6 of America’s Best Resort Towns for Craft Beer
By Hanna Laney
If there’s one thing we love more than craft beer, it’s the traditional American vacation. From the halcyon days of Thomas Jefferson’s visits to Virginia’s Homestead resort to modern business people beach-bumming at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, an occasional retreat from our daily lives is as American as apple pie.
For years, vacationers were destined to find themselves marooned among the mass-produced domestic light lagers that dominated resort towns. Now, with craft beer’s ever-growing popularity, America’s getaway destinations feature delicious beer made right in the community. Here are some of America’s finest craft beers brewed in six of our favorite resort towns:
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks are rich with aviation, colonial and military heritage. Those seeking to discover historical innovation and intrigue, breathtaking natural lands, fresh seafood and a laidback culture have long favored this windswept archipelago.
Ölsch Kolsch | Outer Banks Brewing Station | Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Outer Banks’ Ölsch is a lively, light and breezy ale befitting the wind-powered brewpub. It pairs equally well with the abundant seasonal seafood offerings and the brewery’s frequent live music performances. Ölsch is crisp and refreshing, coming in at a sessionable 4.8 percent ABV. Enjoying Ölsch near where the Wright brothers first took to the sky will have you floating on air.
The Catskills, New York
The Catskills offer a mountainous escape with plentiful outdoor activities and famed farm-to-table cuisine. Calling to those getting away from the gridlock, the Catskills embrace a rugged rural culture that’s a respite from the rat race.
In the mid-1900s, the bustling “Borscht Belt” hosted thousands of visitors. Though many of the once-resplendent family resorts nestled amongst the Catskills are now defunct, memories of summers past have led modern-day families to seek the same retreat.
This high-desert resort town used to be dwarfed by neighboring Bend’s beer pedigree. Sunriver features hundreds of miles of well-loved bike paths, and it’s just a short drive from Mt. Bachelor, the source of some of Oregon’s finest powder. This active vacationer’s Valhalla beckons bike riders, black diamond seekers, rock climbers and kayakers alike. And Bend isn’t the only beer mecca nearby—there are plenty of great breweries in Eugene and other towns, as well as local options.
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe, a high-Sierras jewel on the California-Nevada border, is known for its all-season recreation, boundless sunshine and crystal-clear waters. This environmentally-conscious outdoor haven’s glimmering lake and alpine views harken back to a wilderness that was once home to famed mountain men. Tahoe Mountain Brewing embodies that same feral spirit, as the barrel program at the lakeside brewpub continues to impress.
Worlds collide in Jackson. Between the posh glamping, working dude ranches, private jet-setters, ski bums, five-star resorts, tranquil fly-fishing streams, and nearby national parks, it seems a planet unto itself—somehow both insular and global. Billed as “Jackson’s Living Room” and twice named Small Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival, Snake River Brewing’s brewpub offers rotating house taps and food.
Big Sur, California
Big Sur, the name for the nearly 90 miles of winding Pacific Coast Highway between San Simeon and Carmel, offers tourists breathtaking views of sea life and quintessential coastal cliffs.