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 May 2015:
Charleston Beer Garden, Charleston, S.C.: From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, approximately 30 national breweries and local homebrewers present their beer at the city’s largest beer garden, taking over The Grove at Patriots Point. Barbecue vendors provide the snacks while bluegrass bands perform. Expect pours from the likes of Lagunitas, Boulevard, Holy City, Sweetwater and Brooklyn Brewery. Tickets cost $25 in advance and are available online.
Madison Craft Beer Week, Madison, Wisc.: Ha, like Madison really needs an excuse to drink more beer. Nonetheless, the city’s Craft Beer Week kicks off May 1 and runs through May 10, with more than 380 events taking place in between. Tickets are still available for the kick-off event and cask ale festival on May 2.
Victory at Magnolia brewpub, Kennett Square, Penn.: The second brewpub for this Philly-area craft brewery opened late last month, with indoor seating for 220 people and a patio to debut later in May. Taps run 25 deep and include two cask beers. Our pick for summer? The new Kirsch Gose, a tart but not too sweet cherry gose.
Green Flash Cellar 3 tasting room, Poway, Calif.: Opening May 16, this tasting room and production facility outside San Diego will focus on barrel-aging and wild yeast experimentation. A 2,500 square foot tasting room and modest beer garden will pour exclusive drafts from the rare beer produced at Cellar 3, or take bottles and growlers home from the shop.
Urban Artifact Brewing, Cincinnati, Ohio: The just-opened taproom in Cinci’s Northside neighborhood is housed in a rose-window-adorned former church and serves the brewery’s lineup of wild beers; flagships include a gose, a Kentucky common and a Berliner pale ale. The brewery also owns a record label, so check the schedule for upcoming performances at the taproom.
Hangar 24 AirFest, Redlands, Calif.: Where else could this aviation-inspired brewery hold its annual festival other than the airport? Redlands Municipal Airport hosts the brewery’s celebration on Saturday, May 16, with the release of Hangar’s 7th Anniversary Ale, as well as plenty of other beers, live musical performances and an arial show. Tickets are available online.
AmeriCAN Craft Beer Festival, Scottsdale, Ariz.: SanTan Brewery co-hosts this annual festival of more than 250 canned beers, taking place at the Scottsdale Civic Center on Saturday, May 16. Tickets are $35 in advance and includes a souvenir glass and 20 four-ounce samples from the dozens of participating local and national breweries.
Chicago Craft Beer Week, Chicago, Ill.: One of the most jam-packed craft beer weeks in the country, Chicago’s annual celebration just continues to expand. This year, it encompasses 10 days (May 14-24) and hundreds of events. Even if you can’t make it to an event, bars host $4 pint specials every night of CCBW. Your best bet is to download the official apps and start checking out nearby events.
Beer City Festival, Asheville, N.C.: Asheville gives much larger cities a run for their money in terms of beer culture; all of it will be on display May 30 when 32 regional breweries pour alongside local bands at the Roger McGuire Green in front of Asheville’s City Hall. Tickets are $45 and are available online.
Virginia Beer Festival, Norfolk, Va.: Presented in conjunction with Virginia Arts Fest, this two-day festival takes place along Norfolk’s waterfront May 16-17. Approximately 65 breweries pour 125 beers at Town Pointe Park; tickets are $35 and are available online.