Beer is such a simple pleasure, but for those among us who are truly invested in it, it’s a fine art. With distinctive flavourings, balances and subtle nuances, there is a different taste in every glass. We wanted to explore some of the best beer countries in the world so keep reading to discover some of the best brews around the globe that you can try whilst on a cruise.
Share This Image On Your Site
We spoke to Tiffany, a travel blogger and beer aficionado at The Travelling Pint. We asked her where her love of beer started: “Initially it was discovering all the styles beer came in and the variety of flavours. I was fascinated to learn more about the world's most popular beverage and discovering the history and brewing methods. As time passed, I continued to be intrigued by all of this, but it is the culture and people around it that kept me involved and encouraged me to share with others all it has to offer.”
We then asked Tiffany a tricky question, which country does she think makes the best beer in the world? “There are a lot of countries now producing great Craft Beer so as for "the best" it's a tough call but I would have to put Germany near the top of the list for the history, classic styles and culture. They really embrace what beer is about, have a long tradition of brewing beer and it's woven beautifully into their culture and everyday life.”
Belgian-style ale, Belgium
Belgium is a great location to access on a European river cruise and has long been heralded one of the best countries in the world for beer. Beer drinking in Belgium started as a fund-raising effort for the Catholic Church and since then it’s been a very sacred thing. In fact, beer drinking and production is so important to Belgium that the culture around it made the UNESCO intangible heritage list in 2016.
They take it so seriously that every different brew has its own glass. Travelelsewhere explains: “The idea is that the distinct shape of each glass is designed to bring out the unique flavours and character of the beer.” So, don’t be surprised if you are presented with something a little different than a pint glass whilst travelling here!
When in Belgium, you may hear the phrase ‘Trappist’ beer thrown around a lot. This is a popular type of beer in the country and is pretty exclusive. Brewed only by six monasteries around the country, Trappist beers are very traditional. In fact, in order to be labelled a Trappist brewery, it must be completely not-for-profit, and all money earned should go back into the monastery.
With beautiful sun and sprawling beaches, Mexico is a fantastic place to relax with a beer in hand. Known as cerveza in the country, Mexico’s most popular Corona beer is known globally already. A light beer, Corona is often the first brand reached for when summer BBQs and picnics arise and for good reason. Its light flavouring and citrus notes make it the perfect accompaniment to fair weather.
Corona and other Mexican beers are also often served with a slice of lime; however, no one really knows why this started. Some people believe it’s to keep flies out of the bottles, some believe it’s to prevent germs and some believe it simply started from a bet between a barman and his friends.
We spoke to Di, half of the blogging duo at Slight North. Di told us about their experience with beer in Mexico: “The craft beer scene is definitely growing in Mexico. Corona and tequila may still reign supreme in most restaurants and bars, but a little digging will turn up craft beer bars, breweries, bottle shops, and even festivals dedicated to the drink in many major cities. In fact, tourists can use this guide to visit every single brewery in Mexico City when they’re passing through! For more casual drinkers, Hop: The Beer Experience is a great place to try a wide selection of Mexican craft beer (including their own house brews) because they have three locations in the capital and one in Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula.”
Craft beer, Canada
Maybe people wouldn’t consider Canada as a great place to drink beer, but over the last few years, its beer scene has benefitted from a complete regeneration. It’s now a great place for craft beers, with breweries popping up all over the vast country.
We spoke to Canadian born Lindsay, a travel blogger at I’ve Been Bit!, to ask her about beer culture in the country: “When many people think of ‘Canadian beer’ their mind tends to head towards Molson. While they may be the most well-known brand, craft beer in Canada is taking the country by storm. More and more people are looking for local experiences and to support local companies meaning there’s a craft beer boom happening right now! There are even weeks dedicated to supporting craft brewers to celebrate drinking local. With so many to choose from, it can be daunting but know that wherever you go, you’ll enjoy a delicious pint and Canadian hospitality.
“I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a number of breweries across Canada and I highly recommend The Gahan House on Prince Edward Island, Noctem Brewery in Quebec City and Counterpoint Brewing in Kitchener, Ontario. These are smaller, local breweries but they’re full of flavour that your taste buds will thank you for!”
German Bock, Germany
Anyone who knows anything about beer could have expected Germany to make this article. After all, it even has a festival dedicated to beer! Germans take their beer so seriously that they drafted the Reinheitsgebot – German Beer Purity Law. This law is a series of regulations that limit the ingredients brewers can use and has been around since 1487. This means you always know you can trust a German beer to be consistent.
We spoke to Chelsea, a travel blogger and vlogger at How Many Holidays. Chelsea recently took a trip to Munich where she explored the best bars in the city. We asked her about her experience: “The best thing about German beer has got to be the colossal tankards that you get to drink from! After all, what could be better than slurping from a frosted litre glass of German beer in a packed-out beer garden?”
She told us about the bar she would most recommend in Munich: “I visited Stehausschank - the last traditional standing bar of its type in the city. Packed in amongst the locals - in a space more like a hallway than a bar - it was impossible to leave without engaging in boisterous conversation and multiple glass clinks.
“With a beer costing just 3.20 euros, it was also kind on the pocket - but that's not the case for all tourists. A bell - placed directly above the serving hatch - beckons unsuspecting revellers in need of a drink but if rung, the rules (shown clearly in German to the side of it) state that you have to buy a beer for everyone in the bar. An entertaining and rewarding spectacle for all but the poor soul who doesn't know the tradition!”
Pale ale, China
Although China may not spring to mind for many when considering beer, it actually consumes the most beer in the world! As well as that, they are the largest beer producer in the world. This means, that even if you don’t expect it there is quite the buzz around brew in China.
The most popular brand here is Tsingtao, but there are hundreds of different beers to try, and most are moderately priced. Most Chinese beers are pale ales or lagers with light colouring and hop-strong malty flavour, perfect to enjoy in the sunshine.
Pilsner, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is often heralded as the home of modern beer, and for good reason. It is the home of Pilsner, a pale lager that takes its name from the Czech city of Pilsen. You can still buy Pilsner Urquell, the first pilsner, here today – it’s the largest brewery in the country!
The beer scene here is much more than that, though. With myriad bars around the cities and villages, you’ll never have to walk too far for a pint and whatever you try is sure to astound you.
We spoke to Sarah and Kris, travel bloggers at Jetsetting Fools. We asked them about the beer in the Czech Republic, they told us it was “Dynamic! It may be best known as the birthplace of Pilsner, but today innovative brewers around the country are joining the craft beer revolution. Hoppy and diverse brews are found flowing from taps throughout Prague and other major cities.”
Their suggestion for visitors: “Experience both the old and new! Monks at the Brevnov Monastery started brewing beer in 993. Today you can stop in for a visit for some of their tasty beers at their brewery and restaurant just outside central Prague. Floating on the Vltava river in central Prague, Lod Pivovar is one of the newest and most unique ways to enjoy Czech beer, and it’s brewed right on board!”
We also spoke to Amber, who blogs about her food experiences around the world at Food & Drink Destinations. “For many beer drinkers when they think of Czech beer, one style comes to mind, Pilsner. A light pale lager, Pilsner beer has been brewed in the Czech Republic since 1842. Born in the town that bears its name, Pilsen, Pilsner is the king of Czech beer. Golden in colour and with a signature high foaminess, pilsners is generally lighter in flavour making them very drinkable. The most famous of all Czech pilsners is Pilsner Urquell, the original brewer of Czech pilsner.
“In the Czech Republic, Pilsner can be enjoyed in many ways. One such way is commonly referred to as “milk beer” or Mliko beer. Milk beer is a pint of pilsner that is 90% foam. Milk beer is often enjoyed at lunch during the working week.
“There isn’t a shortage of bars, or “pivovars”, throughout the Czech Republic. One of the most popular pivovars to enjoy a cold, fresh pilsner is Lokal. More of a beer hall than a traditional bar, Lokal serves up a variety of delicious traditional Czech dishes to be enjoyed with a pint of Pilsner. Lokal has several locations in Prague and throughout the country.”
The most popular brew from Ireland is Guinness, whose main brewery is in Dublin. Initially, the owner signed a 9,000-year lease on the site and from there the drink became popular around the globe. If you want to know more about the brand, we broke down the history of Guinness in our article: Guinness – A journey across the globe.
Eva, a food enthusiast and blogger at Electric Blue Food spoke to us about her experience with beer in Ireland: “Beer in Ireland is much more than just a beverage. It's a ritual, there is some magic in it. Many cultures have a food-related habit that possesses this kind of power – it dictates social rules, almost to a sacred extent. I'm thinking mate in Argentina, fika in Sweden, even a sit-down pasta meal in Italy. In Ireland, it is the beer and the whole socialisation that revolves around it. There might be Irish pubs all over the world, but when you step into one in Ireland, you'll feel a different vibe. You'll feel the magic around having a pint with friends and family.
“Playing such a key role in Irish culture, beer is obviously delicious over there. Anywhere in Ireland, just get into a local pub and get whatever's on tap. You might get offered some of the most famous exports, such as Guinness or Smithwicks, or just get to taste something local, from a small-scale brewery. If you want to experience something different and you're in Dublin I'd recommend paying a visit to The Bernard Shaw. It's a beer garden with a street food-style eating area where you can have a sample of some local brews in a unique setting.”
If this has inspired you to turn your next cruise into a beer drinking experience, then search our great cruise deals to find your perfect itinerary.