“Beer played a crucial role throughout U.S. history” and today it is a quarter-trillion-dollar industry, reported the Wall Street Journal. The start in American beer production can be traced back to English, Dutch, Irish and German immigrants.
In 1810 there were 132 breweries in America. Beer brewing was at its peak in 1873, with 4,131 breweries. According to the Brewers Association, in the year 1897 there were 1,845 breweries, however from that time to 1986 the industry saw a decline. In 1986 there were only 124 breweries left. Since then, the industry has been making a resurgence; in 2015 there was reported to be 4,269 breweries, growth mainly from local craft breweries.
Beer is America’s beverage of choice, and the beer culture is expanding. The increase in breweries had brought about a new travel style for beer lovers – beer vacations! Here are Travelmath’s 10 best American cities to visit for beer lovers:
When in Boston, take the hour long Samuel Adams Brewery tour. You’ll learn about the craft brewing process, taste the special malts, smell the Hallertau hops and sample a few of their award winning beers.
Walk in during opening hours and tickets are handed out on a first come, first served basis. No reservations are taken in advance. Tours depart every 45 minutes. The tour is free and you must be 21 and older to participate.
For those who prefer tasting different types of beers, join a beer tour with Boston Brew Tours. The tour includes visiting breweries, cider houses, distilleries and beer bars, a meal and beer tasting, and round-trip transportation.
Pike Brewing Company, located next to the Pike Place Market and Pike Pub, offers free tours from Tuesday through Saturday at 3 pm. Watch the experts mix malt, hops, yeast and water to create your favorite beer in the 30-barrel brew house.
Another option is to join the Road Dogs Seattle Brewery Tour which stops at three different breweries in the Seattle area. During the tour, you’ll learn about the craft brewing process, and get plenty of beer samples at each brewery. The tour price includes a souvenir pint glass and a t-shirt.
When in Milwaukee, head over to Miller Valley, home of Miller Coors and learn about the Miller Brewing Company’s over 155 years of brewing history. Enjoy a free one-hour guided walking tour of the Miller factory, where you can see the old buildings and caves that stored beer. The tour ends at the Bavarian-style Miller Inn for free beer tasting accompanied by pretzels.
Tours are available daily except on Sundays.
For $65 Southern Beer Tours will take you to three breweries, including SweetWater Brewing Company. The tour includes transportation, admission fee to the breweries, a gift bag, a souvenir glass at each brewery and 3 to 4 half pints of beer at each location.
Another great option in Atlanta is to rent a car and get a designated driver to SweetWater Brewing Company. Tour hours are limited and there is a $10 cost if you’d like to purchase a souvenir pint glass.
5. Portland, OR
People in Portland take their craft beer very seriously. Find out why by taking one of the tours with Brewvana.
The Get Behind the Scenes three-hour tour ($65 per person) is available every Friday from 12 to 3 pm. See how beer is made in Breakside, Unicorn Brewing and Laurelwood.
“This is a fabulous time to be a beer lover!” reads the Cleveland Brew Bus’s website. The company offers 10 unique tour packages covering the best of Cleveland’s beer neighborhoods. Join one of the tours to get to know the brewers and their craft. And of course for a chance to taste lots of beer.
8. San Francisco
San Francisco is home to Anchor Brewing, a local brewery founded in 1896. Tours are available from Monday through Sunday. It cost $20 per person to join and you must reserve your tour in advance. The company encourages guests to use public transportation as there is no public parking at the brewery.
For a guided tour, join Bay Area Brewery Tours. This tour company offers public tours three days a week and private tours seven days a week. Private tours allow you to choose your favorite Bay Area beer spots and the time and day of your choice.
Public tours include visits to three breweries, beer at all three breweries, lunch, bottled water, a souvenir glass and transportation.
Yuengling Brewery, America’s Oldest Brewery, has a branch in Tampa. Free guided tours are available from Monday to Saturday. The 45-minute to hour-long tour includes visiting the brewery and tasting beer, at the brewery’s Biergarten.
You can travel in style in Tampa with Tampa Brew Tours. Take the Chrysler 300 Stretch limousine for a four-hour brew tour visiting three micro-breweries. You’ll have lots of beer to drink and a souvenir glass to take home.
10. San Diego
San Diego’s Scavengers Beer Adventures offers guests a tour of three craft breweries, transportation on a vintage 6-wheel Swiss Safari jeep, free pick up, a behind the scenes product tour at one brewery, plenty of ice cold beer at all three breweries, a BBQ meal, a souvenir glass and more.
Before you travel here are 3 useful tips:
Have you been on a beer tour? Let us know.