BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwired) -- 09/10/13 -- As we head into Oktoberfest (and kick off tailgating season), beer is top of mind for many. Dropping temperatures, fun-loving crowds and beer tents make this a celebrated time of year for lagers and ales, but a good quaff can come anytime and in almost any corner of the globe. To underscore the rich brewing traditions around the world, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, decided to serve up their Top 10 Beer Locales (and Their Best Bars) featuring destinations worldwide where great beer awaits you all year round.
Below are five beer-loving spots from our list along with our choices for where to belly up and enjoy a pint:
•Inverie, Knoydart, Scotland - This storied part of Scotland (Inverness-shire might be most famous for Loch Ness and its resident monster) has a fine heritage of whisky distilling. But brewing is important too with two notables being Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore and Cromarty Brewing Co. in Cromarty. Where to sample their brews? A pub that's really hard to get to where "People are important," "Food figures," and "Music is our glue." There are no roads so drinkers are looking at an 18-mile hike over munros or a seven-mile sea crossing (take the ferry from Mallaig). So out of the way is this pub that it made it into the "Guinness Book of Records" as Mainland Britain's Remotest Pub. It's The Old Forge in the weathered village of Inverie on the west coast of Scotland that holds this record. There's free Wi-Fi (until 6 p.m.), but no cell phone signal, and its wild, romantic beauty attracts ramblers, adventurers and beer-lovers from around the world. The pub features more than local beers on tap (from Glenfinnan Brewery and Isle Of Skye Breweries): There's also an array of whiskies, gins and wines. And the food is as local as you can imagine: scallops from Loch Nevis, oysters from a nearby loch, langoustines from Mallaig and wild venison.
•Cork, Ireland - Cork, the small city in the south, is considered by many (mostly Corkonians, granted) to be the real capital of Ireland. It's renowned as one of the great food regions of the world, and it has a strong tradition of brewing too. Its Murphy's Stout is more than a match for Arthur Guinness's black stuff. Heineken brews it now at what was once called the Lady's Well Brewery on the north side of the city. In a city of legendary pubs, it's hard to pick the best, but The Franciscan Well Brewery on the North Mall might just be it. The Brewery was founded in 1998 on the site of a monastery that dates back to 1219. The brew pub serves an astounding array of beers (brewed traditionally, the staff can almost tell you the fields in which the barley and hops were grown) such as Blarney Blonde, Shandon Stout and the "Rebels" -- a red ale and a malt premium lager. They fire up the wood-burning pizza oven on a Thursday evening and there's a beer garden that's heated to ward off chills.
•Burlington, Vermont, United States - Vermont, that lush green state of farms and maple forests, has the highest number of brewers per capita in the U.S. There are about 25,000 people per brewery and many of the micro-breweries are garlanded with awards and accolades. Magic Hat is one of the oldest brewing outfits in Vermont; its #9, a "not-quite-pale ale," is one of the state's best-known beers. One of the hoppiest bars in Burlington is the Vermont Pub & Brewery (at 144 College St.). Opened by Greg Noonan, a craft-brewing pioneer and author, in 1988, its "unpasteurized, unfiltered, and unadulterated" beers are award winners in national and international festivals. The Burly Irish Ale for example is renowned -- and on tap -- and there are Magic Hat brews on sale too. On November 9 and 10, the Vermont Pub & Brewery will mark its quarter century in beer.
•Georgia, United States - Since 2004, when legislation swept away the state's 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) law and raised it to 14 percent, the craft-brew industry in Georgia has gone from strong to stronger. The "grandfathers" of craft brewing are SweetWater, Red Brick (once known as the Atlanta Brewing Company), Five Seasons and Terrapin, but there is a clutch of newbies such as Burnt Hickory, Monday Night Brewing and the Red Hare Brewing Company that are tickling beer lovers' tastebuds with their brews. You'll find one of the best bars in the country on a bustling town square in Decatur. The Brick Store Pub has been around since 1997 and serves no major domestic beers (there's no TV, neon or "obnoxious" music either). Instead, there are local, regional and American craft beers as well as German and English specialty beers. There's a frequent rotation of 17 draught and 75 bottled beers. The Belgian Beer Bar is packed with more than 120 Belgian and Belgian-style bottled beers along with eight on draught. And they have an annual cheese-off, held every September!
•Wellington, New Zealand - New Zealand just sneaks inside the top 20 in beer consumption per capita, with a hefty 75.5 liters per person per year. Lion Nathan and DB Breweries are the two biggest breweries, commanding about 90 percent of sales. Wellington, the capital city in the south of the North Island, has a buzzing brewing scene with players like Funk Estate, The Garage Project and Geek Beer. Mac's Brewbar and Restaurant is a popular spot at the corner of Taranaki and Cable Streets on the Wellington Waterfront. Its beers are award-winners. Last year it picked up gold, silver and bronze medals at the BrewNZ Awards for its Sassy Red, Hop Rocker and Great White beers. There are even a couple of non-alcoholic options, such as Ginger Beer and Green Apple (made from, you guessed it, Hawkes Bay Granny Smiths). The food menu features the best in NZ cuisine -- green-lipped mussels and the mandatory pavlova. Best of all, on holidays there's no surcharge.
The five beer destinations that round out our list -- Tokyo, Japan; Istanbul, Turkey; Montreal, Canada; Reykjavik, Iceland and Brussels, Belgium -- do not have English as their mother tongue but, when beer is on tap, language will be the least of your worries. To find out where to enjoy the best brew in these locations and to read Cheapflights.com's complete list of Top 10 Beer Locales (and Their Best Bars), visit www.cheapflights.com/news/top-10-beer-locales-and-their-best-bars.
About Cheapflights.com -- part of the Momondo Group
Momondo Group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 13 million visitors a month -- plus 6 million travel newsletter subscribers -- via its Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) and momondo (www.momondo.com) brands.
Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006.
The Group has offices in London, Copenhagen, Boston and Toronto, with a consumer base across more than 20 core international markets but users all over the world.
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