Ready to tap into some serious suds? Craft beer, over the last 5 years, has become a ‘hopping’ industry worldwide. There is no better place to sample the vast sea of new brews on the market than at a festival. Based on interesting locale and unique features, here are our picks for America’s best beer festivals from now through July.
Crab, Wine & Beer Festival, Mendocino, CA
Known for its rugged coastline, majestic redwood forests, and “America’s Greenest Wine Region™,” Mendocino County offers one more reason to visit: the 15th Annual Crab, Wine & Beer Festival. The countywide festival, named one of America’s Top 10 Seafood and Wine Festivals by Coastal Living, features fresh Pacific seafood, including the county’s famed Dungeness crab, and award-winning Mendocino County wine and beer, while exploring the wintry bounty of this coastal escape. More on Mendocino must-do recommends, head HERE. For travel tips on the adorable town of Boonville, head HERE.
TAP New York Beer Festival, Hunter Mountain, New York
What better way to celebrate the end of a great ski season than with an array of craft brews just begging to be tasted? As New York’s largest craft beer festival and competition, over 85 breweries representing more than 200 individual beers will participate, allowing visitors to sample seasonal weisbiers, doppel and trippel bocks, hearty stouts and caramel-colored IPAs – all produced in New York State.
Los Angeles Vegan Beer Festival, L.A., California
May (dates not announced)
But isn’t beer vegan, you ask? Yes, mostly, except for brewers that use gelatin or isinglass (made from fish swim bladders) to help clarify it or those using honey or lactose for body. More importantly, instead of all the carnage accoutrements one normally associates with beer drinking – sausage, ribs, bacon anything, and fried chicken – no animals will suffer for the merriment of the brew-ha-ha. The fest will feature 40+ breweries, 30 vendors offering vegan eats and live music.
Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Washington, D.C.
Last year’s SAVOR fest featured beers from 76 small and independent craft brewers of 39 different styles. This year is on course to top those numbers with farm-to-table eats from some of the country’s best chefs.
Philly Beer Week, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 30 – June 8
Since the city of Philadelphia has been brewing for over 300 years, the festival is reflection of the region’s diverse and historical beer scene – its world-class breweries, neighborhood taverns, trend-setting restaurants and rich beer culture and history. Philly Beer Week features include special dinners and tastings, tours of Philadelphia’s best pubs and breweries, home-brewing technique demos, catch a cask ale festival and more. This year, the week includes more than 600 events.
Vermont Brewers Festival, Burlington, Vermont
The Vermont Brewers Festival is the longest running outdoor brewers festival in the East, and it’s no wonder since Vermont is home to more breweries per capita than any other state. Brewers’ participating in this event do so by invitation only, based on brewery capacity, distinctiveness, and quality of their products. Enjoy a wide range of offerings, including traditional lagers, ales, and unique products such as fruit beers, barley wines, and Belgian-style white beers.
27th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland, Oregon
As one of the largest beer festivals in the country, it draws more than 80,000 beer enthusiasts every year. The festival, along the banks of the Willamette River, with the Portland skyline as a backdrop to the west and Mt. Hood towering in the east, features more than 80 different craft beers from around the country, live music, home brewing demonstrations and beer-related vendors. The all-ages festival is free to attend and even includes the Crater Lake Root Beer Garden, so the kiddos can get their drink on, too. For those consuming beer, this is a “pay as you drink” festival, and beer pours range from $1 to $4.
Photo © VoyageVixens: ‘Beer bingo’ at North Coast Brewery, Fort Bragg, CA.