Looking Back: Drink Beer, And You’ll Be Alright

By Stephen Ewashkiw | July 8, 2014

15,734 km so far.

For your listening pleasure, Chris T-T, Drink Beer (from the album The 253). Turn it up loud as you read this blog post about some of the best beer in the world.

HumanFish Brewing, Vrhnika, Slovenia
Matthew Charlesworth is brewing the finest beer I had on my entire trip. In a small town in Slovenia. He doesn’t export (yet) so you’re just going to have to make a trip to visit him. Hands down, no questions, his beer is the bomb.

Yay, a real brewery.

Yay, a real brewery.

Does it help that he is an all-round nice guy? Sure. Does it help that he opened his brewery on his day off to give us an exclusive tour? Yup. But it really helps that this is high quality beer. He trained at the American Brewers Guild in Vermont and his training and passion for finely crafted brew shows.

His IPA was exceptional and I cannot wait to go back to Ljubljana in October to drink my fill.

Great Leap Brewing, Beijing, China
What a surprise. I did not expect to find great craft beer in the midst of one of Beijing’s remaining hutong, but José, as his friends call him, is brewing a great selection of beers.

Great Leap beer in Beijing.

Great Leap beer in Beijing.

Since hops are my thing, I was happy that he had several hoppy beers to choose from. China is the world’s largest producer of hops, but most of them go into weak, mass-produced lager. It’s nice that some of them find their way into tasty craft beer instead. The beer garden at Great Leap Brewing is a beautiful setting in which to sit back, recover from the chaos of Beijing, and sip his delicious beers. This a must visit if you are in Beijing.

Boxing Cat, Shanghai, China
I stopped by Boxing Cat more times than I can remember, since by the time we reached Shanghai it had been months since we were at Great Leap, meaning it was months since I enjoyed beer this good.

beer at boxing cat shanghai

Boxing Cat brew in Shanghai.

Their Catcher Rye IPA was a favourite of mine. That they have a delicious quinoa burger and exceptional onion rings on their menu was just an added bonus.

Just before we left Shanghai, Jane found what was to become my favourite bar of the trip on a small side street in Shanghai. Jackie’s Beer Nest is a hole-in-the-wall serving General Gao on tap, plus a whole selection of international beer on tap and in the fridge.

Pinta, Wroclaw, Poland
Although Poland is crawling with microbreweries, very few were making beers that I would write home about. I tried all kinds of dark beers in Poland, but almost all were too malty and sweet for me. I also drank more lagers than an IPA man ever should.

strong beer krakow poland

Strong beer in Krakow. The raspberry vodka shot was better.

But finally, in the land of my grandfather, I stumbled upon Pinta, who brew an IPA that reminded me of why I love hops so much.

Honourable Mentions
Mikkeller Gypsy Brewers, in various locations, most notably at their bar in Bangkok | Beer4Wedding, Berlin, Germany | Užavas, Ventspils, Latvia 

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