Beer has been known as the new wine for a while now, which means that there are plenty of opportunities to explore (and consume) all things beer when you're traveling, whether inside the United States, or in Europe from whence many noble beer traditions came.
Start your sudsy planning here, with some destinations you'll have already considered and some that may surprise you.
Alaska's Great Breweries
Although brewing beer ain't easy in Alaska -- all the essential ingredients besides the water have to be imported -- that has not stopped the state from producing some fine, fine beer.
- In Anchorage, get an overview of the state's beer scene at the delighfully-named Humpy's, which has more than 40 brews on tap. Also find out where to drink beer the charming town of Talkeetna.
- In Southeast Alaska, get off the cruise ship and visit Skagway brewing company, in Skagway. Check out an ale that’s made with the tips of the Sitka Spruce tree, or the Blue Top Porter, a deep, dark chocolate porter. In Juneau, it's worth the trip to Alaskan Brewing Company.
- In Fairbanks, visit the country's northernmost brewery, and in Homer, visit breweries that are literally at the end of the road. Read more
San Francisco is generally credited with being at the forefront of the craft brewing revolution in the United States, with its venerable Anchor Brewing Company. A great way to get to know the beer scene here is SF Beer Week, a huge "grassroots" beer event with many hundreds of beer events.
Denver has a huge reputation in beer, solidified by playing host to the annual Great American Beer Festival. But any time you visit, you'll find a huge number of brewpubs and breweries to visit, as well as restaurants that pay extra attention to their beer lists.
Belgium is pretty much synonymous with beer, and it has been since just about the Middle Ages. You'll find more than 450 varieties of beer brewed here, making this a country to visit for any true beer lover.
This craft brewery in Houston has a rabid local following. It's earned this adulation because it brews some fine beer, but also because it hosts really, really smart and fun events that only enhance the beer-tasting experience. Plan your visit to coincide with the brewery's beard-growing competition if you are so inclined.
Montreal's association with beer may have started with Molson, but it's continued on to become an excellent craft and microbrew city. There are several fine brewpubs to visit, but in the nicer weather, the wise grab a snack at Jean Talon Market
and head to a park with a selection of the city's finest brews. (It's okay to drink in city parks as long as you have food with you.)
An area with a strong German
heritage also is home to a fine brewery, with a strong reputation regionally. Tour the facility before or after you've grabbed lunch or a snack.