Archive: Europe's Best Beer
From Denmark to England to Germany to the Czech Republic, locals pride themselves on their beer. How does a tourist best tap into this flavorful fountain of European culture? Share your favorite locations and labels!
Polish beers rule! Belgian beers are indeed wonderful, but I'm here to spread a little-known truth: Germany has good beer, but — unless you count the fun Koelsch style in the Rhineland — they're no better than American microbrews like Goose Island (Chicago). In Prague, the Kozel, Punkmistr and Staropramen are much better than Pilsner Urquell. Krakow's Zywiec (ZHEEV-yets) beer puts all the others to shame...and their traditional underground pubs are fun, too!
In this country, if you are in an area (like Chicago) with a large Polish
population, look for Zywiec, as well as a newer import from Poland called
Tyskie. In bottled form in the country, Tyskie is better than Zywiec.
Oak Park, IL USA 06/18/98
Czech beer, definitely. I actually liked Staropramen over Budvar. Any
beer at Andechs, Germany is also great.
Houston, TX USA 06/16/98
The best beers in Europe are mostly Belgian, where they have countless
choices, but my favorites are: Julius, Hoegaarden-Grand Cru and Wit Bier,
Westmalle-Trippel. In Ireland and Britain I prefer Smitty's. The Belgian
beers beat those we tried in Germany.
Bureke , VA USA 06/10/98
Any 80/ (80 Shilling — not as mild as a 70/ and not as strong as a 90/)
Scottish beer on tap.
Hamilton, oh USA 06/09/98
I do like the Doppelbock up on the hill at Kloster Andechs (Germany),
but I think the granddaddy of them all gets my vote — the "Salvator" brewed
by the Paulaner Brewery in München!
For a switch, consider cider. Scrumpy Jack, brewed in Somerset, England
is the best alcoholic beverage I've ever tasted. Fruity and sweet, with
a kick. You can buy it in just about any London pub.
Cincinnati, OH USA 06/08/98
Kueppers Koelsch with a plate of Himmel und Aard in the Biergarten on
Schoenhauser Strasse in Koeln.
Guinness is like adult chocolate milk and people can't seem to get enough
of it. And Bass Ale from England ain't too bad either.
Tucson, AZ USA 06/02/98
We vote for Dortmund's DAB Light; ask any German...
Colgate, WI USA 06/02/98
My friend and I just returned from Germany, where we spent a night in
the small town of Gunzenhausen. We discovered Leuchtturm, a new brewery
and gasthaus. The beer is unfiltered, and the food was excellent. It's
a short walk from the train station. It's worth a stop.
Denver, CO USA 06/02/98
I sure have a warm spot in my heart for sitting in "The Pudding Shop"
in Istanbul drinking draught Danish Tuborg and playing "Cardinal Puff"!
North Little Rock, AR USA 06/02/98
I've probably tried a hundred different European beers, but to me beer
heaven is downing the Dopplebock at the Andechs Monastery southwest of
Munich while munching on one of those slabs of pork roast they serve.
Thanks for that recommendation, Rick!
San Diego, CA USA 06/02/98
I agree...Budvar is indeed wonderful. I'd also agree with the nomination for Fuller's ESB. Their London Pride is also good and just a little bit lighter than ESB (and they also make Chiswick Bitter, which is lighter than London Pride).
I took the Fuller's brewery tour in Chiswick (halfway between Central
London and Heathrow Airport) one Friday afternoon. I was the only person
on the last tour of the week. An older gentleman who used to work at the
brewery was my guide, and he showed me around while telling great stories
about working there during World War II. The tour ended with a free pint
in the pub attached to the brewery, and he said that he had nothing better
to do, so he'd join me. He pulled quite a few pints, told lots of stories,
and we spent the afternoon slowly getting shnockered...it was one of the
most enjoyable afternoons I'd spent in a while!
Wake Forest, NC USA 06/02/98
Augustiner, Augustiner, Augustiner! — to us the best beer we've EVER had,
served in wonderful chilled mugs. We're making a special stopover in Salzburg
this fall so we can have some more!
Long Beach, MS USA 06/02/98
Budvar, Budvar, Budvar!
But honestly, all of Europe's beers are great. In Northern/Central Europe
almost every town has its own delicious brew. Just ask the locals what
their favourite is and you'll never be disappointed. Small useful words:
Bierre, bier, pivo, piva... Happy tasting!!!
Montreal, Canada 06/02/98
I love dark beer and the Closter breweries of Au, located in Au am Inn
(east of Munich) and Andechs (located on the Holy Hill in Erling, southwest
of Munich) brew the best. The food in both locations is traditional and
therefore excellent. I believe Au can only be reached by car, but Erling
can be reached via the suburban train to Hersching plus a short walk.
West Chesterfield, NH USA 06/02/98
One of the oldest beer styles in the world — lambic — is brewed near the
River Senne that flows through (under) Brussels. Its most famous incarnation
is as Mort Subite geuze. For the real thing, though, try: 1)Oude Lambik
Brouwerie in Beersel, just on the southern edge of Brussels. The family-owned
small brewery and authentic pub are a 10-minute walk from the central
church square. 2)A la Becasse, just off the Grote Markt at 11 Rue Tabora.
Order a small pitcher of "lambic doux." 3) Try beer-based dishes &
great lambics at 2 restaurants: Drei Fonteinen on the church square in
Beersel or In't Spinnekopke at 1 Place du Jardin aux Fleurs in Brussels.
Beware: open-minded taste buds required!
Toronto, Canada 06/02/98
Belgium has more different beers than any other nation. Liefmans in
Oudenaarde makes one of the world's finest beers — an "oud bruin" called
Goudenband. Also available in raspberry (Frambozen) and cherry (Kriek).
Not to be confused with the lighter lambic/geuze based beers. Goudenband
is corked and can be aged for years like wine.
Toronto, Canada 06/02/98
Having done several "beer tours" on the Continent, I thought I might
weigh in. One of the greatest is posted below: Aventinus is a dark double-fermented
wheat beer brewed by Schneider in Kelheim, but available at their Munich
location on Tal Strasse near the Altes Rathaus, as well as all over Germany.
Their unfiltered hefeweissen (wheat beer) is in my opinion the best in
Toronto, Canada 06/02/98
In Britain the best of the lot to my plebian tastes were Fuller's ESB — available
primarily in London — and Ebulum, a powerful jet-black Scottish beer, with
a little bit of elderberry giving it a wine-y finish.
I haven't found a bad one yet! However, my three favorites are Stella
Artois (Belgian), Budvar (Czech) and Gosser (Austrian). I've been fortunate
to have visited 15 European countries and even in countries such as France
and Italy where wine is king, the beer is still good. It's a darn shame,
however that the Germans, who brew such good beer, should have to endure
the legacy of American Budweiser, or was it a trick to allow the Germans
and the Czechs to keep the good stuff?
Flemington, NJ USA 05/23/98
Of all the German wheat beers, my colleagues and I agree that Falkensteiner
(Kristall) Weizen is by far the best we've ever tasted. I believe it's
brewed somewhere in the Kaiserslautern area.
The Pilsner Urquell at the brewery (they charge for it) is the best
beer I have had in my life. With over 200 days in Europe, and many brewery
visits all over Europe, this is no idle boast! The tap beer in Spain is
great, because it is cold, fresh and served with the best snacks!
Mpls, MN USA 05/18/98
True nectar of the gods: Aventinus, a wheat beer from a Munich Brauhaus
behind the Alte Rathaus. The purple-labeled bottle can also be found at
other pubs and some stores in southern Germany.
I'm partial to heavier, darker beers. Of these, I've enjoyed the Alt
German beers, Oktoberfest beers, British Christmas ales, and virtually
any bitter in Britain.
Just about any beer in the Czech Republic...except Pilsner Urquell!
It's the tourist's favorite — the only name they know — and they pay dearly
for it. Some of my favorites are Velky Popovice, Rebel, Budvar and Bernard.
Each district has its own brewery and everybody claims that their beer
is better than the one down the road! Your only choice is to test them
all...and at US$.40 a half liter it's the bargain of the century.