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Words to know if you're trying to get a brew in another country.

Noah Kaufman
September 28, 2017

The craft beer revolution of the last several decades in the United States has left many beer-drinking Americans justifiably feeling like they are on top of the beer world. But clearly, long before craft successes like Heady Topper or Sierra Nevada, long before America's big beer companies—long before the United States itself—beer was beloved in most every corner of the world. It’s the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage for a reason. And the Atlas of Beer, a new book out from National Geographic, explores the diverse beer cultures, styles and histories every hophead should know about. It’s full of maps highlighting the breweries you’ll find from Canada to Cambodia, tasting notes from Brooklyn Brewery’s Garret Oliver and enough fun facts to drop while drinking at your preferred beer bar for at least a year (did you know that the first Asian brewery was in the Indian Himalayas?). 

While a fun coffee table book, it's also quite useful. The book provides translations of beer orders in various languages so when you’re imbibing around the world you won’t have to struggle with the bartender and can get right to what’s most important—that beer.

Here, the Atlas' suggestions on how to ask for a beer in eight different countries on four continents.

Germany

“Unlike in the United Sates where beer is ordered by naming the brewery, in Germany, beer is typically ordered by style designation. Each beer comes in a glass specifically created to compliment its style. Say “Einen halben Liter___, bitte” (IHN-en HALB-en LEE-tah___, BIT-teh): A half liter of ___ please.” Fill in the blank with a beer style.”

France

“Once you arrive at the pub, order by saying “Une biere, s’il vous plait” (Oo-n BEE-yair, si voo play): “A beer please.” You’ll also need to pick a serving size. The two most common are une pinte (OON peent), a pint, and un demi (un de-MEE), a half pint.”

Italy

“You can order a draf beer simply by saying ‘Grandirei una birra alla spina, per favore’ (grad-ee-RA-ee U-na beer-RAH AI-la SPI-na PER fa-VOR-ay): ‘I would like a beer.’”

Russia

“You can tell your bartender я бы хотел пива, пожалуйста (YA KHYtel by PI-va pa-ZHAL-sta): ‘I would like a beer, please’”

Spain

“Once you’ve settled in at el pub, order a beer by saying ‘Me gustaría una botella de cerveza fría’ (may goosta-REE-a U-na bot-TAY-ya de serVAY-sa FREE-ya)—‘I would like a cold bottle of beer.’ An IPA here is prounced ‘EE-pa,” not “I-P-A.’”

Brazil

“If craft beer is what you are seeking, you will want to go to a microcervejaria (ME-crow ser-VEH-ja-ree-AH), which means ‘microbrewery,’ and ask for uma cerveja, pro favor (OO-mah ser-VEH-ja, pohr faw-VOHR): ‘One beer, please.’”

India

“Request a menu from your server or bartender: ‘Main biyar menoo dekh sakate hain?’ (min BI-yar me-NOO dek se-KA-ka-te hin), or ‘Can I see the beer menu?’

If whatever is on tap will do, just ask for ‘krpaya ek biyar deejie’ (ker-PA-ya ek BI-yar dee-GEE-eh): ‘One beer, please.’”

Australia

“Not sure what beer to try? Ask for a paddle. It’s called a flight in the United States, but Australians call it a paddle because of the common shape of the vessel that holds the glasses.

Can’t make it to the pub? You can always stop by the bottle-o (drive-through beer store) and pick up some tinnies (cans)”

Courtesy of National Geographic

All excerpts reprinted with permission from Atlas of Beer: A Globetrotting Journey Through the World of Beer by Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark W. Patterson, published by National Geographic in September 2017. Available wherever books are sold.