10BEST: Cool spots for craft beers

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 boo

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WICKED WEED BREW­ING, ASHEVILLE, N.C.

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 Euro­peanstyle brews in south­ern Ore­gon, but also a laid-back place to en­joy them. pFriem, 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

BRASSNECK BREW­ERY, VAN­COU­VER, CANADA

This Pa­cific city’s cel­e­brated for its grand moun­tain and ocean views, but it also has cozy neigh­bor­hoods in­clud­ing Mount Pleas­ant, home to a small-batch brew­ery. Founded by a Bri­tish ex-pat, it fea­tures a busy, rus­tic tast­ing room lined with scrap wood. brassneck.ca

BISSELL BROTHERS, PORT­LAND, MAINE

While its lo­ca­tion on a Fore River point is no­table, Bar­ton also is 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 also are out­door ar­eas for food trucks and pic­nic ta­bles. “It’s a nice place to be, in­side and out­side.” bis­sell­broth­ers.com

BAL­LAST POINT BREW­ING CO., SAN DIEGO

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 in­cu­ba­tor in beer tal­ent.” bal­last­point.com

HOOK NOR­TON BREW­ERY, HOOK NOR­TON, ENG­LAND

With steam-pow­ered ma­chin­ery and shire horses de­liv­er­ing beer to lo­cal pubs, this brew­ery seems to be lifted from the Vic­to­rian Era. Dat­ing to the 1850s, the equip­ment uses grav­ity, in­stead of a pump, to move water and beer around the build­ing. “It makes some very clas­sic Bri­tish beers,” says Bar­ton, who used to visit when he was a univer­sity stu­dent in nearby Ox­ford. “You can sit out­side in a ru­ral coun­try pub, and have a few pints.” hooky.co.uk With steam-pow­ered ma­chin­ery and shire horses de­liv­er­ing beer to lo­cal pubs, Eng­land’s Hook Nor­ton Brew­ery seems to be lifted from the Vic­to­rian era.

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ME­AN­DER RIVER FARM AND BREW­ERY, CANADA

This cot­tage brew­ery in Nova Sco­tia has made its name for coun­try-style beer-mak­ing. “It’s a very idyl­lic farm with red-roof barns and a hop gar­den — a sus­tain­able, holis­tic ap­proach to brew­ing,” Bar­ton says. The fam­ily-owned en­ter­prise also grows laven­der and fresh-cut flow­ers, and raises live­stock. me­an­der­river­farm.ca

PILSNER URQUELL, CZECH REPUB­LIC

Beer lovers know this sto­ried brew­ery for its golden lager, but oth­ers will just en­joy the set­ting, with a dou­ble-arched front gate and 175-year-old lime­stone cel­lars lined with bar­rels and cop­per ket­tles. “You can tell from the grandeur that this is a very his­toric place, a venue that pro­duces a global beer,” Bar­ton says. pil­snerurquell.com

4 PINES BREW­ING COM­PANY, SYD­NEY

Even the trip to this brew­ery is mem­o­rable: a ferry ride from down­town Syd­ney, pass­ing the Opera House and Har­bour Bridge be­fore ty­ing up on Manly Beach, just out­side its front door. “It’s right on a sandy cres­cent beach with warm water and a row of tall pine trees. It’s a clas­sic Syd­ney beer ex­pe­ri­ence,” Bar­ton says. 4pines­beer.com.au

LEVEL33, SIN­GA­PORE

Brew­eries aren’t lim­ited to an­cient abbeys or bustling en­ter­tain­ment dis­tricts. This Asian beer-maker has set up shop in the pent­house on the 33rd floor of a fi­nan­cial tower, of­fer­ing vis­i­tors sweep­ing city and bay views. “You’re in one of the world’s most fu­tur­is­tic cities,” Bar­ton says. And the brews are worth­while too. “There’s a good blond lager and all sorts of other beers to try.” LeVeL33.com.sg

ART MERIPOL, EXPLOREASHEVILLE.COM

Asheville, N.C. claims to have the most brew­eries per capita in the na­tion, in­clud­ing such spots as Wicked Weed.

HOOK NOR­TON BREW­ERY

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