Best Beer-cation cities

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Caitlin3894, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Caitlin3894

    Caitlin3894 Initiate (121) Jan 2, 2017 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Best city for a beer centered vacation in summer? Taking distance between breweries and quality of beer into consideration...
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  2. hopsputin

    hopsputin Meyvn (1,134) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    My vote is San Diego. A lot of quality breweries, good food, and options for non-beer related activities as well (should any travel partners not be into beer as much as you).
  3. Nickwierda

    Nickwierda Initiate (117) Feb 8, 2015 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    NYC. Lots of great breweries, beer bars, and bottle shops. It's usually pretty damn hot and humid, and when you go down into the subway it feels like you're getting closer to the Earth's core, but in terms of beer it's probably the best overall beer city in the US.

    Never been to either Portland though, and I'm sure both will have better weather, as will SD.
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  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,113) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have no personal experience here since I have not visited yet but I would suggest that Portland, Oregon would be the best US city for a beer-cation. If you have some 'extra' time travel to Bend, Oregon as well.

  5. woodchipper

    woodchipper Crusader (737) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut
    Supporter Subscriber

    In the last few years we've done San Diego, Denver and Asheville and a short trip (for us) to VT. You can't go wrong with any of these IMO.
    Best vacation place - San Diego
    Best scenery-Denver
    Best beer culture- Asheville (by a long shot).
    Best beer - VT.
  6. Nickwierda

    Nickwierda Initiate (117) Feb 8, 2015 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Forgot to mention that nyc's distro is pretty insane. That's the real draw, IMO. There's tons of great breweries putting out hazy IPAs across the country, so you don't have to come to New York for that per se. But the beer bars and bottle shops get a really amazing selection of high quality and in many cases hard to find stuff from across the US and around the world.
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  7. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (2,777) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    I haven't been all over, so my suggestion isn't necessarily "the best," but rather the city I most enjoyed for a beercation: Portland, Maine. Great breweries, great bars, wonderful city.

    I may enjoy my beercations to Vermont more, but for one given city (and the surrounding area), Portland was awesome.
  8. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Meyvn (1,273) Sep 3, 2008 California

    If you're an outdoorsy person then Bend is the no-brainer option.

    Otherwise I'd say Portland before SD.
  9. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,034) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Supporter Subscriber

    I agree with the Portland and Bend recommendations, although I'd put Portland first. However, no one has thrown in Grand Rapids yet, and they should be on the list. Actually all of SW Michigan should be nominated because of the number of very good breweries in the area.
  10. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,316) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    My recommendations. No order
    Portland -good transportation, good beer - and Bend, I like Bend.
    Denver, Boulder, Ft Collins - the Front Range has some good beer.
    Asheville - compact, great food town.
    Austin - a little spread out. Beer has gotten better.
    Grand Rapids - not much transportation but good beer.
    San Diego - most mean the county, spread out all over. Good beer.

    Haven't been to NYC or SF in a long time, but liked those a lot.

    Sleepers that most don't know.
    Tampa St. Pete
    Minneapolis St Paul
    Traverse City Mi great food town.

    Bamberg Germany is my all time favorite.
  11. Shanex

    Shanex Crusader (715) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Beer Trader

    San Francisco. Pliny the elder!
    Plenty of bars, breweries. Great food, too.

    But the fact is and its not a myth, its a bit pricey in the Bay Area.

    Wherever you go, enjoy.
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  12. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (352) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    i was gonna say Santa Rosa in part because of Russian River--but also Lagunitas and Bear Republic and Moonlight...
  13. PittBeerGirl

    PittBeerGirl Poo-Bah (1,583) Feb 27, 2007 Ohio

    Gonna throw Burlington VT in the mix...lots of great craft breweries all over VT but you can buy most in Burlington.

    Otherwise I really think there are a lot of cities that are great beer destinations...pretty much anywhere I travel to I can find somewhere that makes great beer.

    I am impressed with 3 of the closest big cities to where I live Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Columbus... although not OMG beercations still a lot of good beer being made.
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  14. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,127) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    San Diego is pretty sweet. Chicago, NYC, and Denver would be a good places to hit.
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  15. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Meyvn (1,138) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Grand Rapids has outstanding beer. Stay in Holland or Saugatuck and spend your days at the beach.
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  16. omlooper

    omlooper Initiate (24) Apr 25, 2008 Missouri

    Public transportation? Chicago. The L makes it easy.

    Driving? San Diego. A magical place.

    Biking with a weather wildcard? Tarpon/St. Pete/Clearwater near Tampa (with a driving start at Cigar City). An amazing amount of beer near the Pinellas Trail. You. Will. Sweat.
    #16 omlooper, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  17. imbibehour

    imbibehour Poo-Bah (6,278) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

  18. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,105) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Colorado's front range is pretty insane, and once you figure distro into the equation it gets even better. Add in scenery, National parks, events year round, home of the AHA and BA, GABF, etc it just keeps getting better.
  19. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Meyvn (1,342) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    I did Portland, ME and Burlington, VT last year. Loved both cities and the beers of course. There are some cool day trip destinations too with Waterbury, Hill Farmstead, or going up to MBC.

    If you want a west coast spot to hit I'm a hometown fan of Seattle. Great breweries that tend to cluster in neighborhoods you can walk through, beer-focused bars across town, bottleshops to take some home, and not too hot in the summer.
  20. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (728) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Not SF bay area. This is coming from someone who grew up their. You've got Cellarmaker and Rare Barrel which are very worthy visits. Sante Adairius is a little out of the way, as is Alvarado Street and Firestone. There just aren't that many breweries in that big area; they are very spread out.

    I'd say:
    - Portland
    - San Diego
    - Denver
  21. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,793) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

  22. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (1,577) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Supporter Subscriber

    There is no shortage of beer-cation cities, large and small. If you are looking for a place to spend a day/night on the way to the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, or Sturgis - coming from the East or South - there is an area of downtown Sioux Falls that has several breweries and taprooms within a few blocks. Most of them are in a three block stretch of 8th St, but a brewery/taproom and an independent taproom are on nearby Phillips Ave

    There are couple of decent new hotels right there also, plus plenty of restaurants. Specific places you can look up are JL Beers taproom, Woodgrain brewery/taproom, Gandy Dancer brewery/Monk's taproom, Prairie Berry wineroom/Miner taproom, Fernson taproom, and Remedy brewing/taproom. Elsewhere in Sioux Falls are the Fernson brewery/taproom, Hydra brewery/taproom and several non-brewery taprooms.
  23. ivyman

    ivyman Disciple (387) Jun 9, 2005 Massachusetts

    Anyone doing Portland, OR as a beer vacation should try to spend a day or two in Hood River. pFriem , Logsdon, Double Mountain and Full Sail are
    pretty much in walking distance, plus some local taproom.
  24. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (603) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    Portland Or. Easy airport, easy transportation and one of the highest conglomerations of beer taps on earth and the food.......
  25. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (603) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    No need, If you are in Portland SOMEBODY will have all those on tap
  26. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (603) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    In fact somebody in Portland will have almost anything you could wish for, It's not just the breweries it's the tap houses PLUS the
  27. Effinwill

    Effinwill Initiate (122) Dec 2, 2016 California

    Portland to hood river to Eugene. Beautiful scenery and beautiful beers.
    But picking just one? I'd like to go back to hood river.
  28. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (1,789) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Perhaps not the best, but Fort Collins, Colorado is way up there on the list for me. Great beer, with the major local breweries all being within walking distance of one-another. Extremely active town, with near world class cycling, running, and swimming available. Solid disc golf courses. Decent views (nothing compares to actually being in the mountain range, instead of looking at it one sided). Great bar scene, with everything from major craft bars, to cheap college bars. Their school even metaled with two different beers at the latest college brewery competition. Fantastic food options as well. Downtown is nice and small, but big enough to still spend a day or two wandering around, eating and drinking.

    Okay, so a lot of that wasn't strictly related to beer, but it's a fantastic city to bring the family, take them on some day outings, and check out some new local beer every night. Or, in my case, get in some solid training during the day, and sip on craft beer all night.
  29. fastward

    fastward Aspirant (221) Oct 17, 2015 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    If you like sours, Portland, OR.

    My east coast bias would be Richmond, Boston or NYC.
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  30. bostonvert

    bostonvert Initiate (134) Feb 24, 2017 Belgium
    Beer Trader

    Seeing as I spend my time between the Senne valley (gueuze country) next to Brussels and Vermont (Northeast Kingdom). I would say these two. Vermont is just beautiful and so many outdoor activities to be done and Belgium is small enough to see a lot of the country in just one week.
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  31. Cpmitchno1

    Cpmitchno1 Defender (644) Jan 7, 2015 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I love San Diego as a beer-cation place, but I will put Richmond out there as a dark horse candidate. I just spent a few days in Richmond and thought that the quality of breweries I went to were as good as anywhere (The Veil, The Answer, Stone, and Triple Crossing). In my mind, it is a better beer city for a beer geek than Asheville. Asheville's breweries are located within a small location, but I thought the quality was lacking. Wicked Weed and Burial were great and the rest were OK (at least that I visited).
  32. HeilanCoo

    HeilanCoo Initiate (44) Sep 11, 2014 North Carolina

    For a true vacation that has an insane amount of beer possibilities, Asheville is your huckleberry.
    May not have the crazy hard-to-get distro of someplace like NYC, but there are dozens (literally) of different breweries within a 5 mile radius of South Slope, and a few world-class sour/barrel breweries within 30 minutes. You can get your boat wet, your bike dirty, and have food that will stop conversation at the end of the day. There are breweries that have been here for 25 years as well as only 25 days. The lazy French Broad runs right through town (a beer-boating trip between bars and breweries is possible) , there are lakes within easy reach, and there are 6000+ft mountains within a half an hour. You will sweat...but not as much as Florida (plus it's a wet heat, so there's that). The people are absolutely beautiful. The airport is mediocre, the hotels downtown are expensive as shit, and you can't swing a dead cat without offending some skinny-jeans-wearing hipster, but where else could you see a street busker playing spoons well enough to be on the Grand Old Opry (her name is Abby). No idea what you're into, but Asheville will have it and good beer too. Maybe not ice fishing though.
  33. HeilanCoo

    HeilanCoo Initiate (44) Sep 11, 2014 North Carolina

    Way to represent. South Dakota isn't one that is thrown into the mix very often.
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  34. lupercmda

    lupercmda Meyvn (1,324) Jul 21, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Man Richmond is awesome. Answer Brewpub with their Andall's are killer. And Veil and all the others. Great food at Mekong also.
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  35. Ranbot

    Ranbot Devotee (468) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    These days just about any major metro area will have several local breweries. I would just choose a city with interesting things you want to see and then fit in your beer stops too. That's what I do on my vacations and I've never been thirsty for good craft beer, even in relative beer wastelands [like my trips to Iceland and Utah]. Good beer is everywhere if you keep half an eye out. But, there are cities with more breweries than others, so with those things in mind, I would recommend:

    New York City - subway system is second to none in the US, tons of other stuff to see/do.
    Asheville - Small, very walkable, take day trips out of town to see The Biltmore Estate and Smoky Mountain National Park.
    Portland, OR - A brewery on every block it seems, a very bicycle-friendly city if you are so inclined. If you have a car then day trip to Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, the coast, etc., or go spend a night or two in Bend, OR [which others have mentioned].

    If you are taking distance between breweries into account, then I would rule out San Diego and Burlington, VT [or, needless to say, VT state entirely]. Their breweries are spread far apart and public transit options are poor. You can rent a car and there are very nice areas to drive through, but driving around doesn't mix well with an itinerary of brewery stops.
    #35 Ranbot, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  36. HelloMyNameIsHuman

    HelloMyNameIsHuman Initiate (126) Mar 6, 2017 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    Massachusetts has some great breweries if you like Hazy Juicy IPA's . Trillium in Boston/Canton is my top pick. Western mass Has TreeHouse. And Portland Maine is about an hour and 1/2 - 2 hour drive depending where you are and that has Bissle Brothers
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  37. bret717

    bret717 Defender (686) Dec 8, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I'm biased towards Portland, OR because I used to live there so I'm most familiar with it, but man is it great for beer for all the reasons stated already. There is just so much awesome beer anywhere you go that sells food and drink. And if for some reason you get tired of Portland and enjoy beautiful drives/scenery/the outdoors, Hood River, Bend, and some great breweries scattered along the coast are right there for you.
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  38. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Poo-Bah (1,540) Mar 7, 2013 Quebec (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I might be biased, but Montreal is hard to beat for a lot of reasons.
    1. Quebec has some of if not the best beer in Canada, and Montreal is the best beer city in the province.
    2. The necessity of passing through VT if you are driving from places on the east coast (do this on your way BACK so that the border cops don't ruin your opportunity for a QC haul as well):wink:
    3. There are multiple neighborhoods that allow for visiting multiple brewpub/bars/breweries in one shot.
    4. Good public transportation and bike share program
    5. It's another country so there is an exotic factor that makes it cool as well (all while still being close to the US).
    6. A favorable exchange rate (approx. 30% off USD).
    7. Tons of free activities during the summer to mix with drinking amazing beer. These also can help to justify the trip to non-beer people.
    If any of you ever make it make sure to drop me a line:sunglasses::grinning:
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  39. Ranbot

    Ranbot Devotee (468) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I'll give Montreal a shout out too. Nice city, great history, and good beer. regards to #2, New Englanders would drive to Montreal through VT on I-89... The fastest route for anyone else in the US driving to Montreal would probably be I-87 through NY, but if beer is an interest the longer route through VT is justifiable.

    And yes the exchange rate these days is pretty good for US travelers in Canada. I enjoyed it recently in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland! :slight_smile:

    Quebec City is also fun with some good beer options.
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  40. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (526) Dec 19, 2006 California

    I would say San Diego, but Portland Oregon is also great.
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