Scouted Sips: 7 Cities to Visit for an Unforgettable Wine, Beer, or Bourbon Experience
People have been planning vacations around locally produced adult libations since well before Sideways, and today the destination options for a sip-centric getaway seem to be endless. To help those who might want to organize a trip around enjoying locally crafted brews, wines, or distilled spirits (or all three), we asked The Scout Guide editors in seven cities to discuss why their areas are the perfect places to raise your glass. Read on to discover their recommendations for must-visit spots in these scouted locales, and cheers!
Tsali Notch Vineyard. Photography by Ben Finch.
Located on the Tennessee River, Knoxville is a mecca for southern hospitality and culture, but it’s also home to over 20 craft breweries. “Over the past five years, Knoxville has gained a reputation for craft beer,” Frances King, editor of The Scout Guide Knoxville, explains. “If you’re looking to try several, or even all, then head on over to KABA (Knoxville Area Brewers Association) and download a Knoxville Ale Trail Passport.” Frances recommends hopping on one of the Knox Beer Tours for behind-the-scenes guided tours and tastings; they offer a bus tour and several walking tours covering up to four breweries. If you’re more of an oenophile, there are enticing options, too. Some notable wineries in the region worth checking out include Blue Slip Winery, Tsali Notch Vineyard, and The Winery at Seven Springs Farm. And if spirits are what you’re seeking, Knoxville is nestled along the Tennessee Whisky Trail, and there are several local distilleries offering tours and tastings. Frances enjoys Post Modern Spirits for their sleek tasting room offering flights and seasonal craft cocktails.
To plan your Knoxville getaway, check out the Knoxville Drinking Guide, Knoxville Lodging Guide, Knoxville Shopping Guide, Knoxville Dining Guide, and The Knoxville Cheat Sheet. And for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Knoxville, follow The Scout Guide Knoxville on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Knoxville website, where you can get updates on the latest volume of The Scout Guide Knoxville, launching in May 2022.
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Photography courtesy of Cultivated Cocktails.
This stunning, outdoor lover’s paradise situated in the foothills of The Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect spot to explore and enjoy local brews and spirits. Meagan Harris, editor of The Scout Guide Asheville, notes that the city is known for its brewery scene, and with more than 30 breweries and counting, you can’t go too far without stumbling upon a local spot with its own unique vibe worth sampling; some of her favorites include Highland Brewing, Hillman Beer, and Burial Beer Co. But amongst all the beer, Harris editor notes that Asheville’s distillery scene has a history all its own, dating back to the moonshine legacy of the early 20th century. “It’s certainly worth raising a glass to Asheville’s Original Gin from Cultivated Cocktails,” she says. Cultivated Cocktails’s downtown distillery has many options to choose from, whether you’re interested in a rose gin, the smoothest local vodka, or a coffee liqueur. Harris recommends visiting the distillery for a tour and tasting, and if you’re interested in a deep dive on the art and science of distilling, you can sign up for their “Distiller for a Day” program.
To plan your Asheville getaway, check out the Asheville Cheat Sheet. For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Asheville, follow The Scout Guide Asheville on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Asheville website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Asheville.
Photography by Victor Sizemore.
Kentucky is the undisputed Bourbon Country, with more than 20 notable working bourbon distilleries statewide, including Four Roses, Makers Mark, Buffalo Trace, Angels Envy, and Wild Turkey, just to name a few. In 1999, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) established the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, a road trip-style experience for bourbon lovers to visit the Bluegrass State’s signature distilleries. Visitors to Lexington will find bars, shops, and museums dedicated to the age-old brown elixir. In addition to hitting the Bourbon trail, Jennifer Mueller, editor of The Scout Guide Lexington, recommends an off-the-beaten-path stop at Justin’s House of Bourbon, home to one of the largest collections of rare and unique bourbon in the U.S. Plus, “Let’s not forget the craft breweries and wineries,” Jennifer adds. “Kentucky is home to more than 40 craft breweries, many of which are experimenting with bourbon, fruits, and other homegrown ingredients to create beers with uniquely Kentucky flavor. And wine lovers will enjoy touring our 65 different wineries across the state. Make certain to stop at Talon Winery, which offers tastings every day and live music!”
To plan your Lexington getaway and find recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Lexington, Kentucky, follow The Scout Guide Lexington on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Lexington website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Lexington.
TEXAS HILL COUNTRY
Photography courtesy of William Chris Vineyards.
In addition to having some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Texas, the Hill Country is also home to the 290 Wine Trail, which gives visitors a path to the many vineyards and wineries the area has to offer. Plus, “Along with wonderful tasting rooms, the Hill Country also has lots of unique shopping and dining to accompany your drinks,” Francie Mannix, editor of The Scout Guide Hill Country, shares. “Absolute Charm Wine Tours is an easy and fun way to experience multiple wineries in a day.” Standouts Francie recommends are William Chris Vineyards, which is one of the first vineyards on the 290 Wine Trail, Kerrville Hills Winery, a winery focused on utilizing high-quality, sustainable grapes, and Noblemen Wines, one of the newest wineries in the area that is notable for their traditional wine making techniques.
To plan your Hill Country getaway, check out the Hill Country Winery Guide, Hill Country Lodging Guide, Hill Country Shopping Guide, and the Hill Country Dining Guide. And for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in the Texas Hill Country, follow The Scout Guide Hill Country on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Hill Country website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Hill Country.
Photography courtesy of Old Dominick Distillery.
Memphis is home to a robust brewery and distillery scene, making it the perfect Southern spot for a weekend of imbibing. In downtown Memphis you will find two well-known distilleries, as well as multiple breweries. Stephanie Stephens, editor of The Scout Guide Memphis, recommends that a visit to Old Dominick Distillery top your list. “Old Dominick distills whiskey, vodka, and gin, and you can take a tasting tour if you want to learn about how they create their in-house bottles,” she says. “As an added bonus, their cocktail bar is one of the best in Memphis!” As for breweries, Stephanie says that they each have their own personality and are perfect places to bring your visiting friends. Most have games and food trucks, and if you visit the newest spot, Wiseacre Brewery downtown, you can try Little Bettie pizza by well-known Memphis chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. “Plus, all of the breweries are kid- and pet-friendly,” Stephanie says.
To plan your Memphis getaway, check out the Memphis Cheat Sheet. And for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Memphis, Tennessee, follow The Scout Guide Memphis on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Memphis website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Memphis.
HUNT COUNTRY, VIRGINIA
Photography by Shawna Simmons-Whitty.
The idyllic landscapes of Virginia’s Hunt Country are dotted with pastures of grazing horses—and gorgeous vineyards, wineries, cideries, and breweries. There are also taverns, inns, and quaint restaurants that provide local sips and an atmosphere that exude Hunt Country charm. While there are many options to choose from, Nelina Loiselle, editor of The Scout Guide Hunt Country, recommends a visit to RdV Vineyards for a taste of their unique reds, or heading to Greenhill Vineyards for their delicious Blanc de Blanc champagne and stunning views. Meanwhile, Dirt Farm Brewing boasts an eclectic and exciting mix of specialty beers, and sits perched atop a mountainside overlooking a beautiful valley and The Houndstooth Restaurant at Glen Gordon Manor offers a quintessential Hunt Country dining experience in beautiful Rappahannock County. Nelina recommends going for craft sips ahead of dinner in their new bar and lounge and taking in the bucolic surrounding countryside.
To plan your Hunt Country getaway, check out the Hunt Country Dining Out Cheat Sheet, and Hunt Country Where to Shop, Stay, and Eat Guide. And for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Hunt Country, follow The Scout Guide Hunt Country on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Hunt Country website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Hunt Country.
Photography courtesy of Woody Creek Distillers.
When it comes to drinking local, according to Amy Groom and Erin Forsey, co-editors of The Scout Guide Aspen, it doesn’t get more local than Woody Creek Distillers, located 25 minutes from Aspen in the Roaring Fork Valley. Here, you can enjoy a behind-the-scenes educational tour of their distillery, as well as a cocktail in their tasting room post-tour. If you’re interested in a little exercise with your spirits, they recommend renting traditional and ebikes from Ride Aspen, from which you can ride to the distillery, and if you’re not up to the return trip, they’ll give you and your bike a ride back into town. If you opt to not venture out of Aspen, the Aspen Art Museum has a wonderful rooftop cafe featuring Woody Creek cocktails, and if hops are what you’re after there are several craft breweries in the downtown area, including Aspen Brewing Company.
To plan your Aspen getaway, check out Aspen Winter Guide, The Aspen Mountain Guide, and the Aspen Cheat Sheet. And for additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Aspen, follow The Scout Guide Aspen on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Aspen website, where you can browse or order the latest volume of The Scout Guide Aspen.