Like wine in Italy, tequila in México, and vodka in Russia, beer is an integral part of the culture and heritage in many European cities. Behind every amazing stout, pilsner, doppelbock, lager, and pale ale, you’ll find historically rich undertones of flavorful ingredients, brewing processes, and traditions.
So, saddle up to the bar! Here are a few of the best European beer cities to get your hops on!
One couldn’t begin to talk about great European beer cities without starting with Munich, home of the original and now world-famous Oktoberfest. With over three dozen beer gardens, rest assured you’ll find plenty of outstanding brews to suit your fancy, like Spatenbräu, Paulaner, Löwenbräu, Franziskaner, and Andechser—just to name a few. Some of the most popular places in the city to savor these traditional Bavarian varieties include: Hofbräuhaus, Hirschgarten, Augustiner Keller, Hacker Pschorr, and CREW Republic Brewery.
With a beer brewing tradition dating back to the early Middle Ages, Prague offers some of the most spectacular beer varieties in the world. Today, perhaps its most revered brewery is Staropramen, founded in 1869. Famous for its unique and authentic Saaz hops, Staropramen’s popularity lead it to become the largest brewery in Czechoslovakia by 1933. The excellent Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser (no relation to the U.S. version, and sometimes called “Budvar”), Gambrinus, and Kozel are among those that have attracted many devoted Czech beer fans.
Located 16 miles (25km) from Brussels,
is nicknamed The Beer Capital of the World. InBev, one of the world’s biggest breweries, is here too. It’s the producer of brands such as Foster’s, Corona, Beck’s, Modelo Especial, Brahma, and (American) Budweiser. Distinctive beer experiences characterize brewery tours at Brewery Stella Artois, Domus Brauhaus, and Brewery Hof Ten Dormaal (as well as brewery bike trips and guided pub tasting tours). To pair your favorite beer with outstanding eats, visit Oude Markt (Old Market), which is home to most of Leuven’s pubs and cafes.
If Zagreb didn’t come to mind as a noteworthy European beer city, think again. Croatia’s capital offers a treasure trove of fantastic breweries, including the city’s namesake and the largest brewery in the nation, Zagreb Brewery—producer of the traditional Tomislav as well as Ožujsko. Pivnica Medvedgrad offers unfiltered and unpasteurized beers like Grička vještica (Grich Witch), Crna kraljica (Black Queen), and Zlatni medvjed (Golden Bear), while Zmajska pivovara (Dragon Brewery) pours their own Zmajska pivovara Pale Ale.
Dark, toasty, smooth and dreamy describes Dublin’s celebrated Guinness Stout, the shining star at every one of the estimated 800 pubs dotted all over the city. Locals and tourists alike flock to historic joints like O’Donoghue’s, also Dublin’s best known traditional Irish music pub; Mulligan’s, known as “The Home of the Pint;” The Brazen Head, dating back to 1198 and officially named Ireland’s oldest pub; and St. James’s Gate Brewery, featuring close to 60 taste bud tantalizing pale ales, stouts, IPAs, pilsners, porters, and more.
The above destinations notwithstanding, be sure to keep these other noteworthy European beer capitals in mind:
- Kraków, Poland
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Vienna, Austria
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Bruges, Belgium
- Copenhagen, Denmark
This article was originally published on Travel Squire.