularly well. It varies wildly across the country, from tiny altbiers in Dusseldorf and Cologne to the massive steins in Bavaria.
If you’re a beer lover, a tour of Germany’s beers would be a great way to experience the country. If you can only choose one place to visit, Munich is a good option. We recommend you avoid the craziness that is Oktoberfest, and instead visit earlier in summer, when you can enjoy a cold one in one of the many beer gardens throughout the city. One of the most unique spots is in the shadow of the Chinese Tower in the English Gardens — and check out the people surfing the standing wave on your way in or out of the gardens.
2.Czech Republic: Pilsen and Budweis
Beer drinking is a pretty serious sport in these parts and Czechs are rightfully proud of their beers. Prague, the capital, is full of awesome bars where you can try local beers at ridiculously low prices.
More than that though, Czechia is the home of two of the biggest names in the beer world: Budweiser, which derives from the town of Budweis (or Ceske Budejovice) and Pilsner, which is a style of beer brewed everywhere, but associated with the town of Pilsen. Visiting either or both of these cities (and the breweries) is a great way to pay homage to these beer types.
So how do you find the best beer and the best places to drink?
- Talk to people, friends and family who live locally or have visited in the past. You could also talk to hostel staff, AirBnB hosts and hotel concierges.
- Keep your eyes out for posters and ads.
- Apps like Untappd help rank local beers and bars. Some bars even run their current beer menu/listings through the app. Google Maps can be a good fall-back for finding bars near you.
- Do a food and drink tour and ask the guide about their favourite bars.
- Look at magazines like Time Out.
- Social Q&A sites, like Quora or Reddit, can help unearth some gems too.
3. Medellin, Colombia
We weren’t expecting to find a hotbed of craft beer culture when we arrived in Colombia, so our visit to Tres Cordilleras microbrewery was a very pleasant surprise. We went with our friend Momo, and enjoyed both the beer and the brewery tour — especially because we learned that they were using New Zealand hops. It’s always nice to find a connection with home!
4. Mexico for micheladas
Mexico has a good range of beer to try, but one thing they do is quite unique: micheladas. Put simply, a michelada is a beer that has been mixed with various things, usually tomato juice, lime juice, and spicy sauce. The one time I tried a michelada, it was from a roadside stall and was full of seafood — possibly not my wisest decision, to be perfectly honest!
5. The United Kingdom
British people are serious about their beer, and any trip to the UK should involve a real ale or two. Or better yet, a visit to a real ale festival to try a bunch of ales. These festivals are often put on by CAMRA (the campaign for real ales), an organisation that believes that beer should be less processed. Real ales comes straight from the barrel or keg, and are still developing right up until the moment you drink it.
Real Ale Festivals combine the more commercial and successful brewers with local beers that might come out of someone’s garage. We’ve been to few: St Albans stands out in memory, as does the one we went to from Oundle with our neighbours Jules and Dan.
With the predominance of lager and big commercial breweries — even in the craft beer scene — it’s so cool to have community-driven events like this.
6. New Zealand
Yes, New Zealand is the home of some truly bad lager, and if that’s the only Kiwi beer you’ve ever drunk, we’re sorry. However, there are some really great beers available now (though not so much for export), and most bars these days will have an interesting range on tap — not just the big names. Plus, the big-name companies are starting to produce more than just the standard lager, as they have to compete to stay ahead of the game — which is great for beer drinkers.
If you’re flying in or out of Auckland and want to visit a nice brewery, we’d recommend heading west to Kumeu where you will find Hallertau, a great brewery.
7. Craft brew bars
You may not have to leave home to taste some great beer. Craft brew bars around the world stock a wide range of beer, either just beer produced on site, or beer from around the country or around the world. One of our first experiences of this was at the Pony Bar in New York about ten years ago: they stock a range of American beers but what’s on tap is always changing. You can see what’s available and what’s coming up next on their website, so people will often head to the bar when their favourite is on offer.
More recently, we headed to Zlý Časy in Prague this week, and had a similar experience. So much good beer!
In Auckland, we often head to Galbraiths Alehouse and to Brothers Brewery (both in the suburb of Mt Eden) for great beer that’s produced on site. Here in Prague, we love Lokal and Kantyna.
8. Wherever your favourite beer is from
We haven’t been everywhere, and we know there are A LOT more awesome places around the world to drink beer. So, if you have a favourite beer, head to where it’s from! There’s something special about drinking beer right where it’s made. Plus, you might have the chance to learn a bit about its history while you’re there.
9. Wherever you happen to be
Finally, if you’re travelling and there’s a local beer, try it! Instead of sticking to a well-known name, try whatever is made near where you are. So if you’re in Laos, drink beer Lao. In Galicia, Spain, drink Estrella Galicia. You might find a new favourite.
Vogue Magazine says Milwaukee, Wisconsin is “the Midwest’s Coolest and Most Underrated City.” Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is the original Brew City, the home-base of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and so much more. It’s home to Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, and the city that roots for Bucks basketball and Brewers baseball. If you’re an urban kayaker, a cheese fiend, an art lover, a beer geek – it’s time to get to know Milwaukee. It’s totally random and totally wonderful.
Request a free Brew City Beer Map at visitmilwaukee.org.