Author/traveler/luckiest woman in the world Patricia Schultz just released the second edition of her tome “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” Naturally, our five favorites are sites with beer nearby.
You can slam Oktoberfests in Munich and sniff rauchbiers in Bamberg, but you haven’t experienced German terroir until you’ve been to Sylt. Germany’s largest island in the North Sea and a vacation hotspot, Sylt’s known for its storybook thatched-roof cottages, quaint (but high-end) hotels, seafood eateries—and a famous nude beach. DRINK: The island’s wet climate mimics the U.K.’s, and for years, local Jens Boysen and Scandinavian brewer Thomas Kipka have tried to grow English hops. Their first significant harvest was in 2010, and the duo brewed the tart, frothy Sylter Hopfen, a 7.1% golden ale conditioned with Champagne yeast released in fall.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
In one of the world’s most gorgeous coastal cities, work your way from Boulders Beach on the Cape of Good Hope (wave hello to the penguins!) to the crayon-colored Bo-Kaap suburb and up a cable car to the tip of the iris-covered Table Mountain. DRINK: Cape Town’s current beer revolution is eerily American, with brewers concocting styles that hit close to home (Gallows Hill Brewing makes a California common and a Black IPA with Cascade hops), and others that aren’t (Bierwerk crafts an oak-aged, African coffee/molasses stout). Hit up hardcore beer-geek brewpub &Union and pair the German-brewed house beers with the kitchen’s pork pregos.
Just over the English border on the River Wye lies charming Hay-on-Wye, otherwise known as the world capital of secondhand books. The tiny town (population: 2,000) boasts more than 30 bookstores, and draws wordsmiths of all genres with its annual Festival of Literature in May. Bill Clinton once called it “the Woodstock of the mind.” DRINK: Settle in at Kilverts, an old Edwardian inn with 12 rooms upstairs and the area’s foremost beer bar below. The food menu’s farm-fresh, and the beer list is an excellent introduction to Welsh real ale with taps from Monty’s and Otley brewing, and Wye Valley’s famed Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout on cask.
WHITE NIGHTS FESTIVAL, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
Russia’s premier celebration of the arts is this eight-week summer solstice celebration. The highlights include concerts at the five-tiered Mariinsky Theater and the Secret Sails events, a collection of late-night cruises, rowing contests and mock pirate fights on the Neva River. DRINK: In the home of Baltika, you should drink plenty of the brand’s 6 Porter, then dine at new brewery-restaurant Schelkunchik; the cottage-modern digs hold a Czech-style brewery and a unique waitstaff-free dining concept. Bonus: Stay in the Courtyard Marriott Pushkin Hotel, and sip on German beers from the in-house brewery.
FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand’s biggest national park comprises 15 fjords; the deepest, Doubful Sound, has been called the most beautiful, while Milford Sound, the most accessible, is home to crashing waterfalls, dolphins and seals, and the 5,560-foot Mitre Peak (Mitre’s reflection in the water below is among the most photographed sites in the country). Start in Queenstown and book a boat or plane to tour the quiet largesse. DRINK: Hit up Queenstown’s craft breweries: Keep it light with Speight’s session beers, take in live music and English-style brews at Dux de Lux, and visit Arrow Brewing’s Oak Bar tasting room for pints of Tobin’s, a bitter on cask, and Oak Organic, a pale lager brewed with Rakau hops and organic malt from the Canterbury Plains.