3 Places in 3 Days … 3/125 Places to Drink Beer Before you Die!

Still following All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List” 125 best places in the world to have a beer.

I found myself in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand … as such I was able to hit 3 of the places in 3 days on the list!

It’s kind of funny … the order I visited these places is their numerical order on the list! They were #53, Lord Nelson’s Brewery and Hotel, #89, Iceberg’s on Bondi Beach, and #98, The Shakespeare Brewery. Let’s start in order.

#53: Lord Nelson’s

This is the oldest pub brewery in Australia along with the oldest licensed hotel. It is in the heart of the historic district and a great location to visit. They have an excellent selection of their own beers–and the bonus was you could do a tasting flight!

I thought the Three Sheets was an excellent Pale Ale.I also recommend the Anileation … the Stout. I had high hopes for the Nelson’s Blood, a porter, but it was just a little off. Everything else was really good.

To include the food.

This was an excellent stop; great atmosphere, very nice beer, and good food … what more do you want in your combination? Definitely deserves a spot on the 125.

#89 – Iceberg’s on Bondi Beach.

Ok, check out this location first and you’ll see why it is on the list.

The building closest to the ocean over there is Icebergs.Here’s a panoramic shot of the beach with Icebergs again on the right.Walking up to Icebergs you get a great view of the pool and the ocean.Looking back to the beach you can see the folks in the water … surfing. This beach is the birthplace of surfing in Australia.

We found a great seat at the bar inside and ordered some lunch and a couple of beers. The beer menu was not extensive, but so what.

This Little Creatures Pale Ale hit the spot and the service was excellent. Very nice folks and the food was very tasty.

I can see why this place is on the list … well worth a stop …

(Here’s a detour for you … we also took the ferry over to Manly Wharf (check my post about MTB’ing on my other blog). The ferry was $15 AUD there and back. It provided excellent views of the opera house on the way there.

After the ride, I enjoyed a nice Corona (haha).

Then we went back to the Wharf and had an excellent meal at the Bavarian Restaurant while watching the sunset. Here’s a couple of shots … I would say that this location rivaled Lord Nelson’s for setting, ambiance, and beer. You never know where the best beer place is gonna pop up!

Ok, finally, #98 — The Shakespeare Brewery and Hotel.

We landed in Auckland, checked into our hotel, and walked over to this place. The Boutique Hotel has been there over 120 years … the bar … i don’t know.

The brewery is the oldest brew pub in New Zealand. They are making really good beers AND they serve them in flights … bonus!

Perusing the menu, I noticed I could also have The Gentleman, a Stout, in the bottle. It was a lovely beer and made the end of our visit to this iconic location memorable.

I can definitely recommend this place too and agree with it being on the list if simply for the fact it is the first brew pub in NZ.

Although moving along what some might consider slowly (I’ve been working on this list for 10 years now), I feel like visiting on average 7+ places a year is pretty good! I’ve completed visits to 74 of the 125 (see my modifications) … only 51 to go … at 7 a year that means I should be finished in the next 7 years! A worthy goal.

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

Thailand: The Beers.

Sorry for the delay in posts … I’m finding that the WiFi in Thailand was better overall than Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand (so far). Let’s hope that New Zealand access gets better!

I will say that, overall, the Thai beer options are way better than Cambodia or Laos. See my previous post for that. There were a decent amount of imports available at the local stores and they were not especially expensive. We bought a few here at the Mini Big C. I’m not sure if the Big C is mini or if the Big is mini which would make it a normal C. Either way, they had beers.

Here is the first beer I had in Thailand (in Chiang Rai) … it was also the last beer I had in Thailand! This was an excellent vollbier … I had a few of those during our month in Thailand.

It was nice that it came with the correct glass!My final beer … Yes, it’s a mini-glass, but not from the Mini-C.

We tried to hit a few craft beer places in Chiang Mai but our timing was off a couple of times. They seemed to be closed each time we rode our bikes by them. However, each western-style restaurant we tried seemed to have at least one decent beer.

This burger joint had the “Brew Dog” … nice.This was a Mexican place … Heineken. It was good too.

If we ate at a Thai place, and they had beer, it was usually Leo or Tiger (lagers) or something similar.

Here are a couple of pics of the beers I was able to pick up at the store. One Radner and the biggest can of Hefeweizen (outside of a keg) that I’ve ever seen!!

Yep, you can get Budweiser here in Thailand!

This Radler had a nice flavor … but I wouldn’t buy more than one.Yes, you can get Leo beer in the store.Here it is! The monster can!This photo shows you the size … I think it was at least 750 ml!A pop top for those who like it old school. It was quite tasty … I wish I had had the proper glass with which to drink!

All in all a decent beer drinking experience in Thailand. However, I found that my go to drink for dinner was these 2-for-1 mojitos! 5 dollars for two … yes please! We even presented the restaurant with an “award” for “Best Mojitos in Thailand!”

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

Cambodia/Laos … The Beers.

This will be a pretty short post — we traveled to a few places in these two countries. We took a boat ride up the Mekong from Vietnam to Cambodia stopping in Phnom Penh. Then we drove from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, stayed there a few days, and then flew to Luang Prabang in Laos. We traveled by boat from there (on the Upper Mekong) to Thailand. During this whole time, I actually only saw a few local beers.

In Cambodia, it was “Angkor.” I think I had one called “Cambodia Beer” too.

Both your typical warm-weather lagers … they were refreshing, but very limited. In Laos, it was even worse … just “Beerlao.”

However, you could get “dark” or “light” … both lagers. Oh well. I tried to get other beers, but they were usually out of the imports.

Oh, I forgot — we did try a local brew — it was Rice Whiskey … here’s the “Still.” The dog must have been at the alcohol.

However, after drinking it, I could swear this “lion” statue looked like a monkey. Haha.

Actually, it was very clean and crisp — and had a good kick!

Lol. On to Thailand!

Beer Mentor

Craft “Bia” (beer) … Vietnam.

We had an opportunity to tour from the North of Vietnam down to the South … In my previous post I shared all the different beers we had an opportunity to sample. From my 20 days of observation (very limited, I know) I came to this conclusion: Craft is alive and well in Vietnam. I wouldn’t call it American-style craft, but Viet Nam-style.

For instance, when we were in Hanoi, I didn’t see many “craft beer” places; however, they did serve “fresh” beer (see previous post). This is “craft” in my mind … small batches, serving the style the people enjoy, as fresh as possible–all very reasonably priced as well.

I didn’t see “craft” in the smaller cities (Hue, Hoi An, Sapa, etc), but we did see it in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). In Saigon I saw several craft beer / breweries on Google maps. I sampled beers from “Heart of Darkness” and visited Gammel Bier. They were both well-crafted. The place I really enjoyed was Pasteur Street Brewing.

It was near our Hotel (across the street). It wasn’t completely obvious how to get there, but the sign pointed to the alley … once in the alley it was easy to find the tap room.

We joined the other ex-pats/Europeans upstairs … there weren’t any Vietnamese (except for the servers). The beer was excellent (and so was the music).

It was kind of strange hearing Vietnam War protest songs while there but I guess it works for them. The food was excellent as well. Overall I would rate this place very highly and would recommend it as a locale for anyone visiting Saigon and looking for great beer.

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

94. Felix in The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong (#71)

This is #94 on the list … over 70 places on the list now. Yes, I’m still making my way on the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List” 125 best places in the world to have a beer.

Some of the recent entries have seemed a little “dated.” I know they are great places, but they seem to be a little worn or have lost the “vibe” to newer places. Not The Felix. This is an exceptional bar with a fantastic view of the Hong Kong Harbor.

This bar is on the 28th floor of The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. If you are familiar with the James Bond films, you will recognize this hotel from Roger Moore’s “The Man With the Golden Gun” movie. However, the Felix didn’t exist when that movie was filmed in 1974. The hotel is known for its fleet of courtesy cars … Rolls Royces. Unfortunately, they didn’t pick us up from our hotel … we had to walk.

The bar doesn’t open until 1730 … but once it does, you ride the elevator specifically for the bar / restaurant. You get to the top, walk into the restaurant and open your mouth to the view, just like everyone else.

I ordered a beer and sat at the bar before we had dinner. It was a special IPA, made locally, with a slang name: “gwei-lo.” It means “pale guy” (or whitey) in English … slang for foreigner. Kind of funny. It was quite tasty though!

We reserved a table by the window to watch the everyday 8pm light show across the harbor. The dinner was ok … you can just visit the bar and enjoy a beer if you’d like. I highly recommend a stop if you are in Hong Kong. Definitely deserves to be on the list!

Oh, finally, what beer goes in must come out. If you go to the men’s room, you have a fantastic view while standing at the Urinal as well. Haha.

Enjoy!

Stumblingpiper

Miscellaneous Growler List Photos …

As a reminder, this list is my effort to complete the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.

From the summary — see my earlier post for explanation:

Total (actual) places visited: 70.  A few years ago, my brothers and my best friend joined me in Europe for a 2 week beer swing.  Not sure I posted about that, but here are a few random photos from that trip …

3) U Fleku (Prague, Czech Rep) … great place … nice “ambience” … yeah, i was without luggage for a few days …
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6) Augustiner Keller (Munich, Germany) … my brother and I hit this as one of the last places before he had to depart the country.  Worth a stop in warm weather. 🙂

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28) Zum Uerige (Dusseldorf, Germany).  Too commercialized now … there are other Altbier locations to visit that have great beer and decent service.  It was quite active though! 
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37) Atelier am Dom (Cologne, Germany).  Views — spectacular!  Beer — pretty good.  Highly recommend. 
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41) Blues Bar (Stone Town, Zanzibar).  [This place was closed so I substituted Mercury’s … you can see the old Blues Bar in the distance]  I took this photo from Mercury’s patio.
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61) Krcma (Ceske Krumlov, Czech Rep).  The food was good … beer was Ok.  locale was spectacular!
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68) Gösser Bierklinik (Vienna, Austria).  Hard to argue about a place that’s been there for hundreds of years. 
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73) Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern (Bamberg, Germany).  Whoa!  That smoked beer … amazing!  The town is fantastic too.
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77) Die Weisse (Salzburg, Austria).  An interesting stop as we were passing through the country. 
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78) Halve Maan Brewery (Brugge, Belgium).  Yep, six  years ago I was there on my birthday.  They almost spelled my name right!  But it was a great tour, great beer, great location.  Did I say it was great?
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90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum (Brussels, Belgium). Wow, wow. and wow.  Highly recommend a sto here. wow.


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Wow.

Beer Mentor.

Growler List: Summary Update #6 … not Final

Reference:  All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.

Ok, I said it was my final entry last May … but I changed my mind!  Yes, I’m still scouting out new bars/places to enjoy a cold, refreshing beverage, but I will continue to work on this list because, dang it, I like to work on lists.

Summary: Total (actual) places visited: 70 (55 remain on the list).  I’ve worked very hard on correcting my list, so I think I’ve visited 4 (and sub’d 2) places since my last post:

#93: Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers.  Unfortunately, this festival is defunct.  Darn.  I would have loved to go to this one!  I’ve substituted an equally appropriate one: Big Beers, Belgians, and Barley Wines in Breckenridge, CO.

#10: The Great Canadian Beer Festival.  This was definitely a good festival–I wouldn’t call it great.  Because of the laws in Canada, you can’t just buy one ticket and drink all the beers you want (like in the US festivals).  You have to purchase a token for a “sample.”  The samples are larger so you won’t be able to taste several beers without stumbling back to your hotel.  Oh well, if I must.

 

#23: Henry’s 12th Street Tavern.  This was a very nice place in Portland, OR.  I visited with my brother and sister … with the abundance of great places now, I would rank this one down the list … worth a stop if you are in the area, but not worth going out of your way to get there.

#36: McMenamins’ Kennedy School Hotel, Portland, OR.  This one is worth a visit!  The brewery, restaurant, and hotel are all in an old elementary school complex.  Definitely a unique location with ample parking.  Worth a detour!

Here’s the complete list of places I’ve visited … new entries in Bold. Substitutes in Italics.

1. Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2016)
2. The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
3. U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic (2012)
5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany  (1998) (2012)
6. Augustiner Keller, Munich, Germany (2012)
7. Abbaye de Notre-Dame d’Orval, Orval, Belgium (2009) (2012)
10. The Great Canadian Beer Festival, Victoria [BC] (2017)
11. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (1997, 1998, 2001, 2012)
12. The Brickskeller (now Bier Baron), Washington, DC (2005, 2011)
14. The Market Porter, Stoney Street, London, England (2010)
15. Cat’s Eye Pub, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD (2011)
16. Camden Yards (Baltimore) [Substitute] (2008, 2009)
(Original: Fenway Park)

18. Horizon’s Cafe – CN Tower (Toronto, Canada) (2016)
19. Glengarry Highland Games Beer Tent (Maxville, Ontario) (2003, 2011) [Substitute]
(Original: Saratoga Race Course)
22. German Bundesliga (Kaiserslautern) (1997) [Substitute]
(Original: Daytona Motor Speedway)
23. Henry’s 12th Street Tavern (Portland, OR) (2018)
24. Hopleaf, Chicago, IL (2014)
25. World Beer Festival, Durham/Raleigh, NC (2011)
28. Zum Uerige, Düsseldorf, Germany (2012)
29. Toronado, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
30. The Olde Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, Hatton Garden, London, England (2010)
31. Cowboys/Redskins, FedEx Field Skybox (DC) (2009) [Substitute]
(Original: Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

32. Rogue Brewery, Newport (OR) (2017)
33. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO (2011)
36. McMenamins’ Kennedy School Hotel, Portland, OR (2018)
37. Atelier am Dom, Cologne, Germany (2012)
38. Anchor Brewing, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
39. The Flying Saucer, NC, SC, TN, AR and TX (2010, 2013)
41. Blues Bar, Stone Town, Zanzibar (closed)
[substitute: Mercury’s] (2013)

42. Sandlot Brewery (seems perpetually closed)
[substitute: Great Divide Barrel Bar), Denver (CO)] (2016)

43. Clark Street Ale House, Chicago, IL (2014)
44. Tailgating Frankfurt Galaxy NFL Europe Game (1996, 1997) [Substitute]
                 (Original: Tailgate SEC game. Sorry, Big 12 fan)
45. Selin’s Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA (2010)
47. The Map Room, Chicago, IL (2014)
48. The Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY (2010)
51. The White Horse Pub, Parsons Green, London, England (2010)
54. Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO (2011)
57. Andechs Monastery, Andechs, Germany (2010) (2012)
61. Krcma, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (2012)
66. Delirium Café, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
68. Gösser Bierklinik, Vienna, Austria (2012)
71. Brewer’s Art, Baltimore, MD (2010)
73. Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern, Bamberg, Germany (2012)
77. Die Weisse, Salzburg, Austria (2012)
78. Halve Maan Brewery, Bruges, Belgium (2012)
80. Le Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
82. Irseer Klosterbrauerei, Irsee, Germany (2010) (2012)
84. Goose Island Brewing, Chicago, IL  (2014)
85. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014)
88. Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern, Monroe, WI (2014)
90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum, Belgium  (2012)
91. Dogfish Head Ale House, Rehoboth Beach, DE (2010)
92. Belgo Centraal, London, England (2010)
93. Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers (defunct/closed)
      (Substitute: Big Beers, Belgians, and Barley Wines (Breck’, CO) (2015, 2016, 2017)
97. Clark’s Ale House, Syracuse, NY (2010)
100. Steamworks Brewing, Vancouver, Canada (2015)
103. Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, Key West, FL (2007, 2016)
104. Rose & Crown Pub, Epcot Center, Orlando, FL (2006)
106. Brick Store Pub, Decatur, GA (2011)
108. The Ghost Bar at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, NV (2015)
110. The Gingerman, Austin, TX (2010)
113. beerbistro, Toronto, Canada (2016)
114. The Dubliner, Washington, DC (2010)
115. John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL (2014)
118. Top of the Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC (2011)
121. Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC (2010)
122. 5 Seasons Brewing, Atlanta, GA (2011)
123. Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman, Sherrills Ford, NC (closed)
               (Substitute) In de Vrede (Belgium) (2010, 2012)
124. Stumbling Monk, Seattle. WA (2011)
125. The Happy Gnome, St Paul, MN (2014)

Beer Mentor

#63: Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers (93) [DEFUNCT]

Note: Finalizing blogs on “Places on the Growler List.”  

This is #93 on the list … I hit a milestone with this entry … I’m made it over halfway there on the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List” 125 best places in the world to have a beer.

However, this is also a substitution … if you’ve read through my blog, you will see that some of the entries I’ve modified slightly.  There are two types of modifications–first, if the venue is closed, I substitute (what I feel) is an appropriate replacement.  The other is a “suitable sub.”  For instance, I’m not a fan of SEC football, so I substituted another “experience” entry.  I did that for about 5 entries (I think).  This entry, #63 for me, is a substitute for a defunct festival: Bruxellensis.  I’m sad about that because the festival looked very interesting.  My replacement, though, is a fantastic option (I believe).

The Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines Festival (formerly in Vail, CO but now in Breckenridge, CO is incredible.  If you go to just more than the festival — you can spend the whole weekend celebrating beer at this event — all the better.  Sign up for seminars, sessions, cigar tastings, etc, etc.

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This event entered its 16th year in 2017 and you can really appreciate the maturity.  There are scheduled activities starting even earlier in the week and continuing through Sunday.  The basic format is — beer dinners/tastings/seminars/competitions early (Monday through Friday) and then the big Festival on Saturday.  And this is about Big Beers!  How about a 1994 Triple Bock from Boston Brewery?  The Utopias at 28%?

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Many of the craft industries long-time members really go all out in support of this (Dogfish Head, Avery, and the Lost Abbey to name a few (Oh, and Boston Brewery?  see above)).

However, you also get the newer entrants in the industry as well — all focused on big beers or Belgians … and not just big, but great beers.  If you look at the link above and walk through some of the activities, i’m sure you’ll agree … worthy of a place on the list and as a replacement for Bruxellensis.

Finally, this is also on Beermentor’s 100 Places list … now there are two officially, this Festival and Russian River Brewing.  I will be adding my list soon … really.  🙂

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

Napa Alternative: Bear Republic!

I was recently in Napa Valley doing some “wine country” touring.  Having had my wine fix and needing to chase it with a beer AND since I was heading north from there (from Calistoga) I decided to roll through Healdsburg, CA and visit Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Located right downtown they have a nice location, excellent patio, and cool staff.  The beer is excellent, you can do the samplers, and the food is excellent as well.  Marcin Furmankiewicz, the restaurant general manager, really takes the time to make sure you feel welcome.  You can tell they like what they do!

Definitely west coast style ales!  The tasters are a nice size and they will give you related flights.

Although they are in a shopping plaza (aren’t most really cool craft breweries now??) they make full use of the space.  Check out the barrel room if given the opportunity … they even have some hops growing out back!

The Racer 5 IPA is their well known beer. However, drink them all and see what you think!  Enjoy,

Beer Mentor

Brazil Microbrewery: Hop n’ Roll!

I visited Curitiba, Brazil (a city of 5 million) last week and my girlfriend and my new friends took me to a Cervejaria … Hop n’ Roll!

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Who knew Brazil was starting to brew beers other than Lagers?? Actually, Brazil is the fourth largest producer of beer (recently surpassing Germany in production).  Apparently there are microbreweries in all of the large cities … some notable ones are Cervejaria Colorado and Choperia Baden Baden.  

This was a very cool place — great layout and decor … check the photos here.  They had an outdoor beer garden and a nice indoor pub.  They had parking in the rear … no problem.

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Great artwork.  Below pictures show the chalk board with the available beers.  You could get local craft beer, American microbrews, and several Belgian options to include Trappists.  Really a nice selection of beer!

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Not only could you drink there, you could also brew!  They had a brew your own set up … it takes about 4 hours — if we had more time I was going to brew a batch for my friend to drink later.  Here’s a few photos of the setup …

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I can’t say enough about how nice the folks were — great location.  The food was good too.  They had an interesting way of tracking your consumption (thank goodness for my Portuguese dictionary … haha).  Here I am paying the tab … inexpensive too … $58 for all of us to have a bite and drink a few beers.  Very nice.  If you are in the area, stop in for a brew!

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Enjoy!

Beer Mentor