You know that iconic medal plaza in Whistler, British Columbia where Olympic athletes picked up their winning hardware back in 2010? With those gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains? Now that outdoor amphitheater is home to one of our favorite beer festivals, the Whistler Village Beer Festival. This year it goes down on Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20.
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San Diego has emerged as one of the country’s best beer destinations, but beer touring there can be a little complicated. Do you base your trip near Downtown San Diego, where there are fewer breweries but more beer bars? Or do you stay farther north, away from everything Downtown, but closer to Stone, Lost Abbey and other beery destinations? Either choice usually requires driving as public transportation to the breweries can be difficult to navigate.
In Vancouver BC the beer scene is growing and changing in the blink of an eye. We made a recent trip up to see what’s new, and while we focused our attention on the burgeoning East Vancouver area, we also made a few other enjoyable beer touring (and other) stops in the greater Vancouver area:
In early 2013, British Columbia changed their liquor license laws for craft breweries. In the short time since, Vancouver’s craft beer scene has been booming. As in other cities, breweries are concentrating in industrial parts of the city, close in for neighbors to call it their local, but where the leases are cheap and landlords are amenable to the production industry that breweries are.
Sailing the San Juans with beer, of course.
The San Juan Islands are an archipelago of islands in the northwest corner of Washington State. Reachable by Washington State Ferry (from Anacortes, WA), by small plane or private boat, the San Juans are a breathtaking place, with fir-covered islands lifting out of blue saltwater, teaming with seabirds and home to resident pods of orca whales. Small harbors are laced together by two-lane roads where locals always wave a greeting. Island hopping between harbors by boat allows you to be even more connected to nature, sunsets and wildlife.
Back when Goose Island was the only local brewery in town, Chicago already had some better beer bars, like the classic 20-year-old Hopleaf. Today there are over 50 breweries (most of them without tap rooms as of yet), and a slew of newer beer bars that locals and visitors are quick to recommend, like the Map Room and Local Option.
We recently dedicated five full days and nights to finding out what’s new on the Chicago beer scene, so everywhere we went we asked for advice from local bar patrons and beertenders. With their advice, we found some great places for craft beer in Chicago that you may not have heard of – yet.
An imposing man appears and dancers, dressed in yellow and red regalia, glide into formation. Around the beachfront bay, the crowd of two thousand hushes, from the chefs and beer pourers preparing on the luau grounds, to the swimmers playing in the water, to the festival attendees patiently lined up on the neighboring deep-water pier.
Cutting through the quiet, the man’s voice rings out across the bay in the native Hawaiian language, rich and strong, welcoming ancient spirits to the festival and asking for blessings for the day. Even the birds seem to stop chirping in reverence for the ancient Hawaiian tradition. As the chant fades to silence and the dancers stop swaying, the crowd roars into an ebullient single cheer and then, only then, is the Kona Brewers Festival open to pour.
Travel Lane County announces the upcoming launch of the Eugene Ale Trail. Starting on June 2, 2014, the program invites beer lovers to explore 19 craft beer destinations in and around Eugene, Oregon. Using Eugene Ale Trail passports, beer trekkers earn stamps for each stop along the way to collect prizes as a reward for their travels.
The official launch party takes place at 16 Tons Taphouse in downtown Eugene on June 2nd from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. At the event, Travel Lane County will unveil the official Ale Trail Map. Eugene’s breweries will pour beer at the event to provide a preview of what beer trekkers can expect to find along the Ale Trail.
You’re invited to join Icicle Brewing Company and Outdoor Odysseys for a three-day adventure in the San Juan Islands. The beer-themed kayak trip is just about one month away: June 27 – 29.
Walk on the ferry in Anacortes and step off in Friday Harbor. Actually, get to Friday Harbor however you like and Outdoor Odysseys will take care of the rest. This is an all-inclusive adventure. You’ll spend two nights camping on Jones Island and three days paddling around the islands. Gourmet meals and delicious beers are included.
My husband and I enjoy beer touring together, and our vacations often end up including a variety of brewery destinations. Even when we aren’t vacationing together, the road often leads me to beer. Such was the case when some friends and I recently visited Jackson, WY for a hiking trip.
When people think of Jackson, they think of Tetons National Park, of skiing, perhaps of hiking or cowboys. While it’s not a premier beer destination, Jackson boasts two GABF-decorated breweries within a town of 10,000 plus change. And, as we found out, a third brewery just opened last winter west of town proper, near Teton Village and the nearby town of Wilson.
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