Brewery tourism is at an all-time high. When the boss heads to BBC16 in Tampa this summer, she’ll attend an entire session on the concept.
Where breweries were once an occasional highlight of a trip, they’re now becoming the destinations themselves.
This year, Brewers of Pennsylvania has put together their own Summer Road Trip Tasting Excursion for Pennsylvania beer tourists. The suggested itinerary includes eight breweries from across the Commonwealth, from Philadelphia to Erie.
The Summer Road Trip also includes stops in Pittston, Wilks-Barre and Harrisburg along the way. BOP’s plan even offers summer beers to try at each location.
Before heading anywhere, you’ll want to gather these beercation essentials:
- Growlers and growlettes (64 and 32 oz, respectively, if you have them)
- Coolers to keep to-go beer cold
- Snacks for the road
- A killer playlist
- Phone charger to access the BOP app (see below) and Untappd
- PLUS your favorite drinking buddy
BONUS: Hit as many of these BOP-approved stops along the way, and you can score some sweet PA beer swag. First, be sure to download the BOP app:
If you check-ini to four of the eight featured breweries, you will earn Brewers of Pennsylvania swag.
If you make it to all eight, you’ll get the swag PLUS free entry to PA Flavor in 2017. (That is a $50 value all for supporting PA breweries).
Getting to all eight would be a tall task if you’re basing your road trip out of Harrisburg, but the PA Flavor ticket is a pretty good incentive. Making it to four, however, is extremely feasible. There are four in the list that make it easy to pick up some BOP swag and support your local breweries.
Here are two options on how to go about your trip:
Closest to home: Obviously hitting up ZeroDay for anyone is Harrisburg is no big deal, so the first stop is kind of a gimme one. Next, Susquehanna and Lion’s Head are just a 10 minute drive from one another. The choice now comes down to Funk or Saint Benjamin. My choice would be to check out Saint Benjamin’s brand new taproom and then maybe catch a Phillies game while I’m in town.
The weekender: The real problem with hitting all eight is the five-hour drive to Erie. To make it worth it, you should start there one weekend and work your way to Pittsburgh. After leaving Erie, you’re next stop would be one of my new favorite breweries, North Country. End your trip with a long stay at East End Brewing and take in the rest that The Burgh has to offer.
Road trip stops and beer suggestions:
East End Brewing – Pittsburgh
BOP pick: Monkey Boy – a light hefeweizen brewed in the traditional German style
Intern Jimi pick: Big Hop IPA – Lower ABV with a great hop flavor and balance
North County Brewing – Slippery Rock
BOP pick: Margarita Summer (my summer bucket list beer) – Kettle soured ale with lime and orange added
Intern Jimi pick: The Ol’ Two-Niner DIPA – First, because of the Penguins. And second because it was my favorite beer at PA Flavor this year.
ZeroDay Brewing– Harrisburg
BOP pick: Mango Hab – the perfect balance of sweet and heat that is perfect for a summer afternoon
Intern Jimi Pick: Midtown Mule – A splash of their ginger beer in the Wit’s End makes this a must-have summer drink
Susquehanna Brewing Company – Pittston
BOP pick: Shady Spot Lemon Shandy – a traditional English-style shandy that marries the tastes of beer and lemonade
Intern Jimi pick: Hopcellerator IPA – a traditional west coast IPA that brings a fresh, crisp hop taste with every sip (Editor’s note: Also what Sara drinks 90% of the time at Millworks)
Saint Benjamin Brewing – Philadelphia
BOP pick: Liaison Saison – lightly hopped, dry saison with notes of peppercorn and lavender finish.
Intern Jimi pick: Junto – a kolsch ale brewed with coffee beans has summer shower/morning beer written all over it
Funk Brewing Company – Emmaus
BOP pick: Double Citrus IPA – imperial IPA brewed with hops that give this IPA a crisp and citrusy flavor
Intern Jimi pick: Citrus IPA – after hanging around for a while grab a sixer of this beer to show off at your next party
The Brewerie – Erie
BOP pick: Uncle Jackson’s Blonde Ale – a crisp blonde ale that is full in body
Intern Jimi pick: Mango-Papaya Wheat Ale – I mean, does anything sound more like summer than that?
The Lion Brewery – Wilkes-Barre
BOP pick: Lion’s Head Light – a light pilsner brewed that is perfect for any hot summer day
Intern Jimi pick: Lion’s Head – The drink of my college day and still holds true as a quality cheap beer alternative
Along with these, you can find even more great breweries (and more) along the way
Hanover: With four breweries, three within walking distance from another, Hanover is a perfect place to spend the day trying different brews in four very different settings. Add a stop to The Winner’s Circle (no not the one in Grantville) to find one of the hidden gems of the area.
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Ephrata/Adamstown/Rheemstown: Three breweries that are separated by just a few miles. Start at St. Boniface with Paidiea Pale Ale, head down to Union Barrel Works and end at Stoudt’s Brewery, one of our area’s most historic breweries.
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Brewery road trips have been a staple of my summers for the past few years. Whether it’s with the boss, friends or family, some of my best memories have been made during these trips. Keep an eye out for the upcoming field trips that Sara and I will embark on throughout the summer.