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 June 2015:
State of Origin, Morganton, N.C.: It’s no surprise that Fonta Flora, an Appalachian brewery dedicated to local ingredients and seasonality, would dream up this annual festival. On June 13, State of Origin brings together more than a dozen other N.C. breweries and tasks them with pouring beers made with ingredients grown in-state. $40 gets you general admission tickets; $60 VIP tickets include early entry.
Allagash Street Fair, Portland, Maine: Can you believe it’s been 20 years since Allagash sold its first keg of beer? The brewery celebrates with a family-friendly street fair on June 27 that includes live music, food, a photo booth, and beer, obviously. Sip not just Allagash drafts but brews from De La Senne, New Belgium, Dogfish, Otter Creek and others. Tickets are $10 and are available online.
Foothills Tasting Room Opening Party, Winston-Salem, N.C.: Foothills Brewing has two milestones to celebrate: the opening of its tasting room as well as the brewery’s 10 year anniversary. On June 20, Foothills throws a party to celebrate it all, with 28 beers on tap (including the first-ever 9 year draft vertical of Sexual Chocolate, as well as the debut of some new beers). There’s also a barbecue competition, live music and desserts. Tickets aren’t required in advance; parking will be limited so a shuttle will run from Foothills’ downtown brewpub to the main production facility and new tasting room.
Colorado Brewers Festival, Fort Collins, Colo.: The largest outdoor beer festival in Colorado goes down June 27-28, rounding up more than 50 of the state’s breweries and drawing 20,000 people to downtown Fort Collins. Tickets are $25, which includes a tasting glass and 10 samples; or buy a $60 ticket to the Friday-evening event The Summit, which taps rarer Colorado offerings.
Savor, Washington D.C.: Less flannel and pretzel necklaces, more button-downs and crudités. That’s the vibe at Savor, a food-beer festival that showcases beer-paired small plates like venison loin and braised rabbit as well as an oyster bar and artisan cheese area. Tickets sell out early, so you’re out of luck for this year unless you’re able to find them through alternate channels. Maybe call in that favor your well-connected D.C. friend owes you?
Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland, Ore.: It’s the right time of year for this fruit beer-focused fest hosted by Burnside Brewing. In addition to fruit beers from a yet-to-be-announced lineup of breweries, expect ciders, live music and a homebrew fruit beer competition at the June 12-14 festival. Tickets are $20 and include 12 sample tickets.
Analog-A-Go-Go, Milton, Del.: Dogfish Head hosts this three-day-long celebration of music and beer that culminates in a Saturday afternoon shindig that record collectors will not want to miss. $25 tickets include admission to that Saturday morning record swap and beer tasting; use your 10 tasting tickets for samples of Dogfish beers on cask while you browse vinyl records for sale and swap. Tours of the facility are also included in admission.
Great Divide 21st Anniversary Party, Denver, Colo.: How often do festivals include unlimited beer sampling? Not often enough. Great Divide does just that for its June 13 anniversary party at the brewery’s new River North facility. Four bands provide the live music, and brewers tap specialty pilot beers, barrel-aged brews and vintage selections. Tickets are $40 and are on sale now.
Dark Horse Brewery Annual Crawfish Boil, Marshall, Mich.: Crawfish aren’t just a Southern thing. The Michigan brewery is back with another year of Louisiana-style food, live music and beer on June 13. Pay $25 at the door for all-you-can-eat food, then purchase beer tickets for $4 each. Admission also gives you the chance to purchase bottle releases, including Legs barrel-aged maple porter and tequila barrel-aged Squarepants saison.
Beach Haus Brewery, Belmar, N.J.: If you find yourself down the Jersey Shore this summer, you can cool off from the hot sand with a tour and tasting at the month-old Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar. Check the brewery’s website for tour hours, which wrap up in the tasting room. There, you can purchase pours and flights, or growler fills and packaged goods to enjoy in the sun.
Begyle Brewing tap room, Chicago, Ill.: Though Begyle is a familiar fixture on tap and at beer festivals around the Windy City, Begyle finally has its own tap room as of this spring. Swing through for $10 brewery tours, which include a tulip glass and samples, or try some beers out before committing to a growler ($2 off on Wednesdays).