Credit To: Genevieve Scarano
Nothing beats a cold beer after a long day. But if you’re a brew-obsessed individual, it can’t just be any ol’ variety. This refreshing beverage has to have a kick-ass taste and culture behind its existence, and sometimes your grocery store doesn’t make the cut for delivering that magical six pack.
If you’re dying to get out of town, there’s a crazy cool world out there for beer enthusiasts. For instance, Asheville, a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is dubbed one of the top cities for American craft beer. And Osaka, a major metropolis in Japan, has a local brewery scene that give other countries a run for their money. And we can’t forget about Munich, Germany, the birthplace of the world famous beer-soaked celebration Oktoberfest. Whether you desire a quick weekend getaway or a month-long escape, there’s so much to see, drink, and learn when it comes to the world of beer.
Get Adventurous With Your Beer Itinerary
With so many options, it can be so hard to pick a destination that hits everything on your bottle bucket list. John Holl, author of “Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint,” says to think about diversity when you’re planning the ultimate beercation.
“Try to hit a region where you can go to a brewery that is known for making your favorite styles and spend some time there,” he says. But then find some other spots that might specialize in something you’re not familiar with, he adds. “It’s vacation, right? So be adventurous and spend some time with beers that aren’t in your usual rotation.”
Drink Like a Local, Not a Tourist
Once you get there, observe how locals drink their beer. If you’re abroad, there’s a good chance your pub might be owned by a brewery. Take note of the establishment’s signs and menus, because you don’t want to place yourself in an embarrassing situation by ordering a competitor’s beer or tipping when it isn’t customary.
“Unlike the U.S. where our three-tier system of beer distribution allows us a wide choice of beverages in nearly every outlet we visit, pubs in Europe are often owned by brewers,” says Ray Daniels, beer writer and founder of the Cicerone Certification Program. In other words, they will only serve their own beer, he explains. “If you go into a pub owned by Paulaner and order a beer made by Hofbrau, your visit may get off to a rough start,” says Daniels. Look to see if there is a brewery logo displayed on the building or the menu; if so, then you’re dealing with a brewery-owned pub.
Remember Why You Dig Beer in the First Place
While you’re sampling brews or exploring taprooms on your beercation, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Whether you’re at a bougie AF microbrewery or something more reminiscent of a dive bar, appreciate all the ales, pilsners, and stouts that come your way.
“Beer is one of the world’s great affordable luxuries,” says Joshua M. Bernstein, author of “The Complete Beer Course and Homebrew World”. “For a couple bucks or less at most places around the globe, you can buy a world-class beverage”, he added. Even better, no matter your preferred flavor profile — bitter, sweet, chocolatey, fruity — there’s a beer somewhere suited for you.
Ready to go suds seeking? Here are our top beer destinations worth sampling:
Asheville, North Carolina
Wicked Weed Brewing
It’s a tough call to choose America’s best beer hub, but Asheville is definitely a top contender. It was ranked as “The Best City for Beer Drinkers” in 2017 by SmartAsset, and it’s home to more than 20 breweries and brewpubs. Highland Brewing Company, Asheville’s first legal brewery since the Prohibition Era, serves a wide variety of award-winning craft beers. Try their Black Mocha Stout, a malty chocolate-coffee beer, or Daycation, their famous hoppy floral session IPA. For a unique tasting experience, visit Wicked Weed Brewing, where you can drink The Barrel-Aged Xibalba, a heavenly imperial pumpkin ale with habanero chiles, cocoa nibs, and spices. Whether you want to spend time at a beer garden, microbrewery, or taproom, Asheville has something to bring to the table for every beer lover.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery
As Australia’s “culture capital,” Melbourne offers art, history, and some of the best places to drink beer. Hit up Moon Dog Craft Brewery’s The Brewery Bar, where you can drink in an island-themed area complete with comfy seats, palm trees, and a retractable roof. When you get there, try a beer from Moon Dog Craft Brewery’s core range, including the Sun Cat IPA, or speciality range, including the Black Lung VIII Cognac Barrel-Aged Smokey Stout. Can’t get enough of Australian craft beer? Visit Slowbeer, the nation’s first 100 percent dedicated craft beer store, with two locations in the Melbourne area. Drawing inspiration from Italy’s Slow Food Movement, Slowbeer emphasizes quality ingredients and global craft beer culture. Plus, don’t forget to take a growler for the road — their inventory features more than 1,000 domestic and international craft beers that you’ll want to drink, stat.
Penticton, British Columbia
Penticton is an outdoor vacation retreat for the beer-obsessed. It means “a place to stay forever” in the Okanagan language. It offers Insta-worthy lake views, amazing wineries, and some of British Columbia’s best breweries. Bad Tattoo Brewing Company serves rock oven pizza (yes, rock, not brick). Moreover, it also has a robust beer roster that includes their Full Sleeve Strong Stout and Pear Lime Gose Sour. New to Penticton’s beer scene, Highway 97 Brewery is the go-to spot for classic beers with a twist. Try their Okanagan Fresh Fruit Hefeweizen, Amber Ale, or Dirt Road Double IPA if you stop by. Penticton is also home to British Columbia’s largest beer events. Get in shape for the Penticton Beer Run, a scenic 10K that ends with beer tastings, or book a ticket to the Okanagan Fest of Ale, where you can sample more than 100 regional craft beers.