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101 Beer Experiences: Sip seaside brews

Grab a blanket, stock a beer-filled cooler and head for the coast.
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Photo of Hotel Del Coronado

Photo of Hotel Del Coronado

A beer tastes like it tastes regardless of scenery…or does it? Maybe there’s no scientific basis for this, but we’d swear that your beverage of choice tastes even better with an ocean nearby:

The grand Hotel Del on Coronado Island was the backdrop for Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like It Hot” and has hosted celebrities and presidents. Have your own star moment: Swing by Coronado Brewing Co., right near the ferry landing, for a crowler of Islander IPA. Then take a 15-minute stroll across the island to sit on a blanket and watch the sun go down on Coronado Beach. Booze isn’t technically allowed, but sunset sippers tend to receive a blind eye.

Fill a growler with White Mountain coconut- and coffee-flavored porter from Maui’s Big Island Brewhaus, then kick your truck into four-wheel drive for the rough 40-minute ride to the remote Waipio Valley’s black sand beaches. The 1,450-foot Hi’ilawe Falls provide the ultimate Hawaiian beer-drinking background.

Fresh blue crabs and a cold beer are a strong contender for the perfect summer meal. Visit Annapolis, Maryland’s Boatyard Bar and Grill during crab season (April through December) for a soft-shell crab sandwich coated in a batter made with Fordham & Dominion Brewing Co.’s Copperhead Ale. After dinner, check out the boats docked along Spa Creek.

Let summer’s sweaty siren call lure you to Coney Island, the legendary Brooklyn amusement park on the Atlantic Ocean. After parking your towel and cooler on the sand—we’ll keep it quiet on the canned beer—slather on sunscreen and ride the old-school Cyclone roller coaster’s rickety wooden tracks. Pulse racing, up the ante with a spin on the thrillingly modern Thunderbolt coaster, which will drop you at a 90-degree angle and twirl you through a 100-foot loop. After your stomach settles, nab a hot dog at Nathan’s and take a seat outside Coney Island Brewing Co.’s brand-new spot for a pint of citrusy, tropical-smacked Overpass IPA.

Brews by the Bay, a daylong, two-state beer festival will take place Sept. 10 at the Cape May, New Jersey, ferry terminal, the state’s southern point. Drink your fill of beer from Jersey’s rising stars, which last year included Carton Brewing Co. and Kane Brewing Co., then hop a ferry across the bay to Delaware for a second round of beer sampling. How else could you attend two states’ beer festivals in one day?

“After last year’s Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Oregon, some friends and I took a coastal Oregon road trip. We started the day driving an hour along scenic I-84 to hike to Multnomah Falls, then another two hours to Fort George Brewery where we slaked our thirst with beer and fed our hungry bellies with rounds of oyster shooters. We bought some cans to go and set out for a beautiful 45-minute drive across bridges and through forests to Cannon Beach, where we drank our beers as the sunset reflected in the tidepools surrounding Haystack Rock. It was a full but calming day; I’d go back in a heartbeat.” —Kate Bernot, associate editor

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