For beer lovers, Europe is one of the most rich and varied areas of the world. It boasts centuries of brewing tradition spanning multiple regions and countries, all of which are detailed in a wide variety of Canadian travel guides. Some of the most fertile countries for those who appreciate beer include Germany, the Czech Republic, and Belgium. A brief description of each country’s beer culture is given below, although keep in mind the best way to gain a true understanding is to experience the country (and the beer!) for yourself.
Germany features several cities and countless breweries known for their beer, one of the most distinguished of which is Munich. Munich is famous for its beer gardens, where tourists and locals alike can take a break from the bustle of city life and enjoy a wide selection of German specialty beers. Munich is also extremely well-known for Oktoberfest, one of the world’s premiere events celebrating beer. The annual festival lasts 16 days, and draws over 5 million visitors. 6 Bavarian breweries sponsor the festival, which also features traditional Bavarian cuisine. The guests of Oktoberfest traditionally consume well over 7 million liters of beer, all of which is brewed within the Munich city limits and clocks in at at least 6 percent alcohol.
If you do not have the pleasure of visiting Munich during Oktoberfest, you can still enjoy the beer gardens. Alternatively, you may also visit one of the major breweries for a taste of authentic German lager. Two of the oldest are Löwenbräu and Augustinerbräu, each of which contribute beer to Oktoberfest each year.
Those looking to enjoy beer while visiting this small nation need look no further than the capital city of Prague. Czechs consume the most beer per capita in the world, and the country features a number of historic breweries and beer-producing abbeys across its attractive landscape. Pilsners such as the ubiquitous Pilsner Urquell are common throughout the the country, although some of the most commonly enjoyed beers are dark and strong. Prague, like Munich, has a number of beer halls, as well as the annual Czech Beer Festival, a celebration of beer similar to Oktoberfest that is currently in its fifth year.
Though admittedly small, Belgium is one of Europe’s most distinguished countries for beer. Many beer tourists who are familiar with imports will enjoy the city of Leuven, the birthplace of common Belgian exports such as Stella Artois, Beck’s, and Hoegaarden. For those looking for a beer drinking experience a bit off the beaten path, the city is filled with pubs both small and large. Strongly recommended is Domus Brewpub and its selection of over 60 beers. Those familiar with beer culture will know Bruges just as well if not better than Leuven. The city is best known for being one of the world’s seats of lambic beer production. Lambic beer is brewed via a non-rigorous fermentation process, and is often infused with the flavors of various fruits. Belgium is also home to some of the world’s best abbey-brewed beers, such as Chimay.
If you are interested in any of these cities, you can find further information in almost any of the Canadian travel guides relating to Europe. Other cities that the beer tourists may embrace include Copenhagen, Krakow, and Dublin
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