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Top 5 beer antics to try overseas

Published May 20th, 2013

 

There’s nothing more refreshing than celebrating the end of a long day travelling than with a nice, cold beer. But sometimes slamming down a brewski just isn’t enough. Some days you want to crack open a coldie and tip it straight over your head. And thanks to the oddball antics certain beer lovers get up to overseas, that’s now perfectly acceptable. So without further ado, here’s our guide to some of the strangest uses for beer around the world.

 

Soaking in it – Austria

Much as we’d like to say “only in Austria,” the truth is several European spa retreats of a decidedly amber hue endorse taking a long soak in beer.  The Landhotel Moorhof in the wonderfully named Franking styles itself as an old-fashioned health and wellbeing retreat, albeit with a difference. So enamoured with beer are our adventurous Austrian friends, they’ll fill a giant wooden tub with the amber stuff for you to sit and soak in. Franking my dear… it sounds awesome!

 

Conducting business - Japan

Nothing says “I’m doing business in Japan!” like getting hammered with some co-workers. By day the average Japanese salaryman is a placid, diligent company employee. By night – especially after a couple of Asahi’s – he’s ready to do business, safe in the knowledge that whatever drunken antics erupt will quickly be forgotten in Japan’s ‘work hard, drink hard’ corporate culture. Most Japanese offices possess an impressive boardroom but the real work gets done after dark in the izakayas of Tokyo and Osaka. Staggering off towards the last train home is practically a rite of passage for generations of Japanese businessmen and women.

 

Getting religious  - Belgium  

Monasteries tend to be sombre, stately affairs and that’s no different in Belgium. The one major difference is the fact that six of the world’s eight Trappist monasteries are located there, including the world famous Chimay Brewery in the south of country. Trappist beers are brewed exclusively by the Trappist order of monks, who use the income generated for the upkeep of their monasteries before donating whatever’s left to charity. There are Trappist breweries in the Netherlands and Austria too, but Belgium’s the place to be if you want your beer delivered with a side order of piety.

 

Celebrating in style – Mexico

There’s always one. At some point, somebody somewhere decided that the best way to celebrate their team’s football goal was to toss a plastic cup of beer skywards. Strangely enough, this bizarre phenomenon caught on and soon whole stands were drenching themselves in the sticky stuff. Nowhere did they take this pastime more seriously than in Tijuana, Mexico where fans of Xolos celebrated each and every goal en route to promotion with a serious beer shower. They were soon told to cut out the mayhem but it didn’t stop Xolos from unexpectedly being crowned Mexican champions in late 2012.

 

 

Paying with it – Czech Republic

Beer might be an able quencher of thirsts, but over the years it has also regularly been used as currency. From agricultural workers ploughing the fields to dodgy government officials on the take, when hard currency is in short supply, beer has often proved a ready replacement. That’s not so much the case these days – try paying your bus fare in beers and you’ll be necking them on the walk home – but in the Czech Republic, at least, the spirit of beer as currency is alive and well. At the 17-day Czech Beer Festival each May, hordes of rowdy revellers pay for their ales with a special currency called the Tolar. It’s not quite the same as bartering with six packs – but it’s the thought that counts – and better yet allows you to budget for your beers instead of waking up with a monstrous headache and an empty wallet.

Mike Tuckerman

From Europe to Asia and many places in between, there's rarely a town or city I've not enjoyed exploring. When I'm not wandering the streets and discovering new destinations, you can usually find me hanging out with the locals at major sporting events.