Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pairing Your Beer Style With Your Travel Style in the US


It doesn’t matter if it’s wine and cheese, cocktails and desserts or beer and barbecue, everywhere you look now someone is pairing booze with food. That’s a very tasty proposition for fans of a good adult beverage. Instead of Doritos and Busch Light, the idea of a nut brown ale and brisket makes my mouth water instead of being left with a burning heart.

But we’ve always been here to show you the places along the path to stop and have a drink where you may never have before. As much as I love food, my expertise in that world is somewhat limited to late night eats – I’ll leave the food to the foodies who really know their stuff.

So if I’m not going to pair food and drinks, why would I bring that up? I couldn’t be here just to waste your time, could I?

Of course I’m not. I actually want to talk about a different kind of pairing with alcohol, destination pairing. As I said, we’ve been on a whirlwind tour of the US and beyond on this site. We’ve gone to small towns, big cities, islands and beyond. All of our destinations are worth a stop for the activities and alcohol that we have featured. So how do you choose to use your vacation time wisely and get the most bang for your PTO buck?

Let us help you out. In this first pairing installment we’ll look at US destinations and beer. We’ll get you to a region and direct you to some places we’ve covered there. There is no reason to end up in a hotel drinking out of the mini bar watching American Ninja Warrior anymore. It’s a big country, so let’s find some corners of it to have fun in.

Beach Bum Who Likes a Refreshing Wheat or Wit

When you pack for a trip, do you pack a couple swim suits and a swim shirt? Do you pack more towels than underwear? Do you like your beer crisp and not too heavy? Then we've got the one perfect spot in the US for you.

Florida

Palm trees, citrus, Florida beer....just add beach
Who doesn’t love sandy beaches and a cool refreshing wheat? I know I do. If that’s your jam then Florida is where you need to be. With an ever increasing amount of local breweries and a never ending coast of sand, the Gulf Coast is a specifically great place to start. From Tampa to the Keys, white sand is over abundant and breweries are as well. Cigar City in Tampa offers a fantastic Belgian Wit with their Florida Cracker White Ale and Big Top in Sarasota crafts a fantastic White Sands Wheat. Florida is hot, almost always, so a good wheat is the perfect pair.

Hiker Who Enjoys Something Bitter

Do you live with a backpack and hiking boots on, or at least daydream daily about your backpack and boots? When you sit down for a brew, are you disappointed if your face doesn’t flinch a little because of bitterness? If you answered yes and yes, then you’re lucky because there are a couple of perfect spots in the US for your hike.

Pacific Crest Trail, SoCal

San Diego beer, the bitter the better
We’ll start in the kingdom of double IPAs, Southern California. Your hiking adventure starts at the Mexican border on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you’re adventurous enough, and have plenty of vacation time, you can hike all the way to the Canadian border. Between the 2 borders you’ll come across many beer havens –Oregon, Washington, Northern California – but none will satisfy your bitter thirst like the start of your trip in Southern California. Show up with your bitter beer face in San Diego, have some beers, pack some more and head east 50 miles to the start of the trail. Once you’re done, head back for more great beer.

Appalachian Trail, Virginia

Great trail, with great Virginia beer just below
You’ve already done that hike or double IPAs are a little much for you? No problem. The Eastern US offers a fantastic hike and a more subtle IPA for you. The Appalachian Trail snakes its way from Georgia all the way to Maine. Like the Pacific Crest trail, many beer stops dot the landscape – including one of the great beer towns of the US, Asheville, NC – but our focused hike and Eastern IPA pairing falls on a stretch of the trail between Blacksburg, VA and Harrisonburg, VA. Virginia is one of the most rapidly expanding craft beer states in America and the trail cuts right through one of the greatest areas of growth. From Roanoke’s Blue Ridge Beerway to Brothers Brewing Company at the edge of Shenandoah National Park, your dreams of scenic overlooks and bitter ales will be greatly satisfied on this hike.

Casual hipster who loves a stout

You know who you are, you bearded, plaid shirt wearing, food truck lover on a unicycle! It’s cool, your beard is a fabulous spot to catch beer spillage, the food truck you picked out has the most fantastic tacos, your unicycle is super earth friendly and you bother nobody because you just want to relax. If I could grow a better beard I’d hang out with you, but my beard sucks and my beard envy puts me in a fetal position in the corner. But we can still direct you on your journey, and maybe off the path of normal twisted mustache pilgrimage.

Twin Cities, MN

Twin Cities cool photo courtesy Bart Heird
Our hipster stout journey away from the usuals will put you in the land of frozen ponds and grumpy old men. Minnesota, and the Twin Cities specifically, is a paradise for all things hip and a wonderful spot for a great stout. Like its more heralded skinny jean cousins in the Pacific Northwest, the Twin Cities metro is home to great music, arts, green space and disc golf courses. You can thrift shop, eat eclectic meals and relive your favorite Fargo moments from Uptown Minneapolis all the way to Lowertown St.Paul (you know it’s good and hip when it has “town” and a direction associated with it). Is there a better place to look for a hearty stout than a cold weather locale? No! From Summit Brewing’s Oatmeal Stout to Surly Brewing’s seasonal Darkness, the Twin Cities will have great foam to stick in your handlebar stache. Pack your hemp wear and head north to the land of 10,000 lakes for a stout adventure.

Outdoor Adventurer Who Just Enjoys Good Beer

You rock the rocks. You love to sweat, climb and ski. When it comes to beer, you actually like all of it and want to drink a flight of pints. Here is your spot.

Colorado-Anywhere


Quick, let's get in to the marina for a beer!
The Rocky Mountain State offers endless outdoor opportunities. Do you ski, snowboard, zip line, rock climb, hike, white water raft, kayak, mountain bike or all of the above? If your answer was yes, then Colorado is the place for you. Every activity listed can be achieved at a world class level in Colorado. Every season brings a new challenge, and a new beautiful landscape to every corner of the state. To go along with all of those activities, Colorado (the entire state) has world class beer. There is no specific style that goes along with Colorado, it’s a state of all styles. Boulder is home to more great breweries than you can taste in 1 trip. The mountain towns offer amazing views and sustainable breweries. Many people were introduced to craft beer through a bike with a Fat Tire in Fort Collins. If you need your breath taken away on vacation through an adventure, views, beer or all of the above again, then don’t let spirit down and hit Colorado now.

The Family Who Enjoys a Lager and Time With The Kids

Hey, that's me! I love a helles, pils, dunkel and amber lager. I also have a family so I need a place that satisfies the needs of parents and kids. 

Pennsylvania- Whole State

Lager and family fun in Pennsylvania photo courtesy William F. Yurasko
A trip to the state of Pennsylvania is great for any family loving lager drinker. From sporting events for the whole family (baseball in Pittsburgh to hockey in Philly) to outdoor adventures in the Appalachians , Pennsylvania has you covered. Ever wanted to take a boat on a Great Lake? Lake Erie has you covered (and no it's not on fire...well maybe in Cleveland, just joking Ohio). If chocolate is your thing, take the kids to Hershey, PA and let the sugar rush begin. While your kids are high on the sweet stuff, check out one of the original American lagers, Yuengling or a recent fantastic addition to the lager style with a Stoudts Gold Lager. Pennsylvania is a huge state, full of great activities for the whole family and solid lagers for when the family has crashed.

When it comes to booze in the US, everyone has been doing it a certain way in a certain place for generations. These places come with a colorful history and a trove of things to do. But some places just pair better with travel styles than others. Don't worry if we haven't hit your style or drink yet, there is a lot of America and a lot of different types of alcohol that may pair well for you. I for one have made myself thirsty and need to plan a trip. Cheers!

Steven Grams is a seeker of new knowledge. He lives for travel, for adventure, for a new story. He absorbs everything and never forgets where he has been, who he has met, what he has seen, and how he got there.