Asheville, North Carolina
No beer lover should miss out on a trip to this charming southern city that lays claim to being a four-time Beer City USA winner, and also has the most breweries per capita in the country. Definitely not a bad start. Visit Wicked Weed Brewing in the historic district for sours and ales, its restaurant has a glorious 25 house beers. Sierra Nevada Brewing is a must-visit, too, known for its beautiful brewery that you can tour and it’s all important (and educational) beer tasting. Since planning is essential, before you pack your bags for Asheville, head over to Asheville Ale Trail, which offers a complete breakdown of all things beer in the area, including information on plotting out your own tour and craft beer events that may be happening while you’re there.
Denver and surroundings, Colorado
The Mile-High City is home to the three-decade-old Great American Beer Festival and is one of three points that make up Colorado’s “Beer Triangle.” (Fort Collins and Boulder being the other two.) With that kind of cred (and it’ amazing scenery and outdoor activities) it’s the perfect place for a beercation. There’s a myriad of great breweries and tasting rooms all over the city and new, small ones are opening all the time, so there are a lot of drinking options around the city. Choose Great Divide Brewing for a sophisticated taproom experience or the metal-inspired Trve Brewing. Venture into Boulder for local and national favorite Avery Brewing, or head to Fort Collins to visit New Belgium. In addition to being ground-zero for tons of awesome breweries, Denver has great beer bars and restaurants to match.
San Diego, California
Maybe the nation’s premier beer trip destination, San Diego’s amazing weather, beaches and sights would be a draw on their own, but now that it’s known for incredible IPA’s (among many other styles) it’s pretty much a no-brainer. This is a city that knows how to celebrate beer; there are several festivals held throughout the year, including the San Diego International Beer Festival, which brings more than 200 breweries together from around the world. When in San Diego for a beercation, it’s best to cruise over to the Miramar area because you can check out many breweries at the same time. At White Labs you can taste thirty-two versions of the same recipe made with different types of yeasts. There’s also the AleSmith Brewing Co., which has garnered a reputation for being one of the best craft-brewing companies in the U.S. The popular Saint Archer Brewing Co. is nearby, well-known for its blonde ale and white ale, and is all about San Diego culture. This young company was doing so well that MillerCoors bought a majority stake in it. You can also swing by Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, which has really carved out a niche as an experimental brewery in addition to being the creator of Sculpin IPA, one of the nation’s best beers. Finally, a trip to San Diego for beer wouldn’t be complete without a pilgrimage to Stone Brewery and Gardens, the mecca of San Diego beer. In addition to being the godfather of the SD beer scene, the brewery features an incredible taphouse and restaurant with massive outdoor patios that are perfect to soak up the weather and partake of some of the finest beers in the US.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
You're probably thinking, "uh, where?" Stay with us though, Grand Rapids touts a lot of national recognition for its beers, including claiming the number one spot for Best Beer Town USA in USA Today's Readers’ Choice survey this year. It’s also home to annual summer and winter beer festivals and frequently holds many other beer-related events. This place is a craft beer haven, and there are more than a dozen breweries in and around the city. Microbrewery Founders Brewing Co. should be on your list of stops while on your trip as it prides itself on crafting unique and interesting beer perfect for those with adventurous palates. They produce about seven beers year round, and some seasonals and limited editions, too. Next, check out local favorite HopCat, which keeps a wide selection on tap, from lagers and light ales to porters and stouts to other regional specialties. Blending a small town feel and world class beers make Grand Rapids the perfect under-the-radar choice for those seeking a unique beer adventure.