To us, there is perhaps no better sign of the growth and expansion of the craft beer movement beyond our American borders than Turkey’s TAPS Brewery. Opened as Turkey’s first brewpub in 2002, TAPS’s goal was to bring an American-style brewpub experience to the country’s largest, and arguably most cosmopolitan, city: Istanbul. The idea caught on, and by 2006 they relocated brewing operations to a new, larger, central brewery location that not only provides keg beer to their own restaurants and other locations throughout Turkey, but also bottles beer in their distinctive branded bottles for export and domestic consumption. As of this writing, bottled TAPS beer has begun flowing to Japan, Sweden, and the U.S.
TAPS’s lineup includes over twenty full-time and rotating seasonal beers including several German-style lagers like this month’s club selection, Smoke Lager, as well as plenty of American-style ales such as Chocolate Stout and Red Ale. The food menu is very much a reflection of traditional American brewpub fare, with a bit of an Italian tilt and an occasional Turkish flare. Burgers, brick-oven pizzas, and pasta dishes abound, with delectable desserts like cheesecake and tiramisu thrown in for good measure. The formula has met with impressive success; in 2008, TAPS’s first franchise location opened in the capital of Ankara, and in the short period since then four additional locations have opened throughout the country, with at least two more on the way soon.
If you find yourself in Turkey and you’re thirsting for some good, all-malt, craft beer, check out TAPS. There are two locations in the very modern (yet extraordinarily old and historically rich) city of Istanbul: one in Yesilkoy, near the airport, and the other in Bebak, along the shores of the Bosphorus, on the European side. For more info on TAPS, check out their website at www.tapsistanbul.com.