Craft beer is all the rage nowadays, not just in the UK, but all over the world. Europe, which is already home to some of the best international brewers – the Germans, the Belgians and the Dutch – was one of the first to the party. The continent has microbreweries popping up all over the place, with small batch bottles and cans circulating like wildfire.
Here’s our guide on the best spots to find European craft beer so you know where to sniff out all the new and intriguing tastes.
In a country known for its love of light pilsners, you’ll be hard pushed to find a bitter ale, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. After a few glasses of that delicious, dry blond, you may be after something with more of a kick to it. We recommend Atak Chmeilu, which has a caramel taste with a citrus tang to finish. Plus, it translates to ‘Hop Attack’, so there’s one for all you lovers of the bittersweet flower.
It’ll come as no surprise that Germany are leading the way for beer production in Europe. However, what you may not know is there’s a bit of a rebellion in the craft beer market against ancient traditions. Germany has a 500 year old beer law which states that no product containing anything other than water, barley, hops and yeast can be officially declared beer. Well, microbreweries are reclaiming the word for their own!
If you like your tipple to be brewed from wild yeast, and complimented by the flavours of crushed coriander seeds and Szechuan pepper corns – try Szechuan Saison.
Spanish beer is something we in the UK don’t come into contact with enough – other than San Miguel and Estrella. The warm climate has given way to a large number of breweries in Spain perfecting light and refreshing lagers. Among the best of the best is Madrid Lager, which is brewed in the capital and can rival any Spanish beer on sale here in the UK.
Another major player in the beer game is Belgium. There is a huge range to choose from, including fruit beers, sours and double and triple hopped darks. You’ll find beer menus with pages of craft beers listings ranging from 2 to 22% ABV.
The Muskateer Brewery comes highly recommended for craft beer, with their Troubador series ranking as first-class. Their Magma Troubador is a renowned favourite for its rusty American IPA-style flavours.
Two years ago, All About Beer Magazine published an article on the rise of craft beer in the Czech Republic. Today, the home-brewers who were just starting out then are considered some of the best producers of beer in the country. Even bars have started getting in on the game, with plenty of brew-pubs popping up in both Prague and Litomerice.
Zagara stands out in the Italian market as an amber ale among many lagers. The sweet honey scents that flow from this wonderful brew remind drinkers of the Mediterranean vineyards, but make no mistake, it is a beer. Follow your nose and you’ll find more hidden gems, just like Zagara, in Italy – it’s all about where you look and word of mouth.
Did we miss your favourite craft beer off the list? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.