These Beer Destinations Can Help You Escape the Midwinter Blues
Best Beer Destinations in the Winter
Winter blues tend to hit deep this time of year. The holidays are long gone — along with the initial snow-day enthusiasm — and it feels as though hot and sunny days filled with patio brews will never come around. While there’s nothing you can do about the weather, there is something you can do to escape your winter funk: midwinter beer-cation.
The title might not be so catchy, but the concept is. After all, what’s cozier than hunkering down with a pint or two in a pub or microbrewery? From Denver to Houston, there are a number of great winter beer destinations to visit across the U.S. And thanks to a few trusty bartenders we’ve got the inside scoop on which ones are worth your while — and what brews to imbibe upon arrival.
Clear your calendar, call your buddies, and let the midwinter beer-cation begin.
“Denver is so stacked with breweries and so close to skiing and snowboarding that it has to be my favorite [winter beer destination]. You have to try Crooked Stave's insane line of sour beer, visit Trve Brewing for some local beer that packs a serious punch, and Great Divide for their beautiful barrel aged beer room.” – Mariel Burns, head bartender at Trademark Taste + Grind in New York City
On top of being the perfect destination to engage in winter sports between pints, the Denver area is also home to some of the most respected breweries in the country. And if you don’t mind a bit of a road trip, you can check out Oskar Blues, Left Hand, and New Belgium, which are located about an hour’s drive from Denver.
What to Order: While in Denver, be sure to visit Black Shirt Brewing for some musical entertainment, artisan pizza, and their original flagship beer, Colorado Republic red ale.GettyImages
“Philly: the culture, the history, the options. Berliner Weisse, sours, and pilsners can all be easily found and consumed at the highest level. [In terms of breweries], Philly has everything from the heavyweights such as Victory, Troegs, and Yards, to small and mid-sized spots (that hold nationwide acclaim) such as Tired Hands, Free Will, and Root Down Brewing (named best mid-size brewery at the Great American Beer Festival).” – Big Jon Conkin, bartender at Wonderland Ocean Pub in San Diego
What to Order: When in the “City of Brotherly Love,” stop by Crime & Punishment Brewing. Get some kielbasa and potato pierogies and pair them with the Hawthorne Effect IPA.GettyImages
“Seventy-two degrees year-round and one of the best beer scenes in the country? Count me in.” – Andrew Meltzer, bartender at Noosh in San Francisco
San Diego is a great place for a midwinter beer-cation for multiple reasons. For one, if you happen to live in the northern climes, the warm southern California weather is a nice respite. Secondly, the city (and its surrounding areas) is home to some of the best breweries in the country, including Ballast Point, Modern Times, Green Flash, and Alesmith.
What to Order: While in San Diego, you’d be remiss if you didn’t visit Half Door Brewing. Order a breakfast burger paired with #Buzzwords Super Dank Pale Ale, you’ll be glad you did.
RELATED: Unique Dive Bars Across the U.S.GettyImages
“Grand Rapids, Mich. – Beer City, USA – [is the best winter beer destination]! There are tons of amazing breweries.” – Shawn Stanton, bartender at Public House in New York City
Michigan is quickly becoming one of the most highly respected beer-producing states. Although it might not seem like the best place to visit in the middle of the winter, the brews will make you feel warm inside while you hide from the never-ending lake-effect snow.
The easiest way to visit all of the best beer destinations in the Grand Rapids area is through the Beer City Ale Trail. On the trail map, you’ll find breweries such as Brewery Vivant, The Mitten Brewing Company, Brass Ring Brewing, and Founders.
What to Order: If you’re in Grand Rapids, you might as well eat and drink at the most well-known brewery in town: Founders. You won’t be disappointed if you order a Dirty Bastard (bourbon barrel-smoked pastrami, Swiss, lettuce, red onions, and horseradish sauce on Polish rye) paired and a Founders Breakfast Stout.GettyImages
“I’d love to see what Houston, Texas, is brewing. Their food scene is so exciting; I’m betting there are some fantastic pairings happening.” – Hope Ewing, bartender at Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Los Angeles
When thinking about craft-beer destinations, Houston might not be at the top of your mind. But the southern Texas city, which is already home to a burgeoning food scene, has made major strides in the brewing world in the last few years. Houston is home to several highly acclaimed breweries including Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 8th Wonder Brewing, Karbach, and Under the Radar.
What to Order: You better stop by Texas’ oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold. This is the perfect place to get Texas-style fried chicken and a Raspberry AF Berliner Weiss.GettyImages
“Salt Lake City would be my go-to [winter beer destination]. Amazing breweries such as Uinta and Epic are a great draw, and you have the unbelievable ski resorts where you can crush a can or two while going up the lift.” – Kevin Zadoyan, owner of Te’Kila in Los Angeles.
Contrary to popular belief, Utah is not a dry state and you can visit pubs or breweries as you would in any other state. Uinta gets all the press, due to its well-known status within the city and is not to be missed, but the area is also home to a number of other great breweries, including Bohemian, Red Rock, and Fisher.
What to Order: Stop by Uinta’s Brewpub if you want a combination of great food and even better beer. Grab a classic Reuben, pair it with 801 Pilsner, and you have the makings of a perfect afternoon.GettyImages
“The subways will keep you out of the cold and, in addition to all the great brewpubs and brewhouses, NYC has some of the best craft breweries in the country.” – Tyler Zielinski, bartender at Backbar in Hudson, New York.
Somehow, the Big Apple gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to beer-cations. On top of all the sightseeing in the “city that never sleeps,” you can visit a seemingly endless number of breweries and brewpubs, including Threes, Other Half, Finback, and Evil Twin.
What to Order: Waterfront Ale House is the perfect spot to grab some comfort food and a frosty brew. Get a Waterfront Super Burger and pair it with a Brooklyn Lager.
There you have it. Whether you prefer to pair your beer with a day of skiing or sightseeing, there’s a beer-cation destination to match. Now, get packing.
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