A passion for the grape brings wine aficionados to France, and a zeal for the grain takes scotch enthusiasts to Scotland. So where does a fervor for the hop lead beer connoisseurs? The obvious answer may be Germany, but there are numerous great American destinations with strong brewing traditions that are worthy of a visit. Read on to learn about four of the best vacation spots in the U.S. for enjoying beer.
The American microbrewery movement began in Portland, Oregon. The city retains much of the counterculture spirit that originally inspired its brewers to create craft-beer alternatives to the suds that big corporate brewers offer. The four prominent breweries in town these days are Deschutes, Bridge Port, Widmer Brothers and Rogue. Ordering a sampler tray of its brews along with a few small bites is a great way to experience each brewery. If you don’t mind going a bit south of Portland, there are numerous other great offering from brewers like Full Sail.
The country’s other well-known Portland is on the opposite coast. It’s smaller and older, and it squeezes a handful of top-notch breweries into its red-brick Old Port area. Most of these breweries have sprung up in the past 15-20 years, but Geary’s dates back to 1983. Gritty McDuff’s and Allagash are local institutions, and Shipyard Brewing Company’s beers are favorites throughout New England. In addition to fall foliage and great weather for dining at lobster pounds, the brewery’s crafting of Pumpkinhead Ale is a great reason to visit Portland in late September and early October.
Milwaukee is one of the great American beer cities. Some of the country’s largest brewers are based here, and beer is an important part of Milwaukee’s culture. You can get a great feel for this by catching a Brewer’s game at Miller Park and touring the Miller Brewery. You may not realize that the city has a number of microbreweries in addition to the big boys. Lakefront Brewery produced the first certified organic beer in the U.S., and it currently offers fun brewery tours.
San Diego, California
San Diego is more often associated with sun and sand than refreshing suds, but you can enjoy all of these things together here. The renowned Stone Brewery is located in Escondido, just outside of the city. Lost Abbey’s brewery in San Marcos is also convenient to San Diego. Visitors driving to these breweries from the city should be careful not to imbibe too heavily or to be sure and have a good place to stay within walking or taxi distance.
About Author: Jayla Barnsen is a freelance blogger from Eugene, Oregon. She writes about technology and legal issues, including how to find a good San Diego DUI attorney.