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Beer Festivals Around the US
Beer plus travel equals fun! Each year there are some fantastic beer festivals taking place all over the country. You probably know of several Oktoberfests near you, but here are some destination festivals to put on your calendar:
In June, you can head to our nation’s capital to attend Savor at the National Building Museum. Savor is ‘An American Craft Beer and Food Experience’. The Brewers Association puts on this event, providing you with great food paired with delicious beers.
If you’d like to head up north this summer, Madison is home to the Great Taste of the Midwest in August. The cooler summer temps of Wisconsin make it an ideal destination for a vacation. The festival features new and special releases of sought-after beers; plus there are a number of wonderful farmers’ markets in the area, so you’ll find some tasty local foods to pair with your beers.
Denver is known as the “Napa Valley of Beer”. More beer is brewed in Denver than in any other city in the country. So, why shouldn’t the city also be home to the Great American Beer Festival? It’s a huge festival with numerous beers from around the US and, during the festival, Charlie Papazian, the Brewers Association President, will announce the winners of breweries and brewpubs of the year. Held in September, you’ll find beer and food pavilions, meet the brewer opportunities, an American Cheese Festival booth (where they’ll suggest pairings), a disco, meeting space for designated drivers, and more.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Wait, no, it’s the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest in Seattle! The festival is put on by Elysian Brewing Company and features more than 80 pumpkin beers from around the US, and some are exclusive to the festival. It’s a two-day event you’ll want to attend to get your Halloween started off on the right foot!
Chicago is a town known for doing food festivals right. FOBAB, or the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer, is one to put on your calendar for November. The festival is only for beers that have come into contact with a barrel, no matter the type. It’s the place for those who love serious beers—beers with high ABVs. There are over 90 breweries represented, and you can also taste wines, whiskeys, gins and other barrel-aged spirits. Many of the beers here are very rare, too, making it a must for beer lovers.
And no list of beer festivals is complete without a Portland stop. Portland is home to the Holiday Ale Festival, a five-day event right after Thanksgiving and a few weeks before Christmas. It’s the early Christmas present you’ve always wanted! You’ll find beers from West Coast breweries, one-of-a-kind seasonal beers, and more. Under the festival’s tents, you’ll find beautiful Christmas trees, heaters to keep you warm and gorgeous views of the Christmas lights all over the city.
And Mark Your Calendars for Next Year…
Every January, Anchorage, Alaska holds the Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival. The festival celebrates imperial IPAs and barleywines. This event takes place during Alaska Beer Week, which features regional brews. The city is packed full of brewpubs, making it a great vacation destination anytime, but especially during this week.
Another fun festival that takes place in January, in Tampa, is the Beer and Bacon Fest. There’s beer, there’s bacon, what’s not to love? There are over 80 craft beers and cocktails to sample from local breweries and distilleries plus bacon dishes galore prepared by the best chefs of local restaurants.
No matter where you want to go, there’s probably a great beer festival happening. Mark your calendars, gather some friends, and head out on a road trip or two this year!