As summer gives way to fall, the mind of a craft beer geek gives way to Oktoberfest. Autumn can be a great time to enjoy a cold one with some friends around the fire pit, so kick back, relax and check out one of these three top breweries to visit this fall.
1. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery: Richmond, VA
A new beer law passed in 2012 gave Virginia breweries the opportunity to serve full pints to guests instead of just tastings, and the town hasn't been the same since. A field of new beer destinations has cropped up in the area, with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery at the forefront of the revolution. Formed by two lifelong friends and offering beers that often feature locally sourced ingredients, Hardywood Park has a variety of brews to try. Be sure to check out its delicious flagship beers, which include Singel, a Belgian abbey-style blonde ale.
2. New Belgium Brewing: Asheville, NC
The Blue Ridge Mountains are the perfect, colorful fall backdrop to a beer geek's road trip, so make like a tree and leave -- for Asheville, North Carolina. While this up-and-coming city has a lot to offer in the way of local breweries and brewpubs, New Belgium Brewing is certainly the most recognizable one on the scene. With offerings like its flagship Fat Tire Ale and a great sense of corporate social responsibility, New Belgium Brewing is bound to have a little of something for everyone.
3. Grist House Craft Brewery: Pittsburgh, PA
No longer satisfied with Iron City beer, the Steel City has seen a stunning transformation in recent history -- maybe most notably in its burgeoning craft beer scene. Though Southern Tier opened its eastern branch in this destination locale, it also has numerous local favorites to enjoy. Grist House Craft Brewery, located just north of downtown Pittsburgh in Millvale, is a great place to go with friends (or small children or dogs) for good beer and a fierce sense of community. Enjoy the vast outdoor drinking area in the earlier fall months, or head inside on those chilly November eves for a drink in the taproom overlooking the brewing system. Innovative, delicious and family-friendly, Grist House brings true Pittsburgh spirit to all it does.
Whether you're hoping to enjoy a football game with fellow fans or searching for an autumn warmer as we head into the cooler months, one of these top three breweries is sure to have what you're looking for this fall. Prost!