GUEST POST :: Best Beers to Try While Traveling in Europe

by admin on October 4, 2012

Ed. This is a bit of a Europe 101 from a blogger associated with Micro Matic, a manufacturer/distributor of draft beer equipment and accesories. This could be construed as an ad, except the ONLY thing received by YBN by way of this post is simply that: what might be useful, entertaining content. So we post, in return, the link below to Micro Matic. Let us know what you think.

One of the great joys of traveling is trying the local cuisine, and that goes double for trying the local wines and brews. When you’re gallivanting across the globe, do yourself a favor and try the local beer on tap.

Here is a list of the top 5 beers to try while traveling in Europe. If you can, take a brewery tour to see at least one of these beauties in production. If you can’t manage to take a tour, at least rest assured that you’ll be able to find these amazing beers—and a number of other local specialties—on  tap.

Czech Republic—Pilsner Urquell

People in the Czech Republic will tell you that this is the best beer in the world, and the original golden beer of Europe. Brewed in the town of Pilsen, it is still made according to the original recipe from 1842. While plenty of other beers may jostle for the title of “best,” it is definitely true that many of today’s beer recipes are directly descended from the Pilsen recipe, meaning that beer lovers the world over are indebted to the 19th-century inhabitants of the town. Pilsner Urquell is one of the top beers of Europe and is a must-try when you arrive in the Czech Republic.

Augustiner Dunkel

Germany (Bavaria)—Augustiner Beer

The Augustiner brewery is one of the oldest surviving breweries in Bavaria, dating from 1328. Originally an Augustinian Monastery,  the brewery became secular in 1803 and suffered heavy damage during WWII. Today, the brewery is a historic monument and produces some of the best beers in Munich. Their Dunkel dark beer is the traditional ancient beer of Munich, and they brew a special Oktoberfestbier for the holiday of the same name.

Belgium (Flanders)—Duchesse de Bourgogne

Duchesse de Bourgogne is a beautiful red beer from Flanders that has received accolades from around the world. The beer comes from Brouwerij Verhaeghe, which was established in 1875 and has been owned by the same family since then.  Some of the barrels used for aging their brews even date from the 1890s. The Duchesse is the brewery’s most famous tipple, but they also make a brew with sour cherries added called Echt Kriekenbier and an unblended session beer called Vichtenaar.  While you’re in the neighborhood, try them all!

Belgium—Chimay

Trappist beers are famous for their flavor and quality, and none perhaps is more famous than Chimay. In 1850, a group of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance settled in the south of Belgium and established the Scourmont Abbey. Since then, they have produced fantastic beers and cheeses according to the Trappist tradition, and donated most of the proceeds to their social services. The première beer is based on the original recipe of 1862, but they also have golden and dark beers, all of which are delicious.

France—bieres de garde

In Northeast France there’s a particularly unique type of beer known as a “biere de garde,” so named because it was brewed in spring and then “guarded” until the warmer weather of late summer or early fall. It usually has a malty sweetness  and complexity, and is a style of beer that’s difficult to find in the US. One of the highlights to try while traveling is Cuvée des Jonquilles, made at the Brasserie Bailleux in Gussignies, France (close to the border with Belgium). The region is literally littered with small farms, quietly making beer the same way their grandparents did, and though the region is seldom visited, it’s definitely worth the trip.

With all of these exciting possibilities to greet you, be sure to lift your glass often as you make your travel plans. Bon voyage!

About the Author:
Diana Carlton is a beer enthusiast and world traveler who does online outreach for Micro Matic. Micro Matic is the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of draft beer systems and accessories.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol, the beer doctor October 6, 2012 at 7:46 am

Interesting topic, but disappointing article. These are not beers to try in Europe–all of these beers are distributed in the US! How about a list of good regional microbrews that you can’t get here? My husband is going to London next week — what are your suggestions for him for brews to try that are only available in local pubs?

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admin October 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

We agree with Carol in principal, as it’s great to find brews when traveling that you CAN’T get at home. That said, we recently experienced a Guinness drafted in Liverpool that was much better than the last we had drawn here in the midwest. Even the Budweiser ordered in Europe was a far cry from the brew offered here! So when in Rome, no? Drinking European beer in it’s home may very well yield a different experience from what you’ve had shipped (or even brewed) over the pond. If not technically, well… the only time this writer has really liked Red Stripe was when drinking it in Jamaica. Then… it was GREAT! But yeah, it would be great to pull together a list of brews that are there but not here!

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