For those of you who don’t know me, I’m one of those girls that really like beer. This is mostly my Dad’s fault, having written a book about beer, taking us to dig for old beer bottles when we were kids and letting me try a sip on his many tastings of a new beer!
Despite having tried many beers it wasn’t till one trip to the Lake District, where after a long walk I decided to try a chocolatey, expresso stout that I got hooked. Since then it’s been downhill for me, beer festivals, trying all the new beers in our local shops and on my travels!
Luckily for me, prior to my travels we lived in Kentish Town in London – a fantastic place for those beer addicts like me. Just around the corner to my flat, there was a corner shop called Drinkers Paradise, which specialised in many different beers, so many that we quickly collected this lovely wall of beer bottles on our balcony.
There are also a number of cool pubs, The Southampton Arms has the retro feel of an old fashioned London boozer with a good selection of changing beers and ciders. Brewdog opened a pub in Camden in a very spectacular manner, by driving a tank down Camden High Street. It’s a great place to go if you like strong, malty, hoppy beers that although flavoursome, guaranteed me a headache the next morning. Camden Town Brewery and the Euston Tap are both great pubs for good weather as there is little space inside.
However I have to say one of my favourite ways to try new beers is in my hometown of Haddenham, Bucks. There is both Summer and Winter Beer Festivals, which feature local beers, including Vale Brewery where my Dad works. Most of the village turns out to try beers, sit in the sun (in summer) and catch up with old friends. The fantastic logos on the pint glasses, a duck (a reference to the many ponds in the village) in various outfits make for great collectables and our day can’t be finished without trying to soak up some of the alcohol by eating a Chinese!
During my latest trip to the states, we very much enjoyed our stay in Nashville. The Yazoo Brewery has a cool bar area where you can either buy beers to sit and drink or purchase beers to take away in cool refillable bottles. We also visited The Flying Saucer chain which has a variety of beers from round the globe, plus a tasting tray where you get a sample of different beers! If you drink 200 different beers there (we didn’t quite manage that on our last visit), you get a saucer with your name on the wall! However my all time favourite beer from the states is Fat Tire!
During our travels in Latin America so far, the beers have been largely as expected, relatively homogeneous lagers dominate the market, with little choice. However there have been the odd exceptions.
Looking through the Lonely Planet prior to our travels I just knew that I wanted to visit D&D Brewery. It’s a little microbrewery near Lago de Yajoa with a cool waterfall nearby. To me (and also my dad) it was well worth going out of my way for. Unfortunately for me this coincided with being ill, though that didn’t stop me sampling the beers on my last night there. They produce a variety of American style beers, including fruit flavoured ones, though I have to say my favourite was the porter! Despite some recent mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, the owner was very friendly and it’s a place where I would definitely go back to, as would many others – we met one person who had been back 4 times.
Having missed a small microbrewery in Costa Rica, I was very glad when I arrived in Medellin in Colombia and saw a poster for a brewery tour and tasting that very night, it totally turned my day around. Every Thursday it’s possible to go to the 3 Cordilleras Brewery, for roughly $10 you can try all 5 of their beers. This is a fantastic way to introduce people to a new type of beer, and I can say that it’s definitely working, it was packed! Later we found out that there is another Microbrewery (called Apostol) in Medellin which has started doing a similar offer on the same night, I think they’ve got some tough competition!
We are currently heading to Chile via Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, if anyone has any recommendations for Microbreweries on the way, please let me know!