10 craft beer trips around the world
We've found some of the world’s best beer-based experiences, from a boozy walking tour of Berlin's coolest neighbourhood to a brewery-to-brewery road trip along the Norwegian coast
Looking for breweries to visit in the USA? Want to partake in the best beer tastings in Norway? Check out 10 of the best craft beer trips around the world here…
Brews and Bites tour, Portland
Portland is just as famous for its craft breweries as it is for its colourful food carts. Eat Adventures lets you indulge in both with a four-hour Brews and Bites tour, during which you’ll chat with chefs, taste locally inspired dishes and visit three breweries for seasonal samples, including Flamingo Planet Guava Blonde Ale (a fruit-forward beer brewed with guava) at the astronomy-themed Ecliptic Brewing. If you’re visiting during the first weekend of July don’t miss the annual Portland Craft Beer Festival; it features only beer, cider and wine that’s crafted within Portland’s city limits. The festival also segues nicely into Oregon Craft Beer Month.
Great Swedish Beer Festival, Malmö
As with so much food and drink in Sweden’s southern Skåne’ region, the approach to brewing is experimental but detail-driven. It’s no great surprise that, in recent years, a crop of microbreweries has grown up among the forests and fields of this beer-drinking district. So popular are the ensuing products, in fact, that a whole new festival – the Great Swedish Beer Festival – has been launched, to shine a light on exclusively independent Swedish craft beer brewers, food trucks and musicians. If you can’t make it to Malmö for kick-off on 26 October, the next best plan is to plot your own tour around some of Skåne’s best microbreweries. Top of your list should be Malmö Brewing, a taproom right in the city centre that does a brisk trade in Canned Wheat IPA, hopped with citra and full of juicy mandarin-orange flavour.
Beer and cider route, Norway
Specialist tour operator UpNorway offers a dream trip for craft-beer pilgrims: a self-guided ten-day road trip that incorporates beer and cider tastings. Starting in Bergen and (eventually) returning via the Hurtigruten car-ferry from Florø, you’ll visit Ægir microbrewery in Flåm and Kinn brewery in Florø (try the latter’s Hipsteren, a coffee-flavoured ale that’s a local collaboration between brewers 7 Fjell Bryggeri and coffee roasters Sognefjord Kaffibrenneri). Along the way, admire waterfalls from the Scenic Route Hardanger, visit cider farms, enjoy Norwegian cuisine and stay at Skjolden Hotel, set inside the world’s longest fjord.
Brewery walking tour, Berlin
While beer has always been a focus for tourism in Germany, Berlin has also recently embraced the microbrewery renaissance. To get your cultural and hops fix in one, take a two-hour private walking tour of one of its coolest neighbourhoods, Kreuzberg, in the company of a WithLocals guide. Among its highlights is the chance to try Schopper Hell, a beer carefully brewed at low temperatures to produce a distinct, unfiltered taste. Try to time your visit for July, when the 10-day Berlin Beer Week hosts a variety of scheduled events across the city, from beer-matched dinners to boozy boat trips.
Beer, baking and bathing, Japan
Hinotani Brewery, in Japan’s Mie prefecture, makes an enticing getaway for beer lovers given that nearby Misugi Resort (part-owned by Hinotani’s brewmaster) incorporates all manner of hop-based activities for guests. Here you can make bread with beer yeast in a stone kiln, stay in a beer-themed room (help yourself to the draft taps), and bathe in an onsen that releases craft beer into hot natural spring water every 30 minutes (it’s excellent for the skin, apparently). For a more educational experience, sign up for one of Hinotani’s one-hour microbrewery tours, during which you can taste beers made with organic rice sourced from local farmers. Try the award-winning Hinotani lager, which is lightly grassy with citrus notes.
Craft beer and pizza, Chicago
The Windy City has the largest metropolitan concentration of breweries in America (167 and counting). Start with a stroll around Ravenswood’s Malt Row (renowned for its beer diversity) where brunch comes with beer pairing at Michelin-starred brewpub, Band of Bohemia. Or check out Chicago’s inaugural ‘coolship’, a fermentation vessel at Dovetail Brewery that spawned Dovetail’s first ‘kriek’ – a beer in the style of a Belgian fruit lambic, which is racked over tart Michigan-grown Balaton cherries. To get the most out of your visit, plan a trip during the annual Craft Beer & Pizza Festival (held over two days each July) and sample more than 70 craft beers in one location.
Mikkeller is to craft beer what Noma is to food in Copenhagen, attracting connoisseurs from around the world. There are various Mikkeller outlets across the city, including one at the airport, but the microbrewery’s reach extends much further than bar-hopping. If you’re visiting in May, there’s a choice of two festivals: Mikkeller’s Beer Celebration and the Copenhagen Beer Festival, both of which include the fruits of various breweries around the world alongside the company’s own beers. Or, to take things at your own pace any time of year, try a self-guided Copenhagen Beerwalk: select four breweries, the order in which you visit them and how much time you spend at each place. Don’t miss Brewer’s Inc, where a winning beer made by a Danish homebrewer is chosen each quarter, and then brewed at the microbrewery to serve on tap.
Craft beer and saunas, Tallinn
Over the past decade, a craft-beer revolution has been quietly brewing in Estonia, not least in the country’s tech-savvy capital, Tallinn. Wander the cobblestoned Old Town to soak up some history, then head to Telliskivi Creative City, a former industrial complex turned artistic hub, for brews at Pudel and Humalakoda. Don’t miss the Põhjala Tap Room at Noblessner harbour, where you can have a sauna in the brewery then re-hydrate with the company’s Forest Series brews, made with locally foraged ingredients. The Mets Black IPA is a refreshing choice, with hand-picked spruce tips, forest blueberries and subtle coffee notes.
Good Beer Week, Melbourne
May is an ideal month for craft-beer fans to visit Melbourne – Good Beer Week incorporates both the Melbourne outlet of the GABS (Great Australasian Beer Spectacular) festival and the Australian International Beer Awards. So wide-ranging are these combined events that even the most focused drinkers could be paralysed by choice, but fortunately the Good Beer Week program is curated into four streams: Foodie, Beer Lover, Beer Geek and Good Times. Our tip is to head firmly for the Foodie stream and take your pick from BBQ and beer pairing sessions, seasonal beer and wine feasts, the chance to snack on smoked beers with smoked foods, a degustation of vegan eats and sips and more – many cooked by some of the city’s most inspiring chefs. Don’t miss Australia’s first female-owned brewery, Two Birds Brewing, and its Passion Victim: a pale summer ale infused with passion fruit purée.
Great Taste Trail, New Zealand
Set off along the South Island’s Great Taste Trail and you can enjoy a picturesque cycling trip around Nelson, New Zealand’s craft beer capital, as part of your two-wheel adventure. The full 174km circuit takes in some of the country’s best breweries, wineries and food stops but the route has many access points and loops, so can be tailored for any length of trip. The Gentle Cycling Company offers a 16km Great Taste Beer day trip, for instance, that covers two breweries and two pubs along the Trail, including Eddyline Brewery and its Pozzy Pale Ale, made with native Motueka and Riwaka hops.
Written by Karyn Noble