59. Blue Moon Brewing at the SandLot, Coors Field, Denver, CO

The Sandlot is a plastic bastardisation of the American craft-brewery tradition, just like its beer. A craft beer is the product of enthusiasm, passion, tradition and knowledge of independent brewmasters. Blue Moon is the commercial exploitation of this market by the bland giants Molson Coors and SABMiller, whose combined revenue of $25 billion helps them to crush small, brilliant enterprises by sealing huge deals with large retail units that guarantee shelf-exclusivity, therefore ensuring obligatory purchases by commercially isolated suburbs and communities throughout the USA and is definitely not made with Rocky Mountain glacial water.


Classy, individualistic, homely, cosy, pioneering: adjectives no one will use to describe the Sandlot.

Venue: 0/10

Who knows? It’s only open on match days, so probably full of baseball enthusiasts.

Beer: 0/10

It’s Blue Moon. That is all.

Worthy? Noooo.

Unfathomable inclusion. Poor beer produced at the expense of good beer.


98. Olympen Mat og Vinhus, Oslo, Norway

“Mount Olympus” is the oldest beer hall in Oslo, dating back to 1892, and has endured numerous reinventions. The incumbent style is a nod to the traditional continental beer hall style.


Olympen is deep into possibly the only run-down, poor suburb of Oslo (and perhaps Norway), so pilgrimage is less than appealing. It is however merely blocks from the central train station, so its easy to find a reason to visit, no matter how little time you have in Oslo. The interior is starting Olympento look quite worn; whereas in a Belgian or Dutch ‘brown’ bar this would only add to the charm, unfortunately for Olympen the effect is more of a miserable neglect.

Expect to pay prices you didn’t think possible for beer, all the while the barman keeping a straight face. They are fiercely proud of the local Norwegian craft beers and you can find many small brewers not represented anywhere else in Norway. The food is local and seasonal, so think fish, pickled things and astronomically high prices.

Venue: 5/10

The unremarkable exterior belies the grand and striking interior. However, it was rather quiet on my visit and felt soulless through its capaciousness.

Beer: 7/10

150+ beer menu is truly remarkable for Norway. The focus is on Norwegian beers, some of which are rather good. The typical cannon of Abbey and Trappist brews are also well-represented.

Worthy? Yes

A good blend of history and local beer, Olympen is Oslo’s one weak candle to the beer world.

38. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO


The Wynkoop Brewery opened for business in 1988 and became Denver’s first brewpub and craft-brewery. They are pioneers in this brewpub-crazy state (Colorado ranks 4th in craft breweries per capita) and have been getting a lot right since their inception, such as their commitment to the environment and localism.


Somehow they procured the  J. S. Brown Mercantile Building, built in 1899, and originally home to a mercantile emporium during Denver’s pioneering early days. This building is really quite magnificent and retains a lot of the built-to-last original features such as thick timber pillars and  pressed-tin ceilings. Unfortunately, this expansive former warehouse is a difficult space to renovate as a brewpub and the promise of the exterior is not fulfilled inside.


The Wynkoop Brewing Company raises the question of “At what size does a ‘craft’ brewery lose its name”? Whilst Wynkoop is far from the Blue Moon and Sierra Nevada scale, their website bangs on about their corporate offerings and their new beer-canning operations. I don’t think they can be thought of as a micro-brewery anymore. Will the quality suffer as their business grows?


Rocky Mountain oysters are bulls testicles. Just so you know.

Venue: 5/10

The old mercantile building is maintained beautifully and separated cleverly to preserve atmosphere and an affable vibe. The inside is not nearly as remarkable as the exterior though.

Beer: 4/10

A large range for a micro-brewery, which I’m sure I would appreciate if I was local. As a passing guest, I felt that maintaining this breadth was at the expense of individual quality. I was not blown away by their award-winning dark larger (try Flek Thirteen for an excellent example), but they redeemed themselves with the milk stout. The IPA is OK.

Worthy? Just about.

They haven’t got everything right, but they do have that most elusive of qualities: an affable, charming vibe. The staff interact as though they are family.


14. U Fleků, Prague, Czech Republic


U Fleků is a brilliantly preserved Bohemian experience in the heart of Prague. The first written reference places a brewery on this site since 1499, making this the oldest continuous brewpub in Central Europe.


If you’ve ever been to Prague, especially if you’ve stood on Charles Bridge, you will have a sense of the strangling number of tourist cloying the streets. It is remarkable U-Fleku-Beersthen, that U Fleků retains such Medieval charm and unspoilt grandeur. There is space inside for a staggering 1,200 patrons siphoned through eight distinct rooms, each with their own character. These range from the chthonic ‘Sausage’ room with arched beamed ceilings, to the resplendent and decadent Academy room which has hosted Czech socialites and celebrities for centuries.

Venue: 10/10

An excellent example of Czech Bohemian grandeur surviving through the ages and coping with the huge summer tourist numbers.

Beer: 8/10

There is literally one beer, the Flek Thirteen; a dark lager whose names derives from its Plato rating of 13 degrees. One could make the perfectly reasonable argument that my rating is far too high for a single-beer bar. To one, I say “Go drink some”.

Worthy? Yes



95. The Publick House, Brookline, MA


The Publick House, Boston; for beer scenesters.


I had the misfortune of overhearing the barman and the manager casually chatting, throwing around contempt and condecension for people who don’t know all the beers and generally try to talk to them. There is a real snobby attitude of superiority emanating from this place; the irony being that most of their exclusive, rare Belgian beers actually taste different (awful) from their homeland, so all their token descriptions of coriander notes and caramel nose are… wrong.


And the poor taste extends to the ‘Belgian’ decor. Look at the picture above: think anywhere in Belgium looks like this? A few poorly painted (athletic) monks on a grey wall does not add character.


The photo above is a snapshot of their “Rules and Regulations” which takes up a non-trivial amount of space on the menu. It smacks of contempt for customers; an impression the staff did nothing to dispel.

Venue: 2/10

There is a Belgian theme running through the bar, but it’s a huge swing and a miss.

Beer: 3/10

Sure, Belgian beers are amongst the best, but not once they’ve sat on a boat for a few weeks and thousands of miles.

Worthy? No

Possibly the most pompous beer bar anywhere.