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A beer tour through Europe

Temple Bar

Temple Bar Photo Credit: Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland (Getty)

It's no secret that Europe produces some seriously good beer. But for drinkers of our own domestically produced brew, the selection may seem a little daunting.

Never fear! We've broken out some great suds to sip on your vacation across the pond, as well as some sights to take in during your non-drinking time.

1. Pauwel Kwak: Ghent, Belgium

Belgian beer is considered some of the best around. But Kwak stands out from the crowded pack with its long, round-bottomed glass, supported by a wooden stand. Other beers worth a try include Hoegaarden, Kriek and Trappist - named for the monks who brew it.

Where to drink: The Kwak glass is so collectible (making it a target for thieves) that at the Dulle Griet (Vrijdagmarkt 50, dullegriet.be/index.html) in Ghent, you'll have to deposit a shoe to be served one.

The sights: Get to Ghent in mid-July for the Ghent Festival. Enjoy music, street theater, games and, of course, beer at this extended street party.

Where to stay: The Ghent River Hotel is the only hotel in the city that can be reached by boat (ghent-river-hotel.be, from 124 euros ($185)). Or situate yourself in Patershol, Ghent's oldest neighborhood, at Hotel Harmony (hotel-harmony.be/eng/page/hotel, from 137 euros ($204)).

2. Oktoberfest: Munich, Germany

No European beer tour would be complete without a stopover in Munich for Oktoberfest (oktoberfest.de/en). At noon on Saturday, Sept. 17, the Lord Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of Oktoberfest beer - a seasonal brew produced by Spaten, Lowenbrau, Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.

Where to drink: With 14 tents to choose from, you'll have your pick of beer and atmosphere. But make sure to get there early, as the tents close once they're full, making tent-hopping an unlikely possibility. Reservations or walk-ins are welcome.

The sights: It might behoove you to stay in Munich for some time before or after Oktoberfest to see the rest of the historic city. Or take a day trip out to the Palace Neuschwanstein, the fairytale-like castle that inspired Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Where to stay: Smear homemade jam on your morning toast at the breakfast buffet at the Admiral Hotel in the city center (hotel-admiral.de, from 150 euros ($223)).

3. Cider: London, England

With a pub practically on every corner, drinking is a huge part of British culture, and this light tipple - made from fermented apple juice - is a popular choice. Night owls used to New York hours, take note: The pubs tend to close early (usually before midnight).

Where to drink: Try Aspall Perronelle's Blush cider at the Builders Arms (1 Kensington Court Place, thebuild ersarmskensington.co.uk).

The sights: Stroll through Kensington Gardens and get a bit of culture at the Kensington Palace and Serpentine Gallery.

Where to stay: Soak up some English charm at the wallet-friendly Victoria Inn London (victoriainn.co.uk, from 65 pounds ($108)), a 43-room cozy bed-and-breakfast.

4. Smithwick's: Dublin, Ireland

Grab a Smithwick's - a dark red ale - and drop the "w" if you want to sound like a native; they pronounce it "Smith-icks." But don't forget to have a Guinness while you're in town; it just tastes better here.

Where to drink: The Temple Bar is fittingly located in the Temple Bar area of Dublin (47/48 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, the templebarpub.com).

The sights: Stroll around St. Stephen's Green on a sunny day, and then get some shopping done on Grafton Street.

Where to stay: Venture outside the city center to the pretty and peaceful Quince Cottage B&B in Sandyford village, accessible by bus (quincecottage.ie, from 60 euros ($89)).

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