We've compiled a list of ten things every beer lover should do some time in their life. This, Part 1, contains five things and Part 2, which we'll publish soon, contain five more.
Of course, beer is always good and great experiences exist everywhere – that's what makes beer so amazing! But these are the experiences that will change the way you look at beer.
Attend all of the "Great" beer festivals – Of course, the Great American Beer Festival is the biggest beer festival there is, offering more beer than any other. But you can't call yourself a serious beer lover unless you've also attended the Great British Beer Festival, the Great Canadian Beer Festival and the Great Japan Beer Festival. These are the best way to experience what the world of beer really has to offer.
Visit a monastic brewery – There are currently 11 breweries in the world baring the Trappist designation: Achel (Belgium), Chimay (Belgium), Engelszell (Austria), La Trappe (Netherlands), Orval (Belgium), Spencer (United States), Rochefort (Belgium), Tre Fontane (Italy), Westmalle (Belgium), Westvleteren (Belgium) and Zundert (Netherlands). At these breweries, a silent order of monks oversee the brewing of their very special beers. Some of these monasteries are not open to visitors, but those that can be visited are as beautiful as they are peaceful. There's no better way to have beer bring you spiritual bliss.
Sip beers while rocking your worries away at The Rare Barrel – Berkeley, California's The Rare Barrel has been producing exclusively (and amazing) sour beers since 2013. Distribution is very limited, which is a shame, because the beers are exceptional. When you visit the brewery, you'll find two rocking chairs with a small table between them. There is no better place in the world to sip your worries away.
Attend hop school – YCH HOPS is a 100% grower-owned supplier of hops and hop products. Each year, they host Hop School. Commercial brewers can attend every year, but it is open to homebrewers only on even-numbered years. You'll attend hop harvest in Yakima, meet hop farmers and brewers and generally be submerged in a sea of magical green flowers.
Eat at 3 Floyds Brewpub – There are great brewpubs around the world. And then there is 3 Floyds. Located in Munster, Indiana, just a short drive from Chicago, Illinois, combines world-class beers with food featuring ingredients from local farms. It has a super casual vibe, but the food and beverage could be served in any of the finest restaurants in the world. It gets busy fast, so go early to avoid a line up.
Check back soon for Part 2!