There’s a reason humans have been making beer for over 5,000 years. It can be crisp and refreshing on a warm summer afternoon, or complex and spicy on a snowy winter night. Whether you’re a veteran beer lover or an interested beginner, it’s a great idea to plan your next trip around fantastic bars and brewery tours. As we head into the coldest months, here are the best winter beer destinations for getting the good stuff straight from the source.
The abbeys of Brussels are the cradle of some of the best beer in the world. The varieties are as unique as they are excellent, from hoppy lambics to golden saisons. Settle in at the Mort Subite for a large selection of fantastic beers on tap in a cafe that has been open since 1910, or visit the Trappist abbey of St. Sixtus to sample their famous dark Westvleteren ale. Delirium Cafe is also a popular spot, serving Delirium Tremens as well as thousands of other beers from Belgium and all over the world. It’s just around the corner from the gorgeous B-Aparthotel Grand Place and a few other of the cities best hotels.
Portland’s quirky local vibe has made it a haven for fantastic craft breweries, earning it the nickname “Beervana.” Start with the cluster of Rogue Distillery, Deschutes Brewery and 10 Barrel Brewing Company, which all hail from nearby Bend, Oregon. For the true Portland experience, order a local brew at Apex, which has 50 beers on tap and a convivial atmosphere. The Holiday Ale Festival in December is the perfect excuse to visit, but travellers can also run all year with the NoPo Run Club, which hosts a weekly 5k followed by local pints.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City may not be the first place that comes to mind in terms of craft beer, but the local brewing scene is vibrant and exciting. It also has the advantage of being a warm and sunny winter destination. Head to El Depósito to try classic pilsners, as well as the local beers of Primus Brewery and Cervecería Minerva on draft. The next stop should be Cervecería Calavera to sample their wide variety of offerings, including Belgian-style tripel and dubbel and Mexican Imperial Stout. Stay at the sleek and modern Hotel Plaza Revolución for the perfect winter getaway.
Boston’s status as a historical and cultural hub makes it worth a trip, but the excellent beer scene is an added incentive. The resident Sam Adams Brewery, named after the city’s famous patriot, offers popular brewing tours, but the smaller breweries are also worth exploring. Harpoon, located in the Seaport district, is famous for their IPA and unfiltered UFO line. Their brewery tour (only $5) concludes with a tasting, where visitors can try unique varieties that are only available on site. Trillium Brewing Company is another up and comer, opened in 2013 by two former home-brewers. They offer IPAs, sour beers, and a Kölsh-inspired ale. Stay right off the Common at the Taj Boston for the full Beantown experience.