The above photo is a picture of a US twenty-dollar bill. I picked it up during my North America trip last year, and it was still in my wallet when I returned home. It was such an awesome trip, I just couldn’t bring myself to covert my last twenty-dollar bill back into Aussie dollars. Instead I decided that I was going to keep it in my wallet until I returned to the US for another trip. For the next year every time I opened my wallet I was reminded of my goal, figuring out what I wanted to see next. Just over a year later that goal has been achieved – Monday sees me leaving for North America Round Two.
Last time I did this I researched the hell out of each city – I’m talking about spreadsheets and maps people! It was a little ridiculous. I’m not going to that much trouble this time though; I‘ve barely had time to sort out my itinerary, let alone plan where I’m going to drink beer. Plus I learnt a very important lesson last time: good beer is EVERYWHERE in the US. You don’t need to find it, it’ll find you. And when it finds you, you’ll know it. Because you’ll be drinking it.
I wrote a corresponding blog post about each city I was travelling to last time in the hope that I’d score some free advice from the locals, who could point me towards the best beer spots their city had to offer. I ended up getting some really good advice, so I’m going to do it again for Round Two, albeit in a more concise and singular blog post.
My general itinerary is as follows:
Toronto: Yep, I’m having a second shot at Toronto, the city that tried to make me cry last time. But I’m confident this time will be different; I’m staying in a REAL hotel in downtown, and the beer tour I did last time showed me enough of what this city has to offer to want to dig in a little further. I’ll probably even head back to Bar Hop to discuss Aussie beer with them.
Las Vegas: “First rule of Vegas: never bet with scared money – scared money never wins”. So I’ve got about $500 saved in my piggy bank specifically for gambling – ain’t nothing scared about it. “Second rule of Vegas: make sure the hotel you’re staying at has a shit hot beer bar to drink in once you’ve lost all you’re money”. The Public House, with a rating of 93 on BeerAdvocate.com, is downstairs from my room. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping at all the whole time I’m there.
San Francisco: From just a cursory glance San Fran appears to have a BUCKET LOAD of breweries and beer bars. It’s even got its own Mikkeller Bar around the corner from where I’m staying. Pretty sure I’ll be able to walk in any direction and fall head first into a tall glass of fine ale.
Santa Rosa: When I was in The Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia last year, I had a conversation with one of the regulars about the Russian River Brewery. I can’t remember his exact words, but they were something along the line of “you NEED to go to the Russian River Brewery“. It just so happens that the Russian River Brewery is in Santa Rosa, just north of San Fran. So I’m spending three nights
at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa.
Pacific Coast Highway: Ok, this is where the itinerary gets lost a little. As in, there is no itinerary for this part…I have four nights to get from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles by way of the Pacific Coast. I’m sure I’ll find some beaches, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy some beer on those beaches.
Los Angeles: Not really sure what LA has to offer as far as beer goes, but I’m planning a day trip down to San Diego as well. I heard there’s one or two breweries down that way…
If anyone out there has any advice on any secret bars/awesome restaurants/fountains that ale flows from freely, then please let me know in the comments or by sending me an email. And if there’re any beer geeks out there brave enough to talk shit over a few brews with a random Aussie traveller, drop me a line as well.
As for that twenty-dollar bill that started this adventure…it’s going straight on a roulette table the moment I touch down in Vegas!