While the burgeoning art of coffee roasting is beginning to look a lot like the fine wine scene, the much older obsession over craft beers is also steadily gaining attention. In fact, there is an entire travel industry dedicated to beer connoisseurs! If you’re a craft brew aficionado, then be sure to take advantage of this trend. Here are the best vacation cities for beer lovers.
Portland has a long list of awesomeness that contributes to the city’s wacky culture. An obsession with bikes, beards, and (most especially) beer makes Portland, well, Portland. In the spirit of Oregonian culture, you can’t visit the state’s most iconic city without trying a craft brew or two… or twelve. There are so many pubs and breweries in the area that you won’t know what to try first! Here are a few suggestions: Barrel Brewing for its many options, Bridgeport Brewery and Brewpub for a taste of yesteryear, and Burnside Brewing Company for its off-beat menu options.
Apparently, brewers really like settling in places named “Portland.” If you can’t make it to the West Coast version, the East Coast Portland is certainly not a bad alternative. In fact, many consider the beer scene in Portland, Maine to be even better than in Portland, Oregon. The city features plenty of breweries, ranging from hobbies-gone-entrepreneurial, like Austin Street Brewery, to the famous Shipyard Brewing Company.
Denver has become a sort of “beer Mecca” for Southwesterners. If you’re looking for a wild, party-type drinking experience, stick to Las Vegas. Denver is for those who consume fine beers thoughtfully. Be sure to check out Great Divide Brewing Company, which has the honor of multiple medals from the Great American Beer Festival. Also worth note is the Wyncoop Brewing Company, which is the city’s oldest brewery.
In its friendly competition to be better than Portland at, um, everything, Seattle is almost on par with its rival in the beer department. Almost. But not quite. Hey, you don’t get to be the best at both coffee and beer! However, Seattle is still worth a visit by beer aficionados everywhere. Stop at Stoup — you’d be stoupid not to! The dream team at this brewery has created perfectly-balanced drinks to satisfy your cravings. You should also check out Urban Family Brewing Company, which makes popular French farmhouse-style brews.
San Diego, California
San Diego hasn’t always been one of the top dogs in the craft beer sphere, but its relatively recent surge of beer enthusiasm has kicked it up several notches. San Diego Beer week has lent momentum to the popularity of craft brews, and local breweries have responded with an explosion of creativity. Societe is one great place to taste San Diego’s brews. They have a rustic tasting room right on site, so you can enjoy their Belgian-style brews at the source. San Diego Brewing Company is another option; it’s one of the best places to go if you want good food with your drink.
Is there anything that Chicago doesn’t have a lot of? Just like everything else, Chicago has more than enough options for craft brew lovers. Maybe that’s why the Windy City has earned a reputation as one of the best cities for beer drinking. Crown Liquors is one of the best places to check out, since you can sip in-house or grab a bottle to go at their retail store. Or, head to Half Acre Beer Company for a good drink and board games.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco. It’s got it all: the seaside, the culture, the diversity. If only they had great beer—oh, wait. They do. In fact, it’s so great that the city finds itself on virtually every beer connoisseur’s bucket list. Mikkeller Bar serves only their own beers, and they are obsessive about perfection. The beer is served at different temperatures, specific to each brew, for example. Not only is the beer awesome, the food is pretty good, too. Richmond Republic Draught House is a great place to sip a beer while watching a game. Plus, you can join the mug club and get great discounts on drinks!
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids likes to call itself Beer City, USA, and there’s a reason why it can get away with it! The Beer City Ale Trail has over 40 breweries, so you’ll never run out of new beers to try! EB Coffee and Pub is not just a brewery and pub — it’s also a coffee shop! Plus, it features live music on Friday nights. Seriously, you can’t go wrong here. If you want a taste of history, try Grand Rapids Brewing Company. It opened in 1892, and it’s still going strong. If you want to tour the facility, you can make a reservation and go see where the magic happens.
Craft beers are enjoying an unprecedented popularity with more microbreweries putting their own spin on this enticing beverage than ever. Whether you want to create an entire brew-centric itinerary or just sample some suds along the way, these cities are great destinations if you love craft beer.