On the cusp of a new month, it’s time to scout new beer destinations. If I had an unlimited domestic travel budget, no full-time job and guaranteed positive airport bar interactions, this would be my beer bucket list for April 2015:
Real Ale Brewing, Blanco, Texas: The Hill Country brewery, just an hour from Austin, opened its new tap room in early March. It’s the public’s first look at the brewery, which will pour 14 drafts including special and limited releases. The tap room is open Thursday through Saturday, with free tours on Fridays and Saturdays.
Arden Swine & Brine Festival, Richmond, Va.: Twelve beers from Ardent Craft Ales join a line up of pork-focused snacks from Metzger Bar & Brewery, Rappahannock Oyster Co., ZZQ Barbeque and more at this April 10 festival. Tickets are $18 and include two beers or food items or one event shirt. Additional tickets (each redemeeable for one beer or food item) can be purchased for $5 each.
Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine & Cheese Festival, La Crosse, Wisc.: All of Wisconsin’s favorite pastimes converge at this April 25 festival, which also features music from The Smokin’ Bandits and Mike Munson with Mikkel Beckmen. The 13th annual event includes more than 40 local and national breweries, 45+ wines, a free cornhole tournament and more. Tickets cost $40.
Great Firkin Fest, Mobile, Ala.: The second annual all-firkin beer festival descends on Moe’s Original Bar B Que on April 18 and includes 14 Southern breweries such as Chandeleur, Avondale, Back Forty and more. Tickets include beer samples, crawfish, and live music, and are priced at $22 in advance or $25 at the door (call the restaurant for advanced ticketing).
Sweetwater 420 Fest, Atlanta: $115 is no small chunk of change, but admission to Sweetwater’s annual music and beer fest includes performances by 420-appropriate Snoop Dogg, plus 311, Primus, Thievery Corporation, Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids and more, plus an EDM stage and improv comedy area. Check the line-up to see which artists are playing each day of the three-day fest; purchase tickets here.
10 Barrel brewpub, Portland, Ore.: The Bend-based brewery opened its Portland brewpub in mid-March with 20 taps of year-round and seasonal releases. The space is built around the 20-barrel brewhouse, where head brewer Whitney Burnside creates one-off and specialty releases for exclusive tapping at the pub.
Number 6 Cider Pub, Seattle: This weeks-old cider bar from cider maker Number 6 pours six varieties of cider (everything from honey-ginger to mint julep to mostly dry varieties) alongside beers from locals like Rainier Beer and Snoqualmie.
Grayton Beer Company tap room, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.: Florida weather sounds pretty great in April, as does the new tap room from Grayton, which opened at the end of 2014. Exclusive small-batch beers, collaboration brews and guest taps all pour from 25 lines behind a 40-foot recycled wood pallet bar.