Many people have routines they follow when traveling. I certainly do. One of my go to searches when visiting a new place it to find local craft beer. Beer tourism, some might call it. Not always an option, but even in non-traditional places for beer, one can often find a bar serving a range of beers. Admittedly, I’m a beer snob. I’ve been fortunate to have lots of tasty beer, so my standards are high. But I’ve found tasty local brews in places that aren’t typical beer destinations, Barcelona and Hong Kong come to mind. Apparently I take a lot of pictures of my beer as well. Anyway, what do you look for when you visit a new destination?
Beer Tourism on the road – finding local brew
Much of my work travel is in North America, and the craft beer scene seems to still be growing all over. Untappd is social media for beer people. A good way to find local beer. Even here at home in Milwaukee, there are several excellent local craft breweries. It’s still Brew City, but not just the same old macro-brews. Of course there are many more notable destinations, but here are a few favorites I’ve visited recently.
Tampa is a favorite, with several excellent breweries, including Cigar City and smaller places like Angry Chair and Cycle. Typical styles from here include lots of kettle sours with fruit, commonly called Florida weisse, and barrel aged stouts often with various adjuncts.
San Diego and Portland are well known beer destinations, although I haven’t been to either much lately. Another west coast city with a surprisingly good and growing beer scene is Los Angeles. Granted, my frequent trips there are possibly skewing my opinion, but what used to be a cocktail and wine town, now has some excellent breweries. My work is often on the outskirts of LA, so I rarely get into the city proper. I did visit Highland Park, near Dodgers Stadium, and would gladly return. Further afield, north west of the city is Casa Agria, which is excellent. For those on the south side, I recommend Monkish, in Torrance.
Boston is also an amazing beer city. Any brewery today likely has one (or 5) New England IPAs available. And there is more than just hazy hoppy beers there, but it is certainly a focus. Tree House (pictured above) is one of the best breweries in the US. Well worth the trip, but it is not easy to get to, 50 or so miles west of Boston. There are other more centrally located places worth a visit, including Trillium with a few locations in the area.
Local beer – further from home
I’ve also occasionally found local brews in less traditional places for beer. I’m not really a coffee drinker, instead I get a local (-ish?) experience in a brewery.
On our trip to Barcelona a few years back we tried out a few places.
During my trekking trip in Nepal, my friend and I didn’t have much beer. Not the best idea at high elevation, and lack of refrigeration in more remote places isn’t the best for freshness, but likely due to the historical British influence, beer is fairly easy to come by, even in the Annapurna. We also found a small brewery in Bhutan, better yet, there is a view of the Paro valley and airport.
Northern Europe is more of a typical place with a beer culture. Trips through Belgium are excellent for amazing diversity of beer options. Always served in the proper glass.
I also enjoyed a beer (and schnitzel) in Vienna
As a fan of sour beers, I enjoy options in Berlin, namesake of the Berliner weisse. In Berlin, these sour beers are often served with some fruit syrup, leading to some unique colors. There are some decent breweries, but I most remember a craft beer/coffee/shuffleboard bar called Kaschk.
Final thoughts on Beer tourism
I probably drink more beer than I should, but I also like to run, so hopefully they balance each other out. I always enjoy exploring new places, and enjoy trying unique beer. Sometimes I do both at the same time. These are a few of my favorite and/or notable beers I’ve tried while traveling.
What are your favorites?