During the tail end of our Covid-19 pandemic there are a lot of benefits of a Staycation. No rushing to the airport, no jet lag, less planning, saves money, great for short breaks, safer travel, no chance of being quarantined overseas, less travel time and from our point of view, you can stay in the beautiful Northwest and enjoy a beer. One of the reasons that people from all over the world travel to the Pacific Northwest is to sample our world class beers. Seattle was at the forefront of the great Craft Beer Renaissance and has had a worldwide reputation for innovative beers for over 35 years.
If you are from the Pacific Northwest, we know you appreciate a great craft beer. When you travel you probably make a point of ordering the local brew and you may even seek out the small, independent breweries. No doubt you have a favorite pub where you can find your favorites on tap. If you are lucky enough you live close by a brewery in your town or neighborhood. But when was the last time you ventured out in our own backyard and tried some new beers? There are over 400 breweries in the State of Washington and over 300 in Oregon. There are over 60 breweries in the city limits of Seattle alone. You can start your Beer Lover’s Staycation now and be enjoying a beer in less than an hour.
Organizing your Beer Staycation
Unlike a regular vacation there are no passports, plane tickets or finding a dog sitter. Just head out and start enjoying yourself. Of course, you do not want this to be just a common pub crawl. Think about it for just a minute and make this staycation memorable. Find some new breweries you have not tried before. Explore some new towns or neighborhoods. Unfortunately, because of the volatility of the craft brewery market, there is no well-maintained list of breweries on the internet, but Google “brewery close to me” and I guarantee you will find a number of great places. Here are some suggested Beer Staycation itineraries.
Brewery Road Trip
If you have ever been wine tasting in Napa or in our own Columbia Valley you know how easily this can be done. Many of the small towns across the state have a craft brewery. Many of the smaller cities may have a half a dozen breweries, not to mention those breweries and taprooms at the end of a secluded country road or near a mountain pass. There are a couple hundred between Bellingham and Olympia. Double check their websites or Facebook pages to make sure they are open and head out. Take a few days and stay in a motel or camp site along the way.
Remember, it is dangerous to drink and drive and it is against the law to drive while intoxicated so plan your trip accordingly. Do not overindulge at each stop, you are supposed to be enjoying the beers not guzzling. Pace yourself, this is a vacation so take your time. Drink plenty of water. Get something to eat. Many of the breweries have food. Bring along a designated driver and know your limits.
It is still a Staycation if you drive or take a bus to a destination and rent a hotel room or AirBnB for one or two nights. Many of the fun and picturesque towns across the state have two or more breweries including Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Yakima (one of the birthplaces of American Craft Brewing), Spokane, Tri-cities, Olympia, Chehalis, Centralia, Aberdeen, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Bellingham, and there are even a few breweries in our neighbor to the south, Portland.
Plan on spending the night. Find a room, a bed-and-breakfast or an AirBnB within walking distance of one or more of the breweries. This is a great way to explore different parts of the state and meet some of the locals. Try some of the amazing beers you have never experienced before.
Visit the Big City
If you are a world traveler, you know that Seattle is not that big of a city, but it is the biggest city we’ve got. It is also a big beer city. About 30 years ago Michael Jackson (not THAT one, the Beer Hunter) told me that there are five great beer cities in the world: Munich, Amsterdam, London, Dublin, and Seattle. Perhaps he was just pandering to a local, but I tend to agree with him. There are about 60 breweries within the city limits, so you are never far from a great glass of beer. Find a hotel or an AirBnB, settle in for a couple of days and start your adventure. It is easy to call a Lyft or an Uber and start exploring.
Some of the neighborhoods have a higher concentration of breweries. Parts of town like Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Freemont, and Greenwood all have two or three breweries you can walk to, but the real concentration is in Ballard’s Brewing District. Within a squre mile area you will find about 15 breweries. Some are across the street from each other. In the evenings there will be a food trucks parked out in front of most of them.
Even if you live in Seattle or one of the suburbs, get out of your neighborhood and visit a brewery in another part of town. I guarantee you will find something new and wonderful.
If your Staycation plans involve Seattle, consider joining me on a walking brewery tour. We will visit 3 breweries in the Ballard Brewing District or in Georgetown. At each brewery we will sample four different beers and learn about how to taste beers, about the different styles of beers, how beer is made and the history of beer. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really is fun. Click the button below to find a time to go on a tour.
Because of the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, many of the breweries may require masks and may limit seating. If you are not sure about the rules and restrictions it would be best to call ahead or check their website or Facebook page.
Do you have a great Beer Staycation suggestion? Let us know in the comments below.