This post in it’s original form can be found on Let’s Grab A Beer’s Tumblr Page, where I contribute content as “The Beer Behaviorist” to help the world appreciate beer through a culture-focused lens. Points of view are based on ethnographic fieldwork i have conducted / am continuing to conduct among beer lovers!
As a professional anthropologist who studies popular culture and brands, traveling to a new locale and getting to know its people are part of the gig. Since diving into beer culture, it dawned on me that among the best, most rewarding travel experiences, there was a common denominator– grabbing a beer at local bars and brewpubs.
Whether traveling for work or play, exploring a new city from a beer lover’s perspective can lead to great experiences. Why? Because beer lovers are innately social adventurers who make a point to stay positive and connect with communities. So, do as local beer lovers do with these three simple and fun tips.
1. Bond with locals over a beer.
A great place to start your travel adventure is at a neighborhood pub – because let’s face it, everything is better with beer. There, you can get a flavor of the local scene and its inhabitants to get the inside scoop on their city. The best thing about beer appreciation is that it’s always a great conversation starter.
According to my cultural research, beer lovers are social types who are often more open and generally down to earth. That means they’ll usually be more than happy to oblige in conversation about favorite local beers and best beer styles. Not only will you have an instant friend, but you’ll have the opportunity to experience your vacation destination like a local, adding a layer of connected authenticity not found on Yelp.
2. Swap wine with beer for a new foodie experience.
Experiencing the local flavors is one of the best parts of traveling. From my conversations with beer lovers, they like to experience all what life has to offer. So, instead of asking your waiter (or even better, a cicerone) for wine recommendations to go with your locally-sourced meal, kick off your experience with a beer pairing instead. Beer is just as versatile as wine to complement a meal.
Another option is heading to the local brewpub for a great culinary experience. You’ll be hard pressed to find a brewmaster that doesn’t also take pride in his or her culinary palate. Local brewers tend to source their influences from a variety of places that relate not just to their local culture and seasonal influences, but the heritage of beer brewing in their location. Chances are those influences are present in both the beer as well as the food.
3. Learn the history of a city through a beer lens.
The traveling beer lover is more inclined to go with the flow as their natural curiosity always drives them to dig a little deeper to get the most out of their experience. That’s what makes the historical pub crawl a perfect way to round out a city visit. There, you can get a unique perspective of a city’s history and hear tales connected to the social drinking places, all while enjoying a cool brew at the same time!
Here are some examples of historic bar crawls in popular travel destinations:
Greenwich Village New York:
So remember, when you travel, travel like a beer lover and seek them out as well. To quote one of my new bar friends, “A beer lover will never steer you wrong.”
*Jamie is a professional anthropologist who has been studying consumer culture as a strategy consultant for brands and businesses for the past 15 years. Lets Grab A Beer is sponsoring her deep dive in to the social life of beer so she can bring beer lovers and newbies alike points of view all the interesting and fun ways beer has become a part of our culture.