The Four Best Towns for Beaches and Craft Beer
Photo by Melinda Crow
As the beach season ends, you may be thinking it's time to pack away the umbrellas and start scouting a good fall brew fest. Not so fast! Nobody ever said you couldn't enjoy the beach and some craft beer on the same trip. Here's a list of beach and brew hot combos to get you started.
With more than seventy miles of shoreline, great beaches here are pretty much a given. They range from the iconic Coronado Beach on Coronado Island to the water-sports lover's La Jolla. The San Diego Union Times calls Moonlight Beach the most family friendly, but Jeffery Lehman, host of the PBS adventure program Weekend Explorer, prefers his home of Del Mar Beach. SanDiego.org is a great place to start your search, with a map able list of the beaches in the area.
As for beer, San Diego competes with Portland for the title of the Beer Capital of the country. SanDiego.org has a complete list of breweries, also map able, making it easy to match up your beach and brew tour of the city. Pacific Beach Alehouse is a good place to start. The top beer, according to Untappd.com is Promiscuous IPA, with a respectable rating of 3.39 (on a 1-5 scale, where a 5 is reserved for that once-in-a-lifetime beer experience) from Untappd users.
VisitVirginiaBeach.com breaks the area into three categories: resorts, island, and bay. All are lovely, with long stretches of sand and amazing choices of places to stay. The resort area is lined with high-rise hotels and condos and the excitement that goes along with those. The island zone, also called Sandbridge, is known for its quieter feel and family activities. The bay area places all the history of the Chesapeake Bay at your feet.
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There are multi-night beer tours available, with breweries and brew pubs scattered throughout the area. For an oceanfront brew pub, try Home Republic, where the Juice Sea Fruit IPA garners a healthy 3.54 from Untappd users.
Some of the nation's top beaches are found in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area according to Trip Advisor. Expect more watersports than you can cram into a vacation, pristine stretches of sand, and a side of Florida you may have been missing, according to VisitStPeteClearwater.com.
The area is home to fourteen craft breweries. The official Beer Trail leads you from beaches to warehouse districts as you search for the perfect brew. Mad Beach Craft Brewing is a good place to start, with its location at Madeira Beach. The fruity, I Yam What I Yam beer currently holds a hefty 3.84 rating on Untappd.
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Any list of beach and brew destinations would not be complete without a stop in Oregon, where the beaches are some of the most photographic in the world, and the beer takes a backseat to absolutely nothing. Lone Ranch Beach in the Samuel H Boardman State Park is just four miles north of Brookings, and is a prime example of Oregon's rugged beaches, where stretches of sand and surf are continually interrupted by rocks jutting upwards from the sea.
The area is home to three breweries. Chetco Brewing Company offers up an IPA known as Thunder Rock, currently holding a 3.67 on Untappd. Wild River Brewing and Pizza features seasonal brews as well as favorites like their India Pale Ale, with a 3.52 rating on Untappd. Misty Mountain Brewing serves the highest-rated beer we found: Black Gate, with an Untapped rating of 4.06.
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