We Will Travel For Beer
Jeff and I love to travel, and we love beer, so it’s a thrill to visit new places and get to explore their local beer scene. In just a few days we’ll be flying across the country to North Carolina for our next beer trip, to the 2015 Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference. This is our second year attending the conference (you can read about last year’s trip here) and we’ve been counting down the days! We’ll be drinking beer, hanging out with like-minded beer writers from across the country, and learning ways to improve our blog. And did we mention all the beer? There is so much that it’s worth mentioning twice. It’s going to be a fun trip!
Maybe you don’t plan your summer trip around beer like we do. You can still seek out some great beers and breweries wherever your adventures take you. Today we have 8 tips to help you make your next trip a brew-filled adventure. Happy travels!
#1: Plan Ahead
If you’re short on time and looking for the best beer spots, a little pre-planning can go a long way. Beer Advocate’s Travel Guide can help you find great beers wherever you’re headed, worldwide. If you’d rather find beer on the go when your feet hit the ground, there are several smartphone apps that will guide you to nearby brews. TapHunter will tell you what local spots are pouring your favorite brews, while BreweryMap can help you find all breweries around you.
Once you decide where to go, do a bit more research to figure out the best time for a visit. Breweries, especially smaller ones, may not be open daily or may have odd hours. Do your research before you arrive so you know all the details about their hours, tour times, special tappings, etc.
#2: … But Don’t Overplan
Yes, we know… we just told you to plan ahead, but don’t overdo it. Leave a little wiggle-room in your schedule for fun and unexpected opportunities. Often our most memorable experiences are the ones that weren’t on our original agenda but just happened. Maybe you’ll hear about a great new spot or event, or a special tapping available for one day only. Don’t be so attached to your itinerary that you can’t change things on the fly.
#3: Chat Up The Locals
No matter how much you research in advance, nothing beats a good local recommendation. When we visit a brew spot we like to sit at the bar, where we can chat up the staff and learn about the brewery. Other customers at the bar are usually more social, too, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation. Ask for tips on where to drink and eat, because they know the really great spots. You can learn about places that you didn’t find online – either because they are too new, too small or just too cool to have a huge online presence. So to make friends with locals just belly up with the bar, put your cell phone away, and be social in real life.
#4: It’s Not All About The Beer
No matter how much you may want to, drinking beer 24/7 isn’t a great idea. When you’re in a new city, take time to explore beyond the brewpubs and tasting rooms. A quick online search can help you find nearby points of interest, walking tours, museums, and other attractions. There’s often lots to do for free, so you can save your beer money for, well… beer. Exploring your surroundings will also give you some non-beer-related stories to share with friends when you get back home, lest they all think you’re just a total boozehound.
Not convinced you can’t drink all day? Fine. Just plan your trips to spots where you can take your beer anywhere with you, like New Orleans or Las Vegas. You’ll get all of the sightseeing without missing valuable beer-drinking time.
#5: Drink Water. Eat Food.
Staying hydrated while drinking is an important way to prevent a hangover. Drink lots of H20 along with your IPAs and you’ll feel the benefits in the morning.
Travel can also throw off your normal eating habits, which is why stomach issues so frequently arise during travel. Make sure you get your three squares a day while traveling, and pack snacks in case hunger hits between meals. Not all breweries serve food, but those who don’t usually allow outside snacks. Pack some nuts, pretzels, jerky.. anything to save you from drinking on an empty stomach, another hangover trigger. Use these snacks to cleanse your palate when sampling different styles, too.
#6: Show Some Restraint
We get it. When you visit a brewery you love, one that you may never get a chance to visit again, you want to try everything they have to offer. It’s understandable. But some beers, craft in particular, can have high ABVs. Stick to one or two pints of a style you know you’ll love, or opt for sample-sized pours or taster flights when offered. Overdoing it at one spot can quickly derail your whole day, if not your trip. Slow and steady wins the race and avoids icky hangovers.
#7: Bring Beer Home
If you’re on a road trip this is easy; bring a cooler along to keep your beers safe and secure. If you’re flying you can easily bring home a few bottles of beer in your checked luggage. We never leave town without throwing a few Jet Bags in our suitcase. There are lots of similar options but we like Jet Bags the most, and they aren’t giving us anything to say that. Jet Bags are designed for traveling with wine in your checked luggage. The bags lightly padded to keep the glass safe, and their zip-lock top and super-absorbent lining to soak up any spills that may occur. Bomber-sized bottles of beer fit great, and we’ve never opened our suitcase to find any wet disasters.
If you don’t find the beer you’re looking for at your brewery stops, seek out a local craft beer bottle shop. You can bring home beers you didn’t get the opportunity to taste during the trip, and that you can’t find at home.
#8: Plan A Safe Ride Home
This should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway: If you’re planning on drinking in an unfamiliar city, it’s really important to know how you’ll get back home, or to your hotel, when the night is over. The best bet is to book your accommodations near where you’ll want to drink so you can walk. If that’s not possible, check out local transit options, take a taxi or use a car service like Uber. Just make your arrangements before you start sampling because we all know that after several beers we’re not the best decision makers. Plan ahead & be safe.
Wherever you may venture this summer we hope you have a fun time! If you’ve had a great beer-filled adventure recently, tell us about it. We love to get recommendations for our future beer travels! Share your stories with us in the comments below, or send us the info on Facebook or Twitter. Sharing is caring!