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The Best Beers in the World

Updated on April 4, 2014

Best Beers and Ales from Around the World

As an Englishman, my favourite beers, when at home, are all dark British ales, especially from traditional breweries, but I travel a lot in Europe and the rest of the world and have done a lot of extensive "research" into the best beers around the world. When travelling in Europe I like dark Belgian beers, but when these aren't available or when traveling in different climates I drink a wider variety or beers, ales and lagers. Here are the results of my research...

The Best Beers from Around the World

Where Does the Best Beer Come From?

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B markerchiswick, London, England -
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Fullers London Pride, Chiswick, London (England)

I have put London Pride first because it kept me sane and made me feel less homesick while living in Sweden, fifteen years ago. I was on a work assignment in Stockholm and the very strict anti drink laws at the time meant that only relatively low alcohol beers were available from supermarkets and anything stronger had to be bought from the Systembolaget, the government run off licences, which were only open during business hours during the week. The only ale they sold was London Pride for about £5 for a 33cl bottle. I bought a few of these and rationed myself. A special treat. The rest of the time I drank the watery Swedish lagers. London Pride is brewed at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick near where I now live, and is a delicious, fairly dark, malty beer. It isn't particularly strong at just 4.1% ABV on draught or 4.7% in bottles or cans. Fullers is London's last traditional family brewer and has been making beer since 1845. ESB is a stronger, 5.5% draught beer, which is a good winter alternative to London Pride and Fullers 1845 is an even more potent sibling, which was launched to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brewery and would be my preference if I were to drink bottled beer, rather than draught. It has a more complex, bigger flavour, and is 6.3% ABV, but is otherwise a similar style. Golden Pride is even more potent at 8.5%, but doesn't taste quite as good. Perhaps a little too strong for this style of beer.

http://www.fullers.co.uk

Kwak, Belgium

Kwak is an amusing Belgian beer, which is dark and quite strong at 8.5% ABV and has a pleasant flavour, but what is particularly noteworthy is the glass it comes in. The glass is like a small yard of ale glass (a foot of ale perhaps, although it is Belgian, so 30cm) with a round bottom, which one might think is a bit foolish, but it also comes with a small wooden rack, which is difficult to use and a real test of sobriety. To prevent this sought-after object going astray, some bars in Belgium request the deposit of one shoe for each glass. The reason it is called Kwak is that is the noise it makes when you drink it fast and the air rushes into the bulb at the bottom of the glass, usually accompanies by a wet face and clothing. Fun, but quite expensive and makes a nice souvenir, if you have a pair of shoes you don't need.

Adnams Broadside, England

Adnams is another old English brewery. Beer was being made on the site of the Adnams brewery in 1396 and the Adnams name has been associated with the site since 1857. Broadside is a rich dark cask bitter, tasting of hops and malt. In draught form it tastes strong, but is actually only 4.3% whereas in bottles it is 6.2%

Sierra Nevada, USA

An American beer! A couple of decades ago recommending an American beer would have been unheard of, in Europe, but the range of beers available now in the USA is extremely good. I have been regularly working in California for fifteen years and microbreweries have been popular there for all of that time, but there are now many microbreweries all over the States not just in California. When traveling in North America I always search out the local microbrewery selection first, but Sierra Nevada makes a wonderful second choice, with a dark amber colour it is far more complex than typical American lagers, it is always served cold and is both thirst quenching full-flavoured. Samuel Adams, brewed in Boston, is another good choice too, when in the US. The usual English beer available in most American bars is Bass, which is perhaps why English beer has a bad reputation in North America.

Trappistes Rochfort 10

This is a seriously potent beer from Belgium. A Triple Trappist beer of 11.3 % ABV, but somehow tastes even stronger, with it's intense complex flavours and very dark colour. It also has a little brother called Rochfort 8 which is just 9.2% Both of these are very interesting beers, but you wouldn't want to have too many.

Some More Great Beers

Delirium Nocturnum: 9.0% brewed near Ghent in Belgium, by a family run brewery that is over 350 years old. Delicious complex dark beer.

Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Bitter The Old Brewery at Tadcaster established in 1758 is Yorkshire’s oldest brewery, but perhaps the most notable thing is it is the cheapest pint you are likely to find in London (less than £2 a pint until the 2011 tax rises) and some of the Samuel Smiths pubs are the most historically interesting in London (e.g. The Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street) A very traditional pint of bitter.

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    • Geordie T profile image

      Geordie T 4 years ago

      Nice to learn a bit more about some beer hubs. I'd like to see some reviews and compare what we both have in the future!

    • profile image

      Afzall 4 years ago

      Nice lens ;-)

      Small comment though, Kwak is written without the 'c'.

    • gregoryolney lm profile image

      gregoryolney lm 6 years ago

      I was born and bred in a Warwickshire pub, and it's nice to see a lens about proper beer, not that gnat's piss they call beer in the USA and Canada. But it is good to know that they are beginning to brew some decent stuff over there. When I lived in Rhode Island in the 1960s, my dad and I used to drink imported Guinness - it was better than the local stuff but ruined because it had some sort of preservative in it. I still rate Adnam's above everything else, but I've started brewing my own in very small quantities, and it ain't bad ! Cheers !

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      I have to confess. I really don't like the taste of beer. I prefer a nice red wine, but my sons and husband love the stuff. It takes all kinds...

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great reading about beer. I found it fascinating having a tour through a beer factory south of us.

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 7 years ago from Rhode Island

      amazing lens great work We had a beer factory in my hometown that was also a restaurant used love trying all the knew ones they would come up with enjoyed reading !!!

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 7 years ago

      My favorite beer was a bottle of Czech Pilsner Urquell that I had there in Canterbury. That was 25 years ago. It was good even at room temperature.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed reading your list of the Best Beers but I have never acquired a taste for the dark beer. I will stick to my Coors and Yuengling.