"Forty-five bucks!? This better be the best tasting beer in the world. [Drinks] You got lucky." -- Barney Gumble
Let's face it: Oslo is not the obvious choice for a beer-hunting weekend. Two contributing factors spring immediately to mind: the state monopoly on selling booze, and the ferocious price of the stuff. Armed with these prejudices I marched into Norway prepared to do battle with inaccessible over-priced mediocrity. I was surprised by what I found, though not about the price bit...
Salzburg, the home of Mozart, and a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site, might seem like an unlikely place for a beer weekend, but is a beautiful city of manageable size. There is plenty to see; beautiful architecture, things Mozart-related, “Sound of Music” locations, the castle (Hohensalzburg), all-in-all it’s just a pretty place, divided by the river and great to walk around. The pubs in Salzburg never seem to offer a great range of beers to try, and many seem to be as much restaurants as pubs, but they are well run and often very atmospheric.
I didn't intend writing an article, so this is not a well researched piece, but as I'm just back from sunny Palm Springs I though I'd share what limited beering I did there while fighting sleep yesterday afternoon. All in all I expected Palm Springs to be a bit of a beer desert based on a previous trip there, but there are a few gems to get good beer in. A list is provided that combines places of note I went to this time and last year.
My second suggested weekend destination for the beer lover is the city of Amsterdam. This might seem a strange choice to some, but despite all the publicity regarding the drug and sex trade, Amsterdam is a beautiful city and has plenty of great pubs and great beer. It also features a host of non-beer attractions to help work up a thirst, such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank house, Rembrandtshuis, not to mention the beautiful 18th century architecture along the canals. I have been to Amsterdam five times, and on the first occasion I will admit that I found it difficult to find a pub that didn’t only offer Heineken or Amstel. The real pubs are often stuck down some alleyway! Do some research beforehand, and be prepared to seek out these pubs. They are well worth the effort.
More and more Irish people are heading off on weekend city breaks. This has been helped by the availability of cheap flights from Ryanair and Aer Lingus. There are more flights to more destinations than ever before. So why not choose a destination that has an excellent selection of good pubs and quality beer?