So you’ve decided to make your next vacation a globetrotting beer crawl–the beer community raises a pint to you! With fantastic breweries springing up all over the world, there’s never been a better time to travel for beer. Here’s how to do it without going home bloated and hungover; these pro tips come straight from cicerone (aka beer sommelier) and craft beer bar owner, Zach Mack.

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Leiti Hsu

1) Treat brewery visits like trying to get into a restaurant.

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This is self explanatory, but do your research! In the age of Google, you can find out pretty much everything you need to know—taproom hours, address, prices and special events—in a matter of minutes. You don’t want to show up at a brewery 40 minutes out of town to find out the taproom is closed.

Sound like a lot of work? The travel concierge app Journy personalizes your trip plan and can take care of bookings and reservations for you.

2) Look under the hood before you commit.

Spring House Taproom - Sept. 2nd #lancasterpa #lancastercounty #craftbeer #craftbrewery #craftbrewer #springhousebrewing #springhousebeer

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During this Golden Age of brewing, many breweries are finding niches and focusing on specific styles. This is a good thing! But if you happen to be someone who hates IPAs, it might be helpful to know if any of the breweries you're going to visit are known solely for their high gravity hop bomb ales.

Sites like Ratebeer can make it easy to see where a breweries’ strengths lie (but approach reviews with an open mind!), and using apps like Untappd can shed light on what moves fastest through taprooms. Give them a look!

3) Keep your eyes peeled for events that aren't just boozefests.

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What sounds better: running around a strange city looking for new beer, or walking into a single room filled with all the best brews around? While beer festivals are far from all being created equal, there are a few that really stand to make your quest for brews as convenient as working a room.

Breweries themselves also host events that transcend simple beer drinking, like music festivals, art events and big releases. These usually make up the bulk of a brewery's schedule and can offer you something more to do than just sipping saisons on a bar stool.

#SpoonTip: look into your destination's local calendar and try to make it to one of their events!

4) Don't forget about beer's soulmate: great food.

Pub food

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Things are changing, people: wine isn't the only drink for food anymore! Everyone–from Michelin star chefs to those who run everyday joints–is getting hip to the wave of new beers available to pair with their food. That means some of the best beer options may just be on a restaurant menu.

Plenty of brewers have begun putting major effort into collaborating with talented chefs to run their in-house menus. Including a meal with your beer tasting is *always* a good idea for keeping your wits about you. Make sure you're considering all your options when you're making plans, or you might be missing out!

5) Be realistic about knowing your limits.

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Again, this may fall into the self explanatory category, but it bears repeating that anyone on a beer trail should know that the key is not overindulging. The idea of hitting five breweries in one day may sound great while you're sitting bored at your desk, but be honest with yourself when setting up your itinerary.

Consider breaking up your day of sampling brews with meals, hikes, museums, coffee shops, or hell, even a nap. You'll get through a lot more places if you treat it like a marathon, not a sprint!

6) Traveling with beer in your bag to share can make you a friend for life.

Beer Labels

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This probably doesn't come as a shock to many, but the beer community is a pretty friendly place. #SpoonTip: make friends within the community for the best beer travel adventures!

I’ve made some of my best travel memories by simply sharing a beer I've brought from home with the taproom staff and brewers. Smaller craft producers almost never get the opportunity to leave their immediate area, so this is usually the only way they will ever get to try it. It's a reverse hospitality move that will make you stand out in a sea of visitors.

7) Keep an open mind and stay positive.

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Seasoned travelers always know that the best things happen when we force ourselves to try something out of our comfort zone.

Sometimes, going with the flow is just the way to go: let the locals take you out for a pint in between fancy taproom visits; go with a recommendation from the bartender over your usual order; thank brewers and bartenders for their time and advice; and most importantly: be friendly and smile a lot.

This is beer, not politics! It should make everyone involved at least a little happier. Approaching it that way will make everything that much tastier.