Vacation at a craft beer festival

Vacation at a craft beer festival

The dog days of August bring heat, mugginess, and lazy afternoons by the pool, and is the perfect time to celebrate craft beers with festivals taking place all over the U.S. and Canada.

Craft beers are becoming the new "wines", as different varieties with different palates are created, and beer and food pairings are expanding to beyond pizza and wings. The growing number of craft beer festivals reflects that change.

Craft beer festivals, like wine festivals, usually encompass a number of days and often many venues. Opportunities abound to learn about craft beers, sample them, try different food and beer pairings, and even enter contests for home brewing, all of which keeps attendees busy and entertained.

The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, in Toronto, Ontario, which took place August 11 and 12 this year benefits the Toronto Railway Heritage Museum, with proceeds going to maintain that institution. Such notable craft breweries as Steam Whistle Pilsner, Grand River Brewing, Great Lakes Brewery, and Black Oak Brewing Co. took part, and food was provided by myriad local food trucks, which themselves are gaining popularity.

North Fork Craft Beer festival, which took place on Long Island August 11, was sold out before the doors opened. This award-winning festival boasted 50 brewers and 100 brews from across the country. Participants featured such local favorites including Blue Point Brewing Co., Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., and Great South Bay Brewery and included gourmet BBQ from Maple Tree BBQ. 6-piece band Mystery Play performed a variety of tunes from classic and current rock, pop, funk and dance music. This festival raised funds for the "Beer for Brains Foundation" and the "Kent Animal Shelter."

Even Key West is getting in on the beer festival action! August 30 to Sept 3, Labor Day Weekend, will see the 3rd annual Key West Brewfest taking place. The Southernmost Hotel Collection has teamed up with the Key West Sunrise Rotary of the Conch Republic, and all proceeds will go to benefit the Rotary Club and their charitable efforts. This festival includes seminars, brunches, football tailgate and pool parties, and of course their ever-popular Signature Event held on Saturday, September 1, 2012: Key West BrewFest Tasting Festival.

It's easy enough to find a craft beer festival near you: one such web address is which provides a list of festivals and their dates throughout the U.S. With just a few weeks left to summer, one of these festivals is the perfect road trip to enjoying craft beers.