Beer Traveler: European Christmas Markets & 2014/2013 archives (and dinosaurs)

In my attempt to make this site a fairly comprehensive archive of published stories, I’m going to slap a bunch of hyperlinks in this post to round-up the “Beer Traveler” column I get to do for All About Beer Magazine. The one currently on better magazine racks around the country is on festive holiday markets in awesome European destinations. Christmas, on the whole, is much less commercialized overseas. Dry cleaners don’t paint Santa Claus getting his reindeers’ coats dry cleaned on the windows. They don’t pipe x-mas carols by pop stars cashing in on the season over their P.A.s. And you won’t find a single egg nog latte at any cafe that isn’t a Starbucks. But you do find outdoor markets–weather be damned–in city centers from France to Belgium to Germany to…Spain.

Before that I wrote one based on my experiences in and around Copenhagen during CBC (Copenhagen Beer Celebration). As a fun counterweight, I included Oklahoma City. OKC is essentially the CPH of the USA, right?

Earlier, I tackled the surprising yet obvious connections between Berlin and Los Angeles. No wonder they’re sister cities. And verily, they’re both supporting some hometown beer cultures again.

To kick off 2014, we explored cask ale destinations for Real Ale lovers in North America: NYC and Victoria, BC along with Central Oregon, Baltimore, Cambridge, Mass., and NC’s Triangle.

OK, this is getting too long. So I’ll include just one more. Dinosaurs! Yes, I managed to pull off a travel story in a beer magazine by unearthing some beer towns for dino-enthusiasts. Oh yes I did.

Copenhagen Rising

Charlie Papazian’s now-extinct Beer Town USA online poll, by virtue of the name, excluded foreign cities. Otherwise people might vote for Munich or London, or probably Brussels. But there’s a pretty strong argument that they’d all be dead wrong. The answer may very well be Copenhagen. No longer are the Danish merely famous for their, uh, Danishes…the craft beer movement is gaining traction throughout Scandinavia and credit goes to Mikkel Borg Bjergsø—known to beer geeks the world over—is the mind behind the Mikkeller brand.

Mikkeller Horizontal Tasting

Well, I pitched this story to Draft (vol 6.1, 2011) as an intro to the trend of educational beers. Yes, beers that teach the consumer (and usually the brewer in the process) something such as releasing a series of beers with a control and one variable distinguishing the other iterations. In other words, a pale ale each hopped with a different, single varietal, or a stout and a series of that same batch aged in one differing spent barrel each. The king of these–they’re certainly not vertical tastings which takes one beer as sampled at once over several vintages so instead I call it horizontal tastings–is Mikkeller from Denmark. Dark Horse, one of my favorite Michigan breweries, had a different sort of horse in this race.

The Ticker story

Dedicated Drinkers and Their Drive to Document (a.k.a. “The Ticker story,” Vol. 30, Iss. 4, 2009) is about the most prolific RateBeerians and BeerAdvocates and begins with this suitable quote from Simon Pegg (who, the best of my knowledge, is not a beer ticker). “Geek is just another word for enthusiastic… We keep loving stuff and remain unembarrassed by our enthusiasm.”