One of the best ways to learn about a new destination is by eating and drinking locally. When I’m on vacation, there’s nothing I want more than a refreshing beer after a long day of exploring. As the US craft beer movement has grown over the past decade, so have the ever-popular beer weeks.
Beer weeks celebrate the local beer community through (sometimes over-the-top) events featuring local breweries at their best. Whether it’s an easy drive from where you live or in a new destination to explore, a vacation or staycation can become a beercation by planning a visit to some of America’s most celebrated beer weeks. It’s a great way to relax, recharge and put some of those unused vacation days to good use.
Philly Beer Week (first week of June)
One might say, and most would agree, that Philly Beer Week is the best in the country. Launched in 2008, this celebration is like none other. With more than 100 events, it’s a destination in itself.
Fun fact: After an Olympic-torch-style relay through Philadelphia, the week is kicked off with the Hammer of Glory tapping the first keg on opening day.
DC Beer Week (Aug. 9-16, 2015)
It’s not too late to get in on the DC Beer Week action, from scavenger hunts and blind tastings to events featuring local and regional breweries. The dog days of summer are no match for Washington’s beer scene, which has grown steadily in recent years.
DC’s first production brewery in more than 60 years opened in 2011. The city now boasts more than 10 breweries and brewpubs. For DC Beer Week, area breweries collaborate on the recipe and brewing for a Solidarity beer series.
SF Beer Week (Jan. 22-31, 2016)
Super Bowl plans next year? Make your pregame celebration top-notch by adding San Francisco Beer Week to your visit. In 2015, it boasted more than 700 events in the Bay Area.
With SF Beer Week comes the race to find Pliny the Younger, a “white whale” for the beer community. It’s so sought-after, you can even sign up for tracking alerts to see if it’s at a bar nearby.
Chicago Beer Week (mid-May)
After a brutal winter, the Windy City emerges into a beautiful spring and summer with a full slate showcasing its impressive beer scene. With a wide variety of both neighborhoods and breweries to explore, Chi-Town becomes an even better destination to visit during beer week.
The celebration kicks off with Beer Under Glass, during which dozens of Chicagoland breweries team up with local restaurants at the Garfield Park Conservatory.
Portland Beer Week (mid-June)
Portland, OR, has more craft breweries than any city in the world, which instantly makes its beer week an interesting prospect. Between events featuring multiple examples of different beer styles and pairing those suds with the well-respected local food scene, everything in the festival’s 10 days is decidedly delicious!
Contained within Portland Beer Week is the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, which showcases the rich bounty of the area’s fruit harvest.
Cheers to your next beer adventure!— By Cait DeBaun
Cait DeBaun is the communications director for Project: Time Off, an initiative aimed at proving the personal, business and economic benefits of taking time off.