Becoming a beer lover and being so spoiled by all of the craft beer options in Colorado it had to drastically lower my standards when traveling. I went so long craving an IPA and still cant wait to crack open my favorite when back in Colorado.
When you’re from Colorado and traveling across the world there’s always one thing people say when they find out I’m a Colorado Native. Its always either “How’s the weed?” or “Oh nice, you got that good weed”. It almost never fails. Sometimes someone will bring up the Rockies (the mountains, not our shitty baseball team- though I think they’re trying to be good for once) or the Broncos. One thing that should be asked about and is very much missed is all of our amazing craft beer brewed with that fresh Rocky Mountain water. Going to school in Fort Collins with some of the larger craft breweries like Odell’s, New Belgium and Fort Collins Brewery along with dozens of other smaller ones scattered across the city I became a beer lover. This was very surprising to me as my brother had to literally force me to drink good beer when I got to college as I was so used to piss 30 racks from high school like Rolling Rock and PBR. Now I can’t even stomach those nasty drinks…I don’t even want to call them beer.
|First beer tower and introduction to ice in beer|
|Typical sight from a corner street bar in Hanoi|
In Asia there is no such thing as craft beer. All they have are cheap drafts which are all pretty much the same type of lager. On top of that since it’s so hot they add ice to the beers when you go to a bar! It was crazy. They even have girls whose job is only to put ice in your cup! On the good side though all there beers some in 0.66L bottles and are most of the time less than a dollar. In Thailand it was all about the Big Chang ( a simple 5% lager) that become my go to beer. Laos’s national was BeerLao Lager(5 %), and Dark(6.5%). These were okay but still nothing to truly enjoy drinking. Vietnam had a ton of very cheap beers. The main one is called Bia Hoi. This is found is on almost every small bar and street corner in the cities. It is brewed daily and goes bad after that one day; not sure exactly how this works. It was a mere 3% draft lager but at average $0.25 per cup you can’t complain. Cambodia was similar to Vietnam and I’m not sure exactly what beer I drank there but it was most of the time $0.25 or $0.50 per glass so I’m not complaining. You can get drunk with like $2 it would be any alcoholics paradise. So as you can tell I was not able to find anything great in SE Asia (I do still get a Chang when I get Pad Thai in Budapest) so the IPA craving was still there. Luckily my next stop was India so I should have no problem finding one there right? Wrong.
|Chang with Pad Thai|
Though India did not fulfill my IPA crave I at least was able to have craft beer again thanks to my good buddy Sharan and his new brew house/restaurant, Spindrift, in Mangalore. Here I got a few freshly brewed Wheat beers, lagers, and a believe a cherry beer. They were quite tasty and if you are ever in Mangalore then be sure to stop by and tell them Shawn sent you. I was very happy with this but was still craving my IPA on my way to Europe.
It’s been 9 months in Europe now. Beers are still cheap and better than Asia by tenfold but it’s still not US craft beers. As in Asia the size of beers here are bigger than home with a 0.5L bottle. This is awesome especially with most in Budapest being under $1. Mainly I drink Staropramen (from Prague) and now have been switching to Dreher (from Hungary). These are draft beers though and I can definitely say they’re better than US draft. It is possible to get craft beer in Budapest though with multiple craft beer bars such as Csak a Jó Sör (Only Good Beer), Hopaholic, and Hops Beer Bar which always have some great selections of all types. Here I was finally able to get some tasty bitter fresh IPAs in my belly. These are great but I only try to go occasionally as they’re a lot more expensive (a whopping $4 average!), though still cheaper than in the US.
|I was so excited when I saw this. Felt like a kid in a candy store|
Now that it’s summer there are things going on all the time in Hungary. Some of these things are, to my great pleasure, Craft Beer (Sör) Festivals. I have been to two in the past month and have been very happy leaving each one. At one I was even able to find an Arrogant Bastard Ale , from Stone Brewery in California, which got me very excited. Through these bars and festivals I’ve discovered there actually are some good beers and breweries in Hungary.
Shown in order of Favorites:
Legenda Sörfőzde Kelet-Indiai Társaság (East India Company) IPA (6.5%)- By far the best and most flavorful beer I have had since I left the states and I need to find a place that sells in in the city. This is definitely one of the best breweries in Hungary.
|Our small bottle collection|
Kézművessörök M61 Nohab APA (7.2%)
Rothbeer Tavoli Galaxis IPA (6.1%)
Reketye with their Monolith IPA (only 5)%
*** All of these places have plenty of beer styles, which are also tasty, but pretty much all I drink are IPAs if you haven’t noticed.
So overall it is possible to find good beer here in Hungary and I’m going to Berlin in a week so hopefully the Germans will live up to beer expectations. Still cant wait for my O’Dell IPA though!