What happens when a vintner’s daughter, who has worked in her family vineyards and wine cellar from early childhood, falls in love with spontaneously fermented beers in Belgium? Enter Jitka Ilčíková and her “vintner brewed beer” at Wild Creatures in Mikulov, Czech Republic.
Amidst stunning architecture and a scenic landscape filled with rolling hills, snowy mountain caps, and rushing rivers, lies a long-standing brewing tradition primed for new growth. Austria is home to over 300 brewers now who made 9.8 million hectoliters (there are roughly 0.85 bbls/hectoliter) of beer last year; its people drink more than 110 liters of beer per year – only behind the Czech Republic and Germany for most Europe. Vienna, Austria’s capital, is a fitting image of the current state of the country’s beer scene. Many bars only have taps from storied breweries like Ottakringer or Trumer available. Zwickel, Helles and Pils reign supreme. IPAs are little more than a passing rumor with beers over 6% routinely raising eyebrows. It’s a city fixed between consistency and curiosity. All of these market factors were on display when I visited the Wiener Bierfest recently, just steps from the historic St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Emilia-Romagna, Italy, named by Lonely Planet in 2018 as the best place to visit in Europe, is known for many of the finer things in life. The birthplace and home of Ferrari and Lamborghini, a foodie paradise with city names you will recognize from your favorite cheeses and cured meats, and home of the world’s oldest university, there are a lot of reasons to book a holiday here. But there is a specific reason you may want to earmark the first weekend of June as your time to visit, and this is because of the fantastic Arrogant Sour Festival held in Reggio Emilia each year.
On the northern tip of the Japanese Honshu Island, there is a region where a notoriously distinct Tsugaru dialect is spoken. Be Easy Brewing is located in the Tsugaru region of Aomori Prefecture, and the brewery is as captivating as the beauty of Aomori.
When life gives you a handful of Boeing Max 8-shaped lemons, you make lemonade. Or when your flight for a quick weekend getaway is canceled, you jump on Skyscanner, put “everywhere” into the destination, and see what comes up for cheap. For me, this destination ended up being the Romanian capital of Bucharest, a city with a population of roughly three million that had its heyday in the ’20s and ’30s when it was hailed as the “Little Paris of the East.”
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the achievements of women politically, socially, economically, and culturally. The first IWD was held in 1911 and it is celebrated every year on March 8. In addition to commemorating the achievements of women, IWD also serves as a call to action to increase gender parity around the world. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of six beers backed by six brilliant women to enjoy on March 8 and beyond.
We’ve all woken up a little groggy on the first of the new year with grand plans for how we’re going to make our lives better during this next lap around the sun. You commit to exercising, finishing your mediocre …
It’s a marshmallow world in the winter and what better way to commemorate this season than a stout brewed with… marshmallows? As an avid maker/consumer of Rice Krispie treats, if you tell me something has marshmallow in it, I’m immediately excited, like “when it was your birthday in school and you got to bring in treats for the class”-excited. Luckily the Swedish, who know a thing or two about endless freezing nights, have crafted a liquidized Stay Puft in the form of Hypnopompa to warm our innards on a chilly winter’s eve.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been over two months since our summer 2018 Europe trip. It still feels like just a couple weeks ago we were walking the black sand beaches of Iceland, gazing out over the Cliffs of Moher and admiring in revered silence the beauty of Westminster Abbey. We talk about our trip all the time and are already dreaming up our next one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s one more country and ale adventure story to tell…
I’ve had a life-long obsession with skyscrapers. I don’t really know where it came from, maybe growing up just outside New York City played a roll, or maybe too many Tower of Babel lessons in church as a youngster had the opposite effect of what was intended. Now, I tend to judge cities on two major categories: Their skyline and their craft beer scene, two lovers who often quarrel rather than get along. Where the towers rise, the beer quality tends to fall – world class postcard skylines like Dubai and Shanghai have not inspired great beer to follow suit, and while both cities have recently been doing better in this regard, in New York and LA you have to get outside the high-rises to find the best stuff. However, the Hong Kong Beer Scene proved to be different.
Whether you have a long layover, or you’re able to take a few days to explore, here’s a few of my favorite places I went to while enjoying the shade of some of the most marvelous structures made by man.
For the past nine months, Katie and I have been adventuring our way through Minnesota’s craft beer community. With more than 150 breweries and brewpubs to visit — last we heard that number was actually upwards of 180 now — we’ve been busy and content with what’s right here in our own backyard. But sometimes a new adventure calls, and when an opportunity to visit breweries in Iceland, Ireland, London and Paris came calling — we answered.
In truth, no one came calling for us; we just happened to be heading to Europe on a sort of one-year anniversary/bucket list trip. Still, we took advantage of our time abroad to visit some new taprooms, make some new friends and drink some new beers.
I’m nominating Apocalyptic Thunder Juice, the latest delight from Norway’s Amundsen Bryggeri, as the Official Juice of the ThunderCats. If this beer was available 30 years ago, that band of ninja felines would surely have partaken in a few after battling Mumm-Ra. And just look at the can artwork. It is safe to say that the ancients responsible for such totems could have been inspired by bipedal cats from outer space.
The first image that pops into my head at the word Pilgrim involves folks wearing tall hats and large-buckled shoes while sharing turkey and Stove Top stuffing with the Indians at Plymouth Rock. You know, historically accurate stuff. Nonetheless, the general premise of the American story involves a pilgrimage — a significant, spiritual journey to a new, location of importance. And although the Swiss do not celebrate ye olde pilgrimage to the New World in search of canned cranberry sauce and green bean casserole, I found a brewery here that celebrates pilgrims in another way.
After a cold day of exploring the streets of Krakow in January, my friends and I stopped for lunch at a traditional Polish restaurant and the list of hot beverages caught my eye. “Hot beer?!” I exclaimed breathlessly, and immediately ordered myself a large mug. The menu warned that hot beer would take ten minutes to be prepared and heated, so I sat back and began to research this intriguing beverage.
This morning Avery Brewing announced that it has sold a minority stake to Mahou San Miguel. The 24 year old Boulder-based company now joins Founders Brewing out of Grand Rapids, MI as the second American-based craft brewery that has seen minority investment from the privately held, family owned Spanish company.
If you fly to Iceland during the cold half of the year, there’s a good chance it’ll be dark when you get there. In early November, when my wife and I boarded an A321 in Chicago and flew to this volcanic island in the north Atlantic, the sun set by 5 p.m. and didn’t rise again until after 9 each morning. In the middle of winter, it doesn’t rise at all. The island is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so if your plane takes off in the afternoon or evening, it’ll be hours before dawn when it touches down at Keflavik International Airport, about thirty miles from downtown Reykjavik. A short walk through the cold, pre-dawn air will see you onto a shuttle bus that will deposit you on the city streets of the world’s northernmost capital a little under an hour later. Those streets will still be dark, and the city will just be waking up, slipping on thermal underwear and insulated jackets to keep out the insistent chill of this city on the water.
While there are an incredible abundance of existing and soon-to-come craft releases in the U.S., Brewmeister‘s Snake Venom is a rare sight in these parts. I recently had the honor of getting to try this beer that tops many beer drinkers lists. These aren’t charts for flavor and overall ingenuity, but simply because of the fact that it will knock you off your feet. At a staggering 67.5% ABV this fortified monster has made its rounds on the web as a viral hit, enticing the alcoholics of America with a great name and the promise that you won’t remember tomorrow. However, the real challenge isn’t staying alive after consumption, but rather just getting a hold of this beer in the U.S. in the first place.
If someone asked me about the Estonian craft beer scene a month ago, I probably would’ve shrugged my shoulders and guessed there wasn’t one. I would have been wrong. I’ve now had three beers from Põhjala Brewery (pronounced Poh-ya-la) out of Tallinn, Estonia and this Öö Imperial Baltic Porter is so far, my favorite.
Sand between the toes, hammocks, sunshine, rustling palm trees and now Church Street Brewing — that could describe your next Caribbean vacation. The suburban-Chicago brewery is taking its beer to the tropics!