VOTE!: Which Olympic Countries Brew Great Beer?

With the Olympics underway, we get to see countries around the world compete to determine who is the best of the best at riveting feats of skill and prowess like gymnastics, swimming and…uhhh…table tennis.  Seriously, they made table tennis an Olympic sport?  What’s next, Bocce?

Anyway, as with many important international events, I quickly get bored and start thinking about beer.  In this case, I began to wonder what the results would look like if beer-loving folks could cast a vote for all the countries competing the 2012 Games that make decent beer.  Which countries would get the most votes, and which ones would be left out? 

I created the poll below to find out.  Participating is easy – simply select ALL the countries on the list that you think make decent beer.  You don’t have to rank them or anything, just ask yourself, “when I hear Czech Republic, do I think ‘decent beer’?”  If so, check the Czechs – it’s simple.  Once everyone’s voted, we’ll see who comes out on top.

You’ll notice that not all the countries participating in the Olympics made it onto the poll.  I tried to be realistic and keep the list easy to navigate by excluding countries like Surinam, Yemen and the 180 other places that are participating in the Games but don’t have much of a shot at winning an international beer competition.  While it’s cute that Jamaica once had a bobsled team, I’m not going to pretend that Iran is the next global craft beer hotspot, especially when they’ll arrest, lash, and then execute you for drinking a beer there.

And on that note, happy voting!  🙂

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Categories: Beer, Poll


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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85 Comments on “VOTE!: Which Olympic Countries Brew Great Beer?”

  1. July 26, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Love this idea!! I voted… it looks like two of my favorites are in the running USA and Belgium … LOVE BEER!!!!

    • July 26, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Glad you loved it, and even more glad you voted. I ranked them the other day, and I went USA, Belgium, Germany, England. I’m curious to see if the world agrees.

  2. July 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I was sure I’d be the only one to vote for New Zealand. Imagine my surprise when there were already three others who had! We may be small but we definitely punch above our weight.

    • July 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Yeah, I included NZ for a reason, one EPIC reason…

      • July 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

        There are even MOA reasons to vote for New Zealand!

        • July 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

          Well hopefully soon you’ll experience a RENAISSANCE with a chance to try some of our YEASTIE BOYS and then you will be 8-WIRED in like the rest of us.

    • July 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      I hope you aren’t referring to DB or Speight’s. Seriously, NZ puts out some good wines, but beer?

      • July 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

        I see from your other post you’re in Australia, any beer shop worth its salt will have a good selection of NZ craft beers. I suggest you try some. Epic’s Pale Ale puts the Cooper’s example to shame.

      • August 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

        well ! you have to taste 126 different beers from biguelm to know wich is the best beer!For me it’s westmalle triplle;dark and very tastfull,good flavor!

  3. carunchito
    July 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm #


    • July 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm #


  4. July 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    USA and Belgium are a toss up for first place followed immediately by Germany and Great Britain.

    • July 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Well, click ’em all and let the hive mind sort ’em out!

      • July 26, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

        I done done that Brother Jim!

    • July 29, 2012 at 2:25 am #

      I’ve put Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and France. I am not aware of good beer from the USA.

  5. ScottG
    July 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I would have loved to vote for more countries, but for many of them the one or two beers from that country I’ve had were not exactly the stuff of legend and song. But it’s a good excuse to try to visit them and see what the local brewing scene has to offer.

  6. July 27, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    A lot more interesting in my book than the actual sports contests–thanks.

  7. oea
    July 27, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Wow, not many know of the Czech Republic beer, even the word “Pilsner” (a type of beer) is named after Plzen a Czech town that makes the famous Pilsner Urquell.

    • July 27, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      Yeah, I selected them because I love Czech pilsners, regardless of brand.

  8. July 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Hey Jim, great idea you have here. I knew Germany would score highly, but am I in the minority in voting Aussie beers as highly? In my opinion, Australian beers are some of the best in the world. Sure, we don’t do stouts and ales as well as some UK breweries, and maybe Germany beats us in Lagers, but we make the best bitters and pale ales around. Anyone for a Coopper’s? Cheers.

  9. July 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    USA? Seriously? Who is voting and did they ever had a bear from Europe? *sigh* The most mainstream beer in the US has barely any alcohol, let alone any taste…Anyway, great idea!

    • July 31, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Andrea, you need to follow this most closely–this blog doesn’t treat w/ the “mainstream” (what we call macro) American beers, it deals w/ the tasty craft and microbrews we produce, which often run quite high in ABV (like 20%). As real ales continue to disappear across GB, this same movement is taking root on the auld sod. Check out the archives of this Blog to see what I mean.

      • July 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

        In that case I shall hold my peace. (I even misspelled beer in my original post.) A cousin of my husband had some micro brewed beers with him on a camping trip and that was interesting.
        Honestly, I am not such a big beer fan, there are some I drink but only once in a while. I always can drink a Guinness though. Wait, that’s not a beer, that’s a stout. 😉

  10. jenkakio
    July 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    I just spend a month in Europe last month, which gave me great opportunity to taste all different kinds of beers. Although, Germany was plentiful and tasty…the best beer I’ve ever drank was in Prague called Staropramen. I can’t find it in Hawai’i. So sad. LOL

  11. July 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    First Time to your blog and as a fellow beer drinker…nice work!

  12. rocktambulos
    July 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    VENEZUELA!!!! but you don’t have it on the list! -.- you should drink some “Polar Pilsen” someday!

  13. July 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    VENEZUELA!!!! but you don’t have it on the list! -.- you should drink a “Polar Pilsen” someday!

  14. July 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    hahaha…. nice idea …but i m really disappointed about what you said about table tennis …it’s quite a skillful sports dude ..not an easy cake
    I guess Belgium is the best one though… i have never been there but heard a lot about their beer

  15. July 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    you forgot Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – surprise surprise they brew beer and are in the Olympics too, but i guess …

    • July 31, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Hey Afropolitane…we’re equal opportunity beer geeks. Iif we can get access to it we’ll be happy to try it. I can’t remember ever seeing an African beer on the shelves of my local Beer Cave, although I know that Africa has at least the 2nd longest brewing tradition in the world (supposedly China is first.) Even if that weren’t true, I would expect European colonialism would have inspired a brewing tradition there. If you can tip the B&WB boys to an outlet I’ll bet you’ll see some of your beers show up here.

  16. July 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Bright post Regards.

  17. July 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    I can’t believe I forgot to vote for Czechoslovakia. Bummer.

  18. July 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    It don’t matter where they are made, as there’s no such thing as a bad beer, it’s just that some are a lot better than others.
    So long as they are served cold…………….. then all is well !!

  19. July 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    hmmmm…I couldn’t vote..My country’s not listed there.

    • July 28, 2012 at 3:23 am #

      No contest. For beer with flavour, depth and character it has to be from a micro brewery or English. Ahhh the refreshing taste of just cooled Fullers London Pride followed by a punchier Speckled Hen and rounded off by sipping Old Peculiar….beat that.
      On the other hand a 10-15 year old Belgium beer with beef and then chocolate pudding runs a close second.
      Whatever, not Guinness and Oysters, only for the tourists.

  20. pavanscorpio
    July 28, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Me, the first one from India to vote for the best beer ( Beer Hall of Fame 🙂 ). yey!!. Sadly, no beer from India though, My fav is from Denmark, our regular outing buddy – Carlsberg.

  21. leius
    July 28, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Philippines!!! may tatalo pa ba sa sarap ng San Miguel Beer…

  22. July 28, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    Great idea – Xirdalan, from Azerbaijan is not votable, and among the world’s best, mind you, they import the hops from the Czech Republic – which SURELY (I mean, c’mon fellars and gals!) if the vote was honest and sincere (and not a vote for a home country) would be in the top 2!
    And Slovak beer (eg Tatran) easily on par. I would have also thought the recent soccer world cup would have introduced some hooligans to some fine Ukrainian beer.
    I think we need some more serious beer tourism in the future…!

    • July 31, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      The member states of the former Yugoslavia also have a lot of really good beers.

  23. July 28, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    I voted! May I humbly suggest the addition of the Philippines in the list as San Miguel Beer and Cerveza Negra will pass the more than decent bar with flying colors 🙂

  24. July 28, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    I did really well for a girl person. I have to disagree with those not voting for Norway, I used to love Ringnes, but can’t get it anymore. Sigh.

  25. July 28, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Too bad Mauritius is not in featuring big in the Olympics cause we got great beer too

  26. July 28, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    If you added non-traditional beer producing countries like Italy, Norway and Sweden, you should probably add Greece too. There are two or three labels that could get your attention. And I forgot to vote the Czechs too. Damn.

  27. July 28, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    Good Evening: I’m a little surprised that Great Britain aren’t faring better, and a little surprised that Belgium (the Disneyland of beer) isn’t #1. As for the negative remarks directed at the USA, we are the home of hundreds if not thousands of microbreweries and brewpubs that make outstanding beer; however, it’s almost impossible to find these beers in other countries.

  28. July 28, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    I could vote for US and Belgium….

  29. July 28, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    I am Irish and here to tell you that the Irish DO NOT brew great beer. The best beer I’ve had has been in Germany.

  30. July 28, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Hmm, I’d be interested to find out whether there’s a correlation between the winners of this poll and the actual olympic medal winners 😉

  31. July 28, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    co0l ..

  32. July 28, 2012 at 3:56 am #


  33. July 28, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    My all time favorite beer is Magic Hat’s Circus Boy, brewed in the southern part of Vermont, USA. I also like Kirin and Saporo, and a bunch of German beers.

  34. blueberriejournal
    July 28, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    I don’t drink beer, but I’m from Gemany and as you might know the Germans- especially the Bavarians – think they are the best in brewing beer, so guess whom I voted for… 🙂

    I also gave a vote for Belgium because I once knew a belgium restaurant in Germany that had a huge variety of beer with all kind of flavors, which I still don’t like but seemed very creative to me. Also the way they served it – in champagne bottles, not beer bottles. And I liked the food there. 🙂

  35. July 28, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    Mh… If you don’t think that South Africa or Namibia have a shot at making great beer then I am afraid you have not yet lived.

  36. July 28, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    My two cents about table tennis and bocce: great sports IMHO… 🙂
    Speaking about beers since my fave beer is Guinness, I voted Ireland, second would be England then Belgium maybe… If it was about whiskeys Scotland would easly win against anyone, and if you ask me about wines, I must be patriotic and say Italy!

  37. July 28, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    Are you kidding, or what? There’s just one (1) Top Number One Beer-land and that’s: BELGIUM! Belgian beer has it’s roots in the middle-ages, and at this moment we have around 115 breweries (+ a lot more little ones), with an amount of over 1150 (!, yes more than thousand…) different beers available at the moment… a (not complete list) can be found here

    So, not many belgians will have visited this site, but the true lover of the good stuff knows where to find it:)

    Oh yes, almost forgot it… regarded and awarded as ‘best beer of the world’ for several years: the belgian “Westvleteren 12”, you know why when you tastetd it:)

    (ps: when visiting Belgium, please be aware, a lot of visitors from abroad are used to drink their local brew, and find themselves in vertigo after tasting the Real Belgian Stuff… such as Duvel, Delirium tremens,… come over and discover…)

  38. July 28, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Strange that noone mentions the Polish beer or the Turkish ones… I find them great.

  39. CP
    July 28, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    Outside the list I can mention Keiser Bier from Austria, Baltika from Russia or Mythos from Greece. All are excellent beers, so please add those countries as well.
    But my favorite is Carlsberg Black Gold from Denmark.

  40. TheloniousPunk
    July 28, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    Some countries, notably the USA and Great Britain, have plenty of small breweries producing great beer, but unfortunately their mass market easy-to-find beers are fairly dreadful. Others, like Germany, have a much higher basic standard.

    Are we comparing the best available beers or the quality of the bog-standard beer you get if you pick a pub at random and drink a standard mass-market product?

  41. July 28, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Well, I voted for Germany, but in fact the best beer is brewed in Bavaria, what’s unfortunately missing in your scale … 😉

  42. quizzymuc
    July 28, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Well, I voted for Germany, but in fact the best beer is brewed in Bavaria, that’s unfortunately missing in your scale … 😉

  43. adozencrackedeggs
    July 28, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    The best beer I ever drank was a micro beer from a Canadian brewery called Route des epices. It was a rye beer brewed with peppercorns. The name of the brewery was Microbrasserie Dieu du Ciel, St-Jerome, Quebec. Awesome!

  44. July 28, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    where is the portuguese one to vote?

  45. July 28, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    where is the portuguese one?

  46. July 28, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Belgium beers and good ole American craft IPAs are tied for the lead, according to me. 🙂

  47. thehidalgograincompany
    July 28, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Best beer I’ve ever had – hands down – Staropramen (Czeck Rep.) – unfortunately I can no longer find it here in Northwest Florida. But – if I was forced to pick a country…have to be Germany.

  48. July 28, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Hi There,

    What a funny idea.

    You forgot Austria (I guess it is too late now). They do have quite some good beers. Especially monks brewing them, but also Steigl for example, they are close to Innsbruck.

    Anyway, I am not much of a beer expert (I am more into Bordaux, Burgundy and Champagne). Only in the Summer from time to time, but then I love it ! A cool beer at the end of the day… delicious !

    I am German… have a lot of Belgium friends here in Paris and obviously I spent a lot of vacation time in Austria… and have friends there… so, my personal benchmarks are quite obvious…

    Never ever drank American beer, but apparently people like it too. Will do the next time I am in NY 🙂

    Have fun and I am curious to see he results 😉

  49. July 28, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I also don’t see my country there… but Hungarian microbrews are great, too (and some of our mainstream beers as well… Soproni has some great varieties). If there was one, I’d vote for Keseru Mez (Bitter Honey), a micro IPA with local honey and some crazy potent hops. 🙂 Other than that, Czech Republic, Belgium, and US microbrews (no mainstream there, tho) would be my winners.

  50. July 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on afellonamedcello and commented:
    Veddy nice.

  51. Religion4All
    July 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Belgium, but not sure if they have a team … so, after them? The UK! 🙂

  52. July 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Excellent blog idea! Love your photo! The USA has got to be right up there near the top of best beer brewing countries. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have hundreds of excellent micro-breweries in Washington and Oregon with some of the best brews I’ve ever tasted!

  53. July 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Love German beer, but in my youth, it was hard to find any beer that wasn’t great. The small northern California microbreweries are very good and the best part is that many of them are tucked away right in the heart of California’s much vaulted “Wine Country.”

  54. July 29, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    This is the only Olympic coverage that matters.

  55. July 29, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Reblogged this on Inside my mind.

  56. July 29, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    I was on a trip with some of my friends in Europe, and I was so excited about all the great beer I had heard so much about. I hadn’t had any that I really loved, then one night I had one that changed my life. We were in Brussels, Belgium and I ordered a Hoegaarden because I thought the name was funny. Life changed. Seriously if you haven’t tried it, youre missing out.

  57. July 29, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    I love the idea of this poll! Biased…yes! I voted for the UK! I miss my real ale from a real barrel in a real pub in good old England!

  58. July 29, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    A no brainer, while each country on offer has their own greats, the British Isles, for size if nothing else, has the the broadest and best range in the world of brewing. No often you’ll hear us say this, but cheers for GB!

  59. July 29, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    This is much better than the Olympics!

  60. July 29, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    This was fun, especially as I hardly drink. But I do remember sampling lots of different varieties when I lived in Belgium

  61. July 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I voted but sad that there was only Mexico on the Latin american list of beer brewers! Besides Mexico (Spain doesn’t count since they are not Latinamericans but Iberoamericanos)…Honduras has a very good one Port Royal and imperial, they are not a full body like all the famous but still very good. Mexico has good ones but please not Corona or Sol they are bad, the best and my favorites Negras Modelo!!! Victoria beer from the same brewery than Negra Modelo. Costa Rica pura vida!!!! They have Bavaria negra and I find the taste almost like a negra Modelo and has body, this is a very good lager choice! Last and not least El Salvador…my favorites there is Suprema beer it is the best from the country!!

  62. Learn 2 Be Geek
    July 30, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    German beer all the way. Just came back from a vacation in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. They can’t even compete with German beer.

  63. ultraquadbikes
    July 31, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    Great Idea, lovong the pole.

  64. August 9, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Great idea!!!!
    But you left South Africa off your voting list – great beer-making country too ;p


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