The Best “Beer Ventures” in Europe for the Beer Enthusiast
Not only during European travel do I seek out beer. Beer ventures (or rather beer adventures) are one of my favorite aspects of traveling, PERIOD! There’s just something about seeking out beers and getting to try them in their home tap room. To me this just adds to the whole the cultural experience of visiting a country.
Some of my favorite beer adventures haven’t always been about the beer but the actual experience or location. I list below spots that you should definitely include in your next trip to Europe. Consider this your “European Beer Travel Bucket list” from one beer nerd to another.
European Beer Travel Destination #1
Iceland: Beer Spa
When we spent a week in Iceland, one of the most memorable experiences was going to the beer spa there. It’s a combination beer spa, brewery & restaurant. Literally almost all of my favorite things in one spot! It was so perfect.
The Bjorbodin spa is located in Arskogssandur, Iceland. Askogssandur, Iceland is a little over 400 km from Reykjavik by car. You can also fly from Reykjavik to Akureyri, Iceland which is a flight that takes less than an hour. Depending on what your plans in Iceland are and how long you’re there can help you to determine how to get to the beer spa. If you’re curious about other breweries and beer to try while in Iceland check out my Iceland 7 day itinerary.
Iceland definitely isn’t a budget destination, so if you’d rather try some of their brews as a nightcap of your amazing Iceland daily adventures, I outline details about buying beer and booze in Iceland here.
European Beer Travel Destination #2
Dublin, Ireland: Guinness Storehouse
You haven’t had Guinness until you’ve had a Guinness in Ireland. While I enjoy this beer stateside, it’s way better on the emerald isle! (Trust me, I even had a Guinness at the airport for research purposes.)
While I was skeptical of going to the Storehouse, it was one of those “when in Rome” type moments. It far exceeded my expectations! It’s a very interactive experience. You walk through exhibits explaining their story, the history of advertising Guinness & details about brewing the beer.
You are taught how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness & get to sample some delicious brews there as well. While we were enjoying our beers included in the standard experience there was even a small show where employees broke out into an Irish dance. It took us by surprise, but it was a lot of fun!
From there, we enjoyed A VIP experience known as, the Connoisseur experience . I would definitely recommend it. It’s a lot more intimate & laid back experience where you’re able to try some lesser known variants of Guinness. For this, you’re in a small group setting in a gorgeous very quintessential Irish pub backlit bar.
After the Connoisseur bar experience, we rounded out our time at the Storehouse by having one last pint at the Gravity Bar. The Gravity Bar boasts a panoramic view out over Dublin in this sun drenched space with floor to ceiling windows.
The Open Gate Brewery
Affiliated with Guinness, their small batch brewery The Open Gate Brewery is something we didn’t get to experience while in Ireland as I learned about it once planning was already underway and it has very limited hours. (It’s only open 5-9PM Thursday & Friday at the time we visited, but now it appears they’re open 5-9 PM Thursday-Sunday.) So I wasn’t sadly able to fit it in! Be sure to double check via the click through link I added above! But, lucky for you you’re taking a look at this European Beer Travel bucket list and can be sure to visit!
The Open Gate Brewery is a small batch brewery where they experiment with really different flavors. It’s such a bummer because my motto in regard to beer is, “The weirder it is, the more I want to try it!” A few of the past favorites they’ve made definitely have me nearly salivating on the keyboard as I write. (Black Forest Stout & Honey Brown Ale.) Yumm!
European Beer Travel Destination #3
Haarlem, Netherlands: Jopenkerk Brouwerij
Haarlem is a suburb of Amsterdam, just under 20 km away. We ventured out to Haarlem from Amsterdam and it ended up being a rainy day so it was perfect to have a few brews at the Jopenkerk Brouwerij. The unique venue being in an old church and having gorgeous stained glass windows, the setup & homey vibe of the taproom, the amazing food and beer truly made this an unforgettable experience.
All of the beers my husband and I tried were so good! I even ended up finding some additional beers they were out of at the taproom at the grocery store a few days later and brought them home to enjoy later. This is one of the breweries I frequently think about returning to in the future.
European Beer Travel Destination #4
Windsor, UK: Windsor & Eton Brewery
The first time I visited London in 2016, we took the train out to Windsor to visit the castle. During my research and planning, I stumbled upon this brewery which at the time didn’t even have a proper taproom. We went anyway since we were close. They were so incredibly hospitable and opened so many beers for us to try while giving us an impromptu tour of their brewery. I will never forget how truly welcome they made us feel. Plus, an added bonus their beer was sooooo good! We bought some bottles to bring home with us and I was so sad when they were gone.
Since then, I’ve pretty much low key stalked them on social media. I can’t wait until the next time I’m in the vicinity to enjoy some pints there and stock up on some merch.
European Beer Travel Destination #5
Germany: Andech’s Monastery
A monastery that also has a brewery (braueri) and cafe. It was a short distance from Munich and a fun afternoon to go and check out a very authentic feeling brewery & beer hall.
It’s been around since 1455 so that alone was really awesome. I just love historic places. It never ceases to amaze me how old and how much history there is all over Europe. That’s part of the reason that draws me in. (Well that and amazing beer!) I really enjoyed their dopplebock (pictured below.)
I know what you’re thinking, I’ve been to Germany and didn’t list Oktoberfest. Truth be told, the trip to Germany was for Oktoberfest. It wasn’t a bad experience, just not my cup of tea. I enjoyed the more chill breweries and beer halls vs. the environment at Oktoberfest.
It was awesome that we were there on opening day. Seeing the parade and being a part of the excitement as they first tapped the kegs to start the festivities definitely was something I will never forget. But, is it something I’m dying to do again, no.
I’m always adding to my travel wish list/next beer venture locations and I definitely need to check out Belgium soon as well as compare the beer spa experience in Iceland to the ones in Prague. Truly, almost any destination can have a beer adventure element to it.
Not only when traveling, but also at home (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota) you can catch me at breweries for happy hour during the week & on the weekends enjoying some delicious brews. Check out my post highlighting The Best Breweries in the Twin Cities.
If you’re on the app Untapp’d, add me! My username is Mrs_Cox.