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  7. American Ale Trails And How to RV Them
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  7. American Ale Trails And How to RV Them

American Ale Trails And How to RV Them

Support Craft Brewers As You Travel the Country

Image Caption: Image Shutterstock

When I park the RV at the campground, the first thing I do is pull a cold one out of the fridge while I chock the wheels, unhook the trailer, roll out the awning, sprawl out the camp chairs…you get it. It’s my “set-up beer.” 

Beer and camping just go together. 

In the fall, I savor the taste of rich stouts and nutty amber ales that pair well with the smell of leaves and campfire. In the spring and summer, I stock up on tangy hefeweizens, pilsners, weisses, and shandies to accompany hot days floating down a river. In the winter I’m drinking hot apple cider spiked with whiskey, but that’s another story. 

Everyone RV’s differently, but for me, this kind of intentional travel is an opportunity to slow down and sink into a new place as I learn about the culture, cuisine, and local flavors. 

Shopping at weekly farmer’s markets and dining at farm-to-table restaurants–it’s all part of the slow food experience I enjoy while RVing. Drink and good conversation are also part of the RV journey, which is why I like to find the craft breweries on my travels so I can taste the land and chat up locals. 

Campers toasting beers at campstie

Image Shutterstock

So what does that mean? In Florida, it could be a citrus-infused lager enjoyed over talk of surf and swells. In New Mexico, it’s a spicy IPA with notes of chile, sipped while gossiping about secret hot springs. In Michigan, it’s a ruby red ale tinged with local cherries, accompanied by embellished accounts of Great Lake catches. 

If you’re like me and you can’t resist an artfully crafted brew, then these RV trips along America’s ale trails are itineraries to bookmark. Some of these will take you a long weekend or more to meander your way between several small-town stops. Others will require you to pack the bicycles for a boozy brew crawl that should end safely at your parked RV for the night.

Beer-cations are booming–will you be going camping in pursuit of the best brew?

Cheers, and travel responsibly. 

Bend Ale Trail

 

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It’s no secret that Oregon’s hip high-desert town is a mecca for craft beer enthusiasts. Successfully booting Portland out of the spotlight, Bend has more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in Oregon. The scenic destination has gone “from logging town to lager town,” as they like to say. The Bend Ale Trail experience includes an interactive app and prizes. If you happen to be camping here in November, you’re in luck–it’s Bend Ale Trail month and your exploration of Bend’s boozy haunts could garner you a trophy. New RV hood ornament? 

Start by sampling the breweries in the Old Mill District and around downtown: Deschutes Brewing, Bend Brewing Company, Old Saint Francis, and Boneyard Beer. Rent a bike, take a guided e-bike tour, or hop on the Bend Brew Bus as safe ways to get around. Explore breweries on the outskirts over the course of a few days or a week. Pair your imbibing with hefty helpings of adventure like hiking Smith Rock State Park. Expect to be sipping alongside Bend’s outdoorsy locals, relaxing after a day sending it on Oregon’s desert crags.

RV Camp in Bend:

Brews by Bike via the Washington Old Dominion Trial

 

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Beer just tastes better after you’ve worked up a sweat. While cycling the Washington Old Dominion trail one hot summer day, I found myself fancying an icy Kolsch. I was in luck. Some smart brewers anticipated this desire and set up shop right off the trail. 

Don your spandex and grease the wheels for a lovely ride along this reclaimed rail trail. No need to ride the full 45 miles in one day; there are plenty of places to pick up the trail between Sterling and Purcellville. Inspired by Virginia’s rich agricultural history, brewers have integrated local yeast, produce, and grain into their brews. Look forward to flavors like toffee-tinged amber ales in the colder months, and bright summertime session ales when Virginia turns hot and humid. 

Make it a long stay and explore some of Loudon County’s other ale trails, like the LoCo ale trail and the Brews with a View trail.

RV Camp in Washington-Virginia:

Maine Beer Trail

 

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This New England itinerary is one you’ll want to draw out over several weeks, months, even a few seasons. With over 100 breweries speckled throughout the state, you’ll want to pace yourself and drive responsibly. 

The Maine Brewers Guild makes building a trip between breweries easy with a user-friendly “plan your route,” feature on the website. Create your trip and send it straight to your phone’s map app. Filter your choices by breweries that offer tours, food, or outdoor seating. 

Track your progress on the trail using their app, or paper passport. Garner guild gear once you’ve surpassed 25 breweries. Don’t miss Allagash Brewery in Portland, voted Brewery of the Year at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Experts in Belgian-style beers, their long list of brews feature flavors of Maine, like New England berries and ripe stone fruit.

RV Camp in Maine:

The Gulp Coast Craft Beer Trail

 

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Beach days and beer are an excellent pairing. This Floridian experience takes you along the west coast, from Dunedin down to St. Pete. Cyclists can sample brews while biking the Pinellas trail at Brighter Days Brewery or de Bine Brewery in Tarpon Springs. 

In the artsy city of St. Pete, brewers are creative and cheeky. Sip a “Hazy Mangover,” at Dissent Brewery. Bring along fur family and head to Green Bench Brewery where you can enjoy the Gulf coast breeze on their dog-friendly outdoor beer garden. Pinellas Ale Works, affectionately known as “PAW,” also shares an obvious affinity for four-legged friends.

In total, the Florida west coast trip hits 35 breweries. If you still are craving something hoppy, tack this trip onto the Tampa Bay Ale Trail.

RV Camp in West Florida:

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