My recent Friday Photo of some Guinness kegs in Dublin got me thinking about beer. The nectar of the gods is always a big part of my travel enjoyment. Before you think me a sot, let me say that I am simply an enthusiastic social drinker who particularly relishes a cold beer after a long day of trekking, sightseeing, or laboring.One of my fondest beer memories is from a trip we took to the Monteverde cloud forest area in Costa Rica. Our family joined a larger group to work for nine days in Santa Elena, CR, where we mixed concrete by hand, dug trenches, hauled concrete blocks, and built bookshelves, among other duties. At the end of each long, hot day, we were filthy and exhausted. When we arrived back at our humble hostel each night, the dilemma was what to do first: quench our thirst and relax our aching bodies with a drink, or clean ourselves up? As the days passed, the original binary choice of Beer or Shower morphed into a multivariable quandary expressed as Beer-Shower-Beer? or Shower-Beer-Beer? or Beer-Beer-Shower? or (screw the shower!) Beer-Beer-Beer! Imperial was definitely the ale of choice here, regardless of whether it was consumed before or after the bathing.
A good, local beer after a long day of trekking is also a marvelous reward. At dusk in the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania, we enjoyed many a Safari, Tusker, or Kilimanjaro outside our tents.
On the Inca Trail in Peru, we became quite partial to Cusqueña Dark, while in Glacier National Park in northern Montana and Canada, we consistently grabbed a Moose Drool out of the cooler. Asia is not a high point for beer, but once we had acclimatized in the Himalayas in Nepal, we enjoyed a Gorkha or Everest most evenings after a day on the Khumbu trails. And a cold and rainy Mount Fitz Roy climb in Argentina was blissfully followed by two delicious home-brewed dark and blonde beers at cozy La Cervecería in the tiny town of El Chaltén.
Even a casual sightseeing day is enhanced by a good beer during or after. The light and dark Sarajevska brews in Bosnia & Herzegovina were both excellent at the end of a travel day, and in Düsseldorf, Germany, we drank our way through a day-long layover at the Braueries Uerige and Zum Schlüssel, both famous for their altbiers.
In Iceland, we happily whiled away several afternoons in Reykjavik with some Brios, Gulls, and Egils, and we tamed our post-trek PTSD after a particularly daunting mountain hike with a good Borg Úlfur draft.
And then there’s Ireland, oh Ireland! A real Guinness Draught the minute we arrived in Dublin at 10:30 am and a weekend full of Murphy’s Irish Stout, Harp Lager, and so many more rich and creamy Irish ales. A “beer from the roof of the world,” a Lhasa, perked up a lunch at 11,000+ feet in Tibet, an Ožujsko welcomed us to Dubrovnik, Croatia, and we lingered over a luscious Laško in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Another dark beauty, a Książęce, bid us farewell on our last night in Krakow, Poland … and on that note, I’m off to the fridge! Cheers!