Europe is a tapestry of grand cultures, exquisite cuisines, vibrant histories, and exceptional beers. However, not many out of the hops-head community know about that last one. So, if you’re visiting Europe, why not go on a quest to find the best craft brewery and the most flavorful beer?
You’ll definitely be impressed! From the frothy pints of London to the warming brews of Belgium and the eclectic ales in Croatia, there is something to discover in every city. To give you a heads-up, we compiled a list of the most beer-oriented European cities.
In these cities, you won’t just taste amazing beers. You’ll also get genuine craft-beer experiences that’ll encompass centuries-old traditions, local infusions, and brewing techniques that exemplify each city’s spirit.
The Best European Cities for Beer Lovers
1. Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is the heart of Europe from a geographic and political point of view. But once you get past the big official buildings and its many gorgeous tourist attractions, you discover a city bustling with culture, good music, and, you guessed it, beer!
In Brussels, beer is more than just a beverage, it’s a way of life imbued with rich history and tradition. Where else could you find beer cafes like the timeless Poechenellekelder? And, if you don’t like small and cozy taverns, there are plenty of vibrant, contemporary hangouts like Moeder Lambic.
And if you’re interested in more than taste, Cantillon – the iconic maker of Lambic fermented with wild yeast – serves as both a working brewery and museum.
2. London, UK
London may be one of the biggest cities in the world, but for beer lovers, it is definitely a must-see and experience. Beer brewing is an old tradition in London dating back to the 18th century when the city was home to more than 130 breweries.
Nowadays, there are over 100 microbreweries snugly tucked within its borders, so it may be quite difficult to choose which ones to visit. If you’re not here for the breweries, we recommend trying one of several centuries-old pubs spread across the city.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is known for its picturesque palaces, centuries-old landmarks, and ultra-modern structures. But you can’t ignore the vibrant beer culture that creates a haven for both connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.
If you’re a history buff, you can’t miss the Carlsberg Brewery – home to Emil Hansen, who distinguished between ale and lager strains back in the 1880s. If you’re not there for the history, you’ll find a world of hip neighborhood taverns, ultramodern taprooms, and creative brewpubs.
Don’t miss beloved spots like WarPigs, Mikkeller’s sprawling Meatpacking District brewpub, or Ølbaren, Copenhagen’s oldest craft beer bar radiating with warm hygge vibes.
4. Bern, Switzerland
Bern may be a small city, but it is Switzerland’s political hub and home to nearly 200 breweries and microbreweries.
So if you’re not interested in politics, the beer will definitely keep you busy. After all, a sip of cold, flavorful beer after a long day of working and debating is definitely one of the simple pleasures that make life more interesting.
In the trendy Breitenrain district, you can stumble upon a brewery by simply following the first winding street you find. You’ll discover them in the most unexpected of places, like basements or laundry rooms. If you’re that one unlucky tourist who can’t find the right pub, you can simply ask for a bike beer delivery to your location!
The locals recommend you try Oberbottiger Kurbelbräu, a naturally brewed cloudy beer free from filtration, pasteurization, and stabilization.
5. Zagreb, Croatia
If you like football and beer, then you’ll love Croatia’s buzzing capital. As soon as you find a terrace, you can join the locals in cheering on their world-class football team with a local beer at hand. But be careful, the beer here is delicious and cheap, so it’s easy to have one too many.
The must-try flavor is Ozujsko, a delicious beer born in 1892 that’s the nation’s best-seller. However, don’t shy away from trying any other local labels. You’ll discover a wide range of tastes and textures.
Inspired to Start Your Own Small Craft Brewery Back Home?
If you feel inspired to follow your passion after visiting so many amazing European breweries and microbreweries, know that it’s not that difficult. You can have your own small craft brewery at home.
However, if you plan on selling your craft beer to customers, you will need to hire a few people. To keep your team small, you can use a platform like Ollie, which is user-oriented brewery management software, to help you run things and keep orders in check.
Once you decide on what you want to do, all it takes is to take the first steps. Start by studying the laws in your country to understand how home-brewing works and how you can turn this into a small business.
Next, get the equipment (this can be quite a hefty investment) and the ingredients, and start brewing!
As you toast your way through this thrilling exploration of Europe’s best beer cities, remember that your journey doesn’t end with your last sip. In fact, it’s just the beginning. Once you’ve had your fill of inspiring stories of breweries and brewers, why not return home and turn your own dream into reality?