4 places for beer lovers to go for summer vacation


Beer travel has been a big thing among beer geeks for a long time.

Summer sojourns in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and the Czech Republic are the stuff of beery legend and lore. And a trip to the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver is an autumn ritual.

Recently, though, more and more American cities have been making a pitch as beer tourism destinations.

Asheville, N.C., was ahead of the game, even before Sierra Nevada and New Belgium opened huge new breweries there. Some more unlikely cities, such as Greenville, S.C., are getting into the act, too. And suddenly, Florida has become a beer mecca, with a slew of breweries cropping up around Jacksonville and Tampa.

That struck me earlier this month, during a trip to Tampa for the annual North American Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference organized by Zephyr, a company that puts on similar conferences and books beer, food and wine tours around the world.

Tourism sponsors of the Tampa conference included Visit Tampa Bay, Visit Jacksonville, and next year’s host, Visit Milwaukee. In addition to a full agenda of Tampa brewery visits, there were optional pre- and post-conference trips to Jacksonville and St. Pete/Clearwater (which is near Tampa).

Of course, the objective was to generate press for the beer scenes in those cities. But the take-away for me was a confirmation that craft beer is no longer a niche market but part of the mainstream now. And thanks to destination marketing organizations and convention and visitors bureaus, it’s easier than ever to plan a trip.

Here are four beer destinations to explore this summer.

Asheville, N.C. The self-proclaimed “Beer City USA” boasts some 40 area breweries, including must-visit destinations, Highland, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada and Wicked Weed, plus lively bars, restaurants, music venues and scenic mountain vistas. exploreasheville.com.

Greenville, S.C. A revitalized downtown with shops, restaurants, museums and galleries make this easygoing city a cool backdrop for a burgeoning beer scene that includes Thomas Creek, Quest, Brewery 85 and nearby Swamp Rabbit, with Birds Fly South coming soon. visitgreenvillesc.com.

Jacksonville, Fla. This sprawling Southern city offering nearby beaches and a growing fine dining presence is also undergoing an under-the-radar brewing boom, with Intuition, Engine 15, Aardwolf and Pinglehead among the stops on the Jax Ale Trail. visitjacksonville.com/jax-ale-trail.

Tampa Bay, Fla. — With stunning bay views, bridges to the beaches and a surprisingly sophisticated culinary scene, the “craft beer renaissance” is getting a big push, with Cigar City leading the way, and Coppertail, Angry Chair, Six Ten and Ulele Spring moving along. visittampabay.com/baycrafted.html.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food

Sesame on the ziti, and we couldn't be happier
Sesame on the ziti, and we couldn't be happier

There's something to be learned from even the simplest recipes, and this bowl proves the point. Radicchio's bitter edge mellows once this vivid chicory spends seconds in a hot pan. That same pan, graced with a little olive oil, can then immediately coax firm grape tomatoes into almost-bursting beauties. Ziti tends to get baked into cheesy casseroles...
Is this the best chocolate chip cookie you can buy in Georgia?
Is this the best chocolate chip cookie you can buy in Georgia?

A quarter-pound of cookie so delectable they named it evil has been named the best chocolate chip cookie in Georgia. Tripping.com, one of the largest vacation rental sites in the world, listed Muss & Turner’s wickedly good chocolate chip cookie, the evil cookie, as the best chocolate chip cookie in Georgia on its “Best Chocolate...
Two Atlanta restaurants make Top 100 list for best classic restaurants
Two Atlanta restaurants make Top 100 list for best classic restaurants

There is nothing like a classic. That sentiment especially applies to some of America’s oldest, most esteemed restaurants. Atlanta happens to hold claim to two of the most tried-and-true places to eat in the U.S., according to FSR Magazine. Atkins Park and Mary Mac’s Tea Room both made the magazine’s annual list of Top 100...
Thrillist named this reliable Atlanta gas station spot as the best fried chicken chain in America
Thrillist named this reliable Atlanta gas station spot as the best fried chicken chain in America

There are plenty of reputable options if you want to pull up to a drive-thru and devour some crispy, golden chicken, i.e. KFC and Popeyes. However, an unsuspecting alternative you might have ignored at your last gas tank fill-up has been crowned the true bastion of fried chicken. Krispy Krunchy Chicken, established in 1989 in LaFayette, Louisiana,...
Get details about The Whitley’s new chef and restaurant plus other top metro Atlanta dining news from the week
Get details about The Whitley’s new chef and restaurant plus other top metro Atlanta dining news from the week

The Whitley Executive Chef Marc Suennemann / Photo courtesy of The Whitley The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, which rebranded as The Whitley in December, has named a new executive chef and provided details about its new restaurant. Marc Suennemann is managing culinary operations for the 507-room hotel, overseeing the culinary team and overseeing...
More Stories