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101 Beer Experiences: Experience unique America

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Photo of the Grand Canyon Railway

Photo of the Grand Canyon Railway

Beer is an excellent lens through which to view a new place, but it’s also a great way to explore our own American landscape. Brew in hand, check out the Grand Canyon, a tiger sanctuary, historic taverns or even the coolest antique cars around:

Watch the scenery roll by from your train car on the Grand Canyon Railway with a Sunset Amber Ale from Grand Canyon Brewing Co. The locomotives depart daily from Williams, Arizona, up to the breathtaking South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Visitors should end their trip at the Grand Depot Café (adjacent to the train station) and enjoy seasonal selections from Grand Canyon Brewing Co. or Flagstaff’s Historic Brewing Co.

Your kids want to pick pumpkins, wander through a corn maze and see a fire-breathing robot dinosaur. Yeah, this calls for a beer. Head to the 100-acre Maize Valley farm and brewery in Hartville, Ohio, during September and October for the annual Megasaurus show, which features the 48,000-pound robot demolishing cars and pumpkins. With the house-brewed, 9.7%-ABV Pumpkin Cannon imperial pumpkin ale in hand, you’ll have as much seasonal spirit as the kids.

In rural Missouri, Crown Country encompasses 600 acres of land that includes a vineyard, a brewery, a distillery and, believe it or not, a tiger sanctuary. Visit the five beautiful rescue cats, including Gracie, who is mostly blind, at the Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary; tours run on weekends through the summer (by reservation during the winter). Then, mosey on down the road—about seven miles—to Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co. for seasonal brews or cider.

Baseball and beer are a classic summertime pairing, and several major league ballparks have multiple breweries within walking distance. Minnesota’s Target Field is surrounded by Fulton Brewery, The Freehouse and Modist Brewing Co., slated to open in January.  Denver’s Coors Field (which has Blue Moon’s SandLot Brewery inside its walls) boasts five breweries and brewpubs—Jagged Mountain Brewery, Great Divide Brewing Co., Breckenridge Colorado Craft, Wynkoop Brewing Co. and Denver ChopHouse & Brewery—within a half-mile radius, plus famed Falling Rock Tap House just a two-minute walk down Blake Street. Petco Field in San Diego boasts a Stone Brewing Co. beer garden inside the park with Stone’s Tap Room just across the street; Mission Brewery and Half Door Brewing Co. are also nearby.

Vintage car lovers should spend Valentine’s Day weekend at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, for the fifth annual Pint with the Past (Feb. 13). It’s probably the only place to drink a Michigan-brewed beer alongside a Tucker ’48 Sedan—unless you have one parked in the garage.

Mix in a look back at colonial times with a few pints on Ye Olde Tavern Tours’ guided walk of historic sites and pubs along Boston’s Freedom Trail. The tour—founded by beer enthusiast Brooke Barbier, who also has a doctorate in American history—stops at 10 locations steeped in Revolutionary lore and three historic taverns that highlight the role alcohol played in the War of Independence. The cost (about $55) includes a choice of three beers at each of the taverns, places like brick-dressed Bell in Hand, the nation’s oldest continuously operating tavern and former haunt of Paul Revere. You’ll sip on local favorites from the likes of Cisco Brewers, Harpoon Brewery and Downeast Cider House, and learn a little something along the way.

Without bourbon, there wouldn’t be bourbon barrel-aged beers. A visit to Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. provides the only opportunity on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to sample both beer and spirits. Visitors get four tasting tokens to use in either the brewery or distillery, with a choice of six beers and four spirits. Trade your tokens for a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout and some Pearse Lyons Reserve whiskey.



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