From ancient beer cellars in the Czech Republic, to modern ‘hop-spots’ in the USA. Here are seven beer-smitten cities you’ll never want to leave, according to travellers like you.*
Pilsner in Plzeň, Czech Republic
The Pilsner Urquell brewery, where the first pilsner lager was brewed
Plzeň has been a centre of beer-brewing prowess since 1842 – when the first ever pilsner lager was brewed here. Nowadays, the city’s iconic Pilsner Urquell brewery offers visitors the chance to taste the best pilsner, fresh from the keg or cask, on a subterranean tour of its cellars. You can recharge your batteries in a comfy bed at Marriott Pilsen’s Courtyard Hotel – and then grab yourself another brew at the hotel’s popular Pils’n’Grill restaurant.
Blond in Brno, Czech Republic
Brno is home to Starobrno brewery, one of the Czech Republic's oldest
Home to Starobrno – an old brewery now owned by Heineken – Brno is another great spot for a world-class beer. Here, the locals wash down Starobrno brews Ležák (a classic blond) and Černé (dark and malty) in the lively area surrounding St. James’ Church. If you’re after somewhere a little more private, grab a beer bucket and relax in the rooftop hot tub of Avanti Hotel.
Rauchbier in Bamberg, Germany
There are 80 breweries within 15 miles of Bamberg
Beer-enamoured Bamberg has the highest number of breweries per square kilometre in the world. All are bound by the ‘Reinheitsgebot’, a 500-year-old Bavarian purity law requiring all beer to be brewed using only water, malt, yeast, and hops. Bamberg’s local brew – the smoky, thick, and dangerously moreish ‘Rauchbier’ – is a must-try. Complimentary breakfast at the centrally located Am Blumenhaus provides exactly the sort of sustenance you’ll need after a night out on the town.
Lambic in Bruges, Belgium
The brewing tradition in Belgium has produced some of the world's finest beers
From Trappist ales and dark stouts to hoppy tripels and fruity krieks, the range of beer styles in Belgium is staggering. Bruges is home to ‘lambic’, a delicious beer that can be enjoyed in any local bar. Lively Cafe ‘t Brugs Beertj boasts a vast collection of Belgian brews, while Hotel Monsieur Ernest – an elegant 14th-century building that was once a brewery itself – provides comfy lodgings.
IPA in Portland, USA
Portland is famous for its world beer styles, from IPAs to Belgian-inspired ales
Portland is a dreamland for IPA lovers. The self-proclaimed ‘capital of craft’ has more breweries than any other city – and a pub culture to rival all its European adversaries. You can nurse pints of hoppy brews at lively pubs across the city, while breweries like Cascade and Hopworks showcase Portland’s rich craft history. Stylish Hotel Eastlund is the ideal spot to take some time out, with a rooftop terrace and its very own craft beer tavern.
Nostra Domus in Leuven, Belgium
Leuven is home to the world's largest brewery, InBev
Leuven is home to InBev – the world’s largest brewery – and offers a bounty of artisanal beers to quench your thirst. Ochtend Kriek, St. Adriaansbier, and Nostra Domus are three of the most popular but, with so much choice, your best bet is to head down to the lively Oude Markt and ask locals for their recommendations. Stay close to the action at the deluxe Getaway Studios, right in the heart of Leuven and a short walk from Oude Markt.
Lager in Qingdao, China
Qingdao's Beer Festival has become a mainstay for Asian beer lovers
Every August millions gather for Qingdao’s epic International Beer Festival. The event is meant to mimic Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest, but with an added Chinese twist. Bratwurst-serving beer tents, Bavarian band music, and Peking opera performances merge to create a distinctive atmosphere. The festival is sponsored by Tsingtao, whose Qingdao-based brewery and museum are open all year. Afterwards, recharge at the Farglory Residence’s indoor pool and sauna.
** These destinations were the top-rated cities for ‘beer’, according to Booking.com travellers.