The Coast News Group
beer campfire
Enjoying a cold beer by a campfire. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Cheers! North CountyColumnsFood & Wine

Cheers! North County: The Top 10 Beer Happy Places

I remember the “chh-pfft” of the can opening. I remember flopping into my favorite patio chair and kicking my feet up on another chair just close enough to reach. I leaned back. The sun was hot on my face, but a slight breeze kept me cool. Hummingbirds were screaming and dive-bombing each other. I could hear the highway in the distance but pretended it was the ocean waves.

I took a big swig of my beer. It was ice cold. It had a husky, hoppy flavor, and the carbonation fizzed and popped as it swirled around like a Tilt-A-Whirl at a county fair.

After the beer cannonballed down my throat, my lips parted slightly, and an irrepressible sigh of satisfaction released into the world. The porch is where I do my most relaxed beer drinking. It is where beer always tastes the best. It is a Beer Happy Place.

Enjoying a beer on the porch — one of my favorite locations. Photo by Ryan Woldt

Beer is the beverage of the people. It has the power to transform minds, situations and build economies. It also seems to be connected to spots on the Earth that make whatever style or brand you’re drinking taste better, smoother, more flavorful.

These Beer Happy Spots are where drinking a beer is more than drinking a beer.

In an effort to create a list of these powerful beer-enhancing locales I reached out to beer drinkers from coast-to-coast to ask where they believed beer tastes the best (besides your favorite brewery or watering hole of course).

The emphasis is on the place, not the situation. Here is the curated list of the top 10 best places to drink a beer, any beer, and know it will taste incredible.

  1. On the Roof: There is something cool about being on the roof. You’re up high looking down on your kingdom. On the roof all things are possible. It is a place of big ideas, and big flavors. Due to the safety concerns of drinking at great heights stick with a lower ABV pilsner or wheat ale. I’m partial to Oceanside’s Bagby Sweet Ride Pilsner.
  2. Around a Campfire: Campfires are magic, and after a long day of hiking, setting up camp, chopping firewood, or just heading to the backyard calls for a beer while the stars begin to pop out between the treetops.
  3. In the Garage: The garage is where cars get worked on, and power tools are stored. Cards get played. Stories get told, and beers get drunk. You’re home, but you’re also out. According to my father, the best garage to have a beer in is his neighbor’s because, “…he has a beer refrigerator, and I don’t!”
  4. At the Stadium: Enjoy a beer while tailgating in the parking lot, or while packed in with fans screaming for your favorite team. Even paying insane prices at the concessions seems to make more sense. Win or lose that is going to be a good beer.
  5. Overlooking the Ocean, Lake or River: A large portion of beer is water, and when you take a moment to appreciate the places from whence it came you’ll find your beer tastes better. Expect some bonus appreciation in your mouth if you’re also watching a sunset.

    Beer hammock
    Beer in a hammock overlooking a lake. Photo by Trina Woldt
  6. On Top of a Mountain: Either after hiking up it, or getting ready for your last run down to the ski lodge. Look out at the range, and enjoy. That moment is tailor-made for an IPA. Perhaps a Second Chance Seize the Day IPA.
  7. On a Boat: Pull up on a sandbar in a pontoon, cruise down the river in a kayak or just float out in the middle. The type of boat matters. Canoes, kayaks, pontoons and sailboats will inspire your taste buds more than a speedboat or cruise ship.
  8. On the Porch: It’s comfortable. It’s home. It’s a place where stress goes to die. Shoutout to the couch which is the at-home backup when the weather is bad.

    Beer on a mountain
    Beer on top of a mountain. Photo by Trina Woldt
  9. In the Shower: A beverage in the shower implies that you are getting ready for something. The anticipation is building and with it your beer drinking enjoyment.
  10. At the Park: The smell of a grill. The whizz of a frisbee. A nap under some lazy clouds and the potential risk of getting caught makes the park a classic beer happy spot.

Bonus beer happy place: In a hammock. Find your beer happy places, and hopefully someday soon we can all leave the house to tip one back together. Until then, “Cheers!”

Did I miss one? Let me know @Cheers! North County on Instagram and Twitter, or share your beer happy places in the comments below.