Our budget beer lover’s guide to Europe
Beer, beer, beer: one word that’s best repeated! Beer lovers across Europe enjoy a whole host of brews that are waiting to be savoured. The sheer variety of beer on offer around the continent perfectly reflects its eclectic cultures, which range from dark ales to delicate mixes. Here’s our own beer lover’s guide to Europe, based on our own experiences and recommendations.
Artisan industry in Piedmont
The Piedmont region in Italy has always had a distinctly French edge - from its name to its delicate, classic culinary presentation. However, while its French ties may be obvious, the area has carved its own legacy from its traditional wine-soaked history: the creation of a thriving artisan beer industry. Big names like Baladin have transported Piedmont onto the world stage to compete with established breweries from around the world. Due to a lack of regulation, its ever increasing number of breweries have the freedoms to test out flavours and techniques, such as spice combinations and the introduction of wine production processes, to create a vibrant and fresh market.
Munich: a beer capital
The beers halls of Germany are world-famous, and for good reason. Home to Oktoberfest - the world’s largest Volksfest - the Bavarian capital of Munich is at the centre of the action. 14 huge beer tents play host to thousands of lively punters and 16 days of food, drinks and music. The city is also home to 36 beers gardens and a large number of breweries which follow 15th century regulations, using only barley, hops and water to create some of the best beer that you or I have ever tasted.
Craft brews in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s laid lack lifestyle creates the perfect atmosphere to enjoy an evening brew in the wake of the setting sun. Although the city is best known for its signature green-bottled pale lager, an emerging craft beer industry has risen up in the last five years to compete with the city’s established brewers. Many beers also now have a distinctly Germanic edge, however, the tradition of ‘brown cafes’ with a regular stream of locals dipping in and out for a quick pint throughout the day is still alive and well.
Quench your thirst in Paris
Paris isn’t the first place you think of when planning a booze cruise. Although the capital is most associated with wine and champagne, beer drinkers have made their mark in the city in recent years. Beer merchants selling craft beers in particular are taking on the status quo and have taken advantage of the turning tide in the city as more Parisians and tourists discover the delights of foamy heads amidst the French capital’s bar scene.
A quality cornerstone in Prague
Prague is a perfect city for the discerning beer drinker. Contrary to some opinions, Czech beer is held in the highest esteem in Europe, and its brews often set the gauge for quality. While Germany’s beer halls are world-famous, Prague has a few cavernous halls of its own. Unlike emerging Italian and French markets, one brand still dominates the Prague market: Staropramen. The brand has cemented itself as a leading provider of caramel-coloured larger in the city and across the country inside its crowded venues. Expect surprisingly cheap pints and getting close to your drinking neighbours along long, communal tables inside a hall or two.