Where Some of Our Favorite Brewers are Itching to Travel Before Summer Ends

While we’re definitely not yet out of the woods in terms of taking certain precautions in regard to the pandemic, this summer has allowed more room to wander than last summer--and hopefully, every summer just gets better and better from here on out. When travel was off the table, many of us sat at home thinking about all the places we wished we could visit, and summer 2021 has made it possible to get to lots of those destinations. Prepared with masks, vaccinations, and information on every city’s current restrictions, people have been getting to visit family, friends, and yes, breweries, they’ve been missing or excited to meet.

Thanks to all of the things we’ve been able to return to during this “hot vax summer”--bars, gatherings, road trips, and more--this season has been whizzing by. Time does fly when you’re having fun, after all. But there are still several weeks left of sunshine, lazy days, and beach weather, and that means there are several weeks left for summer vacations, too. We decided to ask some of our favorite brands where they’re hoping to get this summer, in part for a little inspiration and in part because we know these drink experts have the 4-1-1 on where the must-visit breweries and beer scenes are in the country right now.

 

Bailey Spaulding, Founder & CEO of Jackalope Brewing Company

When asked what city is topping her summer 2021 travel list, Jackalope’s Bailey Spaulding’s answer is simple: “New York City!”

As an NYC-based company, we couldn’t agree more--this place is a pretty fantastic place to be. Thanks to lots of bars and restaurants setting up outdoor dining structures, and some streets even shutting down to traffic on weekends so people can safely gather outside and enjoy live music, art, and more, a visit here would definitely be full of magical--and delicious--experiences. And that’s even before we get to the breweries!

Some of TapRm’s favorite breweries happen to be right here in New York City. There’s Folksbier, Grimm, Five Boroughs, Interboro, Keg & Lantern, TALEA, Finback, 18th Ward, Alewife, ICONYC, KCBC, and Transmitter, to name a few. Oh and hey, if you follow Bailey’s lead and head here to the Big Apple, don’t forget to swing by TapRm’s Cold Beer Store!

 

Robby Willey, Co-Founder of The Virginia Beer Company

Virginia Beer Company co-founder Robby Willey also has a hankering for a New York City adventure, and we’d just like to put it out into the universe that we’d be thrilled to have so many beer friends come visit.

“New York City!” Robby says, echoing Bailey’s enthusiasm. “This is not a canned answer. Our team truly misses making trips to NYC. Many of our management crew have roots in the city, and because of the pandemic we haven't even been able to enjoy a round of our own beer at spots like The Pony Bar and our Williamsburg-to-Williamsburg connection at The Craic. We are so ready to experience #VBCinNYC and can't wait to get back up that way!”

We’ll be eagerly waiting the opportunity to “cheers” with a VBC beer and the actual VBC crew!

 

Hank Browning, Key Account Manager for New York at Jiant Hard Kombucha

Hank Browning from Jiant Hard Kombucha has his sights set abroad, on Belgium and Montreal “to see St. Bernardus and Dieu Du Ciel.” Now we’re getting into time-honored, beer lovers’ pilgrimages. These trips are like rites of passage for any brew enthusiast.

St. Bernardus is a brewery in the countryside of Belgium, close to both the French border and fellow legendary brewery, that of the Saint-Sixtus Abbey. Saint-Sixtus is known worldwide for its Westvleteren Trappist ales, which St. Bernardus actually brewed from 1946 to 1992. St. Bernardus is just as revered for its own beer, however, such as the iconic Abt 12 Belgian Quadrupel. 

Dieu Du Ciel is a younger member of the beer scene, first opening its doors in 1998. But it’s become a sought-after destination in its own right. Beer fans flock from all over the world for a chance to stand on hallowed beer ground and taste Dieu Du Ciel’s unique, creative brews.

Frankly, Hank’s travel ideas have our wanderlust fired up, because not only are these breweries absolute musts for ultimate beer experiences, but they’re both in places we’d love to roam--and eat--our way around for at least a few days.

 

Tara Hankinson, Co-Founder of TALEA Beer Co.

“I'd love to visit Maine!” says TALEA co-founder Tara Hankinson. “I haven't been to Maine Beer Company since they renovated and I'd love to visit Oxbow.”

Lo and behold, more essential beer pilgrimages here! Maine Beer Company is one of the early trailblazers of the current American craft beer scene, still brewing up beautiful classics and creative twists on styles, alike. It doesn’t hurt that the taproom is picturesque Freeport, where you can embrace all things New England summer (we’re of course mostly talking about lobster rolls, but you know, use your imagination).

And you’ve heard us get dreamy about Oxbow Brewing Company. Between the always stellar beer, the scenic locations, and the unique atmospheres of Oxbow’s three different locations, this brewery has “vacation destination” written all over it.

 

John Ross Cocozza, President of Ross Brewing

“MAINE!” Looks like someone--someone named John Ross Cocozza, president of Ross Brewing--agrees with TALEA’s Tara. Beer community field trip, anyone? John has even more breweries on his Maine list: “Definitely going to hit Maine Beer [Company], Mast Landing, Allagash, Foundation, and Urban Farm Fermentory.” Yeah, Maine is definitely one of the country’s best and brightest pockets of craft beer.

Mast Landing offers the appeal of an eclectic tap list at both its Westbrook and Freeport locations, along with delicious grub. Allagash is a bucket-list brewery for sure, currently offering a lovely outdoor seating area for trying its iconic brews. Similarly, there’s ample outdoor seating for enjoying sunshine--or some well-needed shade--while you experience Foundation Brewing’s inventive beers. At Urban Farm Fermentory’s indoor-and-outdoor taproom in Portland, you can enjoy all the things--beer, cider, mead, kombucha, and jun, oh my! With primarily local, seasonal ingredients, it doesn’t get much cooler than that.

 

Loretta Chung, Co-Founder of Dyke Beer

Dyke Beer co-founders Loretta Chung and Sarah Hallonquist have been lucky enough to start embarking on summertime travels. 

“We both took vacations and are grateful to be able to,” Loretta tells us. “Sarah is checking out breweries in Belgium and I was just in San Francisco and fell in love with Mango Cart by Golden Road.”

We love the variety in Sarah and Loretta’s trips. Sign us up for one of those epic beer journeys to Belgium that is definitely--and always--on trend, and let’s add San Fran to the list, too, stat. If you do head to San Francisco, stop by New Belgium’s taproom and restaurant.

 

Denise Ford Sawadogo, Owner & General Manager of Montclair Brewery

Denise Ford Sawadogo, who owns Montclair Brewery with husband Leo, is looking to get out into nature. 

“I'd love to go camping, enjoy nature in a relaxed setting, potentially in the Pocono Mountains,” she says. “If there then we'd likely visit a few Pennsylvania breweries.”

Few things go together better than craft beer and the great outdoors, so this excursion sounds like peak summer living. We’re already imagining rewarding ourselves after a hike with a brew, or enjoying one or two around the campfire with friends. Plus, there are plenty of breweries near the Poconos, so Denise’s vacation goals are definitely within reach.

 

Sam Tulberg, Co-founder and Director of Innovation, Flying Embers

Co-founder of hard kombucha brand Flying Embers Sam Tulberg, like many of us, has friends and family on the mind.

“I'm hoping to make it out to New England and visit with some close friends that I haven't seen in a few years,” Sam shares. “A few weddings and events were missed due to COVID and I definitely owe a few people a round of drinks at our new Boston taproom location.”

We hope everyone gets to make at least some visits to see loved ones this summer, so a hearty cheers to that. And we, too, would love to hit up the Flying Embers space in Boston--not to mention the many other taprooms that would be so fun to visit, like Jack’s Abby.

 

Luke Walker, Brewmaster at Walker Brothers Kombucha

Co-founder and brewmaster at another exciting hard kombucha brand, Walker Brothers, Luke Walker has his sights set on our neighbors to both the north and south.

“Mexico City and Vancouver, not likely to happen on either front but I can keep dreaming!” he says.

All of these travels are still admittedly a little tougher to make happen these days, but we’re optimistic--fingers crossed Luke can make even one of those adventures happen, or that at the very least, it’s a great summer with adventures right at home. One thing we know for sure is that both Vancouver and Mexico City have cool, eclectic beer scenes that are absolutely on our list to check out.

 

Jeremy Kim, Co-Founder of Nectar Hard Seltzer

Meanwhile, Nectar co-founder Jeremy Kim has set his sights a little further than Pennsylvania, or even Belgium.

“After watching Mr. [Richard] Branson and Jeff Bezos go to space, that's where we want to go,” Jeremy says. “No COVID in space.” 

Well, we can’t argue with that! Who’s up for a little space vacay? Now all we need is a list of good drinks for out-of-this-world getaways--Nectar’s hard seltzer is an obvious must-have.

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