With the explosion of craft breweries, good beer is more accessible than ever. But some places are worth an extra trip just for the scenery. “There’s a huge variety of beer experiences all over the world,” says Robin Barton, who helped produce the new book Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour (Lonely Planet, $19.99). “With few exceptions, you’re never far from a beer wherever you are.” He shares some favorites with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.
Wicked Weed Brewing
Outdoorsy and artsy, Asheville is a natural for beer lovers: The city claims to have the most breweries per capita in the nation. Barton singles out Wicked Weed, which offers visitors dozens of proprietary draft beers. A second location a few blocks away focuses on barrel-aged sour beers. “It’s a handsome brewery with slightly raw fixtures and fittings in a great mountain town.” wickedweedbrewing.com
PFriem Family Brewers
Hood River, Ore.
Not only can you find European-style brews in southern Oregon, but also a laid-back place to enjoy them. PFriem, located near the Colombia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, has a patio with fire pit and sits across the street from a waterfront park. “There’s a big windsurfing scene, and it’s also known for great cycling and hiking,” Barton says. “It’s a refreshing outdoorsy spot to explore some very serious and highly regarded Belgian beer.” pfriembeer.com
While its location on a Fore River point is notable, Barton is also impressed by the interior of this brewery. “It’s a huge airy taproom with very high ceilings, street-art murals on the inside and industrial beams,” he says. There are also outdoor areas for food trucks and picnic tables. “It’s a nice place to be inside and outside.” bissellbrothers.com
Ballast Point Brewing Co.
Based in San Diego’s lively Little Italy, this spot has an ideal setting just a few blocks from the waterfront. “It’s got a very appealing street-side location in a pretty neighborhood, just north of downtown,” says Barton, who once lived in the area. It also turns out great brews. “It’s very much an…