Best Beer in the World

The first beer tasting party I ever hosted was an all-Belgian beer tasting. I was still learning back then but it seemed to me that Belgium had the very best beers in the world. Today I can confirm I was right.

Lifeless Lagers

Most commonly found are your typical light ales and bland lagers. When you're in the mood for a beer you can tolerate one or two of these (especially in the heat).

In Tokyo, a Kirin beer

In Mykonos, at least the sunset was quality :)

This pilsner was OK in Turkey

Cool label but the beer? Meh

Well said...in Zanzibar

Better Brews

It gets better. There were some tasty gems and unique beer experiences too. In Rwanda, I tasted the only banana beer I have ever liked. These ladies showed us how it's made in the traditional way.

{ video: Making banana beer in Rwanda }

In Lao, this dark lager wins my best beer in Asia award

"Chhung" (tasted like sake) at a homestay in Sikkim

In Santorini, a decent dark beer and a lovely red

An interesting IPA in Nelson, New Zealand

Old World Reliability

When it came to Prague, England and Scotland we certainly weren't disappointed. The beers here are consistently good. Highly enjoyable, quality beer drinking without a doubt, but no real "wow" factor. 

A classic, crisp Pilsner Urquell in Prague

This Nota Bene beer in Prague was different... strawberry/apricot flavor; malty and medium body

Budvar dark draft (actually a very light beer) at a pub established in 1466 in Prague

Enjoyed a fine cider beer at this cool place in York, England

A well-balanced bitter in England

A tangy lager and banana-heavy wheat beer at a beer festival in Prague

A tangy lager and banana-heavy wheat beer at a beer festival in Prague

Could not leave London without a pint of bitter

The Best Beer: Belgium!

First stop: Brugges. A great setting for my first taste of Belgian beer in Belgium. And a bonus: my parents met up with us for a while and were there to enjoy the moment too.

Dad points while I pour

St. Bernardus Extra 4 for Root, Trappist Rochfort 6 for Dad, Straffe Hendrik for me, and a Lindeman Framboise for Mom

Cheers!

It's a country the size of Maryland with more than 800 different beers!

A wall of Belgian beer... I'm a kid in a candy store

Can't go wrong with a monk-brewed beer

Moinette – a pleasant blond

And let's talk glassware... each beer comes in its own special glass. When you order some bottled water at a restaurant – even that comes with its own branded glass.

At Cafe Rose Red in Bruges, we tried two different Orvals... a young one and an aged one (six months) which made for an interesting comparison. Given how this beer is bottled, using wild yeast, it changes dramatically over time. The aged one was very different and much more sour/funky.

At another cozy little beer bar in Bruges – Beertje – I struggled with the menu of hundreds of beers and finally settled on a Prearis Quad. Complex, caramelly and strong – I was happy with this choice :) 

There were two misses I have to admit. First, the beer you will see everywhere in Bruges – Brugse Zot. It's like the Budweiser of Bruges. Horrible Heinken-like beer. Then in Brussels I tried the Hoegaarden Rose. The taste reminded me of a wine gone bad, ugh.

Traveling around the world also makes you appreciate home more. Perhaps I'm biased, but I believe America has become the new world beer mecca. So many craft breweries producing so many unusual, flavorful, high-quality beers. While no country can every hold a candle to Belgium, it's nice to know I can enjoy some of the world's best beer at home.