Friday, September 21, 2012

The World's Best Cities for Beer (Part 2)

continued from part 1...

We've willingly drunk our way around the globe to uncover the best cities for drinking beer. Here are the top 14 places to indulge in ale, lager, stout, draught, pilsner, and more.

Hanoi, Vietnam

The country's relationship with beer started in earnest during the Vietnam War when U.S. soldiers created an increased demand. Today, Hanoi has some of the cheapest and best varieties of beer in Asia. The most popular brands are San Miguel, Tiger 333, Bia Saigon, and Bière Larue. Make sure you also try Bia Hoi, or "fresh beer," a light-bodied pilsner without preservatives that is brewed and delivered daily to drinking establishments throughout Hanoi.

How to Drink: In general, beer is served over ice, and you always pour your friend's beer before your own. Toast by saying "tram phan tram" -- which translates to "100%" although it's likely that your local brew will only contain about 3% alcohol.

Average price for a glass of Bia Hoi: 2,500 Vietnamese dong (about 13¢)

Melbourne, Australia

Home to Carlton and United Breweries, Australia actively exports Foster's Lager, but locals prefer Victoria Bitter (VB), Crown, or Carlton Draught. With a pub seemingly on every major street corner in Melbourne, prices are relatively low (especially on tap), and tipping isn't required. Learn the terminology: "a shout" means you're buying the round, and "lite" actually means low-alcohol, not low-calorie.

Where to Drink: You can pick up a "slab" of 24 cans for around a A$1 per can at massive alcohol supermarkets like Dan Murphy ( Or drink it on tap at Beer DeLuxe (, James Squire Brewhouse (, and the Local Taphouse (

Average price for a pint: A$5

Edinburgh, Scotland

Locals often boast that Edinburgh has the highest concentration of pubs in Europe. Who are we to argue? The Scots have been brewing hops for thousands of years, and the tradition of drinking continues in the pubs of Edinburgh.

Where to Drink: Visit the Halfway House ( for a revolving range of local cask beers; the historic Oxford Bar (; the Bow Bar on West Bow Street and the Canny Man's on Morningside Road for a selection of locally-brewed ales; and the Cumberland Bar (, known for its huge range of cask-conditioned ales and beer.

Average price for a pint: £3

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico produces dozens of beers but only exports a handful of brands that have become household names in the U.S. A trip to Mexico City will open your eyes (and your mouth) to other tasty varieties, many brewed from century-old recipes. Regional pilsners, including Indio, Victoria, and Superior, are crisp and perfect to enjoy under the Mexican sun. The classic Germanic-style Noche Buena is only available seasonally from September to December.

Where to Drink: Try boutique beers by local brewers like Cervecería San Angel and the Santa Fe Beer Company. Cantinas and bars -- including Salon Corona II on Filomeno Mata, La Opera Bar on Av Cinco de Mayo, and La Terraza del Conquistador overlooking the Zócalo -- also carry a wide selection.

Average price for a pint: $2; you can find even cheaper options in smaller cantinas.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Once the nation's top beer-producing city and the base for four of the world's largest breweries (Schlitz, Pabst, Miller, and Blatz), Miller is now the only one that still calls Milwaukee home. Fortunately, the beer legacy survives in the form of the smaller breweries that have taken up residence -- and the aptly named baseball team: the Brewers.

Where to Drink: You'll never go thirsty at the Milwaukee Alehouse (, Roman's Pub (, and the Sugar Maple (, known to serve a selection of 60-plus U.S. craft beers. Sample more than 150 beers from over 50 breweries at Milwaukee's annual Beer Barons' World of Beer Festival (

Average price for tap beer: $3

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is the center of Belgium's huge beer industry, where the alcohol content is high and the varieties are plentiful.

Where to Drink: Head to local watering holes, such as the Puppet Cellar at Poechenellekelder, the historic Mort Subite ( and Delirium (, which serves more than 2,000 types of beer: Le Bier Circus (, Le Falstaff (, and Le Cirio are also popular haunts offering Belgian blondes, browns, reds and everything in between (beers, not women). Experience 225 beers at the annual Belgium Beer Weekend ( each September. This year falls over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-5).

Average price for a beer: €3.50

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia -- the City of Brotherly Love -- knows that the best bonding can happen over a pint or two.

Where to Drink: Go to Johnny Brendas ( for local Pennsylvania beers; Standard Tap ( for a large selection of draught-only craft beers from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey; Nodding Head Brewery ( for its own brew on tap; and Kraftwork ( for 25 local brews on tap and another 25 craft beers by the bottle. Philly Beer Week (, a 10-day series of beer-related events held each June, is a must-do for serious beer lovers.

Average price for a local craft beer on tap: $2.75 for an eight-ounce glass.


  1. I'm amazed at how cheap the beer in Edinburgh is, considering how expensive it is in some other major UK cities. I met some fantastic individuals when I was on my last trip there, though. A lot of happy memories and interesting conversations were had. Funnily enough, though, I only stepped into one of those pubs you mentioned - the Oxford Bar - but I did spend rather a lot of my time there since it was a few hops away from my rented apartment. Must try the others when I return next.

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  4. Been to the Manila, and I can say that it belongs to that list. Beer is cheap as well.

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