5 Places to Chug Beer in Europe
If there’s anything I look for in a place while travelling, it’s good pubs and breweries. Sure, galleries and scenic lookouts are nice, but nothing is better than flopping down in a booth after a long day of aimlessly wandering a city like a lost puppy and having one (or two, or five) pints of awesome local craft beers. If you’re looking for someplace other than Munich or Amsterdam, then here are a few options.
Budapest is known as the home of commercial brewing in Hungary (with the first commercial brewery established in Buda in 1845), but while the microbreweries may not be as numerous as some other places on this list, there are still plenty of excellent places to grab a pint in the city. You can find beers from Hungarian microbrewery Fót Brewery at the beer garden Szimpla Kert (where you can drink outdoors all year around). Other pubs with large beer selections include Csak a Jó Sörök, Pivo, Paulaner Sörház (which also houses its own small brewery) and Élesztő (which only stocks craft beers). You can also check out a tour at the Dreher Brewery & Beer Garden, Hungary’s largest beer producer (must be booked in advance). If it helps, beer is also pretty cheap here, so feel free to go nuts.
Known as the “City of Beer” and located in Franconia, Bamberg is home to eight breweries and is the best place to get Rauchbier (smoked beer, made by drying the malt over an open flame). The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so not only do you have great beer, but you also have a great locale in which to enjoy it. If you’re looking for local specialties, some of the breweries to check out include Fässla, Greifenklau, Klosterbräu and Brauerei-Spezial.
Prague, Czech Republic
You’ve probably already tasted some sort of Czech beer (such as Pilsner Urquell), but while the bigger breweries might have the market share, Prague is home to a number of excellent microbreweries, including Pivovar Hostivar, Rukodělný Pivovárek Třebonice, Pivovarský Dům and U Medvídků (which is home to one of the strongest beers in the world, the X33, which boasts an alcohol content of 12.6%). For those looking for something a little different, check out Prague’s tank pubs (tankovna) for a taste of unpasteurized beer served straight from specially made tanks that keep the beer fresh and flavourful. Prague is also home to many pubs and bars, most of which are listed on the Prague Beer Garden website. Also, be sure to check out the microbrewery festival Slunce ve Skle happening on September 20, 2014.
It may not be the prettiest city, but it does have a good selection of places for beer drinkers to check out. There are several breweries in the city that brew top-fermented altbier, including Zum Uerige, Zum Schlüssel and Brauerei Ferdinand Schumacher (the older altbier brewery in the city). Altbiers can be similar to lagers but tend to have a bit more body and fruitiness. Be sure to head to the Altstadt to check out all the excellent pubs and bars (said to be some of the best in Germany).
Not only is Edinburgh gorgeous, but it’s also home to a number of great pubs and breweries, including Innis & Gunn, Caledonian Brewery, Knops Beer Company, Kinneil Brew House and Belhaven Brewery (the oldest operating brewery in all of Britain). If you venture just outside the city to Alloa (which is also great for beer lovers) you can check out the Williams Brothers Brewing Co. But if you don’t feel like leaving the city, check out The Vintage restaurant, which is owned by one of the owners of Williams Brothers and has a wide selection of their beers (and many others). They also have the Edinburgh Oktoberfest and the Scottish Real Ale Festival for those looking for a reason to chug beer for several days straight.