Summer. It’s hard enough to work forty hours in a windowless-cubicle, but when it’s gorgeous out and the mountains are calling? Forget it.
Throw in a stressful week and I am especially dreaming wistfully of traveling for hiking and the beer that follows. I have quite a few excursions in the greater PNW planned for the remainder of the year, but my greater USA-area bucket list is growing ever-so rapidly. Here’s a list of five gorgeous places outside of the Pacific Northwest I wish I were hiking at, and the beer I’d have post-hike. As I’ve never been to these places, no photos are mine, so I hoped I credited them properly!
The Wave/Horseshoe Bend/Antelope Canyon
I mean, just look at the Wave, located near the Utah-Arizona border. Stunning. I am a wuss in heat and apparently even if you do get a lottery permit for the Wave it’s a wake-up at an ungodly hour, but where’s the fun in having easily-achieved stuff on your bucket list? Many people who miss out on the permit for the Wave happily accept Antelope Canyon as their backup, with the famous Horseshoe Bend a quick detour away.
Post-Hike Beer: No breweries close by those locations (to the best of my knowledge) but I’d try to obtain a six-pack from Chandler-based SanTan brewing to enjoy post-hike. After inevitably losing a gallon of sweat hiking in the desert, what better to drink than their 5% Mr. Pineapple wheat ale?
Arches National Park
Really, any of the national parks or monuments in Utah look stunning. But there’s something about Arches that calls to me–maybe the over 2,000 sandstone arches? Some of the most picturesque sights are less than a mile hike–doable even in the heat of summer. I’d love to challenge myself with the Fiery Furnace–but maybe the ranger-led option.
Post-Hike Beer: Utah has a reputation for being teetotalers, but there is some great beer to be had there. While everyone likes Epic, I personally want to try the closer-to-Arches Moab Brewery–among the many tasty beers available, they have the Rocket Bike Amber Lager. If it is anything like the discontinued Redhook No Equal amber lager, I will be a very happy girl.
Everglades National Park
Really? The girl who hates humidity and ran screaming away from a rattlesnake wants to go to the Everglades? Yes, really! I love a boardwalk and wild animals, so Everglades sounds like something I cannot miss. One-point-five million acres makes me think there’s plenty room to avoid seeing a panther, gator, or poisonous snake (but still see a manatee, turtles, and many types of birds). They offer multiple opportunities for camping, including backcountry elevated camping platforms called chickees!
Post-Hike Beer: I know when I go to Florida for the first time, I’ll be seeking out Cigar City brewing’s beer like a heat-seeking missile. Unfortunately, being in Tampa I might have to settle for a six-pack of the Jai Alai IPA while resting on my chickee. Luckily, there are brick-and-mortar options closer to Everglades NP, including the neon-adorned M.I.A. beer company, with a 10% Tourist Trappe tripel enticing me. I’ve been dreaming of visiting the Florida Keys as well, and they have their own brewery as well! Florida Keys Brewing Co. makes a honey hibiscus kolsch called Iguana Bait–not normally a kolsch fan, but I’d make an exception in this case, especially from their mermaid tap handles!
After having some famous, grand national parks, I put Asheville for hiking? I’ll admit, Asheville is an area I’d go to for beer first, hiking second. Asheville has been on my list for a long time, but I did not feel I could give my tourism dollars to North Carolina post ‘bathroom bill.’ I know many business owners are adamantly pro LGBTQ, so it’s not fair for them to suffer, but it’s a matter of principle for me, even with the recent fix (that didn’t fully solve the issue). Luckily, the hikes I want to do–many stunning waterfall hikes, like Seven Falls pictured to the right, and Pisgah National Forest, aren’t going anywhere.
Post-Hike Beer: As I have said before, I still support breweries that have been bought by ‘the big boys,’ so Wicked Weed, especially their experimental Funkatorium, will be a must-visit, with their Milk and Cookies stout and Oh My Quad Belgian. I’d wash down a platter of grilled oysters from Oyster House Brewing Company with their Step Papa pale ale, and yearn for Scottish roots while sipping a Mandarina IPA at Highland Brewing Company (because if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap). This is just a small list of the breweries I’d visit in Asheville.
Mojave National Preserve/Joshua Tree
I’ll never forget the first time I saw a Joshua tree. My uncle had moved from Long Beach to Tehachapi, California, which was decidedly less accessible by plane–this trip required a rental car. As my brother and I bickered, the sites around me changed from palm trees to…what is that thing? I had heard of the U2 Joshua Tree album, but I had no clue that it was A) a real tree and b) quite possibly from an alien planet. Driving to and from Tehachapi I was always starry-eyed at the views of these alien trees poking out of the desert. I’ll admit, I always assumed since the town of Mojave was near and there was tons of desert around us that this was Mojave National Preserve we were driving through–nope, that’s two hours away. Joshua Tree National Park is even further from Tehachapi, clocking in at 3 hours drive (not figuring in the inevitable traffic). No matter, I still want to go to either!
Post-Hike Beer: While there are tons of Cali (NorCal and San Diego) breweries I love and seek out while in the Sunshine State, I’d have to go local while hiking in the desert and go with Palm Springs’ La Quinta Brewing Co. Their current summer lineup is full of winners I’d guzzle post-hike, including a Sundaze Session IPA with Citra hops, the Bloody Hot Summer blood orange pale wheat, and the Heatwave amber, which won gold at the 2017 Best of Craft Beer Awards.
I know every state has natural beauty and great hikes to offer as well as delicious local beers afterwards. What are your favorite hike+brewery combinations outside of the PNW?