5 Epic Bike and Brew Beer-cations
Earn your brews on the world’s best self-propelled brewery tours
There are few things in life better than a multi-day bike tour. It gives you the chance to travel at a slower pace that few people experience—with time to drink in a spectacular countryside, meet good people along the way and, if you're doing it right, discover what you're made of. Now picture that, with breaks along the way to quaff refreshing, locally-made craft beers. Yup, that's even better. Because there are so many fantastic road biking destinations in the world and, with the recent craft beer explosion, so many great local beers available, we decided to help you narrow it down to some of the best out there. Four of these five brewery tours (Bavaria's not included) are fully guided and include everything you need—accommodation, food, routes—but worry. Time to start pedaling.
Company: Mount Major Adventures
Tour: Vermont Bike and Brewery Challenge
It’s no secret that Vermont boasts the most breweries per capita of any state, and on this epic, 200-mile ride, you’ll visit more than half of them. Pedal past New England dairies and covered bridges in this self-supported back roads pub-crawl.
Notable Breweries: The Alchemist, Otter Creek, Switchback, Magic Hat
Craft brews are exploding in popularity across the U.S., but the breweries of Belgium have a centuries-long lead on our trendiest local IPA. Roll 219 gentle miles across the relatively flat Flanders region of northern Belgium, where iconic Dutch windmills stand alongside ancient villages, and chocolate and cheese offer plenty of fuel for your ride. Delerium Café in Brussels is the first stop on this 10-day tour, and its 2,000-plus beers (a world record!) offer only a small taste of what’s to come.
Notable Breweries: Bosteels (makers of Tripel), Van Steenberg, Huyghe (makers of Delirium Tremens), De Dolle
Company: Cog Wild
Tour: Bend Bike and Brew
Ride hard and play hard on this fast-paced, three-day mountain bike tour, the perfect introduction to Bend, Mountain Bike Action’s top-voted mountain biking town and home to 11 breweries. Rip through 100-plus miles of singletrack—some of which are exclusive, thanks to Cog Wild’s special use permits—in the nearby Mount Hood National Forest and Three Sisters Wilderness, stopping for lunch at secluded lakes tucked away in the Cascades. At the end of each day, crash at the Phoenix Inn, just a stone’s throw from some of Bend’s top microbreweries, like Deschutes and Bend Brewing. The first mountain bike and brew tour we’ve found, it’s customized to fit each rider’s ability.
Notable Breweries: Deschutes, Bend, Goodlife, 10 Barrel
Company: Hooked on Cycling
Tour: The Beer Tour
With an average of one microbrewery per kilometer, Bavaria’s Aisch Valley boasts the highest concentration of breweries in the world. Take in some of the 70-plus romantic ruins on Germany’s so-called “Castle Road,” flanked by idyllic farmlands that haven’t lost their medieval charms. Choose between routes along the Main-Danube Canal or agricultural tracks along the banks of the Regnitz before putting your feet up in Bamberg, Bavaria’s beer capital.
Notable Breweries: Aischgrunder, Fässla, Prechtel, Burgerbrau
Company: Bicycling Adventures
Tour: Pub and Pedal California Tour
Northern California is a land of pristine beaches, towering redwoods, hot springs and hop-heavy West Coast-style IPAs (oh, right, and wine—but that’s not what you’re here for), and that’s exactly what you’ll find on this week-long tour. Start at the Golden Gate Bridge, swing by Stinson Beach, visit the birthplace of the double IPA along the Russian River, soak it all in at Vichy Springs Resort, then swing back toward San Francisco. If that wasn’t enough, the early October tour ends at Marin County’s Biketoberfest, an annual bike building and beer-drinking extravaganza.
Notable Breweries: Russian River, Lagunitas, Anderson Valley, Bear Republic