Wine might be older, but beer has brought people closer together the last few hundred years, and being able to travel across the globe to see the ways different cultures tackle combining wheat, barley, yeast and water is always a thrill.
Sometimes, you’ll find yourself tilting back the most easy-drinking lagers in front of beautiful scenery, and then you’ll be trying out the most delicious concoction ever in a dreary little pub on a rainy Belgian night.
No matter how you like to enjoy beer, here’s why you shouldn’t confine yourself just to your local watering hole.
The Rocky Mountain Way
Of course, it’s never ‘just’ about the beer. In fact, you might be hard-pressed to find someone outside of Colorado who would say Coors is their favourite brand out there, but the atmosphere in its hometown of Golden is perfect for having a tall cold one, no matter the temperature. The town is situated just west of Denver, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, which makes for a very scenic spot when you are on a patio enjoying a regular Coors or even the better known Coors Light if you want to keep a clearer head until sunrise.
Coors had a mysterious reputation for the first hundred years of its existence (it was first brewed way back in 1873), because it was only available in the western half of America. For many tourists from the Eastern Seaboard, a small thrill of coming through Denver was to pick up a case and bring it back to impress the friends and neighbours back home. When it did decide to expand across the whole country, it did the smart thing and introduced Coors Light as ‘the silver bullet’, which took off in popularity.
This is not to say that there is only one brand to enjoy in the state. Denver is home to plenty of microbreweries that can definitely thrill your tastebuds, and it also has a great nightlife. Even in the winter, plenty of skiers from nearby descend upon the city to relax and have a great time. If you really want to go wild, ending up in a hot-tub with some Ski Bunnies & Colorado Escorts is a great way to enjoy a brew or three.
Oktoberfest in Munich
Sure, there are beer festivals all over the world, but no place has the biggest and best reputation as Oktoberfest. It is a German harvest festival that lasts from late September to early October, and as German immigrants spread out across North America, you might find smaller celebrations in some cities like Chicago or Kitchener. But the big one is still in Germany, more specifically in Munich, the largest city in the province of Bavaria.
In early fall, several large parks are taken over by breweries, who erect massive tents with huge picnic tables inside, where steins of beer, pretzels and sausages are served all evening long by excited revellers. You have book weeks and months ahead if you want to have a guaranteed seat, otherwise, you might have to shell out big time at the last minute, maybe having to become a straight, gay or trans sugar baby in order to afford a ticket.
Many German business books on behalf of their employees, who go there as a group excursion around that time of year. It’s a much better environment for team building activities when the beer comes in massive steins and is much stronger than usual.
Since it is a celebration of the harvest, you will find plenty of other attractions throughout Munich at the same time. This can include fairs that have plenty of rides, as well a great way to eat your way through plenty of traditional German delicacies.
The land of the rising sun might remind you more of saki (heated wine made with rice that has long had a place in the country’s history) or whisky (as in the last three or four decades the practice of importing expensive scotch and bourbon from the UK and America has given way to the nation distilling some of their own at very high quality).
However, even the Japanese beer giants like Sapporo and Asahi put other ‘national’ beers to shame with their full-bodied flavour mixing perfectly with an easy-drinking, smooth finish.
Tokyo itself is another big reason why this should be a top stop on your beer-drinking journey. In a massive city of over thirty million people, you will find that there is an overload of thing to do day and night, from eating at robot restaurants to enjoying a serene moment of ancient shrines and playing sex rpg games in bright and bizarre arcades.
Adding the opportunity to drink at karaoke bars while crooning your favourite tunes will be a lot of fun, and if you are more of the vinyl junkie sort, there are plenty of tiny pubs on the second and third floors of office buildings that have wall to wall record collections.
Yes, a whole country qualifies in this particular case. The lower of the low countries is not big in size, but huge in the importance of beer. For centuries, monks in monasteries brewed ales for themselves and whatever town was nearby, creating a series of unforgettably flavourful trappist ales. It’s no secret that a little bit of science is the secret.
Some of these monasteries turned to brewing full time, and are still in operation today. However, if you are pressed for time, going to the capital city of Brussels and going on a pub crawl is a great way to sample a yard of different ales served up on a board with five separate glasses.