Pick a climate, then book your ticket: Craft beer abounds from the desert to the beach.
Brewery: Taste one of the country’s best brews at Albuquerque’s La Cumbre Brewing: Elevated IPA, which won GABF gold in 2011, is now packaged in grab-and-go tallboys. Brewpub: Once a month, Santa Fe’s Blue Corn Brewery plates a beer-pairing dinner like you’ve never seen, featuring highlights like Swedish fruit soup with 40k Honey Wheat, and locally sourced green chile sauerkraut pork kebabs with Atalaya Amber Ale. Barbecue Joint: Soothe the burn from the Mother of All Green Chile Cheeseburgers, a recent People’s Choice winner, inside the taproom at Santa Fe’s Cowgirl BBQ with pints of the Four Corners’ best, like Santa Fe Black IPA.
Brewery: Fourteen GABF medals in the last two years prove Devils Backbone in bucolic Roseland is the hallmark of beer in the Commonwealth; taste its mastery of Old World styles like Vienna lager. Brewpub: Although a few of its bottles have trickled out to market, Harrisonburg’s Three Brothers Brewing lures fans to its brewpub with kegged creativity like Rum Barrel Aged Belgian Dubbel and Rocktown Smoked Brown. Eatery: A Vietnamese joint’s an unlikely place to geek out on beer, but Mekong Restaurant in Henrico and its 50 constantly rotating taps is the undisputed hub for tasting stellar pours.
Brewery: Travel deep into the woods of Newcastle to hunt down Oxbow Brewing, a small-production outfit with colorful spins on farmhouse ales. Don’t miss Funkaus, a tropical wild ale brewed with IPA-level hops. Brewpub: Belfast Bay’s Three Tides (Marshall Wharf Brewing’s home) is everything wonderful about coastal Maine: waves lapping beyond the porch, passing tugboats, shellfish and locals who are friends by the end of your Pemaquid Oyster Stout. Shop: This year, the Urban Farm Fermentory, a Portland hub for fermenting education and producers of mead, cider and kombucha ales, also houses the city’s Winter Farmers Market every Saturday.
Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery’s honey-spice Saison Du Swamp is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. The Gainesville brewery releases bottles every so often; grab cans of humidity-friendly Stump Knocker pale year-round. Brewpub: Sip avant-garde house beers like No Crusts PB&J Brown Ale and Passionfruit Berliner at Boca Raton’s Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery, and pair your pour with the hookah spot’s shishas. Testing Ground: More beer workshop than brewpub, the Brewers Tasting Room in St. Petersburg taps experiments the likes of Cigar City, Cycle Brewing and the forthcoming J. Wakefield Brewing, plus one-offs made on-site by guest brewers.