At the Source Itself
Breweries rank among the nation's best drinking venues, not because of their superb IPAs and stouts — well, at least not just because of their beer — but because they're located on some of America's most epic estates. Sierra Nevada's North Carolina digs, situated on the French Broad River in Mills River, features 190 forested acres, a lushly landscaped amphitheater, and guided nature hikes. Oxbow Brewery sits in rural Newcastle, Maine, amid 18 acres of woods dotted with a pond, remote logging roads, and a sunny farmhouse that visitors can rent out, then saunter over to the rustic taproom for saisons. Central Ohio's Rockmill Brewery occupies a pastoral former horse farm, where Belgian-style beers are brewed in stables and served beside a crackling fireplace. Berryessa Brewing is hunkered in the heart of California wine country, where it produces tropical double IPAs among rolling vineyards and orchards. But perhaps the most scenic place in the country to drink beer is Pacific City, Oregon's Pelican Pub and Brewery, planted in the sand on the majestic Pacific coast. Order a crisp, fruity Kiwanda Cream Ale before taking in the killer Technicolor sunset bathing Haystack Rock, a 327-foot monolith that recalls the horn of a craggy creature surfacing from the ocean's depths. Instagram it, sure, but #nofilter is needed.