Great U.S. Music Cities Make Great Wine & Beer Getaways
Lovers of great wine and artisan beer have been known to run off and visit cities that specifically cater to their love of either (or both) libations. Of course, it’s all in the interest of learning more about the great art of craft beer brewing and wine making and for the purpose of comparing the great creations of specific locales known for their breweries or wineries. But we’ve discovered that some of the best U.S. cities for music are also hotspots for wine and beer. Music, wine and beer – yes, it’s Nirvana for us (shall we start with Seattle…home not only Nirvana, but also LetsPour!)
In Seattle you’ll find that good music and great wine and beer go hand in hand. Look for best kept secrets like the Stumbling Goat Bistro, which boasts a great draft menu that includes locals like Supergoose IPA by Hales, Schooner Exact’s hearty brown ale, and Odin Brewing’s Freya’s Gold.
Along with live entertainment, you’ll also enjoy superb wines that are heavy on local favorites as well, like vintages from giant Chateau Ste. Michelle or any number of small wineries in nearby Woodinville. You’ll also finds lots of gems from the Columbia Valley, like Townshend Merlot or Saint Laurent Syrah.
Head a little ways south and you’ll end up in Portland, Oregon. This rather Bohemian mid-sized city, where I enjoy hanging out in Pioneer Square with the aging hippies, is considered one of the great craft beer destinations in the U.S. Its wealth of microbreweries has earned it the moniker “Munich on the Willamette.”
Be sure to sample Alameda Brewing’s Klickitat Pale Ale, and Hopworks Urban Brewery’s Organic IPA. Happily, for music lovers like me, the people of Portland also enjoy great tunes. That’s why places like Tugboat Brewing Company offer up a plate of live jazz with their microbrewed traditional ales. Same with . Just off the riverfront, the stars of the menu here are lagers and ales brewed onsite as well as a long list of local and regional bands. Look for great wines from the Willamette Valley, like the Estate Pinot from Twelve in the Yamhill-Carlton District.
For East Coast beer aficionados who like good music while they drink, there’s no place like Nashville. Here, you can cry in your craft beer while you listen to ballads about losing your wife, your truck, and your dog. Seriously though, Nashville is the craft beer capital of the South and new breweries seem to be opening daily. There are literally dozens and dozens of locations where amazing live music by up-and-coming and established artists is paired with interesting beers from such innovative breweries as Green Flash, Turtle Anarchy, Yazoo, Bosco’s, and Blackstone.
Similarly, Austin, Texas – the “Live Music Capital of the World” – is known for its brews and blues. Indeed, the craft breweries here are slowly coming of age – many evolving from small home breweries – and more and more local specialties are appearing on menus in local restaurants and pubs. So, you can use them to wash down a great big Texas-sized porterhouse while you listen to the strains of anything from country and jazz to blues and indie rock. Smooth! Many of the more than 200 live music venues in Austin are restaurants that offer knock-your-socks-off wine lists as well, including some from Texas wine country – yup, there is a Texas wine country – deep in the heart of the hills in places with names like Dripping Springs, Stonewall, Tow and – yes – Comfort.
New York City, New York
Up north, New York City is my favorite spot for enjoying a glass of wine and music of all sorts – from the sultry jazz and blues of Harlem to the cozy cabarets of Midtown and Greenwich Villageto the over-the-top musicals on the Great White Way. Where do you start? Manhattan has wall-to-wall restaurants; a recent study showed that the neighborhood of Tribeca alone has more restaurants per resident than any other ‘hood in the country. Restaurants like Daniel and Veritas have world-class wine cellars, but there are plenty of little eateries you’ll find hidden on side streets that have great wines, including many from the amazing vineyards of NY State. Want beer instead? After the show, check out the Blind Tiger Ale House or The Ginger Man. The latter has more than 66 craft beers from around the world on tap.
And then there’s Detroit. More than just a place where they make cars, Detroit is in the midst of “The Napa Valley of the Midwest.” Yup, its wine prowess is a well-kept secret among those who don’t really follow the wine scene. But if you find yourself in, you’ll want to check out the local vintages from nearby towns like Collier, Berrien Springs, and Fernville, while you’re listening to some vintage Motown or classic R&B. Very funky!
So this year when you’re making your vacation plans, don’t forget about the many opportunities to combine your two loves – great music and great wine/beer – and choose locations that are known for both. Many wonderful music hotspots are hot beds for great craft beer and wonderful wines. As a matter of fact, what could be better than enjoying a cold pilsner or a great pinot noir while swaying to the tunes of your favorite music genre?
About Patricia Guth: Patricia is a long-time travel writer with a home base in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her love of travel is rivaled only by her love of music, a subject in which she holds a degree. When she’s not writing about exotic locales or great food and drink, she plays the piano, waves her arms in front of several choral groups, takes care of her husband and teenage daughter, and enjoys spending time with her girlfriends.
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