If you’re a fan of craft beer, with its unique flavors and variety of brewing techniques, it’s easy to combine a getaway with a chance to sample regional varieties and tour local breweries.
Here are a few vacation destinations that combine great beer and great sightseeing.
Ashville, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is known for its historic architecture, vibrant arts scene and thriving craft beer business, with about 100 local brews on draft and in bottles. Several beer-related tours operate in the city, like the Asheville Brews Cruise, where you’ll get behind-the-scenes views and generous samples. While you’re in the area, visit the 250-room Biltmore Estate, a 19th-century Gilded Age mansion owned by the Vanderbilt family. You can also tour the beautifully landscaped gardens and grounds, which include hiking trails.
Denver is another great destination for beer lovers. You’ll have your choice of brewpubs, breweries and taprooms located along the city’s beer trail. At Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, which takes place Sept. 21-23, you can sample beers from breweries across the United States. About 90 minutes from the city, Rocky Mountain National Park has more than 300 miles of hiking trails for every age and ability level. You can also take a drive along the scenic 48-mile Trail Ridge Road, the highest road in any national park.
Portland, Oregon, is home to more than 70 breweries. At taprooms like the Loyal Legion, which serves up dozens of Oregon beers, you can order a flight of samples from across the state. Portland is known as the City of Roses because the weather is ideal for growing them. The city has three rose gardens, including the International Rose Test Garden, with more than 10,000 bushes. Portland’s Rose Festival, which takes place from May 26 to June 11, features parades, music, fireworks, carnival rides, art shows, dragon boat races and a fun run.
San Diego is known as the Capital of Craft, with more than 150 independent craft breweries. The San Diego Brewers Guild holds its Beer Weekend from June 9-11, celebrating small and independent breweries. With 70 miles of coastline, the area is a perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities, from hiking and bicycling to swimming, surfing, sailing and sunbathing. For a look at historic San Diego, head to downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, the city’s premier shopping and entertainment district, with boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars.
If you’re looking for something smaller, Burlington, Vermont, a city of about 40,000, is located along the shore of Lake Champlain. There are seven stops on the Burlington Beer Trail, and it’s short enough that you can bike or walk to most of them. Burlington hosts the Vermont Brewers Festival from July 21-22. The area is also a great destination for history buffs, with attractions like the home of Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen and the Shelburne Museum, which focuses on American art and design.