There’s nothing more relaxing than the first sip of a cold beer while you’re on vacation. But serious beer lovers know that you can take that amazing feeling up a notch by visiting a city that takes pride in their local brews.
Craft beer is booming across the United States, and there’s never been a better time to take a beer-themed vacation to one of the many craft capitals of the country. Check out our list of below to discover eight of the must-visit craft beer cities and start planning your relaxing getaway to hop heaven.
Portland is arguably the beer capital of the world with over 100 breweries in the city and more popping up each year. Oregon is the number 3 hop producing state in the country, reflected in the beer scene through a wide variety of tasty IPAs and other hoppy drafts. Occidental Brewing Company, Back Pedal Brewing, Fat Head’s Brewing and many more taprooms mean you can visit any corner of the town and there will be a local brew waiting for you.
Asheville, North Carolina
Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains along the Swannanoa River, Asheville is a beautiful small town with more breweries per capita than any other city in the country. With over 100 local drafts, bottles and cans to try, a stay in Asheville is the perfect relaxing getaway to a beer-lovers oasis. Be sure to check out Highland Brewing and Wicked Weed Brewing for tastings during the day then stop by Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co. for a slice and a draft.
Head down south and spend a few days in Austin to take in an abundance of hoppy goodness and an especially well developed Belgian and sour scene. Austin knows how to party, and the city runs on tasty local craft brews available at bars and taprooms from North Loop to South Congress. Pair your beer with a live performance in the Music Capital of the World or take a tour of one of the many great local breweries including Jester King Brewery, Blue Owl Brewing, and Live Oak Brewing Company.
Nestled along the gorgeous James River, Richmond is an up-and-coming beer haven that boasts a wide variety of breweries, cideries and meaderies from downtown out into the gorgeous surrounding countryside. The Richmond Beer Trail links over 20 breweries throughout the city, and if you get your map stamped at five breweries you’ll get some free local craft beer swag. With live music and family fun at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, The Veil Brewing Company and Legend Brewing Company, you won’t have to look hard to find a great reason to pop some bottles in Richmond.
Boston was one of the earliest adopters of American craft beer when the Boston Beer Company opened their doors in 1984. Samuel Adams, their first brand of beer, is still one of the most popular brews in town, but there are a number of smaller breweries that have popped up over the years carrying the banner of Boston beer into new territory. Trillium Brewery, known mainly for their dedicated IPA fan base, offers an assortment of delicious growlers and four packs that rotate daily, while a visit to Harpoon Brewing means great beer, pretzels and a waterside view of the bustling Seaport District.
Colorado is known as the “Napa Valley of Beer” so you know they take their craft seriously. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder offers a more relaxing way to enjoy Colorado’s brewing scene outside of the hubbub of Denver. Avery Brewing’s taproom offers 21 tasty choices on draft, while Upslope and Twisted Pine also offer rotating lists of great hoppy pints. Boulder Brewing Company was the first microbrewery in all of Colorado, while Asher Brewing Company was Colorado’s first all-organic brewery. When you throw in Cellar West Artisan Ales, Finkel and Garf Craft Beer and all of the other great local breweries, there’s truly something for everyone in Boulder.
Home to craft beer luminaries Magic Hat Brewing Company, Burlington also boasts a number of small, cozy breweries specializing in a variety of different beers. Grab a bike and hit the Burlington Bike Trail to make a stop by Foam Brewers where you can enjoy seasonally rotating IPAs and saisons with local cheeses, meats, and breads. Burlington Beer Co. opened in 2016 by a former brewer from Dogfish Head and emphasizes local ingredients like Uncommon Ground coffee and Vermont honey. Zero Gravity, Switchback and Four Quarters Brewing are also staples of the craft scene in the Queen City.
You can’t talk craft beer in the Midwest without mentioning Chicago. You have probably seen Goose Island and Two Brothers bottles in your local supermarket or bar, but beyond these great nationally circulated brews there are many fantastic smaller breweries waiting to be explored. Half Acre is known by many as the best brewery in town, while Revolution, Moody Tongue, 3 Floyds, and Spiteful Brewing all offer a distinct taste of the Windy City.
If your perfect vacation includes a cold brew, you don’t have to fly to Germany or Belgium to spoil yourself with hoppy goodness. No matter what part of the country you visit, great beer is just a stone’s throw away.