Good Beer Hunting

Fervent Few

The Fervent Few — Destination Beer

Discovering a new brewpub or finally getting to visit a town that’s home to one of your favorite breweries is one of the best parts of traveling. But what about making a trip explicitly to visit one of your favorite breweries? Is there a destination that combines a place you’ve always wanted to visit with a beer you’ve always wanted to try? This week, we asked The Fervent Few about beercationing. What’s on their brewery bucket list?

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Chris Gartman: “I want to get to Hanoi and drink bia hoi with the locals. I’m told that watering hole and restaurant owners will queue in their vehicles at the brewery to collect the still-fermenting beer and bring it straight to their various establishments. It’s low ABV, full of suspended, active yeast, and apparently a real treat to drink!”

Jason Berg: “My main bucket list drinking destination is Cologne, Germany—to get some proper Kölsch. My dream trip around this involves seeing a few European cities by train and tasting the differences in styles that I am used to at home. Some domestic trips to Maine, Michigan, Colorado, and Oregon need to be scheduled sooner, as my wanderlust is building up again.”

Zack Rothman: “Locally, I’d love to visit The Alchemist in Stowe, Vermont. It’s only a few hours drive from Boston, and their new facility looks incredible. Plus, they make some of the best beer in New England, if not the country. Nationally, Jester King in Austin, Texas is on my brewery bucket list. Their location is absolutely beautiful and their beers are amazing. Internationally, I hope to one day travel to Brussels in Belgium so that I can go to Brasserie Cantillon. Their Lambics and Gueuzes are world-renowned, and I would love to try them at the source. So much beer traveling to do!”

Mitchell Royea: “This weekly topic is very timely in my life. My bucket list beer destination will be crossed off for me on Saturday because I will be spending the day in Brussels, Belgium! It took me a couple years of drinking craft beer to appreciate Belgian beers, but now I can't get enough of the stuff. I have already booked a tour at Cantillon and hope to make it to Brasserie de la Senne and Brussels Beer Project. I have also found a few beer bars I intend to go to. Unfortunately, it is only a day trip, so I am definitely going to have to prioritize my time.”

JaeSun Riley: “I'm planning a trip to South Korea later this year to visit family and friends. I also plan to to check out the local craft beer scene. It's been over a decade since I was last in South Korea and in the beer scene there, if you could even call it a ‘scene.’ [It] was dominated by macro light Lagers (OB, Hite, Cass, etc.). I never thought that beer would really be a thing in South Korea. But in the past few years there have been a bunch of craft breweries opened by locals and ex-pats.  Even international brands like Mikkeller and Goose Island have outposts in Seoul now. It's cool to see beer being taken more seriously in South Korea, and I'm stoked to try as much as I can while I'm over there.”

Rick Owens: “I want to make a return trip to both Hill Farmstead and Suarez Family Brewing in late July. Two of the best breweries I’ve visited both in terms of quality and environment. I could stay at either crushing Pilsner and Pale Ale all day long. The third would be Brasserie de Blaugies in Belgium. I heard Shaun talk about their beers on the GBH podcast, and then finally got to try their beers at Shelton Fest in 2017.”

Caldwell Bishop: “The top three on my bucket list are currently:

Chicago: mostly for Goose Island, as BCBS remains my family's favorite beer. I have a short trip planned in May, but would like to spend more time there to further explore the plethora of good breweries. Would also like to be there for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Colorado: in general, I want to visit the state, as I think I’d love it. And it seems like there are a lot of good breweries there.

Vermont: all the stuff, and the cheddar.

Some specific domestic breweries that I definitely want to visit at some point (and are not in the above locations) are: Tired Hands, Tree House, Trillium, Notch, Allagash, Russian River, Cigar City, Great Raft, and Nepenthe. I’m sure there are others that just aren’t coming to mind immediately.

Internationally, I don’t know that I could justify a trip just for beer with so many places I've yet to visit in the U.S. But I am very curious to get back to China. I was last living there in 2011, and since then one friend has opened up a couple of bars and another has become more involved in homebrewing and the craft beer community. My understanding is that things have progressed quite a bit since I was there, so I would love to go back and see what all has changed.”

Brandon Morreale: “I have three breweries specifically and I think they all sort of categorize themselves together. Jester King in Austin, TX, Fonta Flora in NC, and Scratch in southern Illinois. All three breweries do something completely unique in the way that they approach their styles using local and foraged ingredients in beautiful locations. As I get older and more removed from the flavor-of-the-month beers, I’m gravitating more to the unique processes of these breweries and the wild flavors they’re developing.”

Lana Svitankova: “Really want to go on a road tour to the UK—the beer scene is flourishing. Do want to go to U.S., can't decide where, though. But it seems I'll land in Chicago for my birthday. And crazy about going to Japan—not for beer only, though.”

Nick Naretto: “Allagash, that’s all.”

Manny Gumina: “Fortunately, I will be crossing off one trip on the bucket list by spending three nights in Cologne/Düsseldorf, Germany for my honeymoon in June. Another four nights will be in Amsterdam. I'm saving a Belgium trip. I want to travel there after accomplishing some specific goal I haven't even thought of yet in my future. In the United States, I've never been west of Colorado in my life, so literally all of the West Coast states are on my bucket list. Looking forward to drinking some West Coast-style IPAs!”

Dom “Dooch” Cook: “It’s gotta be Germany and Belgium for at least two weeks. Spend a day or two in multiple cities and just wander aimlessly around other than when I’m headed to a brewery.”

Mike McCarty: “I was able to cross off one place on my list over the summer when I went to Asheville, but there are too many others to think I'll ever get to them all. Off the top of my head, I'd include Portland, ME, Portland, OR, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, and Germany.”

Lisa Derus: “Scratch is totally on my list. Of course, I live within driving distance and have never been—a shame.”

Brad Fattlar: “I have been fortunate enough to get a few done like Ashville and Jester King, but I would have to say as far as wider areas, Vermont and San Diego are very high. Specific breweries I would say: Russian River, Hill Farmstead, and Toppling Goliath, among many others. Internationally, I would love to travel through Belgium and Germany. If I ever make it back to England, I would love to be able to hit up actual breweries like Beavertown and Cloudwater—didn't have time to do so earlier last time.”

Brad: “While I certainly have a bucket list for beer travel, the places that I really want to visit most are those within the continental U.S.—just out of reach of the cities that I would conceivably visit for a vacation or for business. This likely means that I would have to drive an additional two, three and four hours beyond my original destination in order to make a specific pilgrimage to these breweries.

I know that St. Louis really isn't that difficult to get to, but with no family in the area and no known clients there I could conceivably work for, I doubt that I will that I will get the chance to visit Side Project anytime soon. As I get older, the likelihood of a beer-specific trip grows less and less likely, but hopefully if I can find a bargain basement flight someday I'll get the chance to cross off the #1 brewery on my list.

While I could certainly go to SF or LA for vacation or work, I know that I will have to make a specific multi-hour drive to California coast in order to visit Capitola or Santa Cruz. Just like Side Project, I can still get Sante Adairius' beer through trades or at festivals, but until I actually get the chance to visit the brewery, it will definitely remain high on my bucket list.

And finally, that same logic applies to Glenwood Springs and Casey Brewing and Blending. I would have to take nearly a three-hour drive from Denver in order to taste Casey at its source.”

Andrew Skelton: “Hands down, my top bucket list destination for beer would be Portland, ME. Going to Allagash will always be a dream come true as I still remember the first time I had an Allagash White and the obsession with craft beer that quickly followed. Following that up with a round at Bissell Brothers, Oxbow, and a quick ride to Maine Beer Company. As I write this, I have a tab open checking flights to Maine. This might happen sooner rather than later.”

Bryan Arndt: “Portland, ME is absolutely at the top of my list. It's a place I was able to visit many years ago and really fell in love with, but the chance to go back and take in Oxbow, Bissell, and Allagash (among others) would be incredible.”

Mike Sardina: “Domestically, my bucket list brewery destination would absolutely be New Glarus. I've never been, but from everything that I have heard and seen, the tour there sounds like a truly spectacular beer experience. I've had their beers a handful of times, and every one—across a broad range of styles—has been extremely well executed and delicious. 

Internationally, naturally I would say Belgium. The history and the heritage of the brewers there is literally inspiring. I would go drink Taras Boulba all day long at Brasserie de la Senne. That beer is near perfection, and it would be amazing to enjoy it at the source.”

Nick Yoder: “Hill Farmstead
Portland
Boston
NYC

I have been lucky enough to check several breweries off my bucket list in the last couple years, with vacations that included stops at Jester King, Russian River, and Cigar City. Domestically I'd actually like to recreate a road trip my wife and I did from Indianapolis to New York/Boston/Maine back in 2012. I wasn't as into beer back then, so we didn't make it up to Portland or detour to Hill Farmstead or The Alchemist. This time I'd be sure to hit those, plus Other Half, Suarez, Threes, Tree House, and Trillium. 

I'd also really like to go to Modern Times because I've always loved it's aesthetic and Scratch is tantalizingly close in that it's only one state over but still quite a drive. 

Internationally, Brussels is at the top of my list so I can drink all the Gueuze. And after visiting Prague last year, I have a new appreciation for the European drinking culture and really want to get to all of the great brewing centers on the continent. Plus, I never did make it to Urquell.”

Johnny Swinehart: “Domestically, I would like to travel to Asheville, San Diego, and Portland, OR. Internationally, I have my eye on Copenhagen, Brussels, and Germany. If you're looking for places to go, I can't recommend trips to Portland, ME and Burlington, VT enough.”

William Weber: “For places I've been fortunate enough to visit, I can easily think of a top 10 that should be on all beer lovers' bucket lists. In no particular order, but with five each from the U.S. and Belgium: Cantillon, 3 Fonteinen, In de Verzekering Tegen de Grote Dorst, De Garre, Moeder Lambic (original location), New Glarus, Hill Farmstead, Russian River, Allagash, and Jester King. Remaining on my personal beer bucket list are just a few special experiences: drinking Rauchbier in Bamberg, Pilsner in the Czech Republic, and vintage Lambic at Akkurat. Time to renew my passport!”

Shannon Vinson: “Austin, TX: Jester King, Averie Swanson. Belgium: uh, Belgian beers, duh.

Would like to return to Suarez, Side Project, and Firestone Walker.”

Jemma Wilson: “Beer destination bucket list: North Carolina. I want to see the new Sierra Nevada and New Belgium breweries, both look gorgeous. Then of course Fonta Flora, Wicked Weed (*gasp* don't hate me), and seriously too many more to count.”

Kirk Karczewski: “I really want to experience the Oregon scene and Germany.  I’ve always wanted to go to Germany outside of beer. Maybe I have this grandiose vision, but it always looked to be a great culture.”

Ross Hughes: “Being a bit of a beer romantic, I always seem to gravitate towards breweries and cities which have an historical significance in terms of shaping the classic beer styles we recognize today. At the top of my cities list: Pilsen, Bamberg, Munich, and Dublin. In terms of specific breweries: Sierra Nevada (Chico) and Anchor.”

Eric Gibson: “I've  done this to myself twice now. I lived in Asheville, NC and moved away.  I lived in Sacramento (40 breweries strong and growing!), which was short drives to San Francisco, Chico, and Russian River.  What am I doing to myself!? That being said, the next place I'd love to move to and then unwittingly move away from would be the Portland/Seattle areas. Beer bucket list? Belgium or San Diego. Despite living in CA, I have yet to make it that far south. My time will come!”

Tom Malover: “I don’t really have a specific bucket list just because work allows me to go wherever I choose. It’s a constant moving target. I do have some major takeaways from my travels. I’ve been to roughly 1,000 breweries, Pilsner Urquell was early on, and is still probably right at the top. Just such a rich history that pushed past some of the other things I would typically factor into my experience like good beer and the people making the beer that I know and enjoy. That said, I’d probably like to visit more in Europe as a blanket statement. Everyone is correct on breweries like Firestone, Jester King, Allagash, New Glarus, Sierra NC, Maui (production). Internationally: Garage Project and WarPigs. Things I’m looking forward to visiting: Creature Comforts and Russian River’s new production facilities when they are completed.
Going away from the usual. I would highly recommend:

Melvin in Alpine, WY
Butcher & the Brewer in Cleveland, OH
Von Trapp in Stowe, VT”

This is one of the most active weekly topics we’ve ever had. Two thousand eighteen is off to a great start in our community! Come join The Fervent Few, tell us which breweries you dream of visiting, and get some travel advice from our members.

Hosted by Jim Plachy