A little liquid cultural immersion
This probably goes without saying, but most students have a beer or 10 when they’re abroad. If you’ve read “The Ultimate Study Abroad Guide“, you’ll know that alcohol has a different place in cultures outside of the U.S., and that bar hopping and socials (which usually turn into bar hopping) are actually a important part of most clubs, sports, and activities. Not to mention alcohol usually has a connection to a country’s history, so visiting a place like the Guinness Storehouse and having a beer actually has an academic/cultural benefit. Here are my favorite beers and booze from my time abroad. (By the way, this was totally unplanned, but with St. Patty’s day around the corner, it works out pretty well.)
|I can confidently say that the Jigger Ale is my favorite beer of all time. It was actually unveiled at The Jigger Inn while I was still abroad in St Andrews in 2010. It was created by Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, Scotland, and until recently was only available at the Jigger Inn. It’s ingredients include: Belhaven’s own ale yeast and well water, caramel malts, which add background sweetness, and traditional UK grown hops for a little taste of citrus. The Jigger Ale has a rich, creamy head, amber brown color, and smooth consistency, and is a great example of a Scottish Ale. There’s no question my favorite moments in Scotland were spent at the Jigger Inn after having just finished a round of golf, watching people play up the 17th and 18th of the Old Course, with a Jigger Ale in hand.|
|Maybe the most popular stout there is, I actually had my first Guinness when I was abroad. Some people say it’s a little watery for a stout, but overall, it’s very smooth and easy to drink. It has a deep dark color which matches the roasted coffee and sweet chocolate flavors. It has a creamy yet slightly grainy consistency – if you’ve had a Guinness, you’ll know what I mean – with an initial sweet and bitter taste leading into a clean finish. There are definitely better stouts out there, but even the experts will say you should grab a pint of Guinness when in Dublin. (Even if you don’t like beer, the amount of history you’ll learn makes a trip to the Guinness Storehouse worthwhile.)|
|From my experience, there was no country that had a better beer culture than Germany. During our free tour of Munich, our guide insisted that we visit a beer hall (not that he needed to), and he recommended the Augustiner Großgaststätte. The Augustiner Brothers (yes, as in the monks) began brewing beer in the Augustiner Hall as early as 1328, making it the oldest (and what most consider the best) brewery in Munich. I can’t remember which one I drank, but with everything from lagers and ales to pilsners and hefeweizens, it’s impossible not to find at least one you like. Our tour guide told us that most people order a half-liter as opposed to a full-liter (if you take too long to drink a 1 L it gets warm), but I recommend getting a full-liter at least once, just for the experience.|
Drinking isn’t an essential part of studying abroad. That being said, some of my best memories were drinking champagne under the Eiffel Tower, having a Guinness while sitting at the highest point overlooking Dublin, or grabbing a pint of Jigger Ale after playing a round on the Old Course. Drink responsibly, and it can definitely add to your overall experience.
What were your favorite beers while you were abroad?
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!