Grab a Cold One at U.S. Beer Festivals

Beer Festivals

tnarik, Flickr

Over your New Year's hangover? Good, because it's time to get sudsy. If you haven't been to a local beer festival, make it a resolution for 2011. They're a great way to tap into the craft beer explosion that puts mega brewers to shame. Here are five places to start:

Zwickelmania isn't a festival per se. It's more of an open house during which dozens of Oregon breweries welcome in the public. The free event is state wide, so, no matter where you are in Oregon, you can tour your favorite brewery and test their wares . Check the website for a good map to guide you.

Kona Brewers Festival
As if you didn't already need to an excuse to go to Hawaii, this would be a good one. You might not have guessed there were so many breweries on the islands, but the Brewers Festival, which brings together local brewers and chefs, will school you. The event also includes a 5k and a 10k race, golf tournament and a home brew contest. Aloha indeed.

Atlantic City Beer Festival
Spend some quality time down the shore by heading to the Atlantic City Beer Festival which showcases over 75 American and international brewers and breweries. Visitors can buy tickets to one of three sessions where they can sample brews from the likes of Troegs, Flying Fish and Magic Hat. Plus, the event's location is a short walk from the Boardwalk, and all the pleasures and vices Atlantic City has to offer.

Beer City Festival
Check out downtown Asheville, North Carolina with a beer in hand and tune in your ear at the Beer City Festival. The festival is co-sponsored by the Asheville Brewers Alliance, which has over a dozen members – not a bad number considering Asheville isn't a huge town. Still, it's been named Beer City USA three years running, and you can try the best of its brews at this summertime festival.

The OC Brew Ha Ha
Forget what you've learned about Orange County from The OC, or those housewives shows. These guys can throw a beer fest. The OC Brew Ha Ha features over 100 kinds of beers from over 50 Southern California breweries. Even better? It's also for a good cause. In memory of 9/11, a portion of the proceeds benefit the Fallen Fire Fighters Relief Fund and other charities.
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