Brew Pubs in Hiding.
The Swiss brewery in Monstein, where Europe’s highest altitude beer is brewed and enjoyed.
In Munich, at the world’s only brewery located at an airport, travelers have the opportunity to drink that last pint or two while only minutes away from taking to the heavens. The Airbräu also attracts locals by having the cheapest beer in the city. For only 2.30 Euro, you can enjoy a choice of three to five different types of beer, depending on the season, from lager to wheat beer, to a special brew made only at Oktoberfest.
The brewery has four brew masters, seating for 900 and a beer garden that is open even through the long winter months. No heat lamps when the temperature drops, but blankets are provided. Keeping with the theme of being airborne, just across the border, in Monstein (just outside of Davos, Switzerland), Europe’s highest altitude beer is brewed and enjoyed. Does the high altitude change the taste of the beer? Can terroir be experienced at varying heights? Certainly the effects of the beer will be felt more acutely. Flavor? Well, who knows?
In Asia, delicious beers are being created reliably in India and Japan. The cuisines of both countries are perfectly suited for ice cold pints.
India was introduced to brewing beer by the British, whose troops craved the beverage to alleviate the heat. In Shimla, home of the summer capital for the Raj, the Mohan Meakin Brewery makes first rate beer. This is the subHimalayas, and the clean, abundant water—an anomaly in India—is the basis for the product.
Japan, too, relies upon great water for its beer. A younger generation is eschewing sake, calling it, “my father’s drink,” and turning to brew pubs. One of the best is Kura-Kura, in Tokyo, and it is a study in refinement with an extensive selection of micro-brews. Kura-Kura sells “Rising Sun Pale Ale,” made by the Baird Brewery, which is run by Bryan and Sayuri Baird, based in Numazu in the prefecture of Shizuoka. Baird also makes “Angry Boy Brown Ale” and “Dark Sky Imperial Stout,” along with nearly a dozen of others. The Baird’s have a taproom in Numazu where you can enjoy the beer, too.
Closer to home is the John Harvard brew pub located in a cellar in Harvard Square, in Massachusetts. After the beer, the best thing about this place are its stained glass windows depicting celebrities from Bobby Orr to Richard Nixon, that make the point that drinking beer can be a religious experience. Talk about heavenly!