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While beer is a popular beverage throughout the world, some places have mastered the science of brewing more than others. These cities are famous for their taprooms, biergartens, and breweries, and specialize in craft brews or claim some of the most famous beer brands in the world. Here are 10 destinations that should be on every beer drinker’s bucket list.
Cape Town, South Africa
For nearly 120 years, South African Breweries was the only company brewing beer in South Africa. But in the past decade, craft beer has exploded in popularity, turning Cape Town into the epicenter of the country’s budding beer scene. Now, the laid-back city is a haven for beer drinkers, with plenty of breweries to choose from. Jack Black’s is a popular brewery that offers tours and tastings, while Ukhamba Beerworx serves braai (barbecue) and specialty craft beers, like saison made from sorghum malt.
Milwaukee, United States
With a baseball team called the Brewers, there’s no doubt that the people of Milwaukee, Wisconsin love beer. Once considered the beer capital of the world, the city has been home to some of the biggest names in the industry, including Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz. Today, Miller is still brewed within city limits, employing nearly 10,000 residents. If you prefer craft beer, Milwaukee has you covered there, too. The mid-sized Midwestern city has plenty of microbreweries offering IPAs, sour ales, and small-batch lagers to thirsty beer drinkers.
A city famous for its futuristic technology, Tokyo raises the bar when it comes to beer. The city’s streets are filled with beer vending machines, which make it easy to purchase your favorite brand without hassle. In more recent years, the craft beer movement also has gained momentum, with breweries opening across Tokyo — namely in the Ebisu neighborhood. Baird Beer was one of the first pioneers of craft beer in the city, and now has several bustling taprooms across Japan. For bottled brews, Pigalle is a craft beer bar that sells European beers served with Japanese hospitality.
Beer isn’t just a beverage in Dublin — it’s a way of life. Home to Guinness, one of the most famous names in beer, Dublin is known for its dry stout, which can be found in nearly every pub in the city. Porterhouse Brew Company, which first opened in 1996 as the city’s first brewpub, is also a requisite stop for beer lovers. It has nine exclusive beers on tap in addition to rotating seasonal offerings, so it’s not hard to find a beer you enjoy when you visit the popular watering hole.
Since beer is cheaper than water in Prague, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a big beer-drinking city. In fact, the entire country loves beer, with each person drinking an average of 336 pints a year. Customary beer-drinking in Prague dates as far back as the year 993, with evidence recently suggesting that monks at Břevnov Monastery brewed their own beer. It wasn’t until 1842, however, that the Czechs invented pilsner (a type of pale lager) in the city of Plzeň, and the fermented beverage’s popularity grew across the country. Today, this beloved beer is the standard order in Prague, with Pilsner Urquell served at every bar and restaurant in the capital city.
In addition to being the birthplace of Foster’s Beer, Melbourne has no shortage of microbreweries. With dozens popping up around town in recent years, Melbourne’s beer scene is best described as inventive. Moon Dog Craft Brewery, which has two locations, is known for rule-breaking in the industry, with tropical-flavored lagers, stouts, and sour ales (try the pine-lime ice cream IPA!). Moon Dog World is a brewery/theme park, with a lagoon and waterfall, playground for kids, and giant beer garden. If you’re interested in making your own beer, The Public Brewery allows you to brew a 50-liter batch of craft beer to take home.
With the average Austrian drinking 176 pints of beer a year, beer is the alcoholic beverage of choice in Austria. The capital of Vienna, in particular, is a magnet for beer drinkers. Founded in 1837, Ottakringer is Vienna’s largest and most popular brewery, providing tours and tastings to the public. Other well-known brands include Stiegl, Zipfer, and Gösser. In addition to bigger brands, Vienna is also known for having an abundance of microbreweries, which make full-bodied lagers that can only be found within the region.
Portland, United States
Named as the number-one city for beer drinkers in the U.S., Portland, Oregon, lives and breathes craft beer. With nine breweries for every 50,000 residents, Portland ranks eighth in the nation for breweries per capita. Beer culture is imbued into the city itself, with numerous annual events that draw scores of beer lovers from across the country. These events celebrate every kind of beer, from sour and wild ales at Puckerfest, fruity beer at Portland Fruit Beer Festival, and every beer under the sun at the annual Oregon Brewers Festival on the waterfront.
Belgian beer is world-famous, and Brussels has no shortage of bars where you can try the nation’s renowned amber ales and stouts. A good place to start would be Poechenellekelder, located in central Brussels, which has a beer list that will knock your socks off. It serves all of the classic Belgian beers, like Chimay, Westmalle, Rochefort, and St. Bernardus, and hundreds more. If craft beer is more your thing, Brussels has that too. Moeder Lambic has 50 different beers on tap from breweries in Brussels, and 100 bottled beers from across the country, so you’ll definitely find something to make you happy.
Munich is one of the best places for beer in the world, with Oktoberfest being the standard to which all other beer festivals are held. With 14 million pints served over the course of the two-week celebration, there’s certainly a lot of fun to be had. If you happen to travel to Munich outside of October, fear not. The city brims with beer all year long, with plenty of outdoor biergartens and boisterous beer halls serving brews to quench your thirst. Common beers served throughout the city are helles (lager), dunkel (dark beer), festbier (festival beer), starkbier (strong beer), and weissbier (white beer). If you can’t decide on just one, try a few. Prost!