Taking the scenic route through America

By / Wine + Drinks / August 27th, 2019 / 7

As amazing as the Florida Keys are, there are other places south of the border gourmands might consider visiting. Here are just a few.

Sonoma – more than great wine

Yes, California’s Sonoma region makes outstanding wines, but it’s also a destination for great beer.
At the Russian River Brewing Company (725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-2337) you can see the actual brew tanks in the cellar next to the bar, and sample from the full, Italian-inspired, beer-paired menu. Stay for the live music, and sample as many beers as you like from the chalkboard list of dozens of frequently changing, seasonally inspired, small-batch suds. Find out more here.

New York City – beer and bourbon

Looking to make a beer and bourbon road trip? Consider New York City. NYC is whiskey town. And the main American varieties—bourbon and rye—have become extremely popular in the City. It’s not just on cocktail menus: producing it locally has become an established craft, with Kings CountyNew York DistillingCacao Prieto and Van Brunt Stillhouse (to name a few) distilling it and providing tours or tasting rooms to sample the spirit.

As well, a number of bars in the boroughs have dedicated themselves to promoting the wonders of American whiskey, curating enormous collections and lending a hand to guide you through the bourbon wilderness. They offer tasting flights, knowledgeable barkeeps and the sense you’re in some sort of shared community. Check out this link for more info.

For a NYC beer immersion, join City Brew Tours NYC for authentic NYC craft beer experience. Get VIP behind-the-scene tours of your favorite breweries such as Brooklyn Brewery, Interboro, Five Boroughs Brewing and many more. Get up close and personal with Brooklyn’s best beer, and get exclusive knowledge of the process behind your favorite brews at each of these amazing places.


Wine touring in Arizona? Who woulda thunk. Not only that, Tucson was the first city to earn the designation of World City of Gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), so there are good eats to be had as well. There’s also excellent beer here.

In Arizona’s high deserts, three major grape-growing regions have taken root – Sonoita, Willcox, and Verde Valley. Since the 1970s, these locally made wines have earned international acclaim, won numerous awards, and have even been served in the White House. Touring Arizona’s three wine trails is an excellent opportunity to get outside, sip a fabulous wine, and admire the stunning vistas.

For an interactive map of the state’s wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms, check out the Arizona Experience Wine Map.

Beer lovers should swing into Flagstaff, Arizona’s Craft Brew City. Visit their website for more information and a link to print out your passport to brewing paradise. Don’t forget to hashtag your adventures #craftbeerflg!

North Carolina

I visited here a few years back and loved the place (I wrote about this experience back in 2013; read it here). Wineries, breweries, great restaurants, historic sites, beaches…it’s all here.

The Yadkin Valley is North Carolina’s first federally-recognized American Viticulture Area (AVA). The Yadkin Valley has over 35 wineries/vineyards in the area which makes a trip here well worth your time. There is a wine, view and experience for just about anyone. Those seeking a romantic wine experience should check out this link.

Read Tod Stewart’s experience touring the Florida Keys in our September 2019 issue of Quench Magazine. Don’t miss out – Subscribe today!

Tod Stewart is the contributing editor at Quench. He's an award-winning Toronto-based wine/spirits/food/travel/lifestyle writer with over 35 years industry experience. He has contributed to newspapers, periodicals, and trade publications and has acted as a consultant to the hospitality industry. No matter what the subject matter, he aims to write an entertaining read. His book, 'Where The Spirits Moved Me' is now available on Amazon and Apple.

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