It seems like every city on this planet is rapidly turning into a great city for craft beer. And we’re not complaining! Craft beer is taking over the world, which means there are really cool bars, innovative breweries, and delicious beers no matter where you go. But with so many great options, how can you even begin to choose which craft beer city to visit next?
It’s no secret that we are huge beer (and wine!) lovers. Whenever we travel, we make it our mission to try local beers and wines. Along the way, we’ve had the chance to visit some of the best known beer destinations (Belgium, Germany, etc.) as well as discover some hidden gems (Volgograd, Russia is home to some of our favorite craft beer bars!). After the success of our wine regions around the world post, we decided to celebrate our love for beer with a similar post. This time, we teamed up with other bloggers to curate a list of the best craft beer cities in the world. Whether you’re looking for something local to you, or looking for a destination for your next big trip, you’ll find some major travel inspiration in this post!
Best Craft Beer Cities in America
San Diego, California – Noel from Travel Photo Discovery
If you’re looking for amazing craft beer experiences then head over to San Diego, California – the craft beer capitol of the USA. San Diego is home to over 130 craft breweries and is the birthplace of some of the most respected craft beers in the industry. These breweries continue to innovate and create wonderful venues to taste and enjoy their delicious brews in the city. Starting in a new industry of craft beers since the 1990s, the craft beer scene is huge and a popular attraction for both visitors and locales to the city.
Breweries to visit in San Diego
Click here for a full list of breweries in San Diego!
Denver, Colorado – Nate from Travel Lemming
Denver takes its craft beer seriously. So, seriously, in fact that it even elected the founder of one of its breweries, Wynkoop Brewing Company, as mayor (and then later Governor).
Oh, and did we mention that Denver is home to the annual Great American Beer Festival? This fall event draws breweries from all over the country to showcase their brews. Where else can you try hundreds of different craft brews in a single afternoon?
There are too many wonderful breweries in Denver to name them all, but fan favorites include Denver Beer Co. and Great Divide (the latter of which runs free tours). Or you can head to just about any bar in town and expect to see dozens of local craft beers on tap. Local favorites include the Terminal Bar in historic Union Station and Historian’s Ale House on South Broadway. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to be in beer lovers’ paradise in Denver!
Breweries to visit in Denver
Click here for a full list of breweries in Denver!
Miami, Florida – Margie from DQ Travel
Miami has become a go-to craft beer destination in the last five years. In addition to the world-famous beaches, clubs, and restaurants, there have been numerous breweries popping up all over the city and its suburbs. Many of the beers have a Latin influence and “Miami flair” – with beers called “La Rubia, Playita Pils and El Jefe”.
My first recommendation is Wynwood Brewing Company. This was the one that started it all. Wynwood is a neighboorhood near downtown Miami that has seen a revitalization of businesses in the last few years, especially craft beer bars and breweries. Wynwood Brewing offers tours, 4-5 flagship beers, growler fills and seasonal brews too. There are board games and card games you can play and they are located within walking distance to many other restaurants and bars too. Within the last year, they started bottling their beers and now we can have them anywhere!
My second favorite is also in the Wynwood area… J Wakefield Brewing. What is unique about this place is their Star Wars theming all over the brewery. In addition to the 80’s nostalgia and retro artwork, their beers are worth the visit too. They often have guest taps and allow food delivery to the brewery.
My last recommendation is more of a neighborhood brewery, as it is less than 10 minutes from my house… Lincoln’s Beard Brewing Co. Besides their constantly rotating taps, they have a more family-friendly vibe which is great because we visit with the kids pretty often. In addition, they have a food truck permanently parked in the back and have live music on weekends.
Breweries to visit in Miami
Boston, Massachusetts – Brianne from A Traveling Life
Boston is a city that loves its beer. Of course, there’s Sam Adams – its lager has been a bar standard since the 1980s – however, many notable craft breweries have sprung up in and around the city over the past few years, and have developed a strong following of their own. One of my favorites is two-year-old Dorchester Brewing, a dog-friendly community hangout that is stumbling distance to my house. They serve their own rotating selection as well as beers brewed on behalf of partners like Evil Twin, and host frequent pop up events with local restaurants.
Trillium Brewery is one of the hottest breweries in New England right now. They’re building a massive new brewery and restaurant in Fort Point, not far from where they opened their flagship location five years ago. In the summer, they have a beer garden on the Rose Kennedy Greenway that is packed with both locals and tourists every night. Just north of Boston are two more breweries that are worth a trip – Night Shift in Everett and Mystic in Chelsea.
Breweries to visit in Boston
St. Louis, Missouri – Jess & Ron from Unearth the Voyage
St. Louis has an unparalleled history of beer in the United States. Being the birthplace of Anheuser-Busch back in the 1850’s, St. Louis sure knows beer. With dozens of craft breweries to choose from, St. Louis has also most definitely kept up with the boom of craft breweries popping up all over the US.
Of course, St. Louis wouldn’t be the frontier of the west if it wasn’t doing something a little different. The craft breweries here have teamed up with some of the cities well known food trucks to give beer connoisseurs something a little more when visiting their brewery. For example, one of our favorites – 2nd Shift Brewing – has the most delicious Gorilla Street Food “food truck” serving tasty Filipino food inside of their brewery. Another favorite is Modern Brewery – a brewery that seems to have just popped up in the garage of a closed down industrial building. Every Friday and Saturday nights STL French Quarter food truck graces Modern Breweries craft beer lovers with their delicious french food concoctions.
Breweries to visit in St. Louis
Click here for a full list of breweries in St. Louis!
Bozeman, Montana – Ryan from Passions and Places
Compared to more popular states like Vermont and Colorado, Montana is an underrated destination for the craft beer aficionado. There are over seventy breweries in this state of just one million residents, and nowhere is it more concentrated than in the college town of Bozeman. There are currently eight breweries in town, all competing for the tastes of an eclectic population of college kids, ski bums, wealthy transplants, and old-fashioned cowboys.
Bozeman Brewery was the first, opening its door back in 2001. Since then, 406, Bridger, Outlaw, White Dog, Bunkhouse, MAPS, and Mountains Walking have all joined in on the craft beer revolution there, mostly in the last ten years. Each has its own quirks and strives to appeal to particular tastes; for example, White Dog leans more toward European stylings, and 406 is very experimental. One thing to be aware of when visiting Montana breweries is that, due to the state’s unique laws, they can only pour you three pints to drink on the premises and they have to stop serving at 8:00pm – but they offer some of the cheapest craft beer you’ll find anywhere.
Breweries to visit in Bozeman
Charlotte, North Carolina – Carl from Travel Through Life
The whole state of North Carolina is filled with breweries from the mountains to the sea, but you really should check out Charlotte’s beer scene. More than 25 breweries reside in the Queen City and no matter which neighborhood you happen to visit, there’s likely a spot to grab something hoppy, seasonal, and delicious. Just be sure to get in before these places pack up during the days and evenings, as people love to get out and have fun in Charlotte. We’re fans of Heist Brewery, but also the awesomeness coming out of the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, NoDa Brewing Company, and Sycamore Brewing.
Breweries to visit in Charlotte
Raleigh/Durham/Cary, North Carolina – Mikkel from Sometimes Home
If there are two things that are strong in the Raleigh, Durham and Cary area within North Carolina, beyond any doubt, it’s the food and beer. We try to immerse ourselves in the native food and drinks wherever we go, from California to Thailand, but we’re most loyal to and proud of the options close to home as well. We adore supporting the NC craft beer culture – it’s as strong as some of the hops here and there’s amazing options for many beer lovers’ varying taste levels.
In our humble opinion here’s the top three picks for quality brews in the area: 1) Lynwood Brewing Concern in Raleigh, 2) Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary, and 3) Ponysaurus Brewing Company in Durham. That’s just the tip of the iceberg so be sure to visit and hit up the craft beer scene!
Breweries to visit in Raleigh/Durham/Cary, North Carolina
Click here for a full list of breweries in Raleigh!
Bend, Oregon – Nina from Where in the World is Nina?
Bend and beer are a match made in heaven. The craft beer scene here is unprecedented and, paired with it’s gorgeous surroundings, Bend just might be an ale and adventure-lovers heaven. While sitting at Crux, you can see a great view of the mountains beckoning you to climb them and within walking distance, you can grab a crisp and clean sip of some cider at Avid. Craft Brewery serves up some of my favorite beer (order The Juice is Loose) and just on the outskirts of the main city, Sunriver Brewing has such good beer, they won the GABF in 2017 beating out neatly 8000 others! Their Rippin NW Ale is killer.
Bend, Oregon isn’t the biggest city in the USA; however, it’s now home to over 20 craft beer breweries! Which means it has the most craft breweries per capita. Bend has the “Ale Trail” as well which challenges beer-lovers to visit all the breweries collecting “passport stamps” along the way. I love Bend and its beer. Go visit and find your favorites!
Breweries to visit in Bend, Oregon
Click here for a full list of breweries in Bend!
Portland, Oregon – Tarah & Tip from Fit Two Travel
Portland is one of the top locations for craft beer in the world! There are new breweries popping up all the time, and all the breweries seem to be fantastic! Many of the breweries in Portland have won awards for their beers. From blondes to IPA’s, theres a beer for everyone.
Some of our favorite breweries in the Portland area include Culmination Brewing, a new brewery built on sustainability and customer satisfaction; Ancestry Brewing, located just outside of Portland, constantly brewing new beers and collaborating with other local breweries for delicious beers; and, Wayfinder Brewery, which just won ‘best new brewery in Oregon’, with a huge tap hall, brewhouse, and fire pit for a cozy feel. With so many different options, you won’t be disappointed with Portland’s beer scene.
Breweries to visit in Portland
Click here for a full list of breweries in Portland!
Salt Lake City, Utah – Carol from Wayfaring Views
Salt Lake City, Utah, has a surprisingly robust craft beer scene. One would think that, given the Mormon religious culture, you wouldn’t find a lot of beer drinkers there. But the metro area is quite diverse, with a young university population and hipster vibe. This has created the perfect conditions for an explosion of craft brewers in Salt Lake.
There are thirteen craft breweries and brew pubs in Salt Lake. Some, like Squatters, Red Rock, The Pub and Wasatch Brewing are well-established breweries with full restaurants attached. Others, like Roha, Epic and Proper brewing are niche operations with rotating taps and small tasting rooms. A. Fischer Brewing is even a re-boot of an old family brewery that was operating in 1884. You could spend a week visiting all of them, which is exactly what I did while “researching” my complete guide to breweries in Salt Lake. So, head to Salt Lake City and hoist a pint.
Breweries to visit in Salt Lake City
Click here for a full list of breweries in Salt Lake City!
Loudoun County, Virginia
Over the past decade or so, Loudoun County has grown from being a sleepy DC suburb to a bustling foodie region, with more wineries and breweries than you could ever need! From cool spots in Downtown Leesburg to farm breweries and warehouse breweries in what feels like the middle of nowhere, there is something for every beer lover out there. Loudoun’s ‘LoCo Ale Trail’ is currently home to 23 breweries, but it seems like there is always a new one popping up.
For incredible views, delicious flatbreads and fabulous beer, head to Dirt Farm Brewing in Bluemont. If there are any wine lovers in your group, Bluemont Vineyard is just down the road. Quattro Goomba’s is another place for wine and beer lovers – they do both, and serve them up with delicious pizzas and live music. Ocelot is home to some of the best beers we’ve had; they’re always doing something new in small batches. And for a proper beer lovers day out, visit Vanish, where you can get a full ‘Vanish Flight’ – with one beer for each letter, that’s 12 tasters!
Breweries to visit in Loudoun, Virginia
Click here for a full list of breweries in Loudoun County!
Don’t miss out on Loudoun County’s Wine Country while you’re there!
Richmond, Virginia – Luke and Meagan from Two Restless Homebodies
While we may love to travel the world, we’ve come to appreciate that our hometown of Richmond, Virginia, has a profusion of very tasty adventures to offer. Recently dubbed the “Portland of the East”, Richmond has become a haven for spirits and beer lovers of all stripes. If you’re visiting the city, make sure to stop by Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood, a former industrial district that’s now home to 6 local craft breweries, a rooftop beer garden, 2 local cideries, a few distilleries, and even a meadery. And that’s just within a few square blocks! The city and its surrounding suburbs have their own offerings, including farm breweries, which are destinations in and of themselves.
Two Restless Homebodies favorite breweries in Richmond
- Hardywood Craft Brewery: With locations near the city’s baseball stadium, as well as the more suburban Short Pump neighborhood, Hardywood’s ease of access and full beer menu will have you wishing you lived closer. Make sure to try their famous Gingerbread Stout come Fall – you won’t regret it!
- Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery: Though it’s a bit of a drive from Richmond, Lickinghole Creek is Richmond’s first farm brewery and the perfect place to enjoy brews made from locally-grown ingredients, a few games of cornhole, and a beautiful sunset.
- Legend Brewery: If you’re not in Scott’s Addition or outside the city limits, but want to enjoy a good brew, a meal, and a river view to die for, Legend is your spot. We love spending summer evenings out on the deck here, admiring the Richmond city skyline and enjoying a drink.
Click here for a full list of breweries in Richmond!
Kitsap County, Washington
The Pacific North West is famous as a craft beer destination, and Kitsap County is no exception. From Bremerton to Bainbridge Island, there are plenty of incredible breweries for craft beer lovers to try. In charming Poulsbo, visit Slippery Pig Brewery after a stroll through the Scandinavian influenced streets. For a night out with the whole family, head to Silver City Restaurant and Alehouse, where the food is good and the beer is even better! Or, for a fun day out, head to Bainbridge Island. Bainbridge Brewing is located next to Fletcher Bay Winery and Bainbridge Organic Distillers – there is truly something for everyone.
Breweries to visit in Kitsap County
- Silver City Restaurant & Alehouse
- Rainy Daze Brewing Company
- Slippery Pig Brewery
- Bainbridge Brewing
Click here for a full list of breweries in Kitsap County!
Seattle, Washington – Laura from Savored Sips
The Pacific Northwest has long been known as a craft beer mecca. While Portland often gets all the glory, Seattle is equally well known for its abundance of craft breweries and innovations in brewing. IPA and Pale Ales rule the scene in Seattle, where hops still reign supreme. The number of craft breweries in Seattle now is staggering, with nearly 60 in the city, and it’s constantly growing.
For beer lovers, a favorite weekend activity is to go brewery hopping. The breweries in Seattle are divided up by neighborhood, with the top contenders, like Ballard, having nearly 20 breweries in a single square mile. Ballard is our favorite beer-centric neighborhood. You can easily take a bus to the center of Ballard, then walk to over a dozen breweries, all with their own unique recipes. A few of our favorites are Lucky Envelope, Stoup Brewing and Reuben’s Brews. Another great craft beer neighborhood is Sodo, where two more of our favorites, Schooner Exact Brewing and Machine House Brewery, can be found.
Breweries to visit in Seattle, Washington
Click here for a full list of breweries in Seattle!
Best Craft Beer Cities in Canada
Victoria, British Columbia – Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic
Victoria is located on a small island on the West Coast of Canada. It’s known as the healthiest city in Canada as well as the cycling capital of the country.
But there are also fantastic restaurants and great craft breweries in Victoria and it’s a small enough city that you can walk or cycle if you want to do a tour. You cannot miss Philips Brewing, perhaps the most popular in the city. Canoe Brewpub and Spinnakers Gastro BrewPub are also great spots to eat and try local beer.
Breweries to visit in Victoria
Click here for a full list of breweries in Victoria!
Fredericton, New Brunswick – Halef & Michael from The Round The World Guys
When I left Fredericton, Canada in 1999, there was exactly one craft brewery – Picaroons. And it was a delicious respite from the everyday Molson and Labatt offerings that are similar to the “regular” beers around the world. Recently, I went back to visit for a couple of weeks and everything, I mean the entire beer culture, has changed.
Craft breweries are everywhere and I tried at least one or two from each of them. From the delicious Patagonia IPAs at Gray Stone to the unfiltered delicacies at Trailway Brewing, Fredericton is now a true destination for craft beer enthusiasts. Learn more here about where to find the best craft beer in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
No matter where you go in Fredericton, you’ll find at least 2-3 local craft beers on tap. Once a vast beer wasteland, Fredericton is now a craft beer paradise.
Breweries to visit in Fredericton
Click here for a full list of breweries in Fredericton!
Saint John, New Brunswick – Stuart from Go Eat Do
Saint John, the only city on the Bay of Fundy, is a vibrant hub for craft brewing.
The city has a smattering of microbreweries and, because of its compact size, proves a good place for an evening tasting beer. Big Tide Brewing, a brewpub on Princess Street, draws its name from the famous high tides of the region. The head brewer is Wendy Papadopoulos, whose creations include Chocolate Amaretto Porter. The Loyalist City Brewing Company, on Water Street, takes its name from the history of Saint John at the time of the American Revolution. Saint John Ale House, on Market Square, is a good spot to try beers from a selection of breweries.
Interested in the history of brewing in Canada? You could tour the long-established Moosehead Brewery, the location of the Moosehead Small Batch Brewery, which has a tap room.
Breweries to visit in Saint John
Toronto, Ontario – Eric & Lisa from Penguin and Pia
As the largest city in Canada, it’s no wonder that Toronto has become a mecca for craft breweries to pop up all over the city. From the West End in Liberty Village to the East End in the Beaches, any craft beer lover will get to wet their whistle (and then some) all over Toronto.
The beer scene in Toronto has a rich and fascinating history. A number of breweries, like Steam Whistle Brewing, took a shot at producing the city’s “go-to” beer only a mere two decades ago. Today, these original breweries are proudly established brands while smaller operations follow in their footsteps.
You’ll find our personal favourite of the established breweries, Mill Street Brewery, located in the appropriately named Distillery District. They have beer on tap that can’t be purchased in the Beer Store – so you have to have a flight onsite to enjoy their most unique creations.
While there are lots of great brewery areas in Toronto, the East End along Queen Street East has become a young craft brewery magnet. Just hop on the 501 Streetcar eastbound to be dropped off at the doorsteps of Eastbound Brewing Co. and Radical Road Brewing Co.!
Breweries to visit in Toronto
Montreal, Quebec – Montoya from The Spring Break Family
With their extensive list of craft breweries and offerings, it is no surprise that Montreal is hailed as one of the top cities in Canada for craft beer. In fact, Montreal is home to Molson Brewery (now part of the Coors family), the oldest brewery in North America. The history of craft beer in the region is an interesting one. In the 1700s, the price of imported rum, port, and wine were at an all time high. Concurrently, the amount of immigrated Irish — with a penchant for good beer— was also increasing. This unique situation gave birth to what is now a flourishing craft beer scene in Montreal.
The indisputable favorite of these is Brasserie Dieu du Ciel. Located in the city’s bustling Mile End neighborhood, this pub has almost 20 of their self made brews available on tap. They also provide an ever changing beer of the day making daily visits worthwhile. They have won numerous awards throughout the years including Best Brassierie in Canada so should be anyone’s first craft beer stop in Montreal.
A little ways across town is Reservoir. They also brew their beers in house but are also known for their artisan food offerings. With an extensive 4 page beer menu, everyone is bound to find something they like. As a bonus, they also have a rooftop patio to sip beer and enjoy the scene.
For the discerning customer that wants to taste bit of everything, Montreal Craft Beer Tours is the perfect option. They have three main offerings: the Rosemont Neighborhood Craft Beer Tour, the Montreal Bachelor Party Craft Beer Tour, and the Montreal Brewpub Experience Craft Beer Tour. The last is arguably their most popular option with 6 craft beer tastings at 3 different brewpubs and delicious food options.
Places to visit for craft beer in Montreal
Quebec City, Quebec – Wendy from Empty Nesters Hit the Road
So Quebec City might not be the first place you think of when it comes to craft beer, but this historic city has a surprisingly vibrant brewery and brew pub scene. During a recent visit I enjoyed a tour with Broue-Tours and loved it! I’ll focus on the Saint-Roch District, which offers a nice selection of restaurants in addition to brewpubs (everyone needs some food in their stomachs to soak up all that beer).
We began at Noctem Artisans Brasseurs. Here we were able to spend some time with the founder and brewmaster, Yann. He likes to experiment with a wide variety of beers and unique ingredients, including catnip (we didn’t try this one, but it does sound interesting). Next was La Barberie which offers a delicious chocolate porter. The rise in popularity of sweet porters makes me very happy. Finally we spent some time at Korrigane, known for their sour beers as well as having one of the first female brewmasters in the region. There is definitely a beer style for everyone in Quebec City. And since this is also a marvelous foodie city, it’s a practically perfect vacation destination.
Breweries to visit in Quebec City
Best Craft Beer Cities in South America
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Kimmie from Adventures & Sunsets
Buenos Aires has had a huge craft beer boom in the last few years, and it shows absolutely no signs of stopping. In a city that was once governed by its nearby popular wine regions is a totally new alcoholic craze – of the hoppy variety! Craft breweries popped up at a rate of one per month in 2016, and have continued to grow mostly in the trendy and young barrio of Palermo.
These days you’ll find dozens of patios, courtyards, and rooftops throughout the cobblestoned and colorful streets of Palermo, where the porteños (people from Buenos Aires) happily enjoy their newfound love of craft beer. Nowadays, trying some local beer is a must-do in Buenos Aires and a nice addition to exploring the city!
Some breweries you should try include Temple (it has multiple locations!), Strange Brewing, and Antares.
Breweries to visit in Buenos Aires
Ecuador – Thea from Zen Travellers
Ecuador has a booming craft beer scene; from Bandido and Camino del Sol Brewing in the capital Quito, to Pileus Brewery in the cloud forest of Mindo, to the far-flung Santa Cruz Brewery in the Galapagos, there is something for everyone.
By far our favorite was Santa Cruz Brewery on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos archipelago. Not only were we pleasantly surprised to find a craft brewery on such a remote island, but the beers brewed in-house are delicious and served with a smile. The brewery has a small pub attached to it where you can order pints as well as some of the tastiest wings we’ve ever had. They also have a deal with the Bike and Smile where if you rent a bike from there you can get a free pint from Santa Cruz. I can’t imagine anything more refreshing than a pint of Santa Cruz’s IPA or red ale after a long bike ride in the hot equatorial sun!
Breweries to visit in Ecuador
Our Favorite Beer Travel Books
Best Craft Beer Cities in the United Kingdom
Yorkshire, England – Colin from Our Tiny Corner
The UK is a nation of beer lovers, and there’s a strong argument to say that Yorkshire makes the very best beer in the country (and beyond, for that matter). The craft beer movement is in fine fettle in the region, with drinkers appreciating the flexibility and experimentation attached to smaller brewers.
One such brewer worth highlighting is the Dark Horse Brewery near Skipton, whose Hetton Pale Ale won the top prize on the TV show ‘Yorkshire’s Perfect Pint’.
Magic Rock Brewery in Huddersfield specialises in highly-hopped beers and their Rapture red hop beer should be sought out, with it’s SIX different hop varieties and FIVE different types of malt.
Ikley Brewery is one of the very best breweries in England and has a wide catalogue of different styles of beers on it’s books. If you fancy something a bit different, try Notorious F.I.G. (a Belgian-style dubbel) or Westwood, their BrewDog-collaborative white chocolate stout. Inventive and delicious.
If you’re looking for the best pubs to drink the good stuff, head to the region’s heart, York, and spend your day between York Tap, House of Trembling Madness, and The Maltings to get the full flavour of the best the local breweries have to offer.
Breweries to visit in Yorkshire
Click here for a full list of breweries in Yorkshire!
Cambridge, England – Josh & Sarah from Veggie Vagabonds
With such a huge concentration of pubs and drinking establishments, although Cambridge, UK, is world famous for it’s university, it’s also perfect for the boozy traveller. Whilst ale is traditionally the drink of choice, craft beer is rapidly taking over the scene. Not only are the majority of pubs and breweries now featuring great craft beer from all over the world, there are now some great spots which specialise in the craftier variety.
For craft beer lover there is no better place to be on a nice day than the Cambridge Blue. Set away from the hustle of the city, the Cambridge Blue is as quintessential an English pub as you’ll find and has a beautiful outdoor beer garden. Behind the bar you’ll find more than 100 varieties of craft beers from all over the world. From light session beers to hefty European brews that will knock your socks off.
Another favourite drinking spot, and a relatively new kid on the block, is Calverley’s Brewery These guys have taken the Cambridge craft beer scene by storm with their minimalist atmosphere and attention to what matters most – the beer. With plenty of ingredients you’ve probably never seen in a pint, they might not have the largest selection but what they do have is special. Everything is brewed on site and it adds to the experience when you’re drinking right in the heart of the taproom!
Places for craft beer lovers in Cambridge
Edinburgh, Scotland – Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
Back in 2015 Craig’s weapon of choice was a Tennents tops – a dash of lemonade to disguise the lager in his pint! Fast forward to 2018 and Scotland is drowning in craft beer choice. In Edinburgh and the South East there are now at least 19 breweries, some of which you can tour such as Barney’s Beers and Broughton Brewery.
Craig’s favourite is Brewdog, which originated in Fraserburgh but is now sold around the world. Punk IPA is his go-to; at 5.6%, a few tinnies often leaves him with a tender head. Edinburgh had a Craft Beer Festival in May which featured breweries from all over the countries and DJ sets by Mogwai, Two Door Cinema Club and Metronomy – one to watch out for 2019 and beyond.
Breweries to visit in Edinburgh
Highlands, Scotland – John from From Real People
The North of Scotland is a hotbed of small, independent breweries. There must be something in the fresh Scottish air and wonderful scenery that inspires people to make great beer. There’s something very special about the combination of good beer and an amazing view of rugged mountains and beautiful Lochs.
One of my favourite breweries is the Black Isle Brewing Company. As the name suggests, they are located on the Black Isle, which is just North of Inverness. The brewery is based on the Allangrange Farm that translates as ‘a fertile field of corn’ in Gaelic. Black Isle was set in 1998 by David Gladwin when he was unemployed beer lover. From humble beginnings they now brew up to 10,000 litres a day.
Another great brewery in this part of Scotland is the Windswept Brewing Company based in the small town of Lossiemouth near Elgin. This brewery was started in 2012 by two former Royal Air Force Tornado fast jet pilots, Nige Tiddy and Al Read. Their beer selection continues to grow and their flying past runs through some of their excellent beers such as Typhoon and the aptly named Tornado. If you are ever visiting this special part of Scotland stop in and visit their Tap Room to taste the beer for yourself.
Breweries to visit in the North of Scotland
Best Craft Beer Cities in Europe
Bruges, Belgium – Gabor from Surfing the Planet
Apart from visiting one of the most beautiful medieval old towns in Europe, a trip to Bruges is also a great opportunity to experience the fascinating beer and the brewing traditions of Belgium. There are endless possibilities to experience Belgian beer in Bruges, and one of our favorites is De Halve Maan, an old brewery from the 16th century, managed by the same family for almost two centuries. In this bar you can taste different versions of Brugsje Zot, the beer they brew here and also participate in a guided tour around the brewery.
Another great place where you can taste great craft beer is the Bierbrasserie Cambrinus, dedicated to Cambrinus, the King of Beer. You can find some of the best bar atmospheres in Bruges, and if you want to taste several different kinds of craft beer, you can do a beer tasting with smaller quantities. Finally, if you really want to get overwhelmed by the beer variety, you should visit 2BE Beer Wall, where you can choose from 16 kinds of tap beers in the bar and an endless variety of exotic beers that you can literally pick from a Wall.
Places for Craft Beer in Bruges
Franconia, Germany – Lena from Lena on the Move
Around the world, Germany is known for being a beer nation with many unique breweries and beer styles. Beer has always been a significant part of Germany’s culture and has traditionally been brewed following the Beer Purity Law since 1516.
The northern Bavarian region of Franconia has the highest density of breweries in Germany. With various small villages and medieval towns, this area offers many places where local tradition is still prevalent in everyday life – even in the way beer is being brewed. Traveling Franconia, you will come across unique beer styles that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
While there are different kinds of brews available, I absolutely recommend trying a typical Franconian cellar beer (German: Kellerbier) aka. Zwickel-Bier. This brew style goes back to medieval times and is still cultivated in many breweries across Franconia. The cellar beer has a distinctly cloudy dark amber color and contains a lot of its original brewing yeast. It is characterized by a dominant malt-flavor and a clear, balanced hop bitterness. Typically, the ABV is between 4,5 – 5,5 %.
Breweries to visit in Franconia
- Zirndorfer Kellerbier brewery is located close to Nuremberg; available in and around
Nuremberg in pubs/beer gardens
- Mahr’s Bräu Ungespundet brewery is situated in Bamberg; available in and around Bamberg in
- Krug-Bräu Urstoff brewery is located in Breitenlesau between Bamberg and Bayreuth; available
all over Franconia and often on tap in local pubs/beer gardens
Hamburg, Germany – Megan Starr
Hamburg, Germany is a city that has a beer scene overshadowed by Berlin, but I personally am partial to Hamburg’s burgeoning, exciting, and innovative scene more than any other city in Germany. The craft beer scene in Hamburg is constantly evolving and the brewers are especially supportive of each other, something I don’t find in other parts of Germany these days.
Ratsherrn is a brewery with a history in Hamburg and their head brewer has worked under some of the biggest brewery names in the world. I also love Beyond Beer, a bottle shop that also doubles as a bar. They constantly are bringing in new labels to try and it is nothing short of brilliant. They also ship within Germany and have the best deals and prices for beer. If you’re looking to really get down with Germany’s craft beer scene, look no further than Hamburg.
Places to visit for craft beer in Hamburg
Dublin, Ireland – Conor from Your Irish Adventure
The Irish history with beer is well known, but visiting Ireland and only drinking Guinness is like going to Venice and only looking at the buildings. However Guinness has played a big part in the growth of Irish craft beer.
Guinness centralised a lot of their brewing operations back in 2013 and laid off quite a few people. This meant that skilled brewers were looking for work, and beers like Dublin’s 5 Lamps and Cork’s Franciscan Well were born out of these closures.
There new craft pubs popping up all over Dublin, between these three pubs, they probably carry most Irish craft beers.
Brewpubs to visit in Dublin
- 57 The Headline: A little outside the city centre, this Dublin 8 bar does great craft tasting trays
- The Taphouse: Ranlagh is Dublin’s trendiest neighbourhood, and The Taphouse fits in perfectly. The bartenders here love helping you find the right beer for you.
- The Porterhouse: The Porterhouse is a powerhouse of craft pubs with two city centre locations. They have a whole range of their own beers, the Porterhouse Red is a favourite.
Milan, Italy – Margherita from The Crowded Planet
Milan is definitely the best city in Italy in terms of craft beer, with one of Europe’s best microbreweries and lots of pubs serving craft beer.
I recommend all beer lovers to visit Birrificio Lambrate, an excellent award-winning microbrewery located in Lambrate, a neighbourhood in the eastern outskirts of Milan, which also happens to be where I live! Birrificio Lambrate has been open for over 20 years and I’ve seen it grow from a dingy little pub only selling a dark and brown beer variety to a busy brewery with two tap rooms, serving dozens of excellent beers. All beers have Milan-related names – my two favourites are Gaina, the best IPA on the planet, and Ghisa, a tasty smoked stout. Gaina means ‘chicken’ in Milanese dialect, and Ghisa is the name of traffic wardens, who traditionally wear a uniform as dark as the beer.
If you’re spending a weekend in Milan I definitely recommend visiting Birrificio Lambrate, even if that means getting out of the centre. Alternatively, two good craft beer pubs are Baladin near Brera, closer to the centre, and L’Isola della Birra in Isola, not far from Garibaldi station.
Places to visit for craft beer in Milan
Amsterdam, Netherlands – Karen from WanderlustingK
Although most people associated Heineken with Amsterdam, Amsterdam has some amazing craft beer! In the past couple years, Dutch breweries have come into their own producing unique beer in a classic Dutch style (with a twist) as well as styles inspired by other locations. Unlike many regions, the witte beer is ubiquitous, perfect for craft beer lovers who prefer something lighter. Many bars still don’t always stock craft beer, so it’s often best to go to the breweries themselves.
Brouwerij ’T IJ with its namesake beer is one of the best beers in Amsterdam and its located at the base of a windmill if you’re looking for a scenic beer. I particularly love the IJwit although my husband loves the Zatte.
Otherwise, I recommend heading up to Amsterdam Noord to head to Oedipus’ craft brewery where they are producing some of the most experimental craft beer in Amsterdam. I love the sour Polyamore although they’re often collaborating with other breweries.
Breweries to visit in Amsterdam
Bucharest, Romania – Iulia from The Traveling Tulip
Bucharest is the perfect destination for beer craft lovers. We, locals, are also beer drinkers, so we can confirm, it can’t get better than this. If you come to Bucharest, there are two places that you definitely need to check out, as recommended by a local.
First off, we have “The Good Beer Factory” (Fabrica de Bere Buna – Romanian Craft Beer Bar). Located in the heart of Bucharest, on Calea Victoriei Boulevard, not only you will drink authentic Romanian craft beer, but you get a first row view on Bucharest city life. The beer is produced in a 100 year old factory, modernized and customized for craft beer.
Second place to visit if you are a craft beer lover is “Beer O’Clock”. As the name says, around the clock craft beer is everything one can ask for. It offers a multitude of craft beers (Romanians and foreign). Each time I visit, I always spend about 15 minutes on choosing a type. Since it is located right in the heart of the Old City, you are definitely in for a treat of more than craft beer.
Places to visit for craft beer in Bucharest
Bratislava, Slovakia – Peter from I Heart Slovakia
Nowhere is the ascendance of Slovakia’s craft beer more prominent than in the capital, Bratislava, where a handful of microbreweries demonstrate that beer in Slovakia keeps improving by the mug.
At Meštiansky Pivovar (Burgher Brewery), the 12° Bratislava Lager quenches thirst with a bite that reminds you you’re solidly in Central Europe. The brewery builds on the capital’s 550-year history of brewing, particularly its own namesake, which operated from 1752 to 1968. Enjoy your beer and pub fare on a large outdoor patio in the Garden Brewery location on Dunajská Street or indoors at the much smaller pub on Drevená Street.
The 10° lager at Zámocký Pivovar (Castle Brewery) is a perfect, refreshing thirst-quencher, what with its distinctive hints of noble hops and the citrus-y middle. The brewery’s location, at the bottom of a street leading up to the Bratislava Castle, makes the brewery a great start or conclusion of any sightseeing tour.
Breweries to visit in Bratislava
Click here for a full list of breweries in Bratislava!
Check out Bratislava’s National Collection of Wine, too!
Costa Brava, Spain – Amber from Only in Costa Brava
In Spain, beer is like water. It’s drank almost 24×7 – at home, at bars, on weekends, on weekdays. Prior to about ten years ago, there was virtually no craft beer in the Costa Brava. Now, there are about 100 craft breweries in Catalonia, and about 15 in Girona alone.
Two of the best craft beer producers in the Costa Brava are Cervesa Marina and Popaire, both located in Blanes. Cervesa Marina is experimenting by working with chefs on beer and food pairings. And, they were the first in the area to make beer with plankton to pair with local seafood dishes. Kristian, originally an octopus fisherman, named his craft beer Popaire, which is an octopus fisherman. Look out for their beer called Tramuntana, a brown ale named after the strong winds that hit the Costa Brava and provide the characteristics of the food and wine of the region.
One important thing to note about craft beer in Catalonia – don’t call it craft beer. It’s referred to as cervesa artesana, and if you ask someone for a craft beer they won’t know what you are saying!
Breweries to visit in Costa Brava
Best Craft Beer Cities in Africa
Western Cape, South Africa – Christine from The Travelling Pinoys
Western Cape in South Africa is well known for its world class wines. From Cape Town to Stellenbosch to Franschoek – you won’t run out of wine farms to try. So it’s not surprising that a lot of local entrepreneurs are expanding their horizon and trying the craft beer making industry.
In the last few years alone, craft beer breweries sprout like mushrooms in Western Cape, delighting the beer loving locals. And the best thing about Western Cape? Like their wine, they also take their beers seriously.
There are lots of good craft beers breweries and tap rooms in the region, but I would recommend trying CBC first in Paarl. They offer craft beer tasting in Spice Route for only 35 rands for 4 beers or 45 rands for 7 beers. It’s basically between US$3-4 for quality craft beers! They will also walk you through with each beer so you don’t only get to drink but also learn how they make it. Woodstock Brewery, Brewers-Co op and Devil’s Peak also offer tours and beer tasting. These breweries are located in Woodstock – a vibrant and hip suburb in Cape Town known for its nightlife scene.
Places for craft beer in Western Cape
Click here for a full list of breweries in Cape Town!
Best Craft Beer Cities in Asia
Saigon, Vietnam – Nick & Val from Wandering Wheatleys
An up-and-coming addition to the international craft beer scene is Saigon, Vietnam. Expat brewers from around the world are moving to this bustling city in droves to open up lively tasting rooms and brew unique flavor combinations. These creative brewers are taking advantage of the local flavors so you’ll find a few like Jasmine IPA and Dragon Fruit Pale Ale are unlike any other beer you’ve ever tasted!
We tried 7 different breweries around Saigon and found that a few stood out not only for their delicious beer but also for the hip vibe of their tasting rooms. Here, in no particular order, are our top choices:
East West Brewing has a huge, bustling bar and restaurant with modern decor and a lovely rooftop seating area. The head brewer of is from Portland, Oregon, my hometown and another amazing city for craft beer lovers. Our favorite of their brews was the Saigon Rose, a light, fruity, day-drinking beer. They offer weekend brunch that includes unlimited draft beer if you’re looking to get your day started right.
BiaCraft has an open-air tasting room that is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. The waitstaff are well-versed in the beers and happy to recommend their favorites. They serve their own craft brews plus a wide variety of beers from other local and foreign breweries. Try one of their IPA’s, they have just the right amount of hop.
Winking Seal Beer Co. wins the award for best logo and best beer snacks (be sure to try the homemade chips with jackfruit salsa). They have a small bar downstairs and a cozy rooftop patio. But be aware that it can get a bit crowded around happy hour. We found their Mekong Mashup Summer Ale to be the highlight of their offerings.
Breweries to visit in Saigon
Best Craft Beer Cities in Australia
Sydney, New South Wales – Danielle & John from Two for the World
A few kilometres from its glittering harbour and iconic skyline lies Sydney’s Inner West, an area long associated with aircraft noise and industrialisation. Today though, this quirky cool part of town enjoys a far ‘hoppier’ reputation, and a thriving craft beer scene. A range of beer styles and breweries, from hole-in-the-wall brewhouses to warehouse conversions, make this ideal territory for an afternoon beer crawl.
Start with a rich, malty Big Kahuna coconut brown ale at the pallet bar in Batch Brewing Co’s rustic depot. Then wander over to low-key locals’ favourite, Willie the Boatman, for a hop-happy Crazy Ivan IPA. Finish up with a smoky Midnight Barley Cowboy porter in the buzzing cellar bar of Wayward Brewing Co. Grab a bite between pours – Batch and Wayward both have beer-worthy food trucks on site from Thursdays to Sundays.
If you’re here on a Friday afternoon, try squeezing in a visit to cozy BlackFont Brewhouse, a garage door that rolls up for the most enthusiastic (and work-shy) beer lovers for just three hours a week.
If quality craft brews, moreish beer nosh, and fun local vibes sound like your thing, head four clicks west of the CBD and see for yourself why the Inner West is Sydney’s craft brewing epicentre.
Breweries to visit in Sydney
Click here for a full list of breweries in Sydney!
Margaret River Region, Western Australia – Keri from Our Globe Trotters
Better known internationally as one of Australia’s premier wine regions, Margaret River in Western Australia has become home to more than a dozen craft breweries, with not only outstanding brews, but phenomenal countryside views and family-friendly restaurants to boot!
Situated about 3 hours south of Perth, it is well worth setting aide several days to experience the best the region has to offer and organising a designated driver as they are well spread out across the countryside. Most offer tasting paddle options, but so much more including gourmet pub-style meals and pizzerias, weekend live bands and children’s playgrounds making them a real family affair. The annual craft beer festival held around February/March each year is the best way to sample the lot!
Our favourite breweries for not only the beer but the setting include award-winning Eagle Bay Brewing Co near Cape Naturaliste, Colonial Brewing Co to the north east of the town centre and relative newcomer on the Bussell Highway walking distance from the town centre, Brewhouse Margaret River.
Breweries to visit in the Margaret River Region
Click here for a full list of breweries in the Margaret River Region!
Fremantle, Western Australia – Lyn & Steve from A Hole in my Shoe
Fremantle is one of our favourite places. It has such a great character and vibe and it also is a haven for great craft beer. For beer enthusiasts, a visit to Freo without dropping into Little Creatures at Fishing Boat Harbour for a pint is unforgivable. This iconic brewery creates the quintessential Fremantle experience, a harbour view with a wood fired pizza washed down with glass or three of the areas favourite Pale Ale.
But this isn’t the only craft ambassador in the area, Clancy’s was the first pub to pour a Little Creatures brew outside the brewery itself. The Sail & Anchor was the original brew pub in the day and now has an amazing on tap selection within the beer fraternity. The Monk just across has a smaller selection of inhouse brews and great street art in the rear landway. The Norfolk Hotel may has its old world charm, but has an extensive new world line up of craft beers to choose from and a famous chisel art by Vhils on the outside wall.
A great way to get around all these breweries (and other sites) is to grab a hop on/hop off ticket onboard Fremantle Tram Tours which includes with a brewery tour and tastings at Little Creatures.
So next time you are down that way grab yourself a beer tasting paddle and you could find yourself a new firm favourite.
Places to visit for craft beer in Fremantle
Best Craft Beer Cities in New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand – Nicholas from Rambling Feet
Wellington is New Zealand’s craft beer capital (and, incidentally, also its capital city). It’s no challenge to find beers from both the North and South Islands here. In places such as the Fork & Brewer bistro and the underground Hashigo Zake, you’ll also be able to sample beers from 8 Wired, Yeastie Boys and other Kiwi breweries. You can even follow a trail of craft beer bars. You’ll also find Garage Project’s, Tuatara’s and ParrotDog’s taprooms in the city; after all, these award-winning breweries call the Wellington region home.
While there isn’t a style that New Zealand is renown for, craft beer lovers worldwide adore the fruity aromas and flavours that local hop varieties like Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Riwaka impart. Order an NZ pale ale, IPA or pilsner to taste them for yourself!
Breweries to visit in Wellington
Click here for a full list of breweries in Wellington!
4 thoughts on “The Best Craft Beer Cities in the World”
Wow what an in-depth post, which has made me realise how much of the craft beer world I have to discover!!! I am going to make note of this post for future trips, so handy as a resource.
I love how in depth you are! While my brain can’t possibly process and remember all of this right now, this is a fantastic post to reference in the future. Thanks!
Great post, great article, will definately take notes for some of my future trips!
Though you should try Czech Republic beers – czecs consume more beer per liter that germans. Also dont miss out on the three Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), they have some trully amazing breweries ower there and their stuff is gooooooooddddddddddddd
We actually just got a beer box with some Estonian beers and have loved all of the ones we’ve tried so far. The Baltics are definitely an underrated craft beer region!