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Forget Disneyland -- nothing says summer quite like a beer-fueled weekend getaway. And whether you’re looking to escape the urban jungle, or aiming to explore some of the country's busiest cities, there’s always a plethora of one-of-a-kind breweries to be found...just as long as you know where to look.
The following five destinations are ideal for drinking the summer away in style. Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of your next boozy trek.
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Don’t let its Spring Break reputation fool you—this beachside city has a lot more to offer than Fuzzy Navels and 30 racks of fizzy yellow stuff. Teeming with breweries like lager specialists Concrete Beach Brewery, eponymous pioneers Wynwood Brewing Co., and the ever-eclectic J. Wakefield Brewing, the Wynwood neighborhood is a fantastic homebase. Beyond the brews, the hood offers tasty tacos at Coyo, burgers at Kush, and prime steaks at Butcher Shop Beer Garden & Grill. Wynwood Yard even has an outdoor collection of pop-up food stands, drink spots, live events, and art installations.
Speaking of art, we fully endorse making like the tipsy tourist you are and snapping a selfie in front of the Wynwood Walls, a network of bright, mural-strewn structures that do more than catch the eye. If you do venture down to Miami Beach, don’t sleep on Yardbird Southern Table & Bar’s epic brunch, Southern-style cocktails, and malty, sessionable house beer, followed by a walking tour around the area’s art deco masterpieces.
And if you’re somehow stumped for more activities, just look around—the powers that be didn’t create all those miles of golden sand beaches, crashing waves, and stiff piña coladas for you to sit on a barstool all day.
You can’t do so much as toss an empty can without hitting a mash tun around these parts. Oregon’s best kept sudsy secret’s stein runneth over with award-winning breweries, top tier dining and drinking spots, and well stocked bottle shops. Before embarking on your brewery hopping journey, load up on pizza and fresher-than-fresh draft beer at 10 Barrel Brewing’s original brewpub. (Feeling adventurous? Try the oyster shooter.)
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Once you’re fully satiated, start drinking your way through the scenic mountain town’s jam-packed beer trail, a cluster of bigwigs like Deschutes Brewery and 10 Barrel’s production facility, as well as up-and-comers like The Ale Apothecary, GoodLife Brewing Co., and Crux Fermentation Project, whose barrel-aged Banished series will blow your mind.
For dinner, you can duck into Platypus Pub for a bowl of stout-infused chili, class it up with cocktails and modern comfort fare at Drake, or keep the party going at the McMenamin brothers’ Old St. Francis School, an all-in-one hotel, restaurant, theater, and bar set in a historic 1936 schoolhouse.
Whew. Looking to burn off all of those tastings? Round your trip out by hitting the links at Tetherow -- the town’s championship golf club -- or go for a hike up soaring Mt. Bachelor.
With its post-industrial feel and current craft revolution, Richmond is a real under-the-radar beer destination. Thirsty visitors can drop in on The Belle Isle Distillery -- an ambitious microdistillery intent on introducing the world to the wonders of moonshine -- or kick back at brewing upstarts Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Triple Crossing Brewing Co., each with well-appointed taprooms serving fantastic beer.
Across town, the Scott’s Addition neighborhood’s burgeoning lot of picturesque cideries and top-rated breweries like Blue Bee Cider, Ardent Craft Ales and The Veil Brewing Co. (famous for its uber-juicy IPAs, Belgian-style beauties, and Oreo beer) make it the place for a full day of boozy exploration. For food, there’s the casual Southern-tinged BBQ joint Lunch & Supper, farm-to-table entrees and pimento cheese at Pasture, and American mainstays at Saison.
San Francisco Giants’ Minor League affiliate the Flying Squirrels and the cutting edge Virginia Museum of Fine Arts both provide a bit of beat-the-heat entertainment, while the cocktail whizzes behind Rogue Gentleman serve an extensive menu of finely-tuned creations to rival any big city mixology den. And any history buff worth their salt should definitely spring for a room at The Jefferson, a palatial, recently renovated hotel that dates back to 1895.
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Summer in the Bay is gorgeous, for sure, but it ain’t exactly the sunniest. So, it’s a good thing there’s plenty of excellent craft beer to keep you tipsy, toasty, and ready to hit the wharf. Kick off the festivities with a visit to the one that started it all: Anchor Brewing Company.
After soaking up the Steam in all its glory, break free from the past with a trip to Cellarmaker Brewing Co. in SoMa. Their eternally-packed hole-in-the-wall taproom features a wide-ranging roster of IPAs and Smoked Porters, but truly excels when it comes to the much-coveted hoppy stuff.
After a few pints of tropical goodness, make your way down to the Mission for a burrito at La Taqueria before popping over to Almanac’s shiny new taproom for a taste of sour beer excellence and some charcuterie and inventive housemade musubi. Experimental brewery Woods Cervecería, with its flagship yerba mate-spiked IPA, is another choice pick in the area.
If the Giants are in town, take in a game at AT&T Park; if you’d rather keep it candlelit, reserve a table at 25 Lusk. And there’s even more lurking just across the bay, including Berkeley’s breathtaking barrel-aged emporium, The Rare Barrel, the pristinely-designed Oakland newcomer, Temascal Brewing, and the East Bay classic, Drake’s Brewing Co.
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The next time you’re planning a midwest beercation, consider bypassing Chicago’s crowds for this lively University town, perched between two lakes about 80 miles west of Milwaukee. In Madison, you’ll find breweries galore, with IPA wizards Ale Asylum, nano outpost One Barrel Brewing Co., the effortlessly cool Karben4 Brewing, and sour-focused Funk Factory Geuzeria leading the pack.
Bars and restaurants dominate both the State Street promenade and the markedly chiller capitol area, attracting a mix of locals, tourists, and the college set all year long. For a hearty meal, try the The Old Fashioned; the The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. for an old school vibe; hipster cocktail hub The Robin Room; or the brand spankin’ new AC Hotel’s brew-savvy first floor lounge. And we’d be remiss not to mention industry giant New Glarus’s massive hilltop brewery, just a 40-minute trip from downtown Madison.
Pro tip: Hang on to the rental car and map out a mini-Frank Lloyd Wright road trip around the area to take in all the stunning architecture this place has to offer.
Note: 10 Barrel Brewing is a member of The High End, owned by Anheuser-Busch.