MSN Trip Recommendations – Thoughts?
This article appeared on MSN a few weeks ago. It is really hard to make a short list of places that are worth traveling too.Â I can think of a few that are missing, but it’s a pretty good start … ( Stone Brewery - Simply Amazing place. It’s got to be the best in the world.Â Don’t forget the Dogfish head 360 Experience. I’ve included a couple on my bucket list.)
If there’s a brewery that’s on your list, please add a short description in a comment.
Drink Craft Beer, You’ve Earned It!!
Think thereâ€™s nothing better than a cold beer when itâ€™s hot out? Sip some warm weather brews at these American brewery tours and tastings.
By Bret Stetka for MSN City Guides
After years of internal debate, Iâ€™ve come to the conclusion itâ€™s OK to plan a vacation solely around visiting a brewery. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with, say, driving six hours to Maine just to sip an Allagash White Ale in its natural habitat â€¦ or planning an entire extra day in San Francisco to get the most out of the Anchor Brewing Company. This sort of behavior is fairly common when it comes to things like lobster rolls and sourdough, so why not beer?
For those of you on board with my new revelation, Iâ€™ve compiled a list of some of the countryâ€™s most worthwhile brewery tours and tastings, but with a seasonal catch. Iâ€™ve selected breweries not only offering a great visitor experience, but also producing some of my favorite summer beers. So in the interest of seasonality, Iâ€™ve featured one warm weather beer from each brewery, guaranteed to be crisp, refreshing and highly drinkable, without comprising flavor. Iâ€™m sure there are plenty more tour-worthy breweries out there filled with hops, malt, boilers and tasty summer brews, so let us know your favorite in the message boards.
Allagash Brewing Company â€“ Portland, Maine
Most beer lovers would agree the Belgians make the best beer in the worldâ€”a point not lost on Rob Tod, who started Allagash in 1995, and whose Belgian-inspired beers are among the finest produced stateside. At the time, Americans had firmly accepted German, Czech and English-style brews, but general knowledge of Belgian brewing was limited to vague monastic associations (many Belgian beers are brewed by monks) and puzzled queries: â€œI thought the Belgians were known for waffles?â€ But these complex, often very strong beers have caught on big, and now lines of eager drinkers form every Monday through Friday to tour Allagash and sample their White, Dubbel and hearty Triple brews.
Summer Beer: Allagash White (5.0%) – This American interpretation of a Belgian-style whiteâ€”or â€œwitâ€â€”beer is bright, citrusy and has a pleasing bite thanks to the brewerâ€™s own special blend of spices.
Harpoon Brewery â€“ Windsor, Vt.
Bostonâ€™s best known brewery that isnâ€™t named for a founding father was started in 1986 when Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary, after traveling through Europe, realized American beer didnâ€™t have to taste like seltzer water. While their Boston brewery offers frequent tastings, itâ€™s Harpoonâ€™s second location in the obscenely green fields of Windsor, Vermont thatâ€™s most worthwhile. The Windsor outpost offers tours on Fridays and Saturdays, plus an outdoor beer garden complete with beer samplers and a lunch menu featuring loads of cheese from Vermontâ€™s Cabot Creamery.
Summer Beer: Harpoon Summer Beer (ABV 5.0%) – A German KÃ¶lsch style ale, this straw-toned refresher has the light drinkability and moderate hoppiness of the real thing.
Great Divide Brewing Company â€“ Denver, Colo.
According to brewers advocacy group The Beer Institute, Colorado is the nationâ€™s largest supplier of beer. The state produces an astounding 23 million barrels a year, 9,000 of which are made by Great Divide. GD was an early player in the Denver craft beer scene and has earned just about every brewing award and accolade imaginable. Visitors can hang out in the tap room glugging the breweryâ€™s standard line-upâ€”along with specialty brews only sold at the barâ€”or take the free tour and make do with tasting samples.
Summer Beer: Samurai Ale (ABV 5.1%) – This unfiltered beer brewed from barley malts and rice is hazy and hoppy, and has a subtle fruity tartness characteristic of rice beer.
Anchor Brewing Company â€“ San Francisco
The Anchor Brewing Company dates all the way back to the gold rush, but officially got its name in 1896 when German brewers Ernst F. Baruth and Otto Schinkel Jr. bought and renamed the brewery from Gottlieb Brekle, another German brewer with an equally beer-y name. Anchor managed to survive both Prohibition and the rise of major national breweries (we wonâ€™t mention any names), and played a huge role in igniting the micro-brewery craze in the early 1980s that makes this list possible. Brewery tours are free, offered weekdays and extremely popularâ€”so itâ€™s best to call ahead and make a reservation.
Summer Beer: Anchor Steam Summer (ABV 4.6%) – First brewed in 1984, this simple, crisp and lemony ale was supposedly the â€œfirst American wheat beer in modern times.â€
Bellâ€™s Brewery - Kalamazoo, Mich.
Bellâ€™s brewed its first beer in 1985 in a 15-gallon soup kettle, and before long was producing 135 barrels a year. Their annual output has since expanded to over 90,000 barrels and Bellâ€™s has become one of the most respected craft breweries across the beer-loving Midwest. While the brewery doesnâ€™t offer tours, their Eccentric CafÃ© hosts live music and serves all of Bellâ€™s standard brews, along with many small-batch specialty beers not available anywhere else.
Summer Beer: Oberon Ale (ABV 5.8%) – This seasonal summer brew is all wheat and bready yeast infused with soft and subtle fruitiness.
TrÃ¶egs Brewing Company â€“ Harrisburg, Pa.
Chris and John Trogner claim the word â€œTroegâ€ refers to an â€œaura of complete enjoymentâ€ and can be used as an adjectiveâ€”as in, “My, you look TrÃ¶egy this morning.” I canâ€™t verify or disprove the claim, but letâ€™s just say I havenâ€™t been able to find the word in any dictionary and it sounds suspiciously like their last name. Regardless of name derivations, the Trogner brothers established Troegâ€™s Brewery in 1997 and, along with a number of other impressive breweries, have helped establish greater Philly as one of the countryâ€™s best local beer scenes. Stop by Saturdays for free tours and tastings, then take home a case, keg or two-liter growler.
Summer Beer: Sunshine Pils (ABV 5.3%) – Sharp pilsner taste with a bold, hoppy finish that keeps on going.