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Savor the Flavor: Must-Visit American Cities for the Ultimate Beer Vacation

Updated: Apr 18

You're a craft beer enthusiast who loves exploring new places and discovering hidden gems - What better way to combine your passions than by embarking on a brewcation? In this blog post, we'll be your trusty tour guide, taking you on a journey through some of the top US craft beer destinations for beer-loving travelers. So, grab your favorite pint glass, and let's hit the road! Before we dive into each city, let's define what a brewcation is. A brewcation is a vacation specifically planned around visiting breweries, beer bars, and other beer-centric spots. These trips often involve touring local breweries, sampling unique brews, and immersing yourself in the culture of each destination. Now that we're on the same page, let's explore the must-visit destinations for the ultimate brewcation experience.

Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, has become a mecca for craft beer enthusiasts. With over 30 breweries and a vibrant food scene, it's no wonder this charming city has earned the title "Beer City USA." First up, you can't miss visiting Sierra Nevada's East Coast brewery. This massive facility, boasting a taproom and restaurant, offers guided tours where you can learn about the brewing process and sustainability initiatives. Don't forget to enjoy a pint on their picturesque outdoor patio. Next, head downtown to check out the South Slope Brewing District. This walkable area is home to several craft breweries, including:

  1. Green Man Brewery: Known for their legendary IPA and creative seasonal brews, this brewery also offers a dog-friendly outdoor space.

  2. Burial Beer Co.: Showcasing a farm-to-table approach, Burial offers unique, small-batch beers and a beautiful outdoor beer garden.

  3. Catawba Brewing Company: A must-visit for those seeking a diverse range of beer styles, from IPAs to sours and everything in between.

Finally, round out your Asheville brewcation with a visit to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Take a leisurely drive, soak in the stunning views, and make a pit stop at one of the many nearby breweries, like Pisgah Brewing Company or Zillicoah Beer Company. Asheville offers the perfect mix of outdoor adventure and craft beer bliss.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, fondly known as "Beervana," is a craft beer lover's paradise. With over 75 breweries in the city limits alone, you'll find a diverse range of innovative and delicious brews to quench your thirst. Begin your Portland brewcation with a visit to the iconic Deschutes Brewery. From their Black Butte Porter to the Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deschutes offers a wide variety of beer styles to satisfy any palate. While you're there, take a guided tour to gain insights into their brewing process. Next up, explore the city's many craft beer hotspots. Some must-visit breweries include:

  1. Breakside Brewery: Known for their award-winning IPAs, Breakside's two Portland locations both offer a great atmosphere and a mouthwatering food menu.

  2. Cascade Brewing Barrel House: A haven for sour beer lovers, Cascade specializes in barrel-aged sour ales, offering a truly unique tasting experience.

  3. Hair of the Dog Brewing Company: This innovative brewery has been pushing the boundaries of beer since 1993, with a focus on bold, aged brews.

No trip to Portland would be complete without experiencing the city's food scene. Head to one of the many food cart pods, where you'll find everything from artisan grilled cheese to gourmet tacos. Pair your meal with a local brew for the ultimate Portland experience. In addition to its beer scene, Portland is known for its lush parks, quirky shops, and eco-friendly attitude. With so much to see and do, Portland is an ideal destination for beer-loving travelers.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Welcome to Grand Rapids, Michigan - lovingly dubbed "Beer City, USA." Nestled along the Grand River, this bustling city is home to over 80 breweries, making it an essential stop for any craft beer fanatic. So, pack your bags, and let's dive into this beer lover's paradise. Begin your Grand Rapids adventure at the iconic Founders Brewing Co., known for its bold, flavorful beers such as KBS and All Day IPA. While you're there, enjoy a brewery tour and savor a meal at their taproom, which boasts an impressive menu. As you navigate the city's vibrant beer scene, add these must-visit breweries to your list:

  1. Brewery Vivant: This innovative brewery, housed in a former funeral chapel, offers Belgian-inspired beers and a sustainable, eco-friendly experience.

  2. The Mitten Brewing Co.: Combining two great American pastimes, baseball and beer, this unique brewery offers exceptional craft brews and tasty pizza.

  3. Perrin Brewing Company: Experience a wide array of flavorful beers and a welcoming atmosphere in this cozy taproom.

And don't miss the Beer City Ale Trail, where you can earn stamps on a "passport" as you explore local breweries. Collect enough stamps, and you'll score some sweet Beer City swag. While in Grand Rapids, be sure to experience its thriving arts and culture scene, from the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park to the Grand Rapids Art Museum. No matter your interests, this diverse city offers a fantastic brewcation experience that any beer-loving traveler will cherish.

San Diego, California

San Diego, California - where the sun, surf, and sensational craft beer come together to create the ultimate brewcation destination. With over 150 breweries to explore, this coastal city is an absolute must for beer enthusiasts. Let's dive into the thriving beer scene that San Diego has to offer. First up is Stone Brewing, a titan of the craft beer world, known for its hop-forward beers like the Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale. Be sure to tour their stunning Escondido location, complete with beautiful gardens and an on-site bistro. As you immerse yourself in San Diego's beer culture, don't miss these essential stops:

  1. Modern Times Beer: This innovative brewery boasts a retro, eclectic vibe and a wide variety of unique, flavorful brews.

  2. AleSmith Brewing Company: Home to the world-renowned Speedway Stout, AleSmith is a must-visit for its quality brews and welcoming atmosphere.

  3. Ballast Point Brewing: Enjoy beautiful views of the San Diego Bay while sipping on their flagship Sculpin IPA or one of their many inventive brews.

For a truly immersive experience, partake in one of San Diego's brewery tours, such as the Brewery Hop or San Diego Beer, Wine & Spirits Tours. These guided tours allow you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the best brews the city has to offer. After a day of brewery hopping, unwind at one of San Diego's picturesque beaches or explore its rich history in Old Town San Diego. With so much to see and taste, this vibrant city is sure to make your brewcation one for the books.

Charleston, SC

fatty's beer works in Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina, is known for its historic charm, cobblestone streets, and now - an impressive craft beer scene. This southern gem has quickly become a must-visit destination for beer-loving travelers, offering a variety of unique breweries and distinctive flavors. You'll want to start your Charleston brewcation at Westbrook Brewing Company, famous for its Mexican Cake, a rich and indulgent imperial stout with a cult following. Westbrook is also home to a range of delightful beers, from refreshing Goses to hoppy IPAs. As you continue your Charleston beer adventure, be sure to visit these standout spots:

  1. Fatty's Beer Works: This lively brewery prides itself on being unpretentious and welcoming, serving up delicious brews like the Lazy Hazy.

  2. Edmund's Oast: Located in a stunning rustic-industrial space, Edmund's Oast pairs an extensive beer list with mouthwatering farm-to-table cuisine.

  3. Revelry Brewing: With a rooftop bar offering panoramic views of downtown Charleston, Revelry is the perfect spot to sip a cold one and take in the sights.

In between brewery visits, take some time to explore the rich history and breathtaking architecture of Charleston. Meander through the colorful streets of Rainbow Row, tour the historic plantations, and savor some shrimp and grits at one of the city's renowned eateries. Charleston is a city brimming with charm, history, and incredible craft beer, making it a top destination for your next brewcation. So pack your bags, and get ready to immerse yourself in this unforgettable southern city.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of the Liberty Bell and scrumptious cheesesteaks, is also a haven for craft beer enthusiasts. With a long-standing brewing tradition and an innovative spirit, Philly has earned its reputation as a premier beer destination.

First on your list should be Yards Brewing Company, a staple in the Philly beer scene since 1994. Known for its British-inspired ales, Yards offers classic brews like the Philadelphia Pale Ale and Brawler, an English-style mild ale. As you explore Philly's thriving craft beer scene, don't miss these must-visit spots:

  1. Evil Genius Beer Company: With cheeky names like "I Love Lamp" and "Purple Monkey Dishwasher," Evil Genius delights beer lovers with its eccentric style and creative brews.

  2. Dock Street Brewery: As one of the city's first microbreweries, Dock Street has been brewing high-quality beers for decades, including their renowned Rye IPA.

  3. Tired Hands Brewing Company: Located just outside the city limits in Ardmore, Tired Hands is worth the trip for their innovative and experimental brews.

While you're in the City of Brotherly Love, make sure to soak up the rich history and culture. Visit iconic sites like Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the bustling Reading Terminal Market. In conclusion, Philadelphia offers a delightful mix of historic charm, diverse culture, and a dynamic beer scene. So, plan your brewcation and get ready to experience all the vibrant flavors that this East Coast gem has to offer.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont, nestled on the shores of Lake Champlain, is a picturesque destination for beer lovers seeking a memorable brewcation. With a vibrant arts scene, outdoor activities, and an abundance of craft breweries, Burlington delivers a unique blend of charm and exceptional beer. The Alchemist, based in nearby Stowe, is a must-visit for any beer enthusiast. Renowned for its highly sought-after Heady Topper Double IPA, this acclaimed brewery is worth the short drive from Burlington. Within Burlington's city limits, you'll find an impressive array of craft breweries, including:

  1. Foam Brewers: Situated on the waterfront, Foam Brewers serves up innovative beers with beautiful views of Lake Champlain.

  2. Zero Gravity Craft Brewery: Offering a wide range of beer styles, Zero Gravity is known for its Conehead IPA and Green State Lager.

  3. Burlington Beer Company: Located in the neighboring town of Williston, this brewery boasts imaginative brews and a welcoming atmosphere.

While in Burlington, be sure to explore its vibrant downtown area, Church Street Marketplace, filled with local shops, restaurants, and live music. Additionally, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, or sailing on Lake Champlain. In summary, Burlington, Vermont, offers an unbeatable combination of stunning natural beauty and a thriving craft beer scene. So pack your bags, and get ready to explore this idyllic New England destination with a cold brew in hand.

Tips for Planning a Brewcation

Planning the perfect brewcation requires a bit of research and organization, but with these tips, you'll be well on your way to an unforgettable beer-filled adventure.

  1. Prioritize your must-visit breweries: With so many craft breweries across the country, it's essential to narrow down your list. Focus on your favorite breweries or specific beer styles you'd like to explore.

  2. Check brewery hours and tour availability: Many breweries have limited hours or may require advance reservations for tours and tastings. Don't miss out on your top picks by planning ahead.

  3. Map out your route: To make the most of your time, plot your brewery visits in a logical order. Don't forget to factor in travel time between stops.

  4. Designate a driver or utilize rideshares: Safety first! Ensure you have a plan for getting around responsibly. Consider hiring a designated driver or using rideshare services to avoid drinking and driving.

  5. Research local accommodations: Look for hotels or rentals within walking distance of breweries or with easy access to public transportation.

  6. Explore the local food scene: Beer and food go hand-in-hand, so make a point to try local eateries that offer unique pairings or feature locally brewed beers on tap.

  7. Embrace spontaneity: While planning is crucial, be open to discovering hidden gems along the way. You never know when you'll stumble upon a fantastic brewery or a can't-miss beer event.

  8. Pack wisely: Bring a cooler or insulated bag to store any beer purchases you make during your trip. Don't forget a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated between tastings!

With these tips in mind, you'll be well-prepared for a memorable brewcation. So, raise a glass to new beer adventures and get ready to explore the best craft beer destinations the US has to offer.


In conclusion, a well-planned brewcation offers the perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and, of course, incredible craft beer. By exploring top US craft beer destinations like Asheville, Portland, Grand Rapids, San Diego, Charleston, Philadelphia, and Burlington, you'll not only get a taste of the local beer scene but also create unforgettable memories.

As you embark on your beer-loving journey, remember to plan ahead, prioritize your must-visit breweries, and stay open to new experiences along the way. Additionally, don't forget to explore the local food scene, embrace spontaneity, and always travel responsibly.

So, pack your bags, gather your fellow beer enthusiasts, and set out to explore the vast world of American craft beer. Cheers to discovering new flavors, making new friends, and creating stories worth sharing over a pint or two.

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