International Beer Adventures (2023)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by seakayak, Mar 10, 2023.

  1. seakayak

    seakayak Maven (1,295) May 20, 2007 Massachusetts

    Enjoying beers around town and during local travel is always fun, but traveling to another country to try their beers is an adventure! Whether you're in France and travel to Belgium, or Italy and travel to Germany, or the U.S. and travel to the Czech Republic, I bet you had an adventure and have photos to prove it!

    Across the site, but mostly on WBAYDN, members post about magnificent trips with amazing new beers, but those daily threads don't stick around where we can all see them. Recent ones included South Africa and Australia, but they're archived now. So let's start an on-going thread where we can post our international beer adventures, stories, and photos!

    Although this thread is intended for new adventures, feel free to share your past adventures too to catch us up. We'd love to see them! :beers:
  2. seakayak

    seakayak Maven (1,295) May 20, 2007 Massachusetts

    It's been a while since my last international beer adventure, but to get the ball rolling, I'll share an old story I've told here before.

    Years ago I went to the Kirmes festival in Weiterode, Germany, an annual festival that was originally a celebration of the opening of a church, which is held about the same time as Oktoberfest. It was a fantastic trip, primarily because of the hospitality of the locals. This was the hometown of a friend in the U.S., who took a group of eight of us for the festival. We were treated as minor celebrities for the week, including introductions on stage in the beer tent, where we presented them with a U.S. flag that had flown over the Capitol Building in D.C. (we reached out to a senator to obtain that). They hung it with honor on the wall of the tent. Everyone wanted to toast a schnapps with the Americans!

    Each day a different family took us on an adventure, including riding through the countryside in the sidecar of an antique BMW motorcycle, working at the butcher shop and trying pork tartar (delicious!), I got to go wild boar hunting (which seemed to be a privilege for only a few in town), and we all rode aboard our own float in the festival parade! Somewhere around day 6 of 8, nobody could handle beer anymore, so the tent served a kind of orange Tang drink with schnapps in it. The final evening of Kirmes is a pajama party, where everyone wears nightshirts and sleeping caps. It was an endless magical party that seems like a dream! Prost! :beers:










  3. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,159) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Nice story and pics. My trip was in 2017 to Paris, Belgium and Germany. I put together three threads (I think) that are archived here on BA. I'll search for them later and provide links.
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  4. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,159) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Pooh-Bah Society

  5. beergoot

    beergoot Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,659) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    ...I have two old stories, both from the late 80s...I'll keep 'em short:
    • went to Oktoberfest in Munich and never had a beer there (something about the crowds)...I regret my obstinance / abstinence to this day...
    • bachelor party time in Yorkshire, England (I was best man), and 'lemonade' seem to be the big thing, but I kept ordering things like bitters and porters (which, I think, some of the bar staff appreciated from the inebriated Yank)...
    ...haven't been to foreign lands since my military days...exotic Canada is on my radar...:grin:
    #5 beergoot, Mar 11, 2023
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2023
  6. dcgunman

    dcgunman Pooh-Bah (2,546) Jul 1, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    2019-Fairbanks, Alaska (Yes I consider Alaska international since its a very long flight to get to Fairbanks from the mainland). Silver Gulch (most northern brewery in America). Black Spruce Brewery & my favorite Hoo Doo.
    2019-Barcelona, Spain. Edge Brewing. You had to sign up online to get invited to their 1 day a month open to the public.
    2018-London. Several pubs and brewery. But our main reasoning for going was to see a concert.
    2018-Nagano/Tokyo, Japan. Tamamura Hoten (Shiga Kogen)
    2018-Seoul Korea, mostly local pubs and bottle shops.
    2017-Berlin, Germany/Brussel, Belgium...Too many to name. Cantillion Brewery
    2015-Budapest, Hungary (twice in same year) both times for concerts & beer related.
    2015- Vienna, Austria (same trip with Budapest), 1516 Brewery
    2014-Prague Czech Republic, Pubs & bars.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Plenty of photos in the article:

    "A beer drinker’s tale of visiting the Czech Republic"

    Na Zdravi
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  8. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,104) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I'm really kicking myself for not getting into craft when I was doing a lot of US and international travel for work. I had local beers on many of those trips, though not much craft. My international travels took me to South Africa, Niger, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Mexico. I'd love to have that opportunity again, but they've gotten a lot more restricted on travel. :frowning2:
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  9. jophish17

    jophish17 Pooh-Bah (1,612) Jan 20, 2007 Georgia
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I’m a frequent traveler who happens to like craft beer a lot. I used to be more about the ticks, but that got old quick for me. Traveling has not gotten old so I have pivoted to focusing on bars and breweries. Per my reviews on BA I’ve reviewed places in 24 countries - not bad I think :slight_smile:

    Fav Trip:
    Munich - I’ve done this twice now, once for Oktoberfest, once on a random late summer week. Nothing beats a late evening in a Munich Biergarten.

    Hidden Gems:
    Hard to call these hidden gems in the sense that they are highly ranked here, but La Fine Mousse in Paris and LambicZoon in Milan are fantastic bars in countries better known for wine. Runner up is the Belgian Beer Cafe chain in the Middle East: they are refreshing oasis’s, especially the one in Abu Dhabi with the large outdoor Biergarten.

    Wildest Trip:
    I had an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam on my way to the Middle East once. I took a Thalys train to Brussels, spent and hour at Cantillon drinking beers, bought beer to go, and made it back to Amsterdam just in time to check my bag. Whirlwind, but so worth it!

    Spain had very little in terms of craft beer when I was last there in 2017, which sucks because it’s one of my favorite countries otherwise.

    Favorite Beer Experiences
    - Drinking a can of Lowenbrau after hiking up to Gornergrat in Switzerland
    - Maß #s 1-4 in the Hacker tent at Oktoberfest. Subsequent beers were not as well enjoyed
    - Biking brewery to brewery in Montreal each summer

    My favorite Beer Cities:
    (No order) Portland, Tokyo, Brussels, Munich, Montreal

    Trips Planned this year:
    - Montreal
    - Osaka / Kyoto
    - Singapore
    - Cape Town / Namibia
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  10. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,978) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Namibia! Where are you going there? I have been a number of times, and the beer selection is getting better, although much of it is from South Africa. There is a cool brewery in Swakopmund if you make it to the coast.
  11. jophish17

    jophish17 Pooh-Bah (1,612) Jan 20, 2007 Georgia
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Going in November. It looks like there are a few places in Swakopmund, and a couple of bars in Windhoek. I’m spending two weeks there, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy a pint or two.
  12. Shanex

    Shanex Grand Pooh-Bah (4,244) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Regional Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Not sure how I missed such a great thread.

    Yep, also love traveling and craft beers and if money and liver issues weren’t an object I’d be traveling the world, enjoy sightseeing and meeting up locals while downing beers all the way.

    Anyway. As I stated before, I love traveling but I don’t really go for “Beer-cation”. It’s first and foremost to discover a new country, culture and traditions though beer just always somehow get on my path.

    Will try to keep it brief, too:

    Montreal: 2004. First real international journey while being old enough to drink on my own and discovered Unibroue in various pubs near the Mont royal area and it was outstanding.

    Same year and while staying in Canada I went for a week stay in New York. I can’t remember which beer(s) I had. I did basic tourist stuff there, good times.

    2012: Southwest American tour. I’m sure and remember drinking my share of beers but no way I can remember which again, I wasn’t even an advocate then. One of the best journey I did in my life so far. From LA to Vegas, Laughlin, St George (Utah) and then the major National Parks so Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Breathtaking stuff!

    2014: in Croatia I could enjoy many Pivos, a year before joining BA. Lovely people and gorgeous.

    2016: Algarve, south Portugal. Some craft beers though my experience got limited to mostly Sagres and Super Bock, those cheap lagers there.

    2018: Belgium! De panne on the coast and therefore the Flemish part of it. It’s not so much the beer I drank there, but those I brought back here, for about 15€ I could buy roughly ten craft as singles and those we don’t or have a hard time to find here. Belgium, likewise parts of Germany or the Czech Republic are definitely countries that are “Beercation” worthy.

    2019-2022: Covid screwed up a few planned trips. Ah well.

    In late 2022 though I could travel to Crete, Greece.
    Many lagers and cheap one like Fix or Mythos but also a few local craft like Salo, which had a nice Portfolio and especially their pale ale.

    2023: Amsterdam! A very much unplanned or last minute trip booked in early January to be there two weeks later via the Thalys train. We stayed a couple of days, and thanks to meeting up @Beer-Panda I could try many excellent Dutch craft, while immensely enjoying this city.

    To be continued…

    PS: I don’t have any photos to back up the beers I’ve had even from recent trips as I usually delete them.
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  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    From my article linked in post #7 (with emphasis in bold):

    “It is common for some folks to think that the Germans drink the most beer but that is not the case. The Czechs drink the most beer per capita of any nation. From The Telegraph newspaper: “The world's biggest beer drinkers · Czech Republic - 143.3 litres per capita · Namibia - 108 · Austria - 106 · Germany - 104.2 · Poland - 100.8”.

    Well, I did not expect Namibia to be in the top five. Cheers to the Namibians!”

    Well, the Namibians sure have quantity going for them. Please let us know what you think about quality.


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  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Back in 1985, my oldest friend (we met in the 50s, when we were 4 & 5) and I took a beer drinking trip to the UK. Don, now deceased, was the photographer (and could be annoying about it at times) so I don't have much evidence left (his widow in MA owns his many boxes of slides) and what I recall I can no longer verify with a conversation with him. :slight_frown:

    Pretty sure our first stop after renting a car at Gatwick was Salisbury. Nighttime - thirsty and hungry we found a pub (first place I'd ever seen with a small wooden keg on a bar, beer gravity-poured IIRC) near our B&B, had a pint of ale (probably Gibbs Mew's Wiltshire Bitter) and walked across the street to a small restaurant where we inquired about beer with our meal. The restaurant had no license but they informed us we could simply buy pints at the pub and carry them across the street and back to our table.
    "Hmmm... this country's OK by me..." An interesting variation of the BYOB.

    Next day, we quickly found a book store, bought the current CAMRA Good Beer Guide, walked around town, heard clumping coming down the street and a horse-drawn GM wagon making deliveries passed by. I don't really remember how we came upon the brewery itself - if it was accidental or a destination? - and I'm thinking the photo was more of the unusual (for us) beer tanker truck.
    Below - A collection of print material from the trip. Left is a large 2' X 3' road map I picked up in Manhattan at a UK tourist office. The Young's and McEwans & Youngers (S&N) pamphlets were picked up on the trip and, right, the somewhat dogeared GBG. Unfortunately, while we "ticked" the beers we had, we did not note the pubs we drank in (and there were a lot of 'em).
    I used to have a nice little flyer from a London free-house pub who gave us a tour of their cellar but it's not in my files currently. Other than the many pubs, we also toured Samuel Smith's - stuck our heads down into a Yorkshire square and everything. :grin:
    #14 jesskidden, Mar 18, 2023
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2023
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  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Photoshop-tweaked pic of the beer menu from above:
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  16. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Your journey to Namibia was beautifully documented here not too long ago. What an amazing place!
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  17. LambicLad

    LambicLad Initiate (142) Feb 15, 2017 Minnesota

    The Baltic States for interesting beers, reasonable prices, unique culture, and friendly people.
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  18. MrOH

    MrOH Pooh-Bah (2,989) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    Back in 2018 I went to Japan to visit my sister and her family. Was really struck by the beer culture there, much more convivial than it is here. A lot of unspoken rules about how and when to drink that make sure you're interacting with other folks. Japanese lagers taste way better there due to freshness; a lot of bars serve from 5L kegs to make sure that the beer is turning over quickly, and draft beer is referred to as Nama Bieru, "Fresh Beer".

    While wondering around found an English-style pub , The Bulldog, in the Korean part of Osaka that had excellent cask ales, a certificate from Guinness stating that they upheld the standard to which Guinness Draft should be poured (never seen one of those in the states), and a big old lazy English bulldog that occupied an armchair. Felt more like what I imagine an English pub to be than anything I've been to in the US.

    Also went to a Beer Belly bar. Beer Belly is one of the bigger craft breweries in Osaka. All of the beers were like a time machine to the early 2000s. Was really intrigued by their Sansho IPA. Sansho is also known as Japanese pepper, and is related to Szechuan pepper. It was like an East Coast IPA, back when that meant a malt-heavy, bitter beer. Was ok, gave me the idea to use sansho in homebrewed saisons, Belgian wits and white IPAs, and I think it's a much better fit for the spice (peppery, herbal, citrus)
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  19. Providence

    Providence Pooh-Bah (2,366) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Not to detail the thread, but I’m heading to Barcelona later this year. Not exactly known as a global beer destination, but if any BAs have recommendations, I’d love to hear them.
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  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Maybe @butterygold has some familiarity with the Barcelona beer scene?

    Providence likes this.