All bar none

An A-Z of where in the world to drink and what; Fortify yourself with boudin noir, andouillettes and beer at Les Brasseurs, on the station square, then hunt the local bieres de garde Illustration by Frazer Hudson

In these holiday planning months, I have to decide whether I will fancy wine or beer. Warm, grapey, countries are fine for wine, but their beers are often no more than bland refreshers. Cooler countries grow grain and hops, and offer beery variety. In any of the following towns or cities, make sure you ask for more than just "a beer".

Amsterdam There is more to Dutch beer than the famous names. Mind you, Heineken has produced a strong, silky, dark wheat beer, called Tarwebok, and Grolsch Amber is a full-flavoured ale. The most interesting brews are at one of the world's great beer bars, in a former gin-tasting room: In De Wildeman, 5 Nieuwe Zijds Kolk, off the shopping street Nieuwendijk. (Opens at noon; closed Sundays. Hard to find, but worth it). Or drink rummy, abbey-style, beers brewed under a windmill (you can see it from Central Station), at 't IJ (Wed-Sun, 3pm-8pm).

Brussels Belgium has the world's most colourful, idiosyncratic, beers. Brussels' own style is the winey Gueuze-Lambic, with its fruit variations. Beginners try the sweeter versions at Cafe Mort Subite, which inspired a Bejart ballet, 7 Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potageres (opens at 4pm). O, near Grand' Place, at La Becasse, 11 Rue Tabora (open at lunch for smelly cheese and saveloy-like sausages). More serious, dry, versions at the Cantillon brewery and museum, 56 Rue Gheude, Anderlecht. For a meal cooked with beer, 't Spinnekopke, 1 Place Jardin aux Fleurs (closed Sat lunch and Sun).

Cologne It looks like a golden lager, but the local Kolschbier is technically closer to a pale bitter. Opposite the cathedral, at 12-14 Am Hof, PJ Fruh's Co1ner Hofbrau has its own brew. So, at either end of the Haymarket (Heumarkt), do the Paffgen and Malzmuhle taverns.

Denver The world's biggest selection of brews (1,400 last year) is at the Great American Beer Festival, 2-4 October. Information: 001 303 447 0816.

Edinburgh Look out for Burns Ale, from the local Caledonian brewery. Its beers have the finest aromatic maltiness of any in Britain. Edinburgh's parade of wonderful pubs has just been enriched by the art deco Frazer's Bar, 14 George St.

Funchal Madeira's famous sweet wine is blended with a dark-brown lager and chocolate. This cocktail is called a goat's foot. Hence the Pe-de- Cabra bar, on the road from Funchal to Camaro de Lobos.

Galway Murphy's stout at the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival, this year tentatively slated for the first weekend in September (Information: 00 353 91 796766). Or Guinness at the similar festival in Galway town on the weekend 26-28 September (00 353 91 527282).

Helsinki Sibelius used to get drunk in Kappeli ("The Chapel"), on the Esplanade; now, it makes its own beers. Look out also for the rye-and-juniper country brew Sahti, traditionally consumed after a sauna.

Indianapolis Where the Indy is not a newspaper but a car race. Soccer- loving Yorkshireman John Hill makes Big Boot Brown Ale at his Broad Ripple brewpub, 840 East 65th Street.

Jiuneau The state capital is a long way to go for Alaskan Smoked Porter, but I thought it worth the trip. A friend took me by helicopter for a picnic breakfast on an ice-flow. Bagels and lox; both the Alaskan salmon and the porter were alder-smoked.

Kandy This Buddhist holy city in Sri Lanka has locally made stout from the cask at UKD Silva's bar, Colombo Street.

Lille Fortify yourself with boudin noir, andouillettes and beer at Les Brasseurs, on the station square, then hunt the local bieres de garde, with their anise-like spicy maltiness.

Munich At the end of February, the pre-Lenten Salvator Doppelbock, a rich, strong, dark-brown lager, is tapped at the Paulaner brewery's beer- cellar at the Nockherberg. In late April, there will be the ruby-coloured Maibock at the Hofbrauhaus, on the Platzl. In summer, drink the stunning Blonder Bock at Forschungs Bauerei, 76 Unterhachinger Strasse, in the suburb of Perlach. Leave the Oktoberfest to the Antipodean backpackers.

New York New treats: Extra Special Bitter, brewed on the premises, at the Commonwealth pub, in the Rockefeller Center; Scottish-style ales on hand-pump at the Highlander, in an old Yiddish theatre in the Gramercy area, 190 3rd Ave at 17th and 18th; pale ale and "upscale" Thai food at Typhoon, 22 E 54th.

Oslo Tired of expensive, pure-but-samey lagers? Try the huge Imperial Stout at the tiny Oslo Mikro Bryggeri, 6 Bogstadveien.

Prague Fresh, soft, aromatic, original Pilsner at The Golden Tiger, U Zlateho Tygra, 17 Husova; look out for novelist Bohumil Hrabal in this literary tavern. Licorice-tinged dark lager, with rye bread and soft cheese, at U Fleku, 11 Kremencova, the famous, cavernous, beer hall.

Quebec city L'Inox, 37 Ste-andre St, is a nightclubby bar making its own, whiskyish, Bock beer called Trois de Pique (Three of Spades).

Riga The hazy, heady Lacplesa lager that I tasted on a collective farm in Latvia is hard to find in the increasingly westernised capital, but I was offered it in an earthenware mug at a cellar restaurant called Pie Kristapa, 25-29 Jauniela.

Seattle The hops of the nearby Yakima valley make for some of the world's most appetisingly bitter ales. Sample them at the Red Door, 3401 Fremont Ave N, run by a Lithuanian from Featherstone, Yorkshire.

Tokyo American-style hoppy ales, served with Chinese food (try the beef with green peppers and ginkgo nuts) at a cellar bar named after an Irish saint who established a brewing monastery in Switzerland: Sankt Gallen, 6-3-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku.

Ur A Mesopotamian brewing site 4,300 years ago. Of purely historical interest.

Vienna Pioneered amber-red lagers in 1841. Today's best example of this style is the Marzenbier at the Siebenstern brewpub, in the street of the same name.

Washington, DC Five hundred to 1,000 beers at The Brickskeller, an eccentric bar on the edge of Georgetown, 1523 22nd NW. It is hard to beat the local Hop Pocket Ale.

Xingu Town and river in Brazil, giving their name to an intense dark lager. There have been sightings of this brew in Britain.

York The Maltings, below Lendal Bridge, is one of my favourite real-ale pubs, with an ever-changing selection of ales. Look out for the Landlady (that's a new beer, of some hoppy acidity).

Zurich The local Hurlimann brewery produces the immensely strong (14 per cent) winter lager Samichlaus, but it is easier to find in Britain. Zurich's El International bar, 53 Zentral Strasse, is proud of a smooth, malty lager produced only when the fermentation can be accelerated by a full moon

Michael Jackson has been named Beer Writer of the Year. He has received the Gold Tankard, top award of the British Guild of Beer Writers for his work over the past year, including articles for the Independent and his World Beer Hunter CD-ROM (Discovery Channel)

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers