103. Charlie’s Bar, Copenhagen, Denmark

Pilestræde, Copenhagen, Denmark, has a very British surprise: Charlie’s Bar.

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With every detail, you will be transported to Ole Blighty; the staff will only speak English to you here, as will many of the punters.

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The cynic may point to the numerous, similar and possibly better bars of this ilk in the Motherland. But this is in Copenhagen. Which makes it unique, and quite remarkable. Drinkers vote with their wallet and their feet; Charlie’s is twice the price as next door, yet always rammed on the weekends.

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The ceiling is covered in old beer mats, presumably for the Australian visitors. Narrow and cluttered, in truth the seating options are limited. Those lucky few will be treated to cosy corners and close seating for vibrant conversation. The bar spills out to the street and has a ledge to prop your beer on whilst ogling the locals.

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Venue: 8/10

People-watcing Mecca, chthonic beer cave and beer mat emporium.

Beer: 8/10

Brilliant, if English ale is your thing. It is kept so well, Charlie’s Bar is one of a handful of pubs outside the U.K. to have been awarded the Cask Marque of quality. The menu is also furnished with a few choice Belgian’s.

Worthy? Yes

Charlie’s Bar may not be remarkable in the U.K.- but it’s not in the U.K., so it is.

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113. Redbones Restaurant, Somerville, MA

Redbones is deep in Somerville, Boston, to the north of Cambridge and you are unlikely to stumble upon it by chance. The pilgrimage is well worth the effort as they serve up 24 beers on tap to wash down the excellent home-cooked BBQ meats.

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Rustic and unkempt to the core, Redbones has a vibe unique amongst the emerging set of airbrushed bars. I hope that never changes.

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Redbones is situated in what seems to be a rather sterile and vanilla suburb, which makes the decor and the clientele surprising and refreshing. The patrons were genuinely friendly and the layout facilitates the gregarious and affable vibe. Nothing here is taken too seriously; it just ‘is’.

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Venue: 7/10

It is what it is. Unashamedly rustic and rugged; a lovely charm.

Beer: 7/10

24 taps, one cask and a wheel to help you choose from some top locals and fine imports, such as Karmeliet and Delirium.

Worthy? Yes

The BBQ food is brilliant, the regulars quirky and the staff are happy. Great vibe.

16. Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO

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If I was being nice, I’d describe the exterior as ‘unassuming’; but really it is ugly and deceptive. Falling Rock is located in downtown Denver amidst myriad game-day bars and brash night-spots, and blends in unassumingly. What lies beneath however is a bounty of local and specialist American beers.

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Pliny the Elder on tap! In 2013 it was rated the 2nd overall beer on beeradvoctae.com, 3rd on ratebeer.com*. Disappointing glassware.

The large main room is plastered in beer bottles, taps, signs and various other memorabilia. This makes the big space feel much closer and settling, whilst still being able to accommodate large numbers. There are some choice European imports, but the vibe is quintessential American tap house; pool downstairs, neon outside, nuts, burgers and fries on the menu. Clearly a lot of thought and patience was involved in designing the layout, furnishings and beer list, which is effected with the typical Coloradan breezy complacence, making it seem effortless: “Oh, this? It’s just my awesome bar with 80+ beers on tap. Nothing really”.

Venue: 8/10

The interior is resplendent with bottles and taps, which help to fill the space necessary for all the local enthusiasts.

Beer: 9/10

The range at Falling Rock is more than anyone could expect; Pliny the Elder is a real treat to find anywhere. They do not limit themselves entirely to Usonian brews, and have some tastefully chosen European imports. One could argue that they only have the big names imported, but I can say with some authority that these names are big through quality, not rabid commercialisation; they stock Orval, Rochefort and Sam Smith’s, not Heineken, Palm and John Smiths.

Worthy? Yes

Do you know a tap house with a better Usonian range?

*As much as I love user-submitted review websites, and as clever as the rating algorithms become, there will always be inherent bias. This is frustratingly evident on RateBeer where they break down the best beers by category: there is a cider category, which contains NO ciders from England, the birthplace and undisputed king of the genre. In fact, 7 of the 15 ‘ciders’ are from Quebec. Being a .com, we can probably assume that most of the reviewers are Usonian, and have little real knowledge of brews outside of their country, apart from imports whose flavour has corrupted during long voyages. If Quebec is the home of cider brewing, clearly the name has a different stylistic meaning than in its birthplace. Like

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wise, 8 of the top 10 overall beers are Usonian. Sure, the population is roughly equal to Europe, so we can expect a strong competition. But finding 80% of the worlds best beers in the States is to bat far above its weight, especially when some of these styles are copies or European originals.