Written by: Ry Jackson
How to Plan a Beer-cation
A beercation is a trip centered around discovering breweries and taprooms in a particular area. Like any trip, planning a beercation can be a headache if you aren’t strategic about your plans. Beer You Go writer, Ry Jackson, has planned successful beercations in major beer cities like Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids Michigan. Below are some pointers intended to relieve stress from your trip by making it more organized and cost-effective.
Choose your location
The most important step in planning a beercation is deciding where you want to go. Despite all of the amazing beer cities we plan to attend, the most low maintenance trips are ones that require 3 hours or less of driving. Trips like these are more affordable, because you’re not paying for airfare, and make it easier to bring back souvenirs.
Pick five cities no more than 4 hours away from you that have breweries or taprooms you’re interested in. You can narrow down your decision by travel time, hotel location, weather or concentration of breweries in a given area.
As you make your decision on what city you plan to have your beercation in, remember that this is a time to explore and try new things. Pick a place you haven’t been before and don’t know much about to make it that much more exciting.
Focus on Proximity
When you plan a beercation, you need to focus on proximity to avoid spending too much of your trip in the car. When you’re not familiar with the city, you may realize that the places you picked out are spread across the city and will take some time to get to.
To get the most out of each stop, research nearby food places, breweries and taprooms that are walking or scootering distance. Not only will this help you get better acclimated to the city but you’ll save money on car rides and parking.
Plan Transportation Ahead of Time
Whether you’re establishing a designated driver (DD) or setting aside money for Lyft or Uber, it’s important to have a plan for transportation on a beercation because you’ll want to spend your time exploring, not stressing out about being stranded or driving intoxicated.
To avoid these headaches and get the most out of your trip, be sure to establish the DD ahead of time and hold them accountable. If you plan to request a Lyft or Uber, be sure to have your charger with you, in case your phone dies, and discuss with the group about how you plan to pay for the rides. As mentioned above, another method for navigating a new city could be scooters or walking.
The purpose of a beercation is to try as much beer as possible. Beer You Go believes that when you’re on a beercation, the best way to maximize your experience is to drink flights. A flight is a variety of pours served in smaller glasses, ranging from 3 to 6 ounce servings. Depending on the brewery you can try between four and eight samples per flight, which allows you to taste everything to brewery has on the menu if you’re with other people.
Benefits to sticking with flights:
- You get the opportunity to sample everything
- It paces your drinking
- It is more cost effective
Bring Your Own Food
Let’s be honest, it’s not cheap to go out to eat for every meal, especially not when it includes paying for more than one person over the course of a weekend. Bringing your own food on a trip is an easy way to save money when you’re out of town.
After a few beers we’re more likely to overeat and spend more money on food. If you plan to be out all day, it’s important to carry a snack with you so that you have something to hold you over for a while. Fruits and vegetables, nuts, granola bars, chips, crackers and lunchmeat are simple options that are easy to store in a purse or backpack.
Not having a snack can put a delay in your trip, especially when you have strict dietary restrictions and limited finances. Having a snack readily available helps may even help you realize that you’re not as hungry as you thought.
Ask About Tours
Tours are a fascinating way to learn about a brewery’s history, brand marketing and onsite production. Most breweries that offer tours at their location will have information available online. While most places offer tours for free, certain locations require registration so be sure to contact the brewery ahead of time.
Ry Jackson is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer. Self-care. Sustainability…..and Beer. Read more from Ry on Medium: @RyWrites.