It started as a hobby: a few college-aged friends found themselves intrigued by the vast number of different types of beers that existed (yes, they realized there was more to life than Coors and Bud Light!). Soon enough, they were collecting all the various bottles and cans they would come across. They quickly discovered that behind each one of these bottles and cans, there was a story–a story that explained the name, the taste, the packaging, the brewery. What was once a hobby turned into a journey.
Bob and Ellie Tupper, the aforementioned beer explorers, have visited hundreds and hundreds of breweries both in America and outside of it; they have tasted countless beers, talked to a large number of brew-masters, and even took a stab at creating some of their own stuff. After one particular trip through Europe, they realized something. Many books and magazines out there offer lists of the best beers to try, or guides to the best spots (bars, pubs, etc…) to go, but few, if any, combined both. That combination is the foundation for the Tuppers’ book, Drinking In The Culture: Tuppers’ Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe.
Built on Bob and Ellie’s personal belief that where a beer is consumed matters almost as much as the quality of the beer itself, this handbook compiles the best places to go for a pint in twenty-four of the authors’ favorite European cities. That doesn’t even scratch the surface, though. The Tuppers also include information and history about each city, along with hotel and travel suggestions, not to mention some other ideas for fun things to do (once you’re full of beer, of course).
Something I really liked about this guide was the immense, unadulterated effort put into it. Before even beginning to talk about the cities and their pubs or beer gardens, there is a whole section of tips and travel advice when visiting Europe. They take the readers’ hands and guide (not to be redundant, but for lack of a better word) them through getting around each particular area, mentioning what type of clothing to pack, what to bring along, and specific ways to go about safety. They delve even deeper by outlining the differences in manner, etiquette, and language in regards to the various cities of Europe (always say “please” more than you think you need to when visiting Britain!). I immediately was given the sense that these authors truly cared about ensuring the best trip possible, right from the start.
Each chapter of the book is the name of one of the chosen cities, followed by a brief introduction to the area and a little bit of history in case one is unfamiliar. After that, they get right into the beer! They talk about the styles of beer in each city, the type of drinking culture to expect, and, of course, the best places to go. This is followed by anything out-of-the-ordinary (for a foreigner) to expect from each place, along with how to go about fitting in and staying safe. I honestly don’t think that Bob and Ellie Tupper left a single detail out. Not to mention, the whole book is extremely organized, with a similar format for each city. So if I wanted to remind myself of what type of beer they drink in Glasgow, or where the best places to have a brew are in Prague, or what type of nightlife exists in Berlin, I would be able to find that spot in the book in no time.
Not only did I want to plan an immediate trip to Europe after reading through this book, I also wanted to pour myself a nice pint (although, admittedly, it doesn’t take a lot for me to want that). It’s clear that so much time, effort, care, and passion went into creating this and that alone separates it from most other guides. And since it includes so much additional information about exploring the land and experiencing the culture, anyone can benefit from reading this, whether they love to drink or absolutely hate it. When I turned the last page, I felt a nice, cool, refreshing tingle, similar to…oh, I don’t know… taking the first sip of a cold beer.
Twisted Talk: Do you have any upcoming European travel plans? Do you have a favorite city to go drinking in? Discuss below!