What Is the Best Beer Country?

An Empty Glass of Hobo PIlsner from the Dust Bowl Brewing Company in Turlock, CA

An Empty Glass of Hobo Pilsner from the Dust Bowl Brewing Company in Turlock, CA: http://www.dustbowlbrewing.com

Fitting for St. Patrick’s Day, Yahoo Food posted an article about the 13 best beer countries in the world. Of course it is difficult to decide on objective criteria for such a  ranking, but the article focused on quality, innovation, and overall beer scene. A few countries surprised me – New Zealand in 12th place for example. If someone mentions beer, I would not think New Zealand; I am not even sure I have ever drunk a beer from New Zealand. Italy in 10th place was another surprise for me since I associate Italy more with red wine, but I am excited that I will work abroad in Italy for a semester next year and will have the opportunity to test whether Italian beer is worth the high ranking. The article also promises that Italy’s potential will come to fruition in the next few years, so it seems I will be there just at the right time.

Germany is in the surprising fourth place since I assumed Germany would be first or second – going head to head with Austria but that was clearly patriotic delusion mixed with a love for tradition. The article listed innovation but not tradition as a criterion and this in my opinion is the reason why Germany placed only fourth and Austria was not even mentioned (really – New Zealand over Austria?!?). The UK placed third and reasons mentioned are that the UK has the highest number of breweries in the country since WWII and the highest number of breweries per capita in the world.

Collection of Bottles after a Beer tasting Party

Collection of Bottles after a Beer tasting Party

The biggest surprise was the US in second place (but on the other hand, this is an American article, so the high ranking of the US is not that surprising after all). The article explains that new breweries are opening up at a rate of 1.5 breweries a day! But the article does not list a source for this number. In first place is Belgium, which is lauded for its combination of tradition meeting innovation.

Maybe based on what type of beer I started drinking when I was younger or maybe based on nostalgia, I still prefer Austrian, Bavarian or Czech beers, and choose a Pilsner or Lager over the popular US IPA beers so dominated by hops. And I am still a little suspicious about a ranking that has a none-European country in second place.

Here is the link to the article: Yahoo Article by Zach Mack

Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day - This is actually a Guinness Blond American Lager camouflaged in green.

Green Beer for St. Patrick’s Day – This is actually a Guinness Blond American Lager camouflaged in green.

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