Following the path partially forged by Boston-born breweries – think Samuel Adams and Harpoon – Vermont has been churning out some of the country's best craft beer for going on two decades. In that time, the state has emerged as a pseudo–Napa Valley of beer; a place connoisseurs swill carefully and have long conversations about aftertaste.

During July's Vermont Brewers Festival in Burlington, Magic Hat, Long Trail Switchback, and roughly 40 other brews compete for accolades amid some impressive Adirondack scenery. Experimenting with the seemingly unlimited number of craft beers available on the shelf or behind the bar can be an intimidating endeavor so seek out a local (look for beards) and ask what he prefers.

More information: The festival takes place at the Burlington Waterfront Park, July 19–20. Tasting Tickets are $30 per session, and include a souvenir tasting glass. Designated drivers can get in for $5.