15 Unique US Ale Trails

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Five years ago, an ale trail was a novelty. You might visit some breweries, collect stamps in a brewery-, tourism board- or Brewers Guild-sanctioned Passport, and come home with a t-shirt or some other trinket showing that you completed said trail. Today, it seems like every city, state, or region boasting more than one brewery has an ale trail. With so many options as everyone vies for your beercation dollars, it’s hard to discern which are worthy of your PTO hours and which aren’t.

Thankfully, competition sparks creativity and innovation. Organizers are now moving beyond the “go here and have a flight” mantra of the ale trail trend in its infancy, and are hopping up their beer destination offerings through technology – such as apps and interactive maps – and by including local attractions and food hotspots.

Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail in Virginia

Most of the trails on this list can easily be knocked out on a long weekend – not so with the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Spend a week traversing the trail from Harrisonburg in the north to Lexington in the south. Along the way, experience the history, natural beauty and farm-to-fork cuisine in a region dubbed the Breadbasket of the Confederacy for its role in supplying Southern forces with food.

Peruse the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market with a stop after at Pale Fire Brewing for their Salad Days American Saison, which won both a GABF and World Beer Cup medal; hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail and then celebrate your accomplishment with any of the refreshing hop-forward ales at Waynesboro’s Basic City Beer Co.; visit Natural Bridge State Park – once owned by Thomas Jefferson – and finish the day with a rewarding Belgian Tripel aged in wine barrels at Great Valley Farm Brewery(Photo by Chris Weisler)

Source: The Beer Connoisseur by Bryan Richards. Here are other Top US Ale Trails.