Most who know me will know that I like a good beer on occasion. So as we traveled the world, I decided to archive my ales. Beer is universal, so I could find a brew on most menus regardless of where we were. Every country has their own “Beer Standards” like Chang in Thailand, Kingfisher in India or Tusker in Kenya. I tried them all. Many of them have that industrial, mass produced lager taste with local subtleties. Great on a hot day after doing a lot of touring or long traveling, not something I will necessarily seek out when I get home, but it was nice to try them when I was “in country”.
For the most part this type of lager (like a Budweiser or maybe Bud Light) was what I found around the globe in varying forms, but I did have some very special finds in a few places.
Four Pines Brewery – Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia – Australia is a country very into its beer (as well as coffee, but that is another blog post). There are many craft breweries and brew pubs around Australia and if I was doing this trip on a rich man’s budget I would have explored a lot more of them. Four Pines is a fantastic beer and pub to visit right on one of the most amazing beaches near Sydney. My friend Scott sent us there and we had some great beers and views. If you are in Sydney and like beer, this place is worth taking the ferry to Manly Beach for!
Bia Hoi – Hanoi, Vietnam –I was surprised to learn that Vietnam is a beer drinking culture. They drink it at all hours of the day and night. Bia Hoi isn’t a brand, it is sort of a beer phenomenon. It literally translates “Gas Beer”. In Hanoi, and other cities, it is family-produced keg beer sold in little pubs and street stands all over, produced and drunk fresh, no preservatives or storage. When they run out, they are out until the next batch is made. WOW! I loved this. It was truly the freshest beer I have ever had (something I wish we could adopt in the U.S.) It is also cheap, about $.40 per 10-ounce glass. If you are a beer person, you should put a Vietnam visit on your bucket list.
Fuller’s Brewery – London, England – For my birthday last week I treated myself to a visit and tour of the Fuller’s Brewery in London. This is still a family-owned brewery and all the beer distributed worldwide is still made here, even the kegs that I see at my local back in Athens. When we lived here for two years, I used to drive by almost daily and I never went for a visit, so it was a great last beer stop on our epic journey. I can say I have sampled a lot of their beer through the years and it is definitely my go-to beer in an English pub. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and for only 10 pounds including a tasting after the tour, it was well worth the investment.
It has been a great adventure to sample beers all around the world. I am excited to get a nice American Pale Ale when I get home, but I have definitely enjoyed this little personal part of our trip.