Plot your own ale trail with Lonely Planet's Global Beer Tour »

Taste beer at the source in 32 countries

By Kerry Scambler
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<i>Lonely Planet's Global Beer Tour</i>

Lonely Planet's Global Beer Tour [©Lonely Planet Food]

Bamberg Rauchbier coaster


Beer and bacon, two of my favourite things. But who’d have thought they’d turn up magically interwoven in a pint glass on the bar in a low-ceilinged 14th century pub in Bamberg, Germany?  And who knew a Rauchbier* would taste that good?

Well firstly, the tour company who gave us the tip on local highlights knew, but it certainly wasn’t on my radar before then. The beer wasn’t to everyone’s liking and one large glass was enough, but it was a drink that was distinctly and memorably Bamberg to me. 

Secondly, it’s a beer included in Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour and the photo of the bar prompted some very happy travel memories from our adventure back in 2013. If this guide had been around then, we would have added the Franconian Brewery Museum to our day’s activities.

It's now much easier to send your tastebuds on new beer journeys around your city, state, country and beyond from the comfort of home or local bar-with-atmosphere, but there’s nothing quite like taking your first sip of a beer (or any other beverage) at the place it was created. It can’t be fresher and it can’t be more understood than right here, at their place, not yours.

About the book

Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour has been written for three main reasons: 

  1. Craft beer doesn’t always travel that well over long distances so tasting at the source is always the ideal option. Unlike wine, the general rule is beer is best fresh [Ed: within days, or weeks, of making]
  2. Great beers – traditional and specialty in particular – are often brewed for the local market so not sent beyond their town, state or country. You simply won’t get them elsewhere. (A la the Rauchbier.)
  3. Craft breweries are usually set up by passionate individuals who spend their lives around the brewhouse and with like-minded cohorts. Visiting them is often the only way you’ll meet the people behind the beer and hear its story directly.

When Lonely Planet says Global, they really mean it – from countries like Lebanon, Namibia and Ethiopia to Iceland, Nepal and South Korea.  Brazil and Argentina are covered as are the European brewers of Belgium, Portugal and the UK.

In fact, there are 32 countries covered in the book, each with an overview and helpful advice on how to order a beer, how to say 'cheers' in the local language, plus the signature beer style, local bar snack and what not to do.

Then come the best breweries to visit in each country. Along with information on each brewery and what they offer, there’s a must-try beer.

To round out your visit with pre-tasting activities and to cater for any non-beer lovers touring with you, there are also recommendations for what to do nearby.

Already the latter information has come in handy for this lover of beer and local experiences. The itinerary for a future trip to Canada now includes Callister Brewing Company, which has four nano-breweries on site, plus a nearby artist’s studio.  Perfect for our interests and the timeframe we’ll have!

There are also interesting sections on weird beers, food and beer, hangover cures, and great ale trails.

It’s hard to judge from here whether these really are the best breweries in each place, but based on the recommendations for Australia, I'd say they would certainly be in the mix. Of course, with the phenomenal growth of craft beer, there's likely to be a whole raft of newcomers for the list already.

They say travel broadens the mind but it also significantly expands the tastebuds. With this guide in hand some forward planning can have some new beer experiences crafted into your itinerary.

And with breweries from Australia and New Zealand included, you can always start at home!


* What is Rauchbier?
Rauch means smoke and this fine beer from Bamberg uses barley malt that is dried over a beech wood fire.  The resulting flavours and aromas are smoky (bacon) and vanilla-like. Rauchbier is brewed at a number of Bamberg breweries including where we encountered it, at Schlenkerla, just down the road from the impressive Cathedral. 

You can read more on the unusual Rauchbier and the Schlenkerla brewery/hotel on their website » 

Read more on Lonely Planet's Global Beer Tour »


Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour is published by Lonely Planet (May 2017; 240pp; hb; RRPA A$29.99 or NZA32.99) It is available at all good bookshops or direct from Lonely Planet here »

It can also be found to purchase online via »

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August 31st, 2017
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