Some people go on vacation to learn about different cultures or sit on the beach. But if you're a beer lover, that's a waste of time.
The USA is in the midst of a craft beer revolution, which means there's a whole world of drink-tastic local and regional brews that aren't available nationally.
If you consider yourself a real beer aficionado, it's time you went on a beercation to get a taste of what finest brews America has to offer. Tell your boss you won't be in tomorrow, book a plane ticket, and check out one of these beer meccas.
San Diego, CA
Must-See Breweries: Stone, Green Flash, and Ballast Point (left)
It doesn't seem fair that a place that's 80 degrees and sunny year-round has some of the best microbreweries in the country. It's like a supermodel with a 200 IQ and serious guitar skills.
Yes, it's Southern California and things are spread out but there's no need to get behind the wheel because there are numerous limo and tour companies that cater to the beer tourist.
Must-See Breweries: Spoetzl, 512 (left), Live Oak, Jester King
Like the state that it's located in, Austin has a fierce independent streak. This spirit of independence has not only given life to a vibrant music and arts scene but has bred a thriving beer scene where several world-class breweries and beer bars reside.
There is, of course, the ubiquitous Shiner Bock produced by the Spoetzl Brewery 90 miles south of town, but there's no need to journey that far when you have so many Austin-based breweries at the top of their games. For a great beer bar in the heart of downtown, "The Ginger Man" is one of those places that will never want to leave.
Must-See Breweries: Goose Island, Half Acre, Three Floyds (Munster, IN)
Chicago doesn't always get its due for being a world-class dining and drinking destination. The portions are huge, the people are friendly, and the prices are right. While the beer scene is still gaining its footing there are a few notable destinations and more are on the way. There is the mainstay Goose Island brewery, but the relative newcomer Half Acre is worth a visit as well. And be sure to carve out time for a 30-mile trip to Munster, Indiana's Three Floyd's. While you likely won't get to try their legendary Dark Lord Russian imperial stout, they produce a host of other exceptional beers.
San Francisco, CA
Must-See Breweries: Anchor, Magnolia, 21st Amendment, Toronado and City Beer for an on-the-go option
Yes, there's the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Haight-Ashbury but San Francisco is also a prime beer destination. For any San Francisco beercation a trip to Anchor Brewing is mandatory. It has survived earthquakes, fires, and bankruptcies and is a big reason why we all aren't mindless drones drinking yellow, fizzy, flavorless beer.
Must-See Breweries: Hopworks (left), Bike Bar, Cascade (if you like Sours) Upright
It seems like just a matter of time before the geniuses behind Portlandia do a send-up on the intolerable and pretentious Portland beer snob. Yes, Portland may have the highest concentration of beer snobs in the world but they have every right to be arrogant about their beer. With nearly 40 operating breweries and the most brewpubs per capita in the United States you would have to burn a lot of vacation time (and brain cells) to fully explore what some call Beervana.
Must-See Breweries: Green Man, Pisgah, and Wedge
Not only is Asheville considered one of the most scenic places in the world, but it is quickly developing into a beer Mecca. With around 85,000 residents, Asheville is home to at least 10 craft breweries and more seem to be popping up every day. Local brewers find inspiration from the thriving arts scene, producing some truly unique and innovative brews.
Must-See Breweries: Great Divide, Strange Brewing, Avery (in Boulder)
Peyton Manning didn't choose the Denver Broncos because they're in a weak division and he has a man crush on John Elway. It's clear to us that he went there because Denver has a lot of awesome breweries. Not only is it home to the world's largest yearly beer gathering, The Great American Beer Festival, but the National Brewers Association's headquarters is just 30 miles up the road in Boulder, which has its own stellar beer scene.
Must-See Breweries: Baron Brewing, Georgetown (left), and Epic Ales
One possible reason for the Microsoft brass missing the boat on Google and Facebook is they were caught in the immense labyrinth that is Seattle's beer scene. While not likely, the fact remains that the scale and quality of the Emerald City's craft beer scene has few peers. It doesn't hurt that the city is located near the Yakima Valley, the largest hop-producing region in the United States and of course there's the persistent rain, which makes alcohol consumption a necessary survival skill.
Next: 10 Red Wines for Under $15
Must-See Breweries: Midnight Sun (left), Glacier Brewhouse, Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
Anchorage isn't exactly a stones throw from anywhere in the lower 48 but if you're man enough to make the journey you will be handsomely rewarded with high quality inexpensive beer. There's also the added benefit of going in the summer when it's only dark four hours per day, bringing daytime drinking to a whole new level.