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11 Tips for Planning an Amazing Beercation

Looking to explore the world of beer with an amazing vacation? Check out these tips to help plan the best beer vacation possible!

11 Tips for Planning an Amazing Beercation

Ready for a Beercation? Whether for a few days or a lengthy adventure, it’s time to taste what’s brewing. Try these tips to help you plan and achieve your best Beercation.


The Best Beercations Seek Enriching Experiences

The Best Beercations Seek Enriching Experiences

The best vacations are not only about relaxing and having fun, but also about creating memorable, enriching experiences. At their finest, these experiences can bring new adventures, friendships, cultural growth or even lifestyle changes. The best beercations leverage beer travels to discover or create these experiences.

Beer and brewing are typically interwoven with a region’s history, geography, industry, economy, cuisine and social fabric. Hence, a beercation can provide unique travel opportunities and rewards.


Planning Your Beercation

Planning Your Beercation

Critical to success is setting the framework for your trip. To start, establish your goals and determine your budget. Then, create a detailed itinerary and arrange key visits in advance. When traveling with others include the objectives of your traveling companions. And if traveling with a group, build in opportunities for the group to split apart, conduct self-exploration and then get back together.

Remember – you want to create rewarding, holistic experiences. That means developing a plan that allows you to unplug and focus on enjoying the moments. So give yourself time to enjoy your stops, include unplanned activities and recharge. Maximize the quality of your visits and time.

Always drink and travel responsibly. Drinking laws and penalties vary in the U.S. from state to state. In other countries penalties can be more severe. Hence, always plan for and use designated drivers or driving services.

Apply and tailor these key planning steps.

1. Use a Theme to Help You Start Your Planning

As you think about the places you want to visit and things you want to do, consider using a theme to pull many or all of them together. Pick a theme that you’ll enjoy. Use your imagination. Here are a few theme ideas to jump-start your creativity.

  • First Beercation - Explore a famous craft beer city like Denver, CO or Portland, OR.
  • Nature Lover - Trek to western Montana’s Glacier National Park. Visit the fantastic breweries in Missoula, Great Falls, Helena and Bozeman. Then explore Yellowstone National Park.
  • Art Enthusiast – Head to Amsterdam and tour the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House. Afterward, discover local craft beer hot spots like  Brouwerij ‘t IJ and Proeflokaal Arendsnest.
  • Religious Beer Fervor - Visit the on-site cafés at Orval, Chimay, Westmalle, and Wesvleteren Trappist monasteries.
  • Sun Worshiper – Take a trip to San Diego for some of the greatest beaches in the U.S. while surveying the county’s 150+ breweries.
  • History Buff - Visit the original regional source of your favorite beer style, such as Pilsner Urquell for Czech Pilsner.
  • Gastronomic Delight – Travel to the Big Easy (New Orleans) for Cajun, Creole and oyster dishes paired with beers from Abita, Faubourg and NOLA.
  • God Save the Cask – Discover real ale at the Great British Beer Festival.
  • Bed, Breakfast and Beer - Explore breweries that feature a hotel, inn or campground. Over 50 breweries in the U.S., in at least 28 states, provide lodging. These include Jester King, McMenamins, Dogfish Head, von Trapp and Hopkins Ordinary. Similarly, you’ll find breweries with accommodations throughout the world.
  • Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Tour Belgium’s Lambic breweries, including Cantillon, 3 Fonteinen and Boon.
  • Smoke on the Lager – Head to Bamberg for Rauchbier and visit historic Aecht Schlenkerla.
  • Party Time - Jet to Munich for Oktoberfest.

2. Conduct Research

Planning a successful trip requires early, thorough research. Consider the benefits and value of your choices. Research also helps build your travel excitement.

Start with simple web searches based on a destination or expected travel path. For example, a web search for "best breweries in (destination name)." Look through firsthand reviews and regional blogger posts. Then employ other sources like these.

  • Consulting travel experts
  • Reading (web, books, magazines, travel guides, articles, reviews)
  • Reviewing the history of the destination(s)
  • Exploring others’ travels (blogs, vlogs, podcasts)
  • Searching for deals (guided trips, discounts, seasonal rates)
  • Using travel apps and web-based services such as Skyscanner, Kayak, Airbnb, Google Maps, Packpoint, Trip Advisor, Hopper, Google Flights and TripIt

Guided tours can supply a structured approach to visiting breweries. They often provide unique opportunities such as meeting head brewers, touring behind-the-scenes operations and trying rare beers.

3. Scheduling is Critical

Any trip should look to maximize your stops efficiently and minimize travel time between destinations. However, efficiently juggling business openings and closings as well as travel time to locations can be a challenge. So thoroughly research opening and closing days/hours for breweries or other planned stops, time to travel between these stops as well as transit needs/availability. Consider holidays and whether reservations are needed. Other considerations include seasonal weather or ongoing world events.

4. Take Care of Trip Basics

Like any vacation, take care of practical arrangements as early as possible. These arrangements can include long-term items like addressing passports/visas, medicine supplies, vaccinations/immunizations, and room/transit reservations. Also manage trip basics like bill payments, proper clothing/gear, travel plan notification to banks and credit card companies, pet care, phone service and important document copies.

For out-of-country trips, purchase travel insurance to reduce risk in case of illness or injury.

If you plan to bring beer back home, take storage that is easy to use/transport, provides adequate space and protects your beer treasures from light, heat and physical damage.


Challenge Yourself and Include More Than Beer

Challenge Yourself and Include More Than Beer

Create a trip that encompasses more than just beer. It’s all about making connections, learning about new cultures, and enjoying a destination’s history, architecture, geography, art, culinary offerings and more.

Challenge yourself in ways that you find exciting – no matter what they may be. It’s up to you to envision and try new adventures. Doing so can provide ultimate travel rewards. So, stretch your comfort zone!


Arriving at a New Destination

Arriving at a New Destination

When arriving at a new destination, walk around and explore. Walking allows you to observe how people, cultures, cities or even countries express themselves. Your stroll provides an opportunity for you to connect with your unfamiliar environment. Inquire at your hotel or local information center if there are areas to avoid for safety purposes.

Consider when local guided tours can complement your own explorations to improve your trip.


Meeting and Talking with Locals Provides Great Value and Opportunities

Meeting and Talking with Locals Provides Great Value and Opportunities

Breweries, tasting rooms, beer gardens and pubs are the greatest places in the world to meet people – especially locals – and create connections. Wear or carry a subtle conversation starter. Wearing a brewery hat or shirt from back home often leads to someone coming up and starting a conversation.

Tips from locals can lead to exciting unplanned adventures. Your new connections can offer a wealth of information about local "must-see" stops. Brewers and bartenders supply great advice on the best places for beer and food. Sit at a community table or the bar and ask questions like “When not here, what are your other favorite beer stops?”

Making new relationships can often lead to future Beercation adventures.


Use All of Your Senses, Then Take Photographs

Use All of Your Senses, Then Take Photographs

When you visit a location, soak in the views, smells, tastes, sounds and textures first. Using all your senses will help you fully appreciate the moment and create more vivid memories. Memories such as:

  • Feeling a nice summer breeze at Spezial-Keller beer garden in Bamberg, Germany with the nearby sound of a steeple bell while sipping a Brauerei Spezial Rauchbier.
  • The tingle of cool moist air and smell of fermentation vats in the caves of Pilsner Urquell Brewery (Plzeňský Prazdroj) in the Czech Republic while sampling their historic Czech Pilsner directly from a wooden barrel.
  • Listening to the street musicians in Krakow, Poland while sitting at an outdoor table and drinking a Grodziskie.

Afterward you can capture the moments in photographs. Don’t let social media posting distract you from enjoying your experience and creating a vivid memory of the occasion.


Stay Somewhere Amazing

Stay Somewhere Amazing

Even if for one night, stay somewhere amazing during your trip. Pick someplace that makes you feel special. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

For example, St. Bernardus Brewery features a guesthouse that resides right next to the brewery. It’s located in a quiet, peaceful spot just outside the quaint village of Watou, Belgium. The guesthouse (a former cheese workshop) provides a perfect location for people who love beer, walking, cycling and panoramic views. And look for the honesty bar in the lounge!

Plan Extra Fun for the End of Your Beercation

Plan Extra Fun for the End of Your Beercation

Cap your trip with something extra memorable. Make it a visit or activity that excites you. Doing so provides a high note to the end of your beercation and lessens end-of-trip fatigue. For instance, visit the hop harvest in Yakima, WA then head over to Bale Breaker Brewing for a fresh-hop craft beer.


Keep a Journal

Keep a Journal

Keep a daily journal of your experiences. Use bullet entries for ease and speed. Your journal provides a helpful record for later use in documenting your adventures. It can also be a handy reference source for future beercation planning.


Relax and Have Fun

Relax and Have Fun

Enjoy the fruits of your planning and diligence. You’ve earned it! And remember, use each moment to create enriching, memorable experiences.


Once Your Beercation is Done, Consider Going Again on a Future Trip

Once Your Beercation is Done, Consider Going Again on a Future Trip

Revisiting destinations can be extremely rewarding. You can enjoy your favorite spots once more. And returning provides an opportunity to make new discoveries and grow relationships.

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