Best European beers and breweries

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by VladTepes, May 13, 2013.

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  1. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    Here is much more speak American breweries than European ones. Of course, majority BA's are from States. But what do you think, which are the best European breweries and beers?

    My own favourities are Mikkeller, Evil Twin, De Molen, Nogne and To Ol. And of course all of the lambic breweries. Maybe I would like still add Beer Here and Amager.

    Mikkeller's Beer geek serie is awesome, De Molen's Imperial Stouts as well and pretty much all from To Ol.

    Am I only hwo think, that many European brewery are underrated here?
  2. mmmbirra

    mmmbirra Aspirant (205) Apr 19, 2009 Italy

    Well they certainly don't get as much attention, with a few exceptions like Cantillon. I think it has mostly to do with availability and that many of the European styles aren't as in your face as their American counterparts and therefore less interesting. In Italy I don't have access to nearly as much good beer as I did in the states but the good stuff around here is generally very balanced and delicate, and I don't think I would want to give that up for the intensely bitter, over-hopped beers on the other side of the Atlantic(just wish I had better access to the European beers.)

    That said, some of my favorite European breweries:
    Zum Uerige
    Birrificio Italiano
    Birra del Borgo
    Revelation Cat
    St. Bernardus
    and many more.
  3. Cozzatoad

    Cozzatoad Initiate (0) Feb 2, 2011 Italy

    Some pretty classic names, easily avialable, but always great:
    Samuel Smith

    Less known but still always great in all examples i've had
    KleinBrouwerij De Glazen Toren
    Fritz Gutmann

    Just a few names of breweries that never failed to impress me with any of their beers
  4. Dentist666

    Dentist666 Poo-Bah (2,092) Dec 21, 2009 Russian Federation

    There are too many excellent breweries in Europe (especially in acknowledged beer countries like Germany, UK, Belgium) to be listed in one post:slight_smile:
    UK - Brewdog, Samuel Smith, Fuller's
    Germany - Bolten, Weihenstephaner
    Belgium - trappistes, Huyghe, Verhaeghe
  5. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    How much those costs? Let's say for instance Schlencerla and Bernardus?
  6. Thehuntmaster

    Thehuntmaster Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 South Africa

    My favorites include: De Struise, De Molen and Mikkeller.
  7. Flashy

    Flashy Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2003 Vermont

    Pretty much any beer I ever had in Germany was awesome. I just don't think European beers travel well. How long do you think it takes for a beer to get from Germany to the shelves in your favorite beer store?
  8. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    This is just based on beers I've had, and Shelton Bros. doesn't distribute in my area so this list is probably missing a few. But all of these breweries make some pretty solid beers.

    Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan
    Bières de Chimay S.A.
    Brasserie Cantillon
    Brasserie Castelain
    Brasserie d'Achouffe
    Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
    Brasserie de Rochefort
    Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
    Brasserie Dupont sprl
    Brauerei Gebrüder Maisel GmbH & Co..
    Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
    Brouwerij Bavik
    Brouwerij Bockor N.V.
    Brouwerij Bosteels
    Brouwerij De Molen
    Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse
    Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen
    Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV
    Brouwerij Het Anker
    Brouwerij Huyghe
    Brouwerij Oud Beersel
    Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
    Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
    Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
    Brouwerij Westmalle
    Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
    De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
    De Struise Brouwers
    Hacker-Pschorr Bräu GmbH
    Mikkeller ApS
    Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying
    Professor Fritz Briem
    Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
    Traquair House Brewery Lld
    Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH
    Wells & Young's Ltd
  9. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I still don't get this argument. People always say German beers taste so much better in Germany. But many of my all-time favorite beers are Belgian, which also travel to the U.S. from Europe. So is it because the styles are different? Belgian beers are bottle-conditioned? Companies transporting German beers have no idea how to handle them properly? I'm sure this has been explained to me before, but the claim that German beers are so much better in Germany rings a little hollow.

    Almost all beers are best fresh, so I get that. I just don't see how there can be such a huge disparity in the quality of beer in Germany vs. what we get here, when Belgian beer seems to travel just fine (although I assume even Belgian beer is even marginally better in Belgium).
  10. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    This question is silly. No it's not! Yes it is! Why? Because it makes more sense to say which cities/regions of europe make the best beer. Some of the best beer in the world isn't so bueno by the time it reaches the states. Well, it's still good and better than the approximations brewed in the US but is a shadow of what it is like at the source.
    My answer to your question, which I am adapting my opinions is;
  11. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,012) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Most of them, yes. And, yes, this is pretty much your answer, but not completely. As with UK beer, most of the better German beers are served primarily on tap and in the taverns/pubs. Indeed many are still served by gravity from the keg (wooden or steel). Also distribution is extremely limited, so absolute freshness is nearly always guaranteed and plays an essential role in the beer culture and the brewers' production methods (watch the video below to get a sense of what I'm talking about). Still, if you want to be fully convinced, you'll need to go experience the difference first-hand.

    mmmbirra likes this.
  12. SStein

    SStein Zealot (509) Dec 26, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    AB- Inbev. Americans seem to love that shit.
    Providence and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  13. marquis

    marquis Crusader (720) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    "Best" is a matter of personal opinion but some breweries which are well regarded here and likely to be available over the pond are Fuller's, Timothy Taylor's,Adnam's and Bateman's.
    Unfortunately you are only likely to see the bottled or kegged versions of their offerings , markedly inferior to the same beers when on cask. Unlike Guinness in Ireland , UK beers are definitely better in the UK :slight_smile:
  14. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    Hmm..What would it takes...I think it could be something like 1-2 months. What do you think youself?
  15. Ahappyhiker2

    Ahappyhiker2 Initiate (194) Mar 27, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

  16. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    Many Belgian beers are really suitable for aging.
    Herky21 likes this.
  17. cg123

    cg123 Initiate (138) Feb 27, 2012 Ohio

    Pivovar Kout na Šumavě
  18. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (390) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    One of the best examples of this, in my opinion, are the Düsseldorf Alt beers. Uerige gives their standard bottles (i.e., not the Sticke or Dopplesticke) an 8 week shelf life and Füchschen's bottles get an even shorter 5 weeks. Not sure about Schlüssel or Schumacher but I'd imagine they're similar. I've been lucky to have them all pretty fresh, and they are delicious. I have never had them in the States, though, but I'm guessing they don't travel too well.
  19. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    Thats true. Especially alt is style which should drink fresh. Pretty much same as IPAs.

    Btw. When I wrote "European beers" I meaned beers, which are brewed by European brewery. Not necessery "European style beers".
  20. ImperialStoat

    ImperialStoat Aspirant (246) May 20, 2009 Ireland
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, because Carling in Wigan is delicious.
    Paccamacca likes this.
  21. Burkbom23

    Burkbom23 Zealot (504) Mar 11, 2013 Connecticut

    De Halve Maan.
  22. Herky21

    Herky21 Crusader (717) Aug 7, 2011 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Belgian Beers are high ABV and almost always bottle conditioned. They can and are meant to be aged. German beers are usually more sessionable, not bottle conditioned, and better fresh.
  23. pixieskid

    pixieskid Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2009 Germany

    Interesting that you singled out countries, regions, and cities...any reason for that?
  24. pixieskid

    pixieskid Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2009 Germany

    Simply put, but more or less the answer in comparison to german vs belgian beers traveling to the US.
  25. pixieskid

    pixieskid Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2009 Germany

    What about Samuel Smiths?
  26. aty11b

    aty11b Initiate (0) Mar 25, 2013 Texas

    Julius Echter

    I would say those are my favorite European brews
  27. Herky21

    Herky21 Crusader (717) Aug 7, 2011 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    We're lucky in Des Moines and can get 4 Fuller's beer on cask at the Royal Mile. Def better.
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,971) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There are many good breweries in Europe so it is difficult to list them all. For the sake of brevity in this discussion, permit me to opine that the Trappist Breweries of Belgium/Netherlands are on the list of the best. I enjoy drinking beers from all of the Trappist Breweries but my preferred brewery is Koningshoeven (La Trappe). I have had the pleasure of receiving a mixed case of Koningshoeven beer as a birthday present and I immensely enjoyed the Dubbel, Triple and Quadrupel.

  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,971) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You asked a number of questions which were addressed by a number of folks. Permit me to also opine on this topic:

    “So is it because the styles are different?” IMHO, this is the crux of the issue. I am of the opinion that the majority of German beer styles are delicate beer styles which do not handle the conditions of age and transport well. The only German beer that I feel comfortable buying on a consistent basis (I am not concerned that the beer might taste bad due to age/handling) is German brewed Doppelbocks. I have never had a ‘bad’ (tasted stale or abused) German brewed Doppelbock. German beer styles that I think are particularly delicate are Kolsch, Helles, Pilsner, and Alt.

    “Belgian beers are bottle-conditioned?” That is indeed a factor, particularly with Trappist brewed beers. Bottle conditioned beers tend to be resilient to staling due to beer aging. But there are Belgian beers that are not bottle conditioned which seem to keep good for a long time. For example, I have never had a ‘bad’ Leffe Blond or Leffe Brune and these particular beers are not bottle conditioned. It just seems that Belgian beers hold up better than German beers (in general). Maybe it is the alcohol factor? Belgian Abbey style beers tend to be higher in alcohol (> 6% ABV). This may also explain why German brewed Doppelbocks taste good despite being potentially old?

    Let me expand this discussion to bottle dating. A significant number of German breweries refuse to bottle date (either brewed on dates or best by dates) their beers. I personally refuse to purchase these beers. It has been my personal experience that for the German breweries that do date their beers, they tend to use a best by date (which is typically a one year duration). Having a best by date of one year is too long! The only positive of this dating system is that I can easily discern the bottled on date of those beers. One of my favorite German brewed beers is Jever Pilsner. My local beer distributor has cases of that beer available but they were brewed the first week of October 2012. Those beers are 7+ months old (but still ‘good’ according to the Jever Brewery). I refuse to purchase a German brewed beer that old. If they were selling a Trappist brewed beer that was brewed in October 2012, I would have no reticence in buying that case.

    draheim and Ispeakforthetrees like this.
  30. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,211) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Europe is a pretty diverse continent with hundreds of great breweries. The only country I have a lot of experience in is Germany, and I can probably name 20 great breweries in the state of Bavaria alone. That doesn't include the rest of Germany or the tons of small breweries in the UK, Belgium, Czech Republic, etc.
    I'd probably narrow the question down to a single country or in some cases even a city. It's not much different than asking about "good brews from the USA."
  31. Errto

    Errto Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2009 Connecticut

    My understanding is that at Uerige itself the Sticke is only served on special occasions and the Doppelsticke pretty much not at all. Here in the US the regular Alt is not found very often whereas the Sticke and Doppelsticke are fairly common. Not surprising, I guess.
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,971) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    According to the German Beer Institute the Uerige Sticke Alt is brewed twice a year:

    “A darker and stronger, seasonal, variation of the traditional Düsseldorf Altbier. Invented by the Uerige brewpub of Düsseldorf, it is brewed only twice a year and is ready for tapping on the third Tuesday in January and the third Tuesday in October, respectively.”

  33. marquis

    marquis Crusader (720) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    The "German Beer Institute" sounds an official and authoritative name , doesn't it.
  34. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Initiate (181) Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    It definitely sounds more authoritative than "some guy who emigrated from Germany in the 1960s trying to pimp his beer consultancy business to people who don't know what an ignorant charlatan he is."
  35. DrunkenMonk

    DrunkenMonk Disciple (319) Jun 2, 2012 California

  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,971) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Below is from the Uerige website:

    “UERIGE Sticke

    UERIGE Sticke gibt es zwei Mal im Jahr im Ausschank - am jeweils dritten Dienstag im Januar und Oktober. Dieses Bier wird mit mehr Malz und Hopfen gebraut und ist deutlich gehaltvoller als UERIGE Alt: Hinter dem intensiven, eleganten Aroma verbergen sich 6% Alkohol.”

    I don’t speak German but I believe the above indicates that the Uerige Sticke Alt is brewed in January and October which is consistent with what is published on the German Beer Institute website.

  37. GoGators

    GoGators Crusader (735) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I recently discovered this brewery and this beer (Weihenstephaner Vitus) and have to say it is one of the most finely crafted beers I have ever had and i am a hophead. Never even check the date but it is always excellent.
    ufmj likes this.
  38. VladTepes

    VladTepes Initiate (156) Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    Have you had Ayinger Weizenbock? It is also pale weizenbock and I think it is even better!
  39. GoGators

    GoGators Crusader (735) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Not sure I had that one, had the Ayinger Weisse I believe, but will definitely check it out, thanks for the recommendation.
  40. ufmj

    ufmj Initiate (168) Feb 15, 2013 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Summertime = Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. Although, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen comes in 18-packs of cans (perfect for a round of golf).
    GoGators likes this.
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