It is a little embarrassing to admit I have enough boozy trips to fill a blog post. Truthfully though, does that surprise you about me? Recently my boozy trips have taken a bit of a detour. For decades I was all about the wine, but the craft beer craze has suddenly captured my attention. Living virtually in Miller Valley, it took a while for the craft beer explosion to shake Milwaukee. Now that it has, I am a convert.
I still love the earthy ambiance of a boutique winery. What I love about craft beverages is the experimental spirit (some pun intended) within the industries. It fascinates me that a slight tweak of weather, soil, timing, processing, storage materials and ingredients can create a limitless variety of drinkable products. Now both vintners and brewers are branching out into distilling. I am not above learning to appreciate Scotch, Bourbon, Tequila…………etc. Let’s Go Learn Things with a drink in our hand:
Creating itineraries around breweries is probably the youngest of the boozy trips style. The craft beer industry grows exponentially every year here in the U.S. Hot spots like California, Oregon and Colorado draw beer lovers from around the world. The basic ingredients of water, grain, hops and yeast are the tinker toys for brewers looking to push the envelope. See my post on Beercations full of ideas for your next brewery hop. Or this post on our Beer Crawl in Colorado.
Traveling to wine regions across the world has been a popular form of boozy trips for generations. The wine industry in the U.S. dates back to the late 20th century. But wine production in other parts of the world is much older. Who hasn’t dreamed of a picturesque journey through France, Italy or Germany’s wine regions. Meeting the winemakers and tasting their small batch, non-distributed treasures are my favorite discoveries on these boozy trips.
Old World Wine Regions
- Chianti Trail in Tuscany, Italy
- Mosel Valley on the German Wine Route
- Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace etc The blog Wine Folly describes France’s wine country this way:
If you drank a new wine each night, it would take 8 years to drink your way through France.
New World Wine Regions
- Napa, Sonoma and Russian River in U.S.
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Colchagua Valley in Chile
- Barossa Valley in South Australia
- Marlborough in New Zealand
Distilled spirits (such as brandy, whisky, rum, or vodka) are created from wine (or other fermented fruit juice) or a starchy material (grain) that has first been brewed. So naturally winemakers and brewers find that they have the perfect left-over by-products to venture into distilling. This past summer we visited Grey Wolf Winery / Krobar Distilling in Paso Robles, California and learned a bit about the process. See my post on the boozy trips here.
- United States. See this article on The Travel Channel for the Top Ten Craft Distilleries in U.S. Not surprisingly, several of the spots are also well-known wine and beer regions.
- Scotch Whiskey in Scotland. Recently we have been bingeing on the Outlander series set in 18th century Scotland. Also our son is a Scotch drinker. So this Christmas I hit the Scotch aisle at the liquor store. After a 45 min tutorial from the store’s “scotch-guy”, I came home with a bottle of Battlehill Scotch and a burning desire to visit the Scotch regions of Scotland!!!
- Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. Check out this Tequila Trail article in Travel and Leisure.
- Bourbon Whiskey in Kentucky. It’s big business for the Bluegrass State. But more than industry, Bourbon is a culture, a part of American history and heritage built by generations of Kentuckians from as early as the late 18th century. Follow the Bourbon Trail throughout Kentucky, visiting the large iconic and the tiny craft distilleries.
Be sure to check out all the posts in The 12 Days of Travel Themes;
Part 1: Culinary Tourism
Part 2: Fairs and Festivals
Part 3: Historic Destinations
Part 4: Museums
Part 5: Boozy Trips
Part 6: Get Outdoors
Part 7: Agritourism
Part 8: Urban Adventures
Part 9: Scenic Road Trips
Part 10: Literary Travels
Part 11: The Arts
Part 12 : Oddities
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