Beer Travel

gabf2014The world’s largest beer festival has come to an end and thousands of beer drinkers are suffering through what may be their crappiest work week of the year. It’s well worth it though.

Me? I had a blast.

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weihenstephanOn last year’s beer trip to Munich, one thing I didn’t get to do which I was kinda bummed about was visiting Weihenstephan, the famous Bavarian brewery in Freising, Germany.

Their Hefeweissbier is one of my all-time favorite brews and as the world’s oldest brewery they command enormous respect in the industry.

So when I booked our trip to Italy this year I was pumped to see that we had a 5 hour layover in Munich on the flight back. Interesting….

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Epic Beer Festival Tasting Glass pictureThe Epic Beer Festival came to Denver this past weekend. Although this is its first year, the organizers have put on festivals in Denver in the past. They outgrew those and needed something more “epic”.

Epic started in San Diego. Denver is the second city to get it, with Philadelphia and Dallas up next.

I thought it was a great combination of a lot of breweries and a not-too-large crowd. The massive Colorado Convention Center is a great place for a festival. It had enough room that the breweries weren’t right on top of each other and there was plenty of space around the outside for you to step out of the crowds for a breather.

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Drinking Beer in Bamberg

by Billy Broas

View from Michaelsberg into Bamberg GermanyAs a side trip of my beer adventure in Munich I headed up to Bamberg. If you’re in Munich, seriously consider the trip. It’s a bit of a hike but totally worth it. Bamberg is tiny: only 21 square miles with a population of 70,000. NFL stadiums hold more than that. Yet this quiet Bavarian town is home to an astonishing nine breweries.

Munich is a laid back city in itself but Bamberg is even more so. The rivers that run though it seem to have a calming effect. The architecture is beautiful and there are seven hills dotted with churches and castles.

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Drinking Beer in Munich

by Billy Broas

New City Hall MunichI’m back from Munich, and the trip was incredible. Dr B. (my Dad) and I spent 6 days exploring Munich, Bamberg, and other parts of Bavaria. Let me fill you in on the best part of the trip: the beer.

My thoughts on the Munich beer scene

Beer is part of daily life in Munich. It’s more ingrained into the DNA of Müncheners than it is in Americans. At your meal, you get a beer. On the train, you get a beer. When you’re just hanging out, you get a beer. And they don’t get out of control, either. You won’t find much overt drunkenness (outside of festivals, of course).

There aren’t the same stigmas that we have about drinking beer, especially when it comes to women. Everyone drinks beer. I even saw numerous occasions at beer gardens where parents would pass their glass to their little kids for a few sips. Looking around it was obvious that we were the only ones who thought it was strange.

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munich-gateIn early May I’m taking a beer trip to Munich, Germany. You could say that I’m excited.

In 2006 I spent a day in Munich while traveling in Europe. I almost wish I hadn’t because it was so much fun I didn’t want to leave. It’s been a while, but I’m finally going back.

I want to make sure I do it right though, so I thought I would share with you my plan of attack. I also know that many BillyBrew readers have been to Germany and I’d be an idiot to not tap into that knowledge. I’ll be traveling with my photographer aka Dr. B aka Dad. He’s always wanted to go to Germany and I’m glad we can do this trip before he becomes an old(er) fart.

Here is the gist of the trip:

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The following is a guest post from my friend Chris Jensen. He’s been homebrewing for 5 years and works on the National Marketing team at Whole Foods Market.

Cobwebs at Cantillon Brewery
I’ve just returned from a spectacular two-week journey through Belgium, the self-proclaimed Beer Paradise. That moniker is no exaggeration.

Belgian beer culture is likely to make any beer enthusiast a little weak at the knees. According to Brooklyn Brewing’s Garrett Oliver, Belgium has “held onto a greater range of [its] brewing tradition than any other country in the world. ” If one could say that England is the Heart of brewing tradition, and Germany is its purist Mind, then Belgium is most certainly the Soul.

As a homebrewer and lover of beer, I’ve long respected Belgian brewers: I respect their substantial influence on brewers I love here in the US; I respect their tradition of bottle fermentation, which seems more natural and can produce more complex and mature qualities than forced carbonation; and I respect that each brewery has its own specialized glassware designed to highlight its beers’ features.

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Picture of Ocean Beach San Diego

When you hear talks about the best beer cities in America, the same names always come up: Denver (represent!), Portland, Philly, Asheville, and San Diego.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the last one as my girlfriend and I took a much needed vacation to Southern California. It was our first time there, and I wanted to see what all the beer talk was about.

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Colorado Six Pack Video

What if you could buy a six pack of the best beers your state had to offer?

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