Keep Moving For The Next Session

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For our 93rd Session, our host is Brian Devine, who writes The Roaming Pint, along with Maria Scarpello, and the pair “have been traveling around in their 29-foot RV, named Stanley, since August 2010 seeking out all kinds of great beer destinations.” For their topic, they’ve understandably chosen Beer Travel.

Since travel is such an important part of our lives I wanted our topic to focus on beer travel. In Session #29, Beer by Bart asked writers to tell them about their favorite beer trips to which they got some great responses of personal favorites and general tips for certain cities.

So as not to tread over old ground my question is going to focus on the “why” more than the “what”. So I ask you fellow bloggers and beer lovers, why is it important for us to visit the place the where our beers are made? Why does drinking from source always seem like a better and more valuable experience? Is it simply a matter of getting the beer at it’s freshest or is it more akin to pilgrimage to pay respect and understand the circumstances of the beer better?

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Not “Stanley,” but certainly a worthy steed for beer travel.

So put on your walking shoes or those boots that are made for walking, whichever you prefer with your beer. According to Brian, participation in November’s Session simply requires that you “write a response to one or more of the questions above and then post a link to the article” in the Roaming Pints’ comments section by November 6th.

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Dunedin’s Mobile Brewhouse On Wheels

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My friend and colleague, Gerard Walen, has an interesting story on CraftBeer.com about a mobile brewery that drove from Florida to Oregon. In Collaboration On the FL-ORegon Trail, Walen details the rolling brewery built by the Dunedin Brewery and its journey to Oregon, and then on to Denver for GABF. Check it out. Gerard can normally be found on Road Trips For Beer, and recently finished the Florida Breweries book in the same series as my northern California guidebook, which will be published this April.

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The Mobile Brewhouse.

The Magic of Brewing, the Joy of Beer

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Take a tour of the Suffolk brewery Greene King with head brewer John Bexon hosted by UK beer writer Roger Protz. The video, entitled The Magic of Brewing, the Joy of Beer, runs just under a half-hour and includes a tour of Greene King’s “traditional brew house and fermenting area, taking in the ancient wooden vats where Strong Suffolk is matured.” Enjoy.

Travel + Leisure Chooses The Best American Beer Cities

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Travel + Leisure magazine, in their July 2011 issue, made their picks for America’s Best Beer Cities. Actually, the title is a bit misleading. It’s not really the “best” cities so much as the most “popular;” and most popular according to the magazine’s readers; and not all of their readers but specifically the ones who took the time to answer the poll. Looking more closely, the readers polled were asked to choose among 35 pre-chosen cities, too, meaning there was no chance for any town not on the starting list, too. Asheville, NC, for example, was presumably not among the 35 cities on Travel + Leisure’s list.

So that’s a very different thing and probably accounts for what I can only describe as some odd, but interesting, inconsistencies with other similar polls. Certainly Portland deserves the top spot, though it probably goes without saying I’d place San Francisco a tad higher than ninth. But Philly fourth from the cellar — along with San Diego even lower? — that seems like a travesty.

It does, however, tell us how people who like travel enough to subscribe to a periodical devoted to it perceive which cities are best for beer. Undoubtedly, many people voted for their local city so in a sense it’s partly a reflection of the magazine’s geographic readership. But that probably doesn’t tell the whole story. When asked to rank 35 cities, most people (apart from the very well traveled) I’d wager have not been to all of the cities. That would mean they’d be inclined to go with what they’d heard or read about the cities they hadn’t personally visited. They’d make a value judgment based on that particular city’s perception of beer-worthiness. Seen through that prism, it’s a more interesting list, to me at least. It also means I need to visit Savannah. What’s your take on the list?

Travel + Leisure’s 2011 Poll: America’s Best Beer Cities

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Providence, RI
  5. Portland, ME
  6. Savannah, GA
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Austin, TX
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. Nashville, TN
  11. Kansas City, MO
  12. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  13. Charleston, SC
  14. Chicago, IL
  15. Anchorage, AK
  16. New Orleans, LA
  17. Philadelphia, PA
  18. San Diego, CA
  19. Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ
  20. Houston, TX

The Street Picks The “10 Best Craft Beer Vacation Destinations”

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The Street is a financial media company that covers the business world. Apparently they noticed that craft beer is doing well and put together a list of the
10 Best Craft Beer Vacation Destinations
. Here’s the list below, though it’s not clear to me if the destinations are in any particular order or not.

  1. Full Sail Brewery, Hood River, OR
  2. Stone World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido, CA
  3. Highland Brewery, Asheville, NC
  4. Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
  5. D.G. Yuengling & Sons brewery, Pottsville, PA
  6. Portland, Maine
  7. Samuel Adams Brewery, Boston, MA
  8. Sierra Nevada Brewery, Chico, CA
  9. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton/Rehoboth Beach, DE
  10. Wisconsin

I love Yuengling, and it is a great tour, but it’s hard to lump America’s oldest brewery in with the more recent craft brewers. And the new owners of Anchor Brewery will be surprised to learn that they’re owned by North American Brewing, as incorrectly cited in the article.

Overall, it’s not a bad list. I’ve been to seven of the ten destinations and can attest to those, and I’ve heard great things about the other ones. But it seems weird that Colorado, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon are all noticeably absent. What places do you think are missing?

Beer Amongst The Belgians

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British beer writer Tim Webb is working on what looks to be an interesting documentary series on beer in Belgium, to be called Beer Amongst The Belgians. The series is directed by Taylor Brush for Spotted Tail Productions. The video is listed as the “the final of the promotional episode.” The “promotional episode is a proof-of-concept to find funding to finance the six hour-long episodes.” It’s about 26 minutes, and is a great start, I’d say. Enjoy.

Next Session For The Accidental Tourist

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Our 46th Session will be hosted by Mike R. Lynch of Burgers and Brews. His topic is “An Unexpected Discovery: Finding Great Beer in the Last Place You’d Look,” or as he describes it:

I recently drove out to Colorado for a concert, and realized this was a perfect opportunity to stop at as many “beer destinations” as I could. I researched, plotted routes, looked at maps, and generally planned the entire trip around beer. What I was surprised to find was that despite all the amazing stops I planned, one of the best beer experiences of the trip was completely accidental. I found great beer in the last place I thought to look for it.

Has this happened to you? Maybe you stumbled upon a no-name brewpub somewhere and found the perfect pale ale. Maybe, buried in the back of your local beer store, you found a dusty bottle of rare barleywine. Perhaps a friend turned you on to a beer that changed your mind about a brewery or a style. Write about a beer experience that took you by surprise.

So see if you can get off your armchair and make your own unexpected discovery for the next Session on Friday, December 3.