Where Are the World’s Best Beers?
We've tasted the world's best beers from internationally known brands in their countries of origin to little-known microbrews in less famous settings. What's your favourite combination for a great beer and a great destination?
No matter where you travel, there is almost always a beer that is so associated with a particular destination as to be worth seeking out in its birthplace—though you can still enjoy them at home. Here are some of top choices for combining the pleasures of travel with superlative beer:
Guinness Stout, Ireland
There are other great stouts, but Guinness rules the roost as one of the most recognizable and historic brands in the world. Guinness operates multiple breweries around the world, and often you get the local version, but fans swear it never tastes better than in Ireland and the rest of the British Isles. There is a magic to the pub-drawn Guinness. Fans even argue over how to pour the stuff with a near religious fervour, and if you are in Dublin, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse for its factory tour is as good as beer trips get, and they will even teach you to pour it correctly, with the traditional shamrock in the foam.
Paulaner, Munich, Germany
Nothing attests to the quality of Paulaner quite as much as the fact that its family of labels—including the Hacker-Pschorr line—are the best selling at Oktoberfest, accounting for about a third of all beer sold. Paulaner makes nearly two dozen versions, including the seasonal Oktoberfest, but the heart and soul are its four “Original Munich” labels, all lagers of varying weight: dunkel (dark), marzen (cloudy), helles (pale) and urtyp (traditional). You do not have to go to Munich for Paulaner because it’s available worldwide. But then again, wouldn’t you like to experience Oktoberfest?
U.S. West Coast Microbreweries
The United States does not really have a technical category of its own, but it does have a unique style, which are the highly hopped ales produced by boutique West Coast breweries. Microbreweries abound on the West Coast and are easy to visit for taste tests. For instance, The Pike Brewing Company in the famous Pike Place Market is less than one block from the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. Perhaps the top examples of this uniquely aggressive American style are the widely available Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Chico, California; Oregon’s Rogue Ales; and the Arrogant Bastard line from Escondido, California’s Stone Brewing Company.
These are just a few of the hundreds of great beers whose tastes are associated with specific regions. What’s your favourite combination for a great beer and a great destination?