Where there’s a passion, there’s often focal points that people dream about visiting. After observing the fanaticism that surrounds Wimbledon amongst tennis fans, we began thinking about what locations would be our own personal Beer Mecca. Below, James has picked out five of his dream destinations – now he just needs to save some air miles!
Something about the Little Creatures Brewery in Freemantle has always enticed me in. Perhaps because it is housed in an old crocodile farm, or perhaps because visitors get to literally drink & eat in amongst a working brewery. Maybe it’s because it sits by the waterfront in beautiful surroundings; the fact that it’s hot 90% of the year is most definitely appealing. But ultimately I think it’s because Little Creatures has always exuded that laid back, friendly Aussie spirit in everything they do, and this is reflected in the brewery experience itself. No pretentiousness, no geekery. Just a great place to enjoy some great beers. If you can’t make it out to Perth any time soon, you can settle for the next best thing by visiting their new brewery taproom in King’s Cross, London. Not quite as sunny but nearly as cool.
Little Creatures Brewery, Perth, Australia
For pure variety and experimentation, Mikkeller are undoubtedly one of the world’s best brewers. In lieu of an actual physical brewery to visit (in Europe at least), the original Mikkeller Bar in Copenhagen is, featuring 20 constantly changing taps as well as a large collection of bottles, is just as exciting for the hardened beer geek. Being that it is Mikkeller coupled with the fact that it is in Copenhagen means it ain’t cheap, but try not to let that put you off. Beautifully designed in true Danish minimalist style, the Mikkeller bar was, when it opened, one of the original dedicated craft beer bars and it has inspired many others in all the right ways.
Mikkeller Bar, Copenhagen, Denmark
P.S. Yes we’re aware that Mikkeller now has several bars across the world and a brewery in San Diego – but the original Mikkeller is a must visit for it’s unassuming simplicity.
Cobwebs, cobwebs & more cobwebs. The Cantillon Brewery, located not too far from Brussels, goes against the old adage that 80% of brewing is cleaning. When in the business of making lambic & geuze beers, letting the elements in to do their thing is what it is all about. Wild yeasts abound (not that you can see them of course) across the brewery, which has remained almost unchanged in a century. Much of the brewing kit is original, including the open topped fermenters, whilst the cellars are loaded with wooden barrels containing lambic, kriek & framboise all fermenting and maturing away in peace, at one with nature. Not one for clean freaks but fascinating for fans of Belgian beer.
Pilsen, Czech Republic
In 1839, officials in the city of Plzen (or Pilsen) founded a brewery called Bürger Brauerei (Citizen’s Brewery) and recruited Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (no relation to Dave). The beer he produced there was the first batch of what we now call modern day Pilsner, a crisp, pale beer which became an instant hit both in the immediate vicinity and within wider Europe. The original Bürger Brauerei is now the Pilsner Urquell brewery and they put on an incredible tour, packed full of history, tunnels & beer. Plus there are of course some great bars in the city, inspired by its rich history & traditions. This mini-film gives you a little taster.
Anchor are often called America’s original craft brewery, by virtue of the fact that back in the late 60s they were pretty much the only American brewery still independently owned. Their Liberty Ale, brewed in 1975, is considered by many to be the first American IPA. Since it’s foundation in 1896, the brewery itself has had 6 different locations across San Francisco with it’s current location of Maripossa Street having been it’s home since 1977. Anchor is steeped in tradition, still using a German copper brewhouse and the open fermenters that gave rise to it’s famous Steam beer, and we would definitely put it up there as one of the most important locations in the US craft beer story.Where’s next on your beer pilgrimage wish list?