Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Where is the Best Beer?
It's time to lighten things up a bit and switch to a more pleasant subject.
Yes, beer, or more specifically, which countries have the best beer? On that topic, I am a scholar.A few of the choices are obvious. A couple are surprising. In fact, two of the countries I have chosen for making the best beer are Muslim countries.
Let's take the obvious choice for number one.
German beer is really the best in the world. I learned to drink beer while a soldier in Germany in the 1960s and go back every couple of years. No matter where you go, you will find great beer. There is a myth that Munich has the best beer in Germany. I disagree. The city has a lot of breweries and is arguably the best place to drink beer with its beer gardens and beer halls. However, you can find beer anywhere in Germany that is just as good if not better. (I concede that the eastern part may be catching up to the west because in the days of the DDR, you had far fewer breweries to choose from.)
And a real beer fest? Not to be missed. Munich's is the most famous, but for my money, Erlangen has the best during May and June (Whitsuntide).
My preference is a simple pils from the draft as you would order in a restaurant. The beer is as attractive as it tastes as it is served in a stylish beer glass with the logo of the brewery and a creamy head on top. (I have a collection of German beer glasses that dates back to my army days in the 60s.)
As with all beers, you need to drink them in their own country. German imports-at least in the US- don't taste anywhere near what they do in Germany. If you want the authentic taste in the US, visit the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas. It is shipped directly from the Munich Hofbrauhaus in kegs with no changes. It is the real deal.
2 Czech Republic
The real deal
Home of Pilsner Urquell and the original Budweis-which is ten times better than that swill we have in the US of similar name.
Holland doesn't boast as many breweries as Germany. It has two or three that are internationally known, such as Heineken. As with German beer, Heineken doesn't taste the same in the US as it does in Holland. The only problem in Holland, at least up until my last visit, is that they served them in small glasses. Very bothersome.
4 Turkey (Surprised?)
The main brewery is Efes Pilzen, an excellent beer that goes great with Turkish food. When I was in Turkey in the 1980s, they also had a Tuborg brewery which produced a better product than Denmark. That is because it was Turkish beer. That's the way those "under license and supervision" deals work. When they were making Loewenbrau in the US, it was American beer. In Italy, they brewed Heineken locally in the 80s when I was there. It stunk. It was Italian beer (ugh).
San Miguel. Best beer in Asia along with Indonesia. Trying it here in the US was, of course, disappointing. They used to make it in Hong Kong-again with disappointing results. (Maybe it still is.) In Aruba, I found a Filipino restaurant that got San Miguel from the Filipino sailors who brought cases on the ships. It was the real deal.
Bintang is an excellent beer. The Indonesians learned the art of brewing from the Dutch. Hmm. Looks like a good place to drink beer.
There it is. Of course, it is all a matter of opinion and taste. The wave of micro-brews in the US has improved the beer scene dramatically. Yet, the beers I have listed above are superior (to me) than any American beer I have tasted.