Beer me a beer
I've probably tried over 300 beers, in many different countries and I've found whether it's in a can or on draft, ice cold or room temperature, battering fish or braising pork, at a bar or a high-end restaurant, there's a beer for everyone (trust me). Beer has been documented as far back as 4000 BC—and 6000 years later, we continue to brew it, drink it, and cheers with it.
In the 6000 years of beer drinking, some countries have simply found a way to do it the best. Most of these are on the top ten lists of best countries for beer, some of them we felt deserved mention.
Check out the best of the brews with this brief guide to your hoppy days of travel:
Most popular: Carlton Draught
Our favorite: Little Creatures Pale Ale
Cheers: “Cheers!” (with Australian accent)
- In the 1800s, drunkenness was such a serious problem in Australia that beer was encouraged as a safer and healthier alternative to hard liquor.
Most popular: Stiegl
Our favorite: Loncium India Pale Ale
- Stiegl was founded in 1492. So. Old.
- 1 of 10 authentic abbey breweries in the world, Schlägel Abbey, is the country’s oldest brewery
Most popular: Pilsner Urquell
Our favorite: 13° U Fleků Dark Lager
Cheers: “Na zdravi!” (Naz-drah-vi)
- The Czech Republic is the #1 beer-drinking country in the world, out-drinking their competitors by over 40 liters per capita (The difference usually is only 1-3 liters between countries)
- The first pilsner in the world was born here, named after its hometown in Plzeň
Most popular: Carling & Foster’s
Our favorite: Late Knights Worm Catcher
Cheers: “Cheers!” (with a British accent)
- Brewing in Britain began when the Romans arrived in 54 BC.
- England is known for its top fermented cask beer (also called real ale) which finishes maturing in the cellar of the pub rather than at the brewery, and is served with only natural carbonation.
- The UK now boasts the highest number of breweries in the world per capita.
Most popular: Oettinger
Our favorite: Weihenstephaner
- 500 year-old “Purity Law” (Reinheitsgrebot) dictates brews may only contain water, hops, malt & alter yeast. The law was lifted only 3 decades ago.
- Oktoberfest actually starts at the end of September. It started in 1810, with Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Say that 10 times fast.
Most popular: Peroni & Birra Moretti
Our favorite: Birra Moretti
- Beer became popular in Italy as an ideal accompaniment to pizza (duh).
- In the 7th century BC in Sicilians and Phoenicians traded and consumed beer.
Most popular: Asahi Super Dry
Our favorite: Sapporo
Cheers: “Kanpai! (乾杯!)”
- Before drinking, it is always customary to give a toast.
- It’s rude to pour your own drink in Japan. Let your friend pour yours, then return the favor.
Most popular: Guinness
Our favorite: Guinness (no question here)
Cheers: “Sláinte!” (slawn-cha)
- Beer in Ireland can be traced back 5,000 years.
- Legend has it that St. Patrick had his own brewer, a priest named Mescan.
- Irish monasteries dominated the manufacture and supply of ale for centuries, which is why there is the ruin of an abbey within the grounds of the Smithwick’s brewery in Kilkenny city.
- Rather delightfully, the monks would drink their beer during Lenten fasting, and gave it the name “liquid bread.”
Most popular: Pale lagers, like Heineken, Amstel and Grolsch
Our favorite: La Trappe Quadrupel (Oak Aged)
Cheers: “Proost!” (Prohst)
- 2 of 11 of the world’s Trappist (Roman Catholic monastery) breweries are here. So if you feel like your lagers lack a little monk, this is your place.
Most popular: Cusqueña
Our favorite: Pilsen Callao
- In ancient Peru, only the most noble women were given the distinct honor of serving beer.
- “Spit beer” was a form of Peruvian brew that involved activating corn’s fermentation by chewing it up and spitting it back into the mix.
Most popular: Singha
Our favorite: Tawandang Lager
Cheers: Chon (ชน)
- A popular way to consume beer in Thailand is on the rocks, often with a straw.
These past 6,000 years just wouldn’t be the same without it. So, what are you waiting for? A world of beer is out there for the drinking. Enjoy responsibly.