The Craft Beer Trail
Cheers, road trippers! For six days, we sipped, sampled, and savored some of the country’s best craft brews. Along with our friends from Germany, we followed the famous Craft Beer Trail from Utah down to Arizona. Aside from discovering some delicious brews, we also made great friends, saw some amazing sights, and learned a thing or two about the states we visited.
The Trail started in Salt Lake City, Utah where we took in a bit of the area’s archaeological history in the Natural History Museum, and visited Utah’s Olympic Park, where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held. After our tours, our first brewery was in Squatters Pub Brewery. We got lucky and experienced their weekly Mug Club, an exclusive group of 100 beer enthusiasts that come together twice a year. We were already off to a great start!
After Salt Lake City, we made our way to Boulder Beer Company. The first microbrewery in the Colorado was founded by two college professors in a goat shed—proof that inspiration can hit in the weirdest places! From Boulder, we headed 43 kilometers south to Denver. Upon arrival, we jumped on a free bus to Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. At the ballpark’s Mile High Deck, we got to sample our first locally brewed Blue Moon. Obviously, we couldn’t forget the fresh orange slice!
In Denver, we also visited Oskar Blues Brewery, one of the most memorable of the trip thanks to their live bluegrass music and farm-to-table food offerings. We tried all 10 of their brews and we each discovered a personal favorite. After shopping for souvenirs, we were ready for more beer so we headed over to New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins. The brewery was influenced by the owner’s trip around Europe, and the décor made us feel like we were actually drinking in Belgium.
We were sad to leave Colorado’s beautiful views and even better beers, but we had some more sipping to do, so we headed south to New Mexico. Once we landed, we took the Santa Fe Beer Brewery Tour, which started at the Santa Fe Brewing Company. After sampling some of their amazing beers (Santa Fe Hefeweizen and Imperial Java Stout were our favorites), the tour continued on to 2nd Street Brewery, known for its delicious Pilsners. The third and final stop on the tour was at the Marble Brewery. We were lucky enough to arrive on their opening day! Not only were their beers delicious, we felt honored to be some of their very first patrons.
After New Mexico, we headed to the final state on the Trail, Arizona. We started at The Oak Creek Brewery & Grill, where we tried their “Seven Dwarfs” sample flight featuring seven of their local brews. We paired our beers with some local American favorites like burgers, onion rings, and French fries.
On our last day on the Trail, we checked out two of Scottsdale’s best breweries. First up was Four Peaks Brewery, where we ordered a flight of their best local craft beers like Sunbrew, Peach Ale and Hop Knot IPA, among other refreshing brews. Later that night, we arrived at the trendy O.S.H.O. Brewery. A pitcher of their Backyard Blonde accompanied by some all-American apple pie was the best way to end our trip.
It was time to bid farewell to the Craft Beer Trail, so we headed home with great souvenirs and even better stories. The historic Oregon Trail is next. See you back on the road!