Over the past decade, the craft beer industry has seen an explosion of growth, allowing enthusiasts to try local brews from Portland, Ore., all the way to Portland, Maine. With that, we offer up a perfect pairing of a few of our favorite tap rooms and camping spots. We’ll journey from east to west and even if you’re not a beer aficionado, there’s plenty to like at each destination.
Foundation Brewery founders Joel Mahaffey and John Bonney met a few years back at a home brewing club in Bangor. Their friendship, talent and passion have taken them out of the home kitchen and into a sparkling new brewery that opened in 2014.
These brewmasters have chosen to craft their beers in the saison style, which originated from the Belgian area of Wallonia. Saison beers were brewed in the winter to slake the thirst of the farm workers in the summer. Foundation’s two lead beers are “Blaze,” which is a farmhouse IPA and the more traditional saison “Eddy,” which is a little drier.
Bayley’s Pine Point Camping Resort
Bayley’s is like summer camp for adults, kids and whole families. It’s a sprawling 250-acre resort that boasts two stores, three pools, three fishing ponds, rental cabins, and even rental trailers. While not right on the seashore, Bayley’s offers a free trolley-style shuttle to take you to the beach and local attractions.
Allagash Brewing Co.
In 1995 Rod Tod founded Allagash, taking his inspiration from Belgian brewers. Over the years, Allagash has developed six year-round beers that all have unique seasoning and drinking characteristics. Additionally, when you stop by the brewery you’ll invariably get a chance to try some limited run and seasonal beers.
Rod has taken a very principled stance in business responsibility by running the brewery with 100 percent renewable wind energy and developing a composting program.
The Hillock family will happily welcome you to this idyllic summer and fall paradise that boasts a one mile sandy beach around a 30-acre private lake. In the family for six generations, they have played hosts to many generations of guests who return year after year to swim, paddle, fish and enjoy summer-long activities like Christmas-, Halloween- and Easter-themed weekends.
von Stiehl Winery
Now don’t let the word winery throw you off track. Though von Stiehl is the oldest licensed winery in Wisconsin, it’s also the brewers and purveyors of some fine full-flavored craft beers that harken back to old regional lagers dating to the Civil War at the Algoma Tap Room, which is just two doors down from the winery
Undecided? At von Stiehl’s you’ll also find traditional wines like a highly regarded Cabernet Savignon and best-selling Reisling. Still want more choice? Then make sure you sample some of their specialty products like the brandy fortified cherry wine.
Ahnapee River Trails Campground
Just a short drive from the shore of Lake Michigan, Ahnapee is set in a quiet country location with great sites, lovely trees, and a heated pool. It’s a perfect place for a quick weekend getaway or several days of boating (on their own lake), fishing, or hopping onto the adjacent Ahnapee State trail for a walk, hike or bike ride.
You can take a canoe ride down the beautiful Ahnapee River or plan to attend Shanty Days in Algoma in August with plenty of food, crafts and live entertainment.
Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Heritage counts in perfecting a great brew, and the founder of this brewery, Jacob Leinenkugel, started the business in 1867. Today, the fifth generation of Leinenkugels carry that great tradition forward. To hoist a foam topped glass to your lips is to sip from a long tradition of German brewers who, for decades, made Wisconsin the epicenter of American beer. Tours are free, and the sampling generous. Dining is also fun at the adjacent restaurant, Leinie’s.
O'Neil Creek Campground
Chippewa Falls, Wis.
In 2014, O’Neil Creek Campground celebrated its 50th anniversary. From tenters to big rig RVs it offer a a wide array of on-site activities. Water sports include inner tubes, rowing, canoes and paddle boats on the lake with natural beach. There are both camping cabins and travel trailer rentals, too. The campground has themed weekends from spring through fall that includes pirates, Santa Claus, cars and motorcycles, Hawaiian luaus and much, much more.
On the western slope of Colorado the town of Gunnison is in the heart of Rocky Mountain hiking, fly fishing, hunting and boating activities, and the Gunnison Brewery is a great place to enjoy a pint after a full day of Colorado sunshine. Open year-round, this modestly sized craft brewery cranks up the volume especially during summer with several unique batches brewed each week. Names like “Mountain Mild,” “Gunrack Golden,” and “River Day Pale Ale,” pay tribute to the great outdoor adventures you’ll find all along the Gunnison river and its tributaries.
Gunnison Lakeside RV Park and Cabins
Overlooking Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest lake in the state, Gunnison Lakeside RV Park and Cabins welcome not only RVers and campers, but also off-road and watercraft (no extra charge). Fishing on all the waters in the region is excellent, but the real big ones are lurking under the surface of the reservoir where quite a few record-sized fish have been taken. The town of Gunnison is a short 12-mile drive to the east and the campground’s high site provides exceptional views of Blue Mesa and the snow-crested peaks of Colorado.
Denver’s known for its 300 days a year of sunshine and, from Denver to Fort Collins, the area has one of the nation’s largest collection of breweries from the biggest names in beer: Coors in Golden, Anheuser Busch in Fort Collins and dozens of smaller breweries. In downtown Denver you can rent a B-Cycle bicycle and ride between several craft breweries within a one mile radius. This is one heck of an adventurous and fun way to spend an afternoon or evening. Many of these breweries don’t serve food, but not to worry — great food trucks are always parked out in front.
Dakota Ridge is strategically situated just to the west of downtown Denver right at the base of the foothills of the Rockies. This well-maintained park can accommodate RVs and towables of any size. Most importantly, it’s less than a 10-minute drive to the huge Coors Brewery in Golden. And even more importantly, it’s about a 10-block walk from the new west light rail station that will take you right to the heart of downtown Denver where you can either walk or ride a B-Cycle to Denver’s vibrant brew-pub scene.
The Alpine Beer Company
In 2002, firefighter Pat Mcilhenney opened The Alpine Beer Company. As demand for boutique beers has rapidly grown, so has Alpine Beer. In 2009, Pat retired as a chief and, along with his wife and son, devotes his time to pursuing beer perfection.
Some the names alone will give you a sense of why many Southern Californians find it an easy trip to drive up to the cooler mountain climate of Alpine and quench their thirst with beers named: Willy Vanilly, Apricot Nectar, Captain Stout and Pure Hoppiness.
Ma-Tar-Awa RV Camper Park
Especially when summer days get a little too warm inland to the east of San Diego, the higher altitude of the Ma-Tar-Awa RV Camper Park is a great place to escape to. With 81 RV hook-ups, an on-site store, and temperate high-desert climate the park is a great starting spot for exploring the town of Alpine and its pine-treed forests. The park also offers a convenient shuttle to the Viejas casino nearby.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
If the name sounds familiar to you, it should. Started in 1980 by home brewers Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi, Sierra Nevada is the second best-selling craft beer in the United States and the seventh largest brewery. Yet despite its lofty position in the beer hierarchy, a visit to its tap room still reflects its small town roots.
Of course, its well-known Pale Ale with its unique piney and grapefruit aromas is a great place to start. However, this is also a great opportunity to sample some of the other tasty, but lesser known brews such as the Torpedo Extra IPA, Old Chico Brand Crystal Wheat and Belgian-Style Blonde IPA.
Quail Trails Village RV Park
Where the Cascades transition into the Sierras, Quail Trails offers a forested, cool and relaxing home in the northern California mountains. At 1,600 feet in elevation, Quail Trails is below the winter snow line and remains open year-round. There are great sites for tent campers and extra elbow room for big rigs with multiple slides. And from many sites in the park there are great views of the spectacular Feather River Canyon.
Full Sail Brew Pub
Hood River, Ore.
From its perch on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, the view from Full Sail is a feast for the eyes and the cold Full Sail Amber is a reward for the lips. The brewery is located in an old cannery and as part of their community ethic, the employee-owned Full Sail supports nearly 300 community events a year
Taste-wise you might enjoy sampling some of their pre-Prohibition style lagers, which are multiple gold medal winning beers. And make sure to ask about their Bourbon barrel one-year old aged beer!
Bridge RV Park & Campground
White Salmon, Wash.
The Bridge RV Park & Campground is located right across the Columbia River from the town of Hood River. It’s open year-round with excellent RV sites and rental cottages. It’s the perfect base camp for hiking, sailboarding, sightseeing and, of course, beer tasting.
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Ninkasi is the Sumerian goddess of fermentation, which co-owners Nikos Ridge and Jamie Floyd think is a pretty perfect name for their boutique 55-barrel brewing system that has a capacity of 95,000 barrels per year.
The brewery is located in Eugene’s historic Whiteaker neighborhood. And it’s well worth coming for the free tour of the entire process, topped off by one of he Ninkasi family of brands: Flagship, Seasonal Release, Special Release, Prismatic Lager, Single Hop, and R&D Series.
Premier RV Resorts
Premier operates several excellent properties in Oregon and northern California. Big rig drivers will be happy to know that the Eugene park has 82 pull-through concrete sites that are over 50 feet long! Of course, being a Premier property means there will be a spotless pool, laundry facility, work-out room and on-property store.
So there you have it — a good start and a little inspiration to see America through the bottom of an empty, frosty glass beer mug. Enjoy the ride, the sights and fun, and above all, drink responsibly.