Fall means foliage, and changing leaves are a perfect excuse to take an impromptu vacation before an onslaught of snow covers naked trees. Beer is the perfect pairing for those fall views (but if wine is more your thing, we’ve got a fall guide for that, too). In terms of beer and fall leaves, though, not all beer cities are equal. Here are the top go-to places to see the leaves change, and some of the best breweries at which to do it.
7. Ouray, Colorado
Colorado is known for its craft beer, and for good reason. It also happens to be a great state to check out the changing leaves, especially in the southwest city of Ouray. Peak leaf viewing is in mid-September, but aspen trees can keep their golden leaves into October. Head over to Ourayle House and Ouray Brewery for a taste of fall to go with the view.
6. Burlington, Vermont
Driving through Vermont is a leaf-lovers dream. Make the drive up to Burlington in the northeast part of the state and you can also get a taste of some of the best beer the state has to offer. Make sure you don’t miss Magic Hat Brewing (home of the best craft beer in the state) and Switchback Brewing.
5. Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains are a sight to see during fall, and there’s plenty of local beer to sample as well. Luckily, if you’re in the city, there’s an easy way to do both: the Knoxville Ale Trail, where you can get a taste of beers from Alliance Brewing Company and Balter Beerworks.
4. Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid in northeastern New York is the perfect place to sit in front of the lake and view the falling leaves — it even has a two-day celebration called the Flaming Leaves Festival in October. It also has more than its fair share of small-batch breweries to sample, such as the Great Adirondack Brewing Company and Paradox Brewery, for a break from all that leaf watching.
3. Sedona, Arizona
Leaf peeping isn’t restricted to the the northeast. Sedona, Arizona, is one of the most magical towns at all times of the year, but fall is something special. Late September to mid-October is prime time for the leaves, and also prime time to stop in at Oak Creek Brewing Company.
2. Stowe, Vermont
Burlington may get most of the love when it comes to Vermont beer, but there’s more to Vermont than a single city when it comes to both brews and fall views. Take in the fall sights in Stowe before heading up to Burlington’s more famous breweries, for a slower pace of life, and be sure not to miss Trapp Brewery and nearby Rock Art Brewery.
1. Afton, Virginia
Virginia is for lovers — fall foliage and beer lovers especially (and wine lovers, if that’s more your speed). The best of Virginia’s beer and leaf views can be found in Afton, a small community near the Blue Mountains. You may be wondering, “Why Afton?” First off, there are views like the one in the photo above of the Afton Mountain, but there’s another answer: Blue Mountain Brewery. The brewery has an outdoor seating area and enough local beer to keep you entertained for all of leaf peeping season (oh yeah, they also grow their own hops).