While traveling through Europe you’ll find great beers, wonderful wines and popular local beverages to compliment Europe’s diverse cuisine. For centuries European’s have taken the crafting of beer and the aging of wine to levels of acceptance the world over. When traveling across Europe restaurants will recommend and serve local favorites that won’t disappoint.
Drinking Alcohol in Europe…
Some styles of alcohol are preferred in some parts of Europe over others. While beer may be more widely consumed in Germany, they also drink wine and spirits, like brandy as well. European countries in the east and north who prefer spirits, Vodka dominates their choice. Wine types very greatly from country to country because wine varies from one growing region to the other. Climate, soil and the type of grape they can grow successfully will determine the wine type and taste.
Predominant Wine Consumption Countries
Predominant Wine Consumption Countries: France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Moldova Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Spain
Predominant Beer Consumption Countries
Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom
Predominant Spirit Consumption Countries
Belarus, Russia, Ukraine
Predominant Beer & Wine Consumption Countries:
Albania, Austria, Bosnia Hercegovina, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland
Predominant Beer & Spirit Consumption Countries:
Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden
Legal Drinking Ages in Europe…
Most countries in Europe allow for the consumption of alcohol in private at any age, they may not in public. It is also lawful to consume in public at ages anywhere from 16 or older. Countries may have higher age requirements distilled spirits than those ages allowed for beer, wine and cedar.
While there may be low age, or even no age, requirement for the consumption of alcohol , there may be stricter laws on the sale and or purchase of alcohol. A country may ban the sale to anyone under 18 yet there is no age for the consumption of alcohol.
The earliest evidence of wine production in ancient times may have started in Armenia around 4100 BC. Wine spread westward throughout the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians and became an important drink in Egyptian, Persian, Greek and Romans cultures. As the Romans expanding their empire they took with them them their knowledge of viticulture, planting vineyards into the conquered areas of Gaul, Iberia and Germania. Monks during the middle ages became major producers of supplying wine for the celebration of mass. In fact Benedictine monks invented sparkling wine near Carcassonne in 1531. Since those early years wine has become a common drink of all social classes.
Europe makes around two thirds of the world’s wine. This year global production is expected to hit 271 million hectolitres, or 27.1 billion litres. In Europe today there are over 22,000 wine producers who make over 123,000 different wines from over 1,900 growing areas.
Europe’s Main Wine Regions
Europe’s Primary Wine Producing Countries
Ribera del Duero
Castile & León
🇧🇦 Bosnia Herzegovina
🇸🇲 San Marino
🇬🇧 United Kingdom
There archaeological evidence that shows forms of barley fermentation around 3500 BC. Recorded history shows beer in ancient Egypt and Iraq. Beer was spread throughout Europe by Germanic and Celtic tribes. Early beer wouldn’t be recognizable from todays beers as they didn’t consist of hops. Early beers would have been made fruits, honey, numerous plants, spices and narcotic herbs. For centuries beer was only produced domestically and by monasteries. Not until the industrial revolution was beer industrially manufactured.
The hub of modern brewing, Europe is home to an estimated 80 beer styles and 50,000 different beer brands. Europe’s estimated 8500 breweries, dispersed across the continent are a major impact on the European economy and lifestyle. They consist of microbreweries, brew pubs, regional players and larger breweries that produce beer for world wide exporting.
Beer brewing produces a diversity of tastes for varied pallets.
Known as Witbiers (wheat beer) in the Flemish tongue, they’re spicier than their Bavarian brethren, unfiltered, often call upon coriander and orange peel for added flavour, and tend to be lower in alcohol – hovering around the 4-5% mark.
Indulgent ales sometimes brewed with extra amounts of chocolate malt and sometimes brewed with actual chunks of chocolate. Expect cocoa, coffee and… er… chocolate characteristics.
German Weiss Bier / Weizen
Known in Bavaria as Weizen and elsewhere in Germany as Weissbier,German wheat beers get all their banana and clove-like flavour from the use of a unique yeast strain that brings out the true character of the wheat malt used in the brew.