There are many approaches you can take to choosing the greatest beer nations around the globe. You can take the historic road and highlight the nations that have invented, re-invented and revolutionized various types of beer or redefined our perception of the golden brown. You can go with the countries with the most popular global beer brands, or with the countries that consume the most, or any other approach that comes to mind. Whichever way you choose to tackle it, the same nations always seem to rise to the top.
These are the countries with a beer fixation, or a “beer culture”, as it’s more commonly cold - the countries that not just produce beer or simply consume it in large amounts, but celebrate it and have it as a big part of their national identity. Let’s take a tour around the most “beery” countries around the globe.
1. Czech Republic
Officially the world’s biggest beer drinking country with 157 liters per person drank on annual basis, Czech Republic has indebted the mankind with many beer achievements. The world’s very first beer museum was opened there, and if that wasn’t enough the country gave us Pilsener and Budweiser. Even though these two are virtually synonymous with pale lagers, the Czech brew a wide variety of beers and most towns pride themselves on their own local recipes, while the micro brewery scene is strong today as it was back in the day.
The Irish are notorious drunks, and the stats back it up, with over 130 liters per capita drank annually. While Ireland is best known for its stouts - dark, strong beers made from roasted malt or barley - the most produced (and consumed) beers are actually lagers. Still, if words like “Guinness” or “Murphys” don’t make your mouth water, then you should probably stop reading. The country also has a booming craft beer scene, not just in Dublin but spread around the map.
Oktoberfest, anyone? If there is one country in the world synonymous with beer, it’s Germany. The Germans haven’t exactly invented beer, but they’ve turned brewing into an art form. They even had a beer purity law declared in the early 16th century! Heck, even Oktoberfest was a one off wedding celebration for the Bavarian prince in 1810, but the common folk enjoyed it so much that they turned it into an annual event revolving around beer. The German beer scene is very regional and very diverse, offering anything from the dominant pilseners to powerful dark beers that could put a bear to sleep.
The fun loving Australians love themselves some beer, knocking down impressive 110 liters per person a year. Instead of giving you an overview of Australian beers, let’s focus on a few fun facts:
The James Cook expedition, which resulted in the European discovery of Australia in 1770, also brought beer to the continent. Beer was carried and even brewed aboard during the expedition as a way to preserve drinking water.
At the turn of the 19th century the situation with alcoholism in Australia was so bad that the government officially championed and pushed beer as a safer and healthier alternative to spirits.
Australian Bob Hawke set the world record for speed drinking beer by chugging 2.5 pints in 11 seconds back in 1952. He later went on to become the prime minister of Australia.
Lager is the dominant beer on the market, but there are many regional and local varieties, as well as an abundance of craft beers and specialty beers. And if you’d like to bring a taste of Australia back home with you, you can easily get pre-packaged beer brew supplies and start brewing your own authentic Aussie beer.
The British aren’t the most intense of beer drinkers (coming in well under 100 liters per person), but England has a unique beer culture that has as much to do with pubs and cask ale as it has with the beer itself. Still, the British have produced some of the most popular styles of beer around the world, from porter to bitter to Indian pale ale, and the micro brewery scene in England is easily the strongest in all of Europe. Beers in England diverge not just from one town to the next, but from one pub to the next. The best thing to do is to simply immerse yourself into the culture without taking favorites.
There are plenty of other countries in the world that pride themselves on their beer, but hopefully these few suggestions should help you choose your next destination in your quest for the perfect brew.