One of the best things about being in Europe is the beer. I've always had a love affair with beer and it has only gotten stronger as I tour around this great continent and discover new styles and brands. 

Now, when I say "Beer", I'm not talking about that watered down American swill that passes as beer, such as Budweiser, Michelob, Miller, and the lot. I'm talking about real beer . The kind you appreciate for the taste and unique blending of different ingredients. Belgium remains my favorite country for beer based on the variety and quality. And the UK & Ireland ales are just phenomenal. We won't even get started on Germany...

So here is a short pictorial recounting of how beer has played a significant part of my European experience:

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Shortly after arriving in Europe, I met my friend Randy in Rome. Here we are at the Trinity College Pub in Rome enjoying a pint.

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This is the Sports Bar in Kitzingen, Germany. It was my second home during my time there. Here's me and my Turkish friend. I'm drinking a Dunkelweizen.

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Me and my friend Steve Lester, also in Germany. His neighbors invited us to their party and we drank some good German pils. We also gave them some Sam Adams and they loved it.

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Here I am in Strasbourg, France, enjoying a cold Hoegaarden. Truly paradise.

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Hoegaarden, from Belgium. One of my favorites. Notice the glass. Whenever possible, Hoegaarden should be drunk out of this type of glass.

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Learning how to do a correct pour of a Guinness at the Irish House in Kaiserslautern. The bartender was from Ireland and gave me thorough instructions.  

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This is Steve and Tammi Lentz. For about a year, Steve was my beer buddy in Germany. We took a lot of pride in discovering good beer. We even tried to brew our own once, with disastrous results.


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This is the Beer Man, who we met in Luxembourg City. He was studying near Munich to be a "Meisterbrau" (Brewmaster). We spent a very enjoyable evening discussing beer with him. He even said he was impressed by our knowledge.

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Got Steve hooked on Sam Adams. I'm drinking a Winter Lager, Steve is enjoying a robust Boston Ale.

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One great about Germany are the fests. They always have fresh local beer on tap. Here I am in Kaiserslautern enjoying myself at their yearly fest.

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My first New Year's Eve was spent in London at a 6 story Irish Pub called Waxy O'Connor's. The Guinness was perfect. The next night we went to a comedy club and drank draught Boddington's all night. Paradise, truly.


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Salzburg, Austria: There is a beerhall & garden called the Augustiner Brewery. The beer is brewed by monks. It's cold, delicious, and flows like water in 1 litre mugs called a "mas".


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This was taken at a great Irish Pub in Nurnberg called The Irish Castle. Drinking Guinness with Irish people is a great European beer tradition

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Me and Mike Rayfield at his house near Vicenza. I'm drinking the ubiquitous Sam Adams, Mike a generic German pils.

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On the occasions when I went home on leave, I would usually suffer from lack of real beer. Luckily I could always count on Sam Adams.  

  You may have heard me say it a million times, but for my money, Belgium is the best beer country in Europe. The sheer variety of styles and high quality of the beer is second to none. Be warned, however, that Stella Artois is not a real Belgian beer. It's more like a Belgian Budweiser. My favorite is Hoegaarden (see above). Here are a few Belgian beer memories...  

Two fantastic Belgian brews.


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This is a Trappist Rochefort 10. It features plenty of sediment and clocks in at a hefty 11% abv. Tremendous sipping beer.

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Another favorite, Brugse Tripel (Brewed in the medieval city of Brugge). A very strong beer and full of flavor. Definitely not for the average American beer drinker. Hard to find outside of Belgium, although I enjoyed this pint in Amsterdam.

  In 2000, I relocated to Italy where I currently find myself. While Italy is certainly not a beer country, there is still much to satisfy any beer drinker here. Since many Germans vacation here, German beer is everywhere. And Italy has fully embraced the Irish Pub concept so it's easy to get a pint in pretty much any city, big or small.  
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Enjoying a German pils and Italian snacks on a hot day in Bologna

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Yes, even in Bologna, you can get a nice cold Tenants Scotch Ale.

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With Bob, a Brit I met in one of the pubs in Bologna, enjoying our pints of Tenants

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Go to Bassano dal Grappa and you'll find Tetley's Pub overlooking the old town. What a gorgeous view to enjoy while drinking a pint of Tetley's Ale.


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Here's another shot of me enjoying a pint of Tetley's in Bassano. No trip to Bassano is complete without a visit to Tetley's.


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About to enjoy a pint in one of Venice's Irish Pubs

Venice is a city that is near and dear to my heart. And a big reason why is because of the pubs. There 3 great pubs there - The Devil's Forest, the Fiddler's Elbow, and the Inishark. They make for a unique pub crawl experience, something we've done several times. Here are some pics from Venice's pubs: devilsforest.jpg (58643 bytes)

The Devil's Forest. Small, but always a good atmosphere.

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Steve Lester and I enjoying a pint of Kilkenny Cream Ale at the DF

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Xavier drinks his bottle while daddy drinks his pint

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This one is from one of our Venice Pub Crawls, it was taken at the Inishark


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And this one, from the Fiddler's Elbow

  The Fiddler's Elbow is an Italian institution. There are actually 3 of them in Italy - one in Rome, one in Florence, and one in Venice. I'm proud to say that I've drank in all of them:  
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Here's me and Steve at Flanagan's Pub in Geneva, Switzerland. I was so thrilled to find out that they had Boddingtons, one of my favorites.

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Me, my friend Avisha, and a nice cold pint at Flanagans in Geneva

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June, 2004, European Soccer Championships in Porto, Portugal. We got lubricated on SuperBock before the match

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Another surprisingly good beer city is Amsterdam. And NOT because of the Heineken, although it actually tastes good there. Because of its location, the city is overflowing with English & Belgian beer.

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One of the many pubs on the Rembrandt Plein

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This one is right next to the Hard Rock Cafe and casino in Amsterdam. Great location and great draught beer.


This is one of my all-time favorite photos. It was taken in Innsbruck, Austria in July 2004. As you can see, my son Xavier is a real chip off the old block:


 Beer Quotes:

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". - Benjamin Franklin

"People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot."
-Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI

"The easiest way to spot a wanker in a pub is to look around and find who's drinking a Corona with a slice of lemon in the neck."
-Warwick Franks

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."
-Abraham Lincoln

"Why is American beer served cold? So you can tell it from urine."
-David Moulton

"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."
-Homer Simpson

"Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world."
-Kaiser Welhelm

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?" 
- Stephen Wright


Beer Links: Suggested reading for any beer enthusiast

bullet - The official site of Michael Jackson, the world's foremost expert on all things beer. There is no limit to the things you can learn from this man.


All About Beer online - I have an on-again-off-again subscription to this magazine and I love it. If you like microbrews, you will love it to.


Samuel Adams - The official website of the best beer in America


Guinness - The official website of the best beer in the world


CAMRA - The official website of the Campaign For Real Ale, a very important movement in the UK to preserve real British Ales ("Save the Ales!").


The Beer Institute - Click on the "Beer Facts" tab at the top. Interesting stuff.

More Beer Stuff:

Rik's Beer Hall of Fame

Rik's Beer Hal of Shame


More Beer Quotes:

It was as natural as eating and, to me, as necessary. I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking a beer." - Ernest Hemingway

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."
- Jack Handy

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