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Whether you prefer a dark, malty ale or a light and citrusy lager, most of us agree that there’s just something special about a perfectly pulled pint. One of the world’s most loved beers – Carlsberg – turns 170 years old this week, and it’s inspired us to revisit some of our favourite beer-loving destinations around the globe. So pull up a seat at the bar, and join us as we hop from up-and-coming craft hotspots to traditional highlights.
Where else could we start but with the beer capital of the world? Every October, the city explodes with music and celebrations (not to mention tourists) as globally recognised festival Oktoberfest hits town. Running for between two and three weeks, the festival is a Bavarian institution and has been held since 1810.
The festival's main draw? Beer. It's served in enormous steins alongside traditional food such as bratwurst and schnitzel. Perhaps it's no wonder then that 125 million gallons of beer are consumed annually in Munich.
If you’d like to sample some of the German city’s finest brews, head to Augustiner-Bräu Wagner KG, a brewery and tavern on the site of an ancient monastery. Try the Lagerbier Hell, a refreshing and light beer best enjoyed in the sunshine. Speaking of sun, in the summer, you can’t beat a beer garden. We recommend a Helles pale lager at Seehaus for idyllic lakeside views.
While beer of all kinds is celebrated in Dublin, there’s one in particular that visitors venture from far and wide to find: Guinness. It's arguably Ireland's most famous export, and fans of the so-called "black nectar" can't miss a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. It's located in the heart of the St. James Gate Brewery and features seven floors of interactive activities detailing the long history of Guinness in Ireland.
Of course, a cold pint of the black stuff will be waiting for you at the Gravity Bar upon the conclusion of the tour.
Those wanting to look beyond Guinness and into the craft beer scene will find plenty to love. Your next stop is the Porterhouse, which produces nine iconic beers in small batches. Brewed using renewable energy and with no added chemicals, this is the place to enjoy a (relatively) guilt-free pint.
Fans of traditional pubs will also not be disappointed. The Republic of Ireland capital is home to hundreds of historic and cosy spots specialising in both classic ales and local craft brews. This guide to Dublin craft beers should get you on your way.
The Amsterdam beer scene is experiencing an exciting time of growth, with a proliferation of craft breweries and so-hip-it-hurts hangouts springing up over recent years. However, Amsterdam’s hoppy history stretches back further than this. Up until very recently, it was home to the world-famous Heineken brewery.
The site is now an interactive museum, perfect for those looking to learn more about the brand’s rich and fascinating history (for example, did you know that Heineken beer only contains three ingredients?).
If you’re in the mood to sample some more regional brews, head to the Proeflokaal Arendsnest. Featuring rotating taps from Dutch breweries Jopen, Texels and La Trappe, there’s always something new to try.
If you’re visiting the city in June, don’t miss the Sloten Bier Festival, which brings together a delectable menu of craft brewers at Radion in the Nieuwe-West district. Try some new beers, learn about developing craft methods, and sate your appetite with some local delicacies.
Prague rivals Munich when it comes to beer credentials. Pilsner, in particular, is associated with the Czech Republic's vibrant capital. Named after the city of Pilzen, where it was first brewed, the refreshing golden style enjoys superior status in Prague. Pay a visit to the Pilsner Urquell brewery and discover the roots of the variety that has inspired over two-thirds of the world’s beers (or just enjoy a pint in the sunshine in one of the city’s many beer gardens).
As the years have gone on, Prague has begun to experiment beyond Pilsner and has since joined the global craft beer revolution. There are now said to be over 30 craft brewers in the city. A great place to test your palette is a little pub on the last stop on a train-line travelling into the suburbs. Its name translates as "The First Beer Tramway," and it’s here you can enjoy a fresh pint of Primator Weizenbier, which was awarded the prestigious title of the world’s best beer in the 2013 World Beer Awards.
It might be a little pricier than others on this list, but Stockholm has earned its reputation as one of Europe’s up-and-coming beer cities. Many of the Swedish capital’s biggest and best craft beer spots can be found in the trendy Södermalm district. For extensive choice and a great atmosphere, head to Akkurat, not far from the well-known Gamla Stan old town.
Close-by is Oliver Twist, which has a sports bar feel and brings together local Swedish as well as other European and US taps. The third in this triangle for beer-lovers is Omnipollas Hatt, where you’ll find an exciting rotating selection of international beers.
We wouldn’t want cider fans to feel left out, especially considering Sweden is to thank for some of the world’s favourite ciders, such as Kopparberg and Rekorderlig. During your time in Stockholm, head to Byn Creperie and Ciderie, home to a mouth-watering selection of local ciders.
Feeling thirsty yet? Explore all of our beer-loving destinations on our Northern Europe cruises.
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