Beercations are a luxury. They require time, planning, and, of course, budget. But when the stars align, and the chance to travel for beer arises, a beer lover must take it.
VinePair spoke to more than a dozen brewers to find out what their bucket-list beer trips are right now. It turns out, professional brewers are as wanderlusty as we are, and many have yet to make some essential pilgrimages to the world’s top beer destinations.
Below, 16 brewers and beer pros share the top beer destinations they have yet to visit.
“No. 1 on my bucket list is Belgium. I’m a huge fan of traditional sours and barrel-aged beers, and having a lambic or gueuze straight from the source is a definite life goal for me!” — Matt McCall, Head Brewer, Coney Island Beer, Brooklyn, NY
“Germany, for Oktoberfest of course!” — Paul Alessi, Head Brewer, Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, Westfield, NY
“I must go to Oktoberfest in Munich, and experience the beers, the music, and festivities firsthand… I would like to be able to get the authentic experience so we can bring it back to Cooperstown. I’ve been to beer gardens in Munich, but it is time to take it to the next level. Prost!” — Suzanne Hasbrouck-Olson, Head of Innovation and Marketing, Red Shed Brewery, Cooperstown, NY
“I’d love to hit Japan and do some sampling of their craft beer. I hear it is amazing. Of course, a night at a capsule hotel is a must.” — Kevin Van Winkle, Co-owner and Head Brewer, Endo Brewing Company, Lafayette, CO
“Belgium. The history and culture have provided so much influence to the modern beer industry that we know today, so it seems like a must-visit for any brewer. Additionally, the myriad ways that Belgian beer makers abide by ancient traditions are extremely impressive and admirable. Plus, the beer is delicious!” — Fred Searles, Head Brewer, Bonfire Brewing, Eagle, CO
“Germany. I’ve been to Europe a couple of times, but haven’t made it to Germany to see the birthplace of some of my favorite styles of beer. I’m a big fan of the Marzen style and anything in the bock family.” — Mike Halker, Owner, Due South Brewing, Boynton Beach, FL
“I would love to head up to Portland, Maine, and check out the beer scene there. They have a lot of great breweries like Bissell Brothers, Oxbow Brewing, Allagash Brewing, and Austin Street, which are all located relatively close to each other.” — Zachary Popp, Sales Representative, Great South Bay Brewery, Bay Shore, NY
“I’d love to visit the Czech Republic — hiking and biking through the natural areas and relaxing with delicious pilsners sounds like a great time!” — Mike Hiatt, Brewer, Purpose Brewing & Cellars, Fort Collins, CO
“Hallertau, Bavaria during hop harvest. Hallertau is the largest hop-growing region in the world and has been cultivated with hops for over 1,000 years. I would love to taste the local beers and see the acres of hops!” — Carl Heinz, Brewmaster, Breckenridge Brewery, Breckenridge, CO
“We’ve beercationed a lot of places, but there are several still on our list: Western Michigan, Belgium outside of Brussels, [and] Austin, Texas.” — Carol Cochran, Co-owner and Co-founder, Horse & Dragon Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO
“Bamberg, Germany is the place, bar none.” — Colin Ferguson, Traveller, Live Oak Brewing Co., Del Valle, TX
“I have never been to Europe. One of my top destinations to visit during the right time is Munich, specifically during Oktoberfest. It’s always been a trip I have wanted to take with a large group [of] friends [to] enjoy the beer and culture out there.” — Alejandro Masferrer, Brand Manager, M.I.A. Beer Co., Doral, FL
“I’d love to visit the Trappist monasteries, the Flanders breweries, the lambic breweries… Anyone reading this, please donate to my charity: Help Send Aaron to Belgium, any size donation helps!” — Aaron Reilly, Head Brewer, Basecamp Brewpub, Devils Backbone Brewing, Roseland, VA
“New Zealand hop fields. Who wouldn’t want to be there anyway, especially if you can dress up like a Hobbit and run through a field of NZ hops?” — Seth Adams, Head Brewer, Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC
“Belgium because of the rich brewing history and range of styles, from Trappist styles to open-fermentation methods creating gueuze and lambic.” — Rob Capitelli, Brewmaster, Blue Point Brewing, Patchogue, NY