Break away from the typical beer-tasting vacations and explore a world of new flavors
When most people plan a “beer-cation,” certain cities and countries immediately come to mind: Munich, Germany; Brussels, Belgium and Dublin, Ireland, for example. Millions of Americans flock to these cities every year for their great beer and beer culture. And rightly so.
Just outside Munich is the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephan. Brussels is the gateway to Belgium’s renowned Trappist breweries.
In Dublin, there is Irish Champagne, aka Guinness.
However, some Americans have a taste for beer that ventures beyond the ordinary. The following secret beer cities should satisfy their craving.
#5. Prague, Czech Republic
Let’s cross the Atlantic and to start our journey. Not exactly a secret, Prague is known to most Europeans and many Americans as the heart of Czech beer culture, whose crowning beer achievement is giving birth to the world’s most popular beer style—the Pilsner—named after and first produced in the Czech city of Plze?.
Germany’s love for the Pilsner often overshadows Prague’s claim to fame, but the city is not to be missed. While German Pilsners tend to be homogenous in terms of flavor profile, Czech Pilsners don’t suffer the same fate. On top of the great flavor of its beer, Prague is the most affordable beer city in Europe, according to a recent survey titled “It’s Beer O’Clock Somewhere.”
#4. Sheffield, England
Up next is Sheffield, England. From its oldest pubs, like the King’s Head and the Frog and Parrot, to the new craft beer breweries, like the Kelham Island Brewery and Brew Dog Sheffield, it is becoming known as both the “world’s best beer city” and the “real ale capital of the world.”
Ales are a traditional English beer style and include the Pale Ale and the India Pale Ale made famous by American craft beer brewers. If your taste buds cry out for these types of beers, then set your sights on Sheffield, which is the cheapest beer city in the UK, according to the survey above.
#3. Rome, Italy
Italy is known for its wine, food, history and interesting politicians. But what’s of interest to beer lovers is the fact that there is a growing craft beer scene in the country. That means that the world’s most perfect food and its most perfect beverage have finally been united under the Italian flag. That’s right:
Beer and pizza!
Although Italy’s craft beer is predominantly brewed outside the nation’s capital, Rome is the nation’s center of craft beer consumption. It already has dozens of craft beer bars, and more open every year. Spots not to miss include the pioneering Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa and the newer Luppolo 12 and Open Baladin. Each serves up delicious Italian brews, like Brew Fist, and specialty beers from all over the world.
If you thought Italian beer was all Peroni and Moretti, you need get up-to-date and visit Rome today!
#2. Buenos Aires
We head back across the Atlantic to South America for the penultimate beer city on this list. Like Italy, Argentina is not known for its beer culture. It is known for Tango, Beef and Malbec. But secretly, it is a leading South American beer city.
Like Rome, the majority of Argentine craft beers are produced outside the capital, Buenos Aires, but consumed within it. In cities like Viedma, Rio Negro, a part of Patagonia, there are microbreweries like Gülmen that produce a wide range of specialty beers inspired by styles from around the world.
Considering that recent research shows that lager brewing yeast may actually come from Argentina’s Patagonian region, Buenos Aires is a logical destination to head for brews that will inspire your taste buds. Other Argentine craft brews include Antares, Broeders and Taguató.
#1. Hanoi, Vietnam
When most people think of Asia, they don’t think of beer. Beer is not widely consumed in Asia. Right? Wrong. There are several countries in Asia that have a long-standing beer tradition, including Japan and South Korea.
However, Hanoi, Vietnam, stands out from the rest.
According to the aforementioned Beer O’Clock survey, Hanoi is not only the cheapest place to imbibe, it also has a unique beer culture. Every morning, local brewers churn out fresh beer, “Bia Hoi,” in the German and Czech beer styles for both locals and tourists to enjoy under the sun.
This light, refreshing beer costs less than a dollar a glass and is the perfect drink to balance the city’s heat. There is nothing ordinary about Hanoi’s beer or beer culture, and it promises a beer-cation you won’t soon forget.