From fruity creations infused with Sardinian honey, to brooding Belgian staples made in the backwaters of Wallonia, this selection of Europe’s 12 finest craft ales that you surely didn’t know about is certain to have something for everyone. So, cheers, prost, aclamaciones, and iechyd da folks.
Camden Pils | London
Cast off by many as the Pabst Blue Ribbon of London town, the tipple of choice for the regular hipster and drainpipe-jeans-wearing Shoreditch stalker, Camden Pils has actually done well to bring the unfiltered tradition of pilsner brewing from countries like Belgium and the Czech Republic to the English capital. While that milky veneer may not be a Briton’s usual idea of a perfect pint, delve into the flavours and a tangy, citrus burst awaits, washed over by a healthy dousing of all-American imported hops.
Atak Chmeilu | Poland
Perhaps it’s a little unusual that an out-and-out bitter American IPA has made such headway in a country seemingly obsessed with their light and bubbly pilsners, but, true to its name, Atak Chmeilu (Hop Attack) really has taken the Polish craft scene by storm, forming the vanguard of the acclaimed Browar PINTA label working out of Żywiec (no, not the rival beer, the place). With overtones of citrus, malt and caramel in the nose, this dark and fluffy ale follows up with a bout of lemons on the tongue and a bitterness that could easily be confused with a classic English cream flow.
N17 Rye Ale | Ireland
Created in the style of Bavarian rye brews, this medium strength ale out of County Galway, Ireland, is the flagship beer of the N17 Brewery. The flavour is markedly organic and natural, with a simple but pleasing intermingling of hops and grain blends. However, the real pull here is the ethos of the folk behind the tap. Not a single by-product of the fermentation process goes to waste. That means there’s now everything from dog biscuits to mushrooms coming out of this one’s casks in little old Tuam too, just try not to confuse them with the beer.
Madrid Lager | Spain
Just like its namesake Madrileños, this bottom-brewed lager from the Spanish capital is lively, bubbling and great company with a bout of classic tapas. Since hitting the scene it has been a little divisive amongst craft aficionados, some celebrating its bold embrace of earthy hops and sharp, citrus flavours at the same time, others not so sure. Of course, there’s only really one way to decide which side you’re on: head down to the La Virgen tap rooms in little Las Rozas on the peripheries of the city and take your fill.
Friedrichshainer Wheat | Germany
There was a time when wheat beers reigned supreme in Germany, accompanying everything from white sausage in the morning to hearty platters of bratwurst at night. Then pilsner came along from Czech Bohemia in the east and everythingwheat beers were pushed into the background and in the capital, Berliner Weisse was the tipple of choice no longer. Enter Hops & Barley, a small and independent brewpub nestled between the streets of Friedrichshain, where this classic, fruity wheat beer imbued with three different malts continues to flow from the taps.
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