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Fridays don’t happen without one, parties don’t start unless you take some, and holidays are the perfect excuse to consume several. Beer. The universal drink of excellence.
But where in the world can you find the best varietals of this beautiful brown juice?
1. Britain. Also known as Beer-tain
Yeah, go on then.
Is the standard line used by most Brits every night of the week. Well, what else is there to do when the weather's grim and the only thing on TV is debaucherous Geordies?
British pub culture is rife and there are age-old breweries dotted up and down the country - quenching the thirst of every discerning beer connoisseur. The Meantime Brewery Tour in London is dubbed as “one part stand-up comedy, one part history lesson, one part science lesson and one part going down the pub.” Perfect. Then there’s the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery Tour, also in the capital, with brews that date as far back as 1828. Visitors are invited behind the scenes to hang out with the hops. And if you’ve ever locked lips with the UK’s third best-selling beer, Hobgoblin 1988 (and if you haven’t you really should have) the town of Witney in Oxford is home to a tour and tasting.
2. Austria. Who’s up for a beer bath?
Austrian brewer, Starkenberger Brewery Castle, not only boasts a delicious and palette appeasing cold beer, it’s also home to seven, 13-foot pools of warm beer each containing 42,000 pints of the stuff. The beer is kept hot, so it’s sort of like a Turkish bath-come-spa. Apparently it’s good for medicinal healing. But guests are also welcome to order a cold scoop from the bar. Or explore the beautiful Austrian castle in which it’s brewed.
Beer? That’s good for you? Onwards, to Starkenberger!
3. Maine, USA. Where the maine attraction is beer
With over 60 Maine breweries crafting a medley of unique beers, the ‘Maine Beer Trail’ will ensure you have your beer gogs on for good. So beware.
Great ale is something this state takes very seriously. Even during the prohibition, devoted drinkers didn’t exactly abide by the law. And why would you? With an ample supply of crystal clear water, the flavours are legendary. Ask any Maine beer maker and they’ll credit Sebago Lake. Found northwest of Portland, the glacial sand bed acts like a natural filter. And with a resource like that, why wouldn’t you stick two fingers to the law and brew?
Make a beeline for Penobscot Bay Brewery in Winterport, where they also make beer-flavoured ice-cream, as well as chocolate milk stout, made from Ghana’s richest cocoa beans. Mmm, one of those please.
4. Germany. Drink and fly
The Germans love their beer.
To a point they've even built a microbrewery in Munich’s Franz-Josef Airport. As the world’s only airport brewery, Airbräu, complete with a glass-roofed beer garden, trees and vines, serves a selection of seasonal beers to suit every airport traveller. This Bavarian-style tavern boasts its own brewery and a selection of top German beers. Start with half a litre of Germany’s finest and wash it down with a side serving of sauerkraut.
Once out of the airport, get your groove on in Dusseldorf's The Altstadt (Old Town). Referred to as the longest bar in the world, the Altstadt is flushed with over 300 bars, taverns and drinking holes, all of which are (supposedly) connected to one another. Now that’s some bar crawl.
5. Singapore. Sing and pour us a beer
LeVeL33, a bar located in Singapore’s MBFC Tower 3, and not surprisingly on level 33 (see what they did there?) claims to be the world's highest urban craft brewery. Seeing as this super flash bar is housed in Singapore’s super flash Marina Bay Financial Centre, expect to see some super flash beer drinkers here. Sitting alongside the city’s steaziest high rollers, enjoy five craft beers, all boasting a European heritage, and sweeping views across the glitzy skyline.
Seasonally brewed, all five beers are said to be “Available until the tap runs dry”.
…Is that a challenge?
6. Belgium. Because monks do it best
Everyone knows that monks make great beer. And boy do they like to make it strong. The naughty scoundrels.
The monks at The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in Belgium craft something that’s better described as an elixir, than a home brew. Dark, oaky, a tiny bit fruity and boasting a whopping 11% ABV, the abbey first starting brewing in 1839, and the recipe’s changed very little since.
The thing with Westvleteren, is that the monks only work 70 days per year and they don’t brew for profit, so the beer’s something of a rarity. Only available at either the abbey’s In De Vrede café or at the drive-thru pick-up gate, all roads leading to the abbey are barely marked and barely paved. So yeah, good luck with that.
We recommend you hire a car and give it your best shot. At worst you’ll go on a very beautiful Belgian adventure, and at best you’ll find heaven in the bottom of a beer glass.
7. Portland. Some port, mostly beer
And now for a beer festival, but not that beer festival.
Portland, in Oregon USA is quite good at taking the title for ‘best beer city in the world’. With over 70 craft breweries in the city (said to be the most in any city the world over) you’re never too far away from a unique pint.
Seems fitting then, that Portland should also host the annual Craft Beer Festival. Held at the Fields Neighborhood Park during the first week of July, there's a giant beer party to celebrate the start of the Oregon Craft Beer Month. Beer aside, punters also get to guzzle on the state’s finest ciders and wine.
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