It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love…with beers of an often stoutier, and porterer…er variety. If you’re traveling for the holidays, you might consider 3 towns known for imparting the Christmas spirit on even the Grinchiest of characters, that also happen to have solid beer scenes. And beer itself sort of takes care of Grinchiness.
Here are our picks for beery, Christmasy towns:
1) Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth is a gorgeous mountainside town modeled very much in the Bavarian tradition year round. At Christmas, however, it ups the festivity to 11, with a massive townwide Christmas Lighting Festival, a beautiful Bavarian market, sleigh rides, caroling…even a Nutcracker Museum, for Pete’s sake! It’s also home to a some small, but notable breweries, one of which is Icicle Brewing Company. Icicle is located right in the heart of Leavenworth, has a cozy, rustic ambience, and serves up solid beers that cut way across styles. And, if you’re feeling romantic, they have a beautiful patio where you can enjoy your beer while taking in the incredible Christmas mountain views. A short walk from here are the also very cozy, dog friendly, (and tiny) Doghaus Brewery, the pizza-serving, rooftop-viewing Blewett Brewing Co., as well as Der Hinterhoff and Munchen Haus, two craft beer-serving restaurants with stellar food and very in keeping with the Bavarian theme.
2) Asheville, NC
We just keep coming back here, don’t we? Another mountain town that does it right at this time of year. The Biltmore Estate and Omni Grove Park Inn get completely decked out in lights and decorations, making them somehow even more spectacular. And with downtown/South Slope being eminently walkable with shopping and food/beer options everywhere, the whole area lights up to get in the spirit. When it comes to the beer, we’ve checked that box off in previous posts, but find yourself in South Slope, so you can walk between the double-digits beer options while taking in all the decorations.
3) Durango, CO
A beautiful place to explore at any time of year, Durango’s Christmas spirit really comes alive in December. Ever want to ride the “real” Polar Express? Durango brings the story to life on a steam train event you really shouldn’t miss. For another unique train experience, board the Durango Christmas Tree Train, where you’ll actually be transported to the San Juan National Forest and provided with all you need to cut down and take home your own Christmas Tree. Christmas Markets also spring up all around town and Durango, like so many mountain towns do, takes great care to light up and decorate beautifully for the season. And don’t worry about the beer. Durango has Animas, Carver and Steamworks Brewing Companies along with Brew Pub and Kitchen all within walking distance, serving up solid beers, and hearty comfort food to pair with your beverage and the cold Christmas weather. And a short drive away is popular Ska Brewing Company, which has been offering up tasty brews (and food) since 1995! I mean, hell, this is a town that has an annual brew train…these guys know what they’re doing.