With so many craft breweries popping up around the world, taking a beercation has become a fun way to travel. Never heard of it? Essentially, a beercation is a themed trip that focuses on visiting as many local breweries or brewpubs as possible. Kind of like going Napa Valley for its wineries. Instead of only visiting beaches, museums and monuments, you’re chatting with locals while sipping on brews that define the trends and tastes of the city.
After many beercations, we’ve figured out how to organize the best trip and maximize our time while there. If you’re interested in planning your own beercation, read on for our best tips.
First and foremost, do you like beer? If you answer “yes,” keep reading. Next up, where are looking to travel? This is kind of a chicken-and-the-egg type of question since your motivation for wanting to visit a destination may be a type of beer or a specific brewery. Ultimately, craft breweries are everywhere. It is far easier to plan a beercation based on a location than it is to plan it around a specific type of beer, like a pilsner or stout. Start by identifying a city to visit, and when you look for nearby breweries you’ll likely be amazed by the amount you find.
Now that you’ve settled on a location, you can plan which breweries you want to visit, how you will get to them and where you will stay. Tara and I are super responsible beer samplers and will never get behind the wheel after drinking, so we try to choose destinations that either have breweries within walking distance from each other, good public transportation or cheap taxis/Uber. If we really want to visit some specific breweries and none of these options are available, we switch off designated driver duties during our stay. The coolest option is when you can find brewery bus tours, which include transportation, brewery tour fees (some do charge) and a meal. A lot of beercentric locations are starting to offer this responsible and worthwhile option. A helpful site that we stumbled upon is BreweryMap. This site takes the guesswork out of initially trying to nail down local breweries (the site has a location or a road trip option). The biggest problem is that it also pulls up restaurants, so places like Gordon Biersch come up (we love GB, but would by no means qualify them as a local craft brewery).
Depending on where you live and where you want to go, you could either drive or fly to get there. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The biggest drawback to flying is the limit of what you can bring back with you. When we flew to Denver, for example, we wanted to grab a 6-pack of something at nearly every brewery we stopped at. However, we were forced to buy single bottles so that our bags weren’t overweight, and that meant not bringing any growlers back home either. In most instances, this is not a big deal. But sometimes you’ll fall in love with a small-batch brew that the brewery may never brew again, and you won’t be able to bring home a growler of deliciousness.
Next important tip: don’t forget to eat! After the many, many breweries we have been to, the one constant is that food is not guaranteed. Some breweries are actually brewpubs with a large food menu, sometimes breweries host food trucks on-site, and occasionally you may find they have free popcorn – but more than half of the ones we have been to simply do not offer substantial food options. It’s better to know your options when planning your route than it is to find out midway through your day that there’s nothing around to eat. We recommend starting the day with a big breakfast or lunch before heading out, and always carry snacks, like granola bars. Being able to snack after downing a flight of beer is a good way to ensure you’re lining your stomach with something other than beer.
By no means should you only drink during these trips. Definitely take time to see the sights in-between breweries. We try to do a ratio of one day of breweries to every day of exploring. Preferably hiking or kayaking or something exhausting to work off all those calories.
We hope these tips help you plan your own beercation. Comment below with any questions or your favorite beercation destinations. Enjoy, cheers, and here’s to life!