As anyone who has studied beer will tell you, there's not a lot of company amongst the lofty "beer countries" of the world. Most beer textbooks will make mention of Germany, Belgium, the UK, and then the way the US and other countries have taken or modified those styles. Historically, it wasn't at all uncommon to walk into a well-stocked import section and see nothing but beers from these core countries.
But in case you didn't notice, things in the beer world have been changing, with an emphasis on "world." Countries that have never been known for their brewing history are suddenly hotbeds of beer innovation. Younger generations are bucking trends and opening up microbreweries deep in the heart of wine or liquor cultures. And the kicker about all of this is that at an increasing rate, they're really good.
So we hit the road to sample some wares, polled some industry experts whose job it is to be ahead of the curve on all things beer, and checked any preconceived notions to come up with a group of countries that can be considered the draft class of the next wave of global beer culture.