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5 Of The Best International Beers To Try While Travelling

December 21, 2020 Beverage No Comments

Travelling overseas is the perfect opportunity for beer-lovers to broaden their horizons and try some brews they wouldn’t normally get to try. However, deciding which beers to drink when you’re travelling can be a bit like playing online lotto; it’s a gamble that can either pay off handsomely or leave you wanting to try again. Most beer-loving travellers have experienced the disappointment of a less-than-impressive local brew, so to take the guesswork out of the equation, we’ve listed 5 of our favourite beers to drink overseas. These beers are popular (for good reason) and easily found in their respective countries, so you should have no trouble working your way through the list. Cheers!

Weihenstephaner: Kristall Weissbier (Germany)

It was a given that Germany would be home to at least one beer on our list. Claiming to be the oldest brewery in the world (at nearly 1,000 years old!), the brewers at Weihenstephan have had plenty of time to perfect their recipes. Their Kristall Weissbier is a standout. While its cousin, the “Hefeweizen”, is cloudy, the Kristall is filtered to be crystal-clear. It’s an effervescent brew that recalls banana, clove and citrus. Don’t be fooled by its high drinkability; at 5.4% alcohol, it packs a punch, and you’ll find yourself to be pretty merry after a couple of these! They come in 500ml bottles, but like all beers in this list, it’s best enjoyed in a glass, and preferably on tap.

Augustinerbräu München: Lagerbier Hell (Germany)

It shouldn’t be a surprise to find that another German beer made the cut, but we promise to keep it to just two. We thought this one stood head and shoulders above most other Bavarian lagers, no mean feat given the very stiff competition. This is the ultimate “sunny day” beer, and you’d be forgiven for sitting in the Augustiner Biergarten for a long session, instead of seeing the sights of Munich. As with lagers generally, this is a refreshing, pale and easy-drinking beer, but its balance is what sets it apart; it’s truly perfect. Its refreshing simplicity matches well with the classic meat-heavy food found in Germany but is just as good on its own. It’s hard to not keep having “just one more”, and at a robust 5.2%, you’ll definitely feel it.

Suntory: The Premium Malt’s (Japan)

When you try The Premium Malt’s from a bottle or can, you’ll realise it’s a great beer. But, when you drink it on tap, it reaches another level. It’s poured from taps with a unique aerator that leaves it with a thick, foamy head. They call it the “beer cappuccino”, and it transforms it into a truly sensational beer. A pilsner-style beer, it was our go-to drink in Japan, and although Japan offers other great beers, we were always a little disappointed when we dined somewhere that didn’t have The Premium Malt’s. It matches perfectly with Japan’s rich “umami” cuisine and is even available on the Shinkansen (bullet train), so you can really turn your trip into a decadent feast with a bento box and a frosty Premium Malt’s.

And no, that bizarre apostrophe in “The Premium Malt’s” is not a typo, that’s actually its name. Legend has it that it was trademarked before the error was picked up, and by that stage, it was either too hard or too expensive to change it.

Orval Brewery: Orval Trappist Ale (Belgium)

Belgian Trappist breweries are well known for producing distinctive and complex beers, and Orval is no exception. The widely-declared “world’s best beer” is produced by another Trappist brewery, St Sixtus, but good luck getting your hands on it! Although Orval is easier to find, it more than holds its own against the offerings from other Trappist breweries. At 6.2% and with a complex palate of spicy ripe fruit, this one is not for the faint-hearted. It’s not a beer for long sessions, but its rich, deep character will make you want to experience more than just one. The beer, made by Trappist monks, is used to fund the monastery, so by buying their delicious produce, you’re contributing to a worthy cause. Truth be told though, once you’ve tried an Orval you won’t care about anything other than the taste!

Anheuser-Busch: Budweiser (USA)

I know, I know! This watery swill is not worth anyone’s time! But hear me out. When you buy Bud outside of the USA, there’s a very good chance you’re not getting “the real thing”, with agreements in place in several markets for Bud to be locally “brewed under licence”. This means that the Bud you drink could have been brewed and packaged by a brewery under the supervision of, but not made by, Anheuser-Busch. While no doubt protocols and recipes are followed to the letter, there’s no denying that these imposter brews don’t hold a candle to the real thing. Which, by the way, has an undeserved reputation perpetuated by beer snobs who think they’re above a delicious, refreshing (albeit predictable), mass-produced lager. It’s so quintessentially American and so well-known, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not at least giving a few “real” Buds a crack when you’re in America. It’s supremely sessionable and available everywhere. Give it a go, although be warned; you might end up having to admit that you like it!

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