1. Bruges, Belgium
Belgium in general and the historic city of Bruges in particular, is seeped with a beer culture unlike anywhere else in the world. In fact, this tiny country houses over 120 breweries that produce a staggering 400 types of beer. Bruges is perhaps most famous its lambic beer, a beer produced by spontaneous fermentation, but of course also treats visitors to all the beer culture Belgium has to offer. The Zot Brewery is Bruges’s oldest still-running beer house, and a tour includes a free tasting. Café ‘t Brugs Beertje prides itself in holding over 300 different beers to choose from, and Café Vlissinghe is one of the oldest standing pubs in town, dating back to 1515.
2. Munich, Germany
A city hosting an annual extravaganza attended by millions of people in honor of beer is sure to place itself on a list like this. Apart from the infamous Oktoberfest however, Munich is also home to some of the world’s best beer gardens and beer halls, offering a stellar surroundings for enjoying golden Bavarian lagers. The beer gardens of Augustiner Keller, Munich’s oldest the Aumeister, and the Hischgarten, and the breweries of Löwenbräu, Augustinerbräu, and Hofbräuhaus all offer authentic Bavarian beers in a jovial atmosphere.
3. Dublin, Ireland
Perhaps no other city is as synonymous with a beer type as is Dublin to Guinness. Of course, not to mention the largest brewery in the world, its 250 year history, and it being Ireland’s largest and most popular export would be shameful, but Dublin does indeed have a lot more to offer. Dublin’s oldest pubs, such as The Brazen Head, Doheny & Nesbitt, or O’Donoghue’s all boast true Irish atmosphere, countless local varieties of beer, and always a good time.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
The most avid beer drinkers in the world (42 gallons of beer per capita) have a lot to be happy about. The Czech capital Prague can pride itself on one of the finest collections of locally brewed beer in the world, including; Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Budvar and Bernard. Prague is also home to some of the best beer halls in the world including U Fleku, one of the oldest beer halls in the world, dating all the way back to 1499. From Prague it is also possible to take a day trip to the town of Plzen, home of the world’s first beer museum and the original Pilsner.
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam serves as the crossroads of English, Belgian, and German varieties of beer, with the added measure of also serving quality local brews such as Heineken, Grolsch, and Amstel. Here you can absorb the atmosphere of Amsterdam’s numerous welcoming “brown cafes,” tour the Heineken Experience (an interactive tribute to Netherland’s most beloved beer, complete with tastings), or simply sit along the charming canals with an ice-cold brew in your hand.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
Even though Carlsberg and Tuborg may be most recognizable beers the city of Copenhagen has to offer, luckily there is a lot more than Danish lager to offer a beer tourist on a trip to the capital of Denmark. In fact, Denmark’s rapid rise as a prime beer destination is largely attributable to having more than 80 microbreweries and 12 large breweries for a population of only 5.5 million. Add to this, a large selection of brewpubs, friendly people, a charming and easily navigable city, and you have a great city for beer lovers.
7. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Asia’s only contribution to this list is a sure up-and-comer for beer lovers everywhere. Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is already a rising star in the backpacker community and with insanely cheap draft beer ($0.25 per pint) and the local brew Angkor being one of the tastiest beers in SE Asia, this charming French-influenced city is sure to garner a lot of attention amongst beer drinkers in the next few years.
8. Newcastle, UK
The northern city of Newcastle steals the crown from London as the UK’s best city for beer lovers. Boasting one of the highest pub densities in the country, the original home of the world-famous Newcastle Brown Ale, a significant number of local breweries producing real ale that is widely available and of good quality, in addition to the best selection of British beers, Newcastle is an appreciated beer destination.
9. Portland, Oregon, USA
Beertown, USA is unofficially Portland, Oregon. With 31 local breweries (more breweries per capita than any other city in the world) of fine quality, Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the USA’s largest and best beer festivals, and one of the top hops-producing regions in the country in the neighboring Willamette Valley, Portland surely redefines the notion of American beer. The multitude of quality breweries, including Widmer Brothers, Pyramid, and Hair of the Dog, is complemented with a vibrant pub and gastronomy culture that rivals any city in America.
10. Bamberg, Germany
The German town of Bamberg lies in the heart of Franconia, a region in the north of Bavaria that still boasts nearly three hundred breweries, most of which utilize ancient brewing methods. The medieval streets and architectural wonder of Bamberg makes this a World Heritage Site, but its perhaps most famous attraction is Rauchbier (Smoked Beer), a distinctively dark and smoky lager dating back hundreds of years. Today this local brew and several others is best enjoyed at one of the many taverns in Old Town.
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