The Czech Republic is many things – it’s history, architecture, art…and it’s beer. The country is the birthplace of the pilsner and Prague has long had a reputation as the beer capital of the world. Beer, which often costs less than a bottle of water, is for sale in every nook and cranny of the historic and architecturally diverse city. Beer is even an option as part of value meals at Burger King (no joke). And, for those who love beer so much they want to bathe in it, there are Beer Spas and beer soaps that offer just that. From cavernous halls to street kiosks – and at every café, bar and restaurant in between – it takes little effort to find beer in Prague. However, we weren’t just looking for any beer – we were in search of craft beer in Prague.
In a dimly lit room, the wooden floor creaks and a fire crackles in the corner fireplace as a business-mannered bartender fills dimpled glass mugs with tepid cask ale. This is the scene in a typical London pub – and could accurately describe any one of the thousands of pubs in the city (yes, thousands). Classic pubs are a staple in London; a throwback to a bygone era that remains oddly fashionable in the present-day metropolis. (Read about our Classic Pub Crawl along the River Thames.) However, there is an alternative beer scene brewing in London: small craft breweries are opening throughout the city for microbrew consumption. Differentiating themselves from characteristic London pubs, the small batch breweries are often informal and industrial. Determined to get a good taste of the burgeoning scene, we joined hipsters and beer lovers for a self-guided London Craft Beer Crawl on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
Before we arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, we had a few expectations. We expected a busy city. We expected Communist-era architecture. We expected signs in Cyrillic. What we didn’t expect was to find craft beer bars in Belgrade – but we did. We’re not talking about a hard-to-find pub listing just one or two craft beers on their menu. What we mean are bars that are dedicated to the craft beer movement – and we found five of them. In a land of watered down, mass-produced beer, it was like finding the mother lode.
I love festivals, but I rate beer festivals as being supreme. When we learned that the Cape Town Festival of Beer was happening at the same time we were visiting, there was no way we were going to miss it. The event, held at Cape Town’s Hamilton Rugby Club on Green Point, spanned three days, but we blocked just two days for the event – one for the festival and one for recovery.
Since we’re at an age when hanging with the youngsters at a beer event is likely to cause severe liver injury and/or irritation, we chose to go to the Cape Town Festival of Beer on Sunday in hopes of fewer crowds and chill vibes. Beer was flowing from 10am until 7pm and we heeded the advice of the promoters and arrived early, getting there at 11am.
Singapore Marina Bay self-guided walking tour – Part 2 in a series
We had three days to explore Singapore. Setting out on foot each day, we completed three different walking tours: Singapore Downtown sights, Marina Bay and Chinatown, Temples and Clark Quay. An ambitious person could link the three tours together for one long day of Singapore exploration! Continued from Singapore Downtown self-guided walking tour (Part 1)
Singapore Marina Bay self-guided walking tour
Recharged after lunch, we retraced our steps back to the Fullerton Hotel and took the air-conditioned underpass beneath the street to get to the marina. We marveled at the Marina Bay Sands Hotels across the water, looking as if the towers emerged from the depths of the sea, sweeping a boat right out of the water and hoisting it up in the air. The shiny, lotus-looking ArtScience Museum looks dwarfed in comparison, but together they look futuristic and it is simply impossible not to stop and gawk at it.
As if there isn’t enough to love about Wellington, we’ve got one more reason: It’s the craft beer capital of New Zealand. We are not seeking out these little beer meccas, luck would just have us landing smack in the middle of them. Long before learning about the craft beer in Wellington, New Zealand, we had made comparisons between Wellington and Portland, Oregon. Both feature the beauty of nature, clean cities and locals who would rather be outside than in, love their beer and their planet. But, while Portland insists on ‘Keeping it Weird,’ Wellington is insisting on ‘Keeping it Beered.’
Not only is Bariloche, Argentina saturated in exquisite natural beauty, it also boasts a hefty number of local breweries. It’s like Bariloche and I were made for each other (and I haven’t even mentioned all the chocolate shops!). Most of the Bariloche craft beer, called cerveza artesanal, is produced on a small scale using fresh, natural and local ingredients (most importantly the mountain water). Available in the brewpub from which it’s named, we looked forward to making an “Ale Trail” around town over the course of our stay.