How I found/drank craft Beer in Europe

As I began my year long trip around the world, I wasn’t sure which things I could continue abroad and which I needed to drop. Back home, I love to play golf but I knew that wouldn’t be reasonable in each country I visited. I also love going to the beach but many of the cities wouldn’t have beaches. One thing I knew I could keep up with was my love for craft beer. I wasn’t sure how big it is in Europe but I knew that if I looked hard enough I could continue my hobby of checking in all the unique beers I have. Each time I have a beer for the first time, I check it in in an app called Untappd. It has become a big hobby of mine and I had racked up around 500-600 unique beers before I left for my trip.

I wanted to do a recap of all the countries I lived in and comment on the craft beer scene there.

February– Amsterdam, Paris, London- 9 unique beers.  This was my quick solo trip before Remote Year started. I had never been to Europe before so I wanted to get my feet wet before diving into this year long adventure with 60 strangers. I was able to find some really cool spots in Amsterdam that had many Belgian ales I have never heard of before. On a cold and rainy day, a couple of those warmed me up a bit as I explored the city. In Paris, as expected I drank wine and didn’t have too many beers. In London, I found some nice pubs and I had my first “proper” Guiness along with some other ales. I enjoyed the cask ales that the UK is famous for and also found a couple IPAs in between. I talked to a couple bartenders about the craft beer culture trying to penetrate the long-standing English ale tradition and got some good insight. The trip was only a week long but I was able to try several different European styles to introduce me to this continent.

March– Croatia- 11 unique beers– Croatia probably had the least amount of craft beers and they were the hardest to get. This month I drank a lot of their national beer, Ozujsko, which I ended up loving by the end. The only craft beer company I could really find was BARBA. The Blue Barba was the first beer I drank in Croatia and it remained my favorite throughout the month. Barba made 4 varieties and each was a single hop IPA which is a style I’ve been seeing more and more of in US. I thought it was interesting that this company focused on just IPAs instead of a more well-rounded product line. After this month, my hopes of finding lots of craft beer in each city were a bit dented but luckily that did not prove to be the case.

April– Czech Republic, Germany- 32 Prague was probably my best setup for getting beers. There was a craft tap room, BeerGeek, two blocks from my apartment that had twenty taps that were always in rotation. I could’ve gone here everyday because it was a quaint spot with nice bartenders who spoke English and was so convenient especially when it was cold and rainy. It was a cool place because it had many different styles which are always more fun to try. BeerGeek also ran a store two blocks to the other side of my apartment so whenever I wanted to buy a couple bottles to bring back to the apartment, I could. In Prague, I also got to tour the huge Pilsen brewery as well as a tiny local one, Raven. I got to meet the owner of Raven and try all of their beers. It was a great experience and it reminding me of some of the tiny new breweries in Charleston. There were also lots of brewpubs in Prague where I could sample other local beers. This month I went to Germany as well and I was able to try a few there.

May– Portugal, Morocco- 25 In Portugal, craft beers in bars and restaurants were certainly hard to come by. Every place has either SuperBock or Sagres and usually not much else. Luckily for me, there was a craft beer shop/bar only a 10 minute walk from the workspace. After finishing up work, I would head there and grab a flight or a few pints. I did this regularly and loved talking to the bartenders there since it was usually only me in there when I went around 5 or 6pm. Portugal’s craft scene is still really new so there weren’t too many unique beers to choose from but the ones they had were always good.

June– Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece- 82- This was my biggest month beer-wise but I was also here for 5 weeks instead of 4. I didn’t think Bulgaria would be a good spot for craft beer but I knew it was going to be after I found a local brand from Charleston, Westbrook, on the first day I arrived. There weren’t many brewpubs, in fact there was really only one and it was a 30-40 min walk from the workspace. The spot was really cool though and I’d venture out there since the owner was the person who had the Westbrook beer from back home. What they did have though was beer shops. There were three within a close distance from my apartment and I would go a couple times a week to check some new things out. I really got into Danish and Dutch beers this month since they had many that I had never heard of before. There also wasn’t too much going on in Bulgaria and because it was a slow month I’d casually drink some beers each night instead of going out. In Turkey, we found a good spot or two for a beer but the variety wasn’t really there. In Santorini, Greece I found a great brand, Yellow Donkey, that was brewed on the island. The beer was a amazing and such a surprise to find there.

July– Serbia, US, Hungary- 52 Serbia was another spot that I didn’t think would be good but surprisingly was. They had a good mixture of stores and brewpubs and with the downtown area being small, most were in walking distance. There are really only two Serbian craft beer brands but both were good so I was able to try everything they had. I also went to the one year anniversary of one of the breweries and got to talk to some of the owners which was cool. It was so hot this month in Serbia that it was nice to camp out inside a bar for a few hours to let it cool down outside. I also went back to the US this month so I was able to check out some new stuff back home. I made a short trip to Budapest and went barhopping one day which lead to trying some really good Hungarian beers.

August– Spain, Portugal, South Africa- 48 I drank more wine in Spain than I ever have but there were still some spots myself and a few buddies were regulars at. One place in particular, Tyris on Tap, I went to often as it usually had new beers and the staff was really friendly. There were also a couple stores that had some Spanish beers that I enjoyed trying so it was still a good month even though I spent most of it drinking red wine and negronis. From Spain, I went to South Africa and was only there for a few days but I found a spot with twenty beers on tap and made my way through some of those. It was cool trying African beers and although I wouldn’t say they were anything special it was still cool to try beer from other African countries.

In all, 259 Unique Brewskis 

Find me on untapped- Bkrew

 

 

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