The American news network, CNN, claims the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to be one of the 15 best cities for beer in the world.
It’s not exactly clear, how many breweries CNN visited in Tallinn or elsewhere in Estonia, but in its review, it lists two breweries – one in Tallinn, one in Saaremaa – and also a bar and a bottle shop in the capital.
“As the founders of Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend, Põhjala Brewery has a lot of skin in the game when it comes to Estonian brewing,” CNN says. “These relative elders of the local craft beer market have been brewing since 2011. Their brand-new brewhouse and 24-tap tasting room debuted at the end of 2018 to showcase their own beers and guest collaborations, served alongside Texas BBQ.”
Craft beer is ridiculously expensive in Estonia
Then the article moves on to a subterranean bar and restaurant in the Tallinn Old Town, called Põrgu (“hell” in Estonian), where “more Estonian brews take precedence on the draft list”. The article suggests people try a raw farmhouse ale from a brewery from the island of Saaremaa, Pihtla, “for a truly Estonian taste”.
“For another cross-cultural food and drink pairing, the bottle shop Taptap serves up locally made Danish-style hot dogs with its small but curated on-tap lineup. With more than 200 local and international bottles in the cellar-inspired space, it’s tempting to take more to go,” CNN asserts.
What the article doesn’t mention is how ridiculously expensive craft beer is in Estonia. Even at grocery stores, Estonian crafts cost close to €3 (USD3.36) a 0.33-litre (12 fl oz) bottle or can; for example, in the US, craft beers cost around USD1-2 a similar-size container.
Leaving out the obvious suspects
Other 14 cities in the world CNN lists as the best cities for beer are: Portland, ME, the US; Asheville, NC, the US; Grand Rapids, MI, the US; Brussels, Belgium; Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China; Berlin, Germany; Rome, Italy; Victoria, BC, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; Lisbon, Portugal; Warsaw, Poland; and Budapest, Hungary.
Interestingly, the article doesn’t mention Chicago, IL, the US city with the most craft breweries in the country; Denver, Colorado, where the concentration of craft breweries is uncanny; or the entire state of Wisconsin that is often regarded as the beer capital of the world – the state that has a tongue-in-cheek (unofficial) motto of “Outdrinking your state since 1848”.
Cover: Põhjala Tap Room in Tallinn’s Noblessner quarter.