Despite the fact that the industry giants still dominate beer sales, I am finding more craft beers on shelves than ever. These beverages tend to stand out more than their mass-produced counterparts. According to the Brewers Association, consumers in the States who buy beer, spend 21 percent of this money on craft beers, and the tourism industry is listening.
Tourism and microbreweries are closely linked together, as these establishments are becoming increasingly popular as attractions. As with other locally made products, such as coffee or wine, craft beers offer visitors a true taste of the local culture through tours and tastings.
To get you on your way along the craft beer trail, we selected five of our favorite brew houses in popular Global Discovery Vacations’ hotspots:
Craft Beer Trail
Florida’s answer to California’s wine country is the Craft Beer Trail that runs from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg. The trail alone has nearly 30 stops, so here are two breweries that you can find along the “Gulp Coast:”
Dunedin House of Beer (Dunedin)
Originally a tap house featuring a myriad of craft beers, House of Beer now also brews its own suds in-house. The 40 beers on tap are updated online in real time. Try one of their original, locally brewed beers such as the Golf Cart Amber, Mango Hefeweizen, Peanut Butter Blonde or the Isle Away IPA.
Mad Beach Brewing (St. Petersburg/Clearwater)
Located in the heart of the Gulf Beaches, this place literally brews craft beer on an island. You’ll find it nestled among the shops and restaurants in John’s Pass Village on Madeira Beach. Mad Beach offers a modern, open space featuring a giant screen for sports fanatics and a full menu of delicious pub food. Dolphin Drool Pale Ale, Life’s a Beach Wheat Ale and I Yam What I Yam Sweet Potato Ale are among the 15 beers on tap.
Ormond Brewing Company (Ormond Beach, near Daytona)
A relaxing tavern with a beer garden, Ormond Brewing has live music and delicious beer. Although there is no restaurant on site, local restaurants and food trucks cater on Fridays. On Thursdays, the brewers bring out a special diffuser unique to this brewing company and use it to enhance beers by infusing them with flavor – an IPA with mango and habanero or a chocolate coffee milk stout with candied bacon, for example.
Breckenridge Brewery (Breckenridge)
At the bottom of this mountain town’s slopes, you will find the Breckenridge Brewery. Since the early 90’s this brewpub has offered stunning views of the mountains in combination with pub fare and beers. You can sip and learn, while you take a tour of the brewery. Don’t leave without trying the Love Rhino, an ale with caramel and dark fruit notes, the House Money Session IPA, a bitter American ale with a hoppy character, or the Saison du Jour, a refreshing Belgian ale with a dry finish.
Banger Brewing (Las Vegas)
Chances are that you’ll have your fair share of mixed drinks in Sin City, but if beer is more your thing, then you don’t have to go too far. Just off of the Strip, sits Banger Brewing. A few of the options are the award-winning El Hefe, which is infused with freshly roasted jalapenos and serrano peppers, the Hop Bang Boom, an imperial IPA with hints of grapefruit, and Morning Joe, a Kolsch style beer that is dry hopped with French caramel coffee and hazelnut coffee beans.
The Brewers Association also tells us that most Americans live within ten miles of a craft brewer! This gives you a chance to compare your local brews to the ones you find at your vacation destination. Craftbeer.com offers a comprehensive brewery finder by state, in case you are thirsty for more.
Which craft beers would you like to try on your next trip? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments below (and please enjoy responsibly)!
Top Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann/Flickr