Are you a beer hunter?

Aug 7th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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Are you a beer hunter?

I've had beer on my mind the last few days...have some trips coming up and am busy planning our pub guides for each city.

In the States, we've visited brewpubs from San Francisco to Burlington. Internationally, our favorites so far have been Edinburgh and Brugge. I even have hope for Venice -- twice we've gone to the one pub that has a large selection of bottled beers, but it's been closed both times. We're currently planning our trips for 2006 and we recently heard about a plethora of breweries/beer pubs in Bamberg, Germany, that sound interesting.

If you are a self proclaimed beer hunter, I'd love to hear about some of your favorite beer destinations. I of course search on Beer Advocate, Real Beer, and Babble Belt, but thought my fellow Fodorites might also have some recommendations.

Cheerio Beerio!
beanweb24 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 02:59 PM
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I drink a beer or two every couple of years. Except when I've been to Prague. I find myself looking at my watch wondering if it's "beer-thirty" yet. The beer is full flavored without being too heavy and just the right amount of carbonation.

Of course it's difficult taking a recommendation from a non-beer drinker. I opened this thread to get some ideas that will lure my husband to take a vacation. Thanks for posting.
L84SKY is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 11:09 PM
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We are too, our tastes are for British ales and IPAs, although we don't turn down a good Belgian or German pils. We've planned many trips around pub tours, beer festivals, and are always searching. Would love to hear more about Bamberg as we were just saying we've not spent enough time in Germany.

We are currently in Sweden and have enjoyed the Gotlands brewery beers, found the pils especially pleasant-the view helped. Last night we had Uppsala from the Slottskallen brewery in Uppsala. One of my favorites is Mariestad, which we can only find in Sweden.
sprin2 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 02:33 AM
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I'm very much a beer person. Here in the UK, my taste runs to bitters and heavies, depending which side of the border I'm on, as I find UK lagers too insipid for my taste.
Belgium is my favourite destination for beer, not only for the choice, but because they take it so seriously, and are quite prepared to help you choose something new. Apart from the obvious Trappist beers, my favourites are Palm Speciale, Rodenbach, de Koninck, and Duvel; on the pils side, I feel Jupiler is far superior to Stella.
In Germany, I like to drink dunkelbier when I can, although the Franziskaner Witte & Klaar are exceptional brews.
I don't know Bamberg, other than by reputation, so if you do go, I'd appreciate some tasting notes. Now, all that beer talk has made me thirsty, and as Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett are fond of saying -"It's 5 o'clock somewhere" ...
doonhamer is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 02:59 AM
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Although we live in the UK and still live in Belgium part time, we much prefer German and Austrian beer.
Re Bamberg, I am not a big fan of rauchbier, but you need to try it to see if it's to your taste. To me, it tastes like someone took a charred log from a fireplace and stirred it in the beer--but it has lots of fans.
Our two favorite beers are Wolfshoher in Germany (a small, private award winning brewery).
And Murau from Austria, a 500 year old brewery in central Austria (Styria). Murau is a pretty town, worth visiting on its own. The brewery also has a beer museum. Their town and beerfest this year is August 15.
Both breweries, in addition to using high quality ingredients (naturally), are famous for the sparkling clear spring water that goes into their beer.
Unfortunately, both beers are very hard to get outside their home countries, Wolfshoeher especially.
One our vacations in Austria's Steiermark, we drank a lot of Murauer and visited the town on the drive back to Brussels. We're going to Austria (Tirol) in September, hoping to find it again. In Vienna, you can get it at Stomach, Seegasse 26.
Happy hunting!
BTilke is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 03:14 AM
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This website describes and rates Bamberg and Bamberg area beers. I would disagree here and there with the ratings shown, but everyone's taste buds differ somewhat.

My first tastes of beer were in Bamberg around 1960--the smokebeer listed below. I last visited Bamberg a couple of years ago when we vacationed in Bavaria and on the Mosel--there are fewer breweries now, but the quality and variety of beers available in and around this small city are still outstanding.

My personal favorites of the Bamberg beers are the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier (smoke beer) Marzen, the Mahrs Brau Heller Boch, and the Maisel Kellerbier. I also had an opportunity to enjoy both the St. Georgen Brau Pilsener and Kellerbier from nearby Buttenheim, and they are superb as well.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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I enjoy beer and did my own beer tour in 2002. The sort of triangle area of cities, Bamberg, Coberg, Bayreuth and Kulmbach, is considered the epicenter of German brewing with about 60 braueri in the vicinity. Most famous is Bamberg for its rauchbier which is the only place it's made in Germanywe were told. Most germans we spoke with were from N.germany who pilgramage to Bamberg for the beer. Personally I loved the rauchbier, kind of like drinking smoked ham. I am a fan of dunkels. We noticed that, if requested, they placed a small heating element for a few seconds in the glass prior to serving. RufusT firefly suggestions are excellent as always and I would add Fassla to his list. But there are many more to try in this region. Kulmbach ( the famous Kulmbacher ) has an annual beer fest in summer which appears fantastic on the web site. We have also visited Zirndorfer in Furth just on the nw outskirts of Nurmburg and Stadt Braueri Roth in Roth 25 km south of Nurmburg. Zirndorfer has a great collection of old buildings and a wonderful brauschank which served great food. We visited when they held an open house. I have tried many more beers throughout Bavaria particularly and always take 2 coasters to keep my memory fresh. Stay in the Bamberg area triangle and you could spend a long time sampling. Excuse me but I am now thirsty!
hardwater is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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beanweb- if you are a true beer hunter, you should consider the small German town of Einbeck. It is a delightful, typical German town just south of Gottingen and to the west of the Harz Mountains. It has been famous for its beers since the 1400's and has been credited as the origin of the term "Bock" bier. The beer was brewed in local houses under license from the city. Martin Luther apparently mentioned the local brew in 1521 before the Diet of Worms. "Der beste Trank, den einer kennt, der wird Einbecker Bier genennt" The best drink, one knows, is called Einbecker Beer.
CharlieB is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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I'm a beer fan and can honestly say I've never had a bad beer anywhere in Europe. I always go for whatever local brews there might be, and I've enjoyed them all. Perhaps that says I have no real standards, yet I have found all the local brews in Europe to be so much better than the American beers. And I don't think it's just the ambience.

Once I was challenged by a friend to drink our way through London, tasting different beers at different pubs all over town. Needless to say, we hardly got started; I never knew there were so many beers and so many pubs!!

But now CharlieB talks about Martin Luther and his diet of worms--yuk!! Ruins a good thread. LOL
Wayne is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Beer lovers all,

Thought I would interject that the Belgian government has declared 2005 the year of beer. There are events and brewery tours throughout the country all year.

Here's the scoop:
bardo1 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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So many great suggestions so far - am so happy to see other beer hunters on Fodors.

I'm adding Prague, Sweden (who knew?!), and Einbeck to my list of "must drinks." The Bamberg triangle area beer tour has moved to the very top of my list - sounds like there is plenty to keep us entertained.

Regarding Rauchbier -- I had a "smoked beer" in the States recently, but I was so traumatized by drinking what tasted like liquid ham that I couldn't finish it...definitely not the right flavor for someone who typically does not eat meat.

As for Belgium declaring 2005 the year of beer, well, that's just one more reason to love Belgium so much. We'll be heading to Brugge for Christmas and staying for a week -- long enough to sample as many wonderful Belgian Christmas beers as possible.

My favorite style so far is the red flemish (sour) ales from Belgium - no other style quite compares.
beanweb24 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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>"Der beste Trank, den einer kennt, der wird Einbecker Bier genennt"

Protestant propaganda ;-). Try the "catholic" beer of the south, forget about "pilsener". Or maybe have look at where the northern bordern of the roman empire was, and at the history of the 30 years war, and the "catholic restitution".

How does all this relate to beer? ;-) Come and find out. It is all about religion...
logos999 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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Keep in mind that smoke beers vary in intensity.

I didn't get any "hammy" flavor when I tasted it--though, again, everyone's taste buds differ.

To me, the mild smokey flavor made the beer more mellow and smooth without diminishing flavor.

It's something worth trying just to have the experience whether or not you end up liking it.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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Oh I promise to try the rauchbier...I just don't promise to finish it. ;-)
beanweb24 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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A couple of follow up comments. When I described rauchbier akin to drinking smoked ham I meant this as a generic description to occasional beer drinkers. It has a wisp of smoke to it's taste which I adore. Next I forgot to mention Kloister Weltenburg just above Kelheim on the Donau river. Kelheim is about 15 km sw of Regensburg. Board a tour boat in Kelheim and take the half hour ride upstream. Kloister Weltenburg is a walled fortress on a prominent point of the river. Our German relatives took us there for an afternoon of food, beer and festive activity. I have never seen so much beer flowing from so many taps. They were celebrating their 950th anniversary of brewing beer there during our year 2000 visit. This was an experience.
hardwater is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 11:01 AM
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If you get to Belgium, try the flavored Lambic beers, framboise, peche and kreik.

Have you seen the Michael Jackson Beer Hunter program originally on A & E?
buongiorno is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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hardwater -- what a wonderful suggestion. Thanks for providing the extra itinerary. I have never heard of Kloister Weltenburg.

I wish I could remember which microbrewery crafted the smoked beer that I had - it really did taste meaty and the smokiness was overpowering. I'll happily try an authentic rauchbier and trust that it will be better than my first experience.

buongiorno - didn't realize Michael Jackson has an A&E show...I'll have to look at the schedule. However, I do enjoy watching Thirsty Traveler - that's my dream job. My mom really loves the lambics and I'm just happy she'll drink beer now!
beanweb24 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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I'm partial to the "kolsch" style beers in Germany as well as the real Budweiser from Ceske Budovice in the Czech Republic.
SAnParis is offline  

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