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Five European Breweries To Visit In 2018

Brewing tradition is one of Europe's many historic crown jewels. Blending beauty, function, and family heritage, the breweries within which some of the world's finest ales are crafted make for charming and culturally rich destinations, even for non-beer lovers. Here we'll explore a diverse array of European breweries worth seeing for yourself, from Trappist monasteries to vintage English breweries.

Sünner Brauerei

Founded in 1830, the Sünner brewery and distillery are said to be on the “right” side of the Rhine River in the Deutz neighborhood of Cologne, as opposed to other, less indelible breweries situated on the opposite bank. Hence, the company's glassware reads “Kölsch van seiner schönsten Seite", which translates to “Kölsch from the most beautiful side." 

True to the slogan, the brewery is a remarkably beautiful facility, and the oldest historical building in Cologne which still functions for its original purpose. From outside, an imposing brick facade frames a large window, offering views of the polished copper kettles within. The inside of the brewery has been modernized, but has not sacrificed its traditional design, and when possible, utilizes traditional equipment, like its open fermenters. 

Adjacent to the brewhouse lies a large, 400-seat beer garden, built in 1996. When the weather's nice, it's open every day but Monday from April to September. But you can also enjoy a meal and drink underneath the brewery, in its repurposed cellars. Remodeled into a bar and restaurant in 2009, the cellars offer a cozy, well-lit environment to enjoy a Kölsch within the intimate brick walls.

Brewery tours for groups of up to 25 people are available upon reservation, and the price per 75 minute tour is just under 10 Euros, and includes one Kölsch and one Zwickelbier. 

For more info on booking a tour, follow this link.

Harvey's Brewery

Harvey's in East Sussex, UK is so popular that the wait list for brewery tours is at more than two years! As such, they've had to put a hold on taking requests. What's the fuss about?

In keeping with the rest of the breweries on our list, Harvey's has history. Founded in 1790 by John Harvey, this brewery maintains as much of its original rustic charm as possible. Unfinished timber contrasts copper for a feel that could only be evoked in England.

The original Georgian-style brewery was partially rebuilt in 1880, altering the tower and brewhouse to a Neo-Gothic style, still visible today. Below the tower sits the Georgian fermenting room, cellars and vat house. All remain unchanged in their design, save for repairs and technological improvements as-needed.

Beyond the allure of a truly traditional English brewery, the wait times at Harvey's can be attributed to the in-depth attention every guest receives. Each tour takes place after normal working hours, and can last up to three hours. As evidenced by this statement from Harvey's, the team considers these tours an integral, valuable part of their job:

"Unlike many tours of commercial premises, our brewery tour is not simply a walk around with a guide; it is a chance for us to meet our customers and give an insight to the heritage of brewing at Harvey’s. The informal sampling session that follows is a catalyst for one to one questions and answers. We also gain a great insight from the experience and it is always a pleasure to entertain our customers in this manner."

If you're planning on touring Harvey's, it's best not to hesitate. Despite the hold on applications, they will acknowledge every request for a tour, and will occasionally make exceptions for smaller parties.

It's worth a shot to visit this quintessentially British brewery. For more info and tour requests, reach out here. 

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