It’s been about a decade since craft beer reached escape velocity in the United States—the number of craft breweries has increased more than 300 percent in the last 10 years. They are everywhere, and summer is the best time to visit most of them. Because the warmer months are also an optimal time to embark on an outdoor adventure, there’s a new activity on the block that combines your love of al fresco exercise and cold craft brews: The kayak brewery tour. Part nature trip, part bar crawl, these excursions will let you glide down the river to take in both the beauty around you and some hops and barley.
The most extensive of the brew paddle trips is in Traverse City, Michigan (its creators were also smart enough to snag kayakbrewerytours.com). Traverse City is tucked between two bays off of Lake Michigan in the northern part of the state, and the Boardman River runs right through the center of town and past a number of the city’s multiple breweries. There are eight you can hit on the four mile kayak and bike tour. The paddling should be easy but still tough enough to leave you feeling like you earned your beer.