To celebrate National Cask Ale Week 2009 (6-13th April), Skyscanner takes a look at the world’s biggest beer drinking nations. Pack your pint glass and become a beer tourist in the planet’s best places to sample nature’s nectar.
1. Czech Republic (beer consumption per capita: 156.9 litres) – in at the top spot, it’s the Czechs who down 156.9 litres of the amber nectar per capita every year! Known worldwide for beers such as Pilsner Urquell and Budvar – the original Budweiser, it’s perhaps not surprising the Czechs drink so much of the stuff.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Staropramen.
2. Ireland (131.1 litres) – home to many great brews, including Guinness, one of the biggest beer brands around, it’s no big surprise that the Irish are big on beer. Be sure to visit Dublin’s Guinness Brewery to learn how the black gold is brewed, see their famous advertising campaigns and of course enjoy your free sample.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Kilkenny.
3. Germany (115.8 litres) – Oktoberfest, which actually begins in September, is Germany’s biggest celebration of beer, but the Germans are big drinkers all year round, consuming 115.8 litres per capita annually. There are many styles to choose from: try a Bavarian Weissbeer (white beer), Rauchbier (smoked beer) or if you’re tough enough – bock, a strong lager over 6.4% alcohol – prost!
Skyscanner favourite beer: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse.
4. Australia (109.9 litres) – the Aussies love a cold ‘stubbie’, but regional brand loyalty is very strong Down Under, meaning that many stick to the beer of their home state (for example, Queenslanders drink Castlemaine XXXX, Victorians drink Victoria Bitter etc). However, the numbers of microbrewers are growing, especially in cosmopolitan city areas, where a much wider range of beer is on offer.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Tooheys New.
5. Austria (108.3 litres) – Austrian beer isn’t world renowned, but in Vienna it’s all about the microbreweries. The most famous is the Schweizerhaus in the Vienna Prater, but the pub ‘1516’ in the city centre (named after the year of origin of the ‘Reinheitsgebot’ beer purity law) and ‘7 Sterne Bräu’ near the big Mariahilferstraße shopping street come highly recommended.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Zwickel Bier.
6. UK (99 litres) – though lager is readily available in the UK, it’s real ale that Britain does best. Available in thousands of varieties, real ale is brewed from traditional ingredients and allowed to mature naturally in the barrel, resulting in a rich tasting beer with great character.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Deuchars IPA.
7. Belgium (93 litres) – said to comprise the most diverse national collection of beer in the world, it’s little wonder that Belgiums rank in the world’s top 10 biggest beer drinkers. From pale ale, to Flemish red, to fruit flavoured brews and monastic ales, Belgium’s long standing brewing experience and experimentation means they are held as perhaps the greatest beer nation on earth.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Duvel.
8. Denmark (89.9 litres) – the Danish beer market is dominated by pale lager which accounts for 95% of total sales, but a microbrewery explosion since the turn of the millennium means that Denmark now has one of the most exciting beer cultures in Europe.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Tuborg.
9. Finland (85 litres) – not a country known for its beer, but the relatively recent relaxation of alcohol laws in Finland has led to an explosion of craft beers and microbreweries. The Helsinki beer festival in April offers over 400 different beers for boozers to try.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Karhu.
10. Luxembourg (84.4 litres) – perhaps an unexpected result, but even though Luxembourg is tiny, it has at least seven breweries and has plenty of good brews for the beer tourist to try, mostly influenced by the brewing styles of their German neighbours.
Skyscanner favourite beer: Bofferding.
_World’s biggest beer drinkers measured in beer consumed (in litres) per capita per country according to research by Kirin Holdings._