Although golf has always been a nineteen-hole game, the beverage of choice has been subject to change. These days beer-loving foursomes are more likely to skip Miller and Bud and choose instead from an assortment of small-batch craft brews. Of the $97 billion that was spent on beer in America last year, microbrews accounted for $5 billion—an 11 percent increase over 2006. How much of this consumption took place at golf courses is anyone’s guess. But if you’re looking to sample some of the most inspired microbrews from across the country, October brings beer festivals by the barrel—many of them near heady courses. And if you don’t like to mix drinking with driving a golf ball, remember the words of Harry Vardon: “Moderation is essential in all things, but never in my life have I failed to beat a teetotaler.”
Great American Beer Festival
Just weeks after hosting the Democratic National Convention, the Mile High City will witness another coronation when judges at America’s largest beer fest (beertown.org) award prizes in seventy-five categories. For “hopheads,” the tasting options are endless, with a total of about 1,800 brews from more than four hundred U.S. producers.
Fossil Trace Golf Club
This Jim Engh course in nearby Golden, Colorado, weaves around sixty-four-million-year-old sandstone outcroppings. $53–$58; 303-277-8750, fossiltrace.com
Golf Club at Bear Dance
Dense pines and elevation shifts define this sporty layout in Larkspur, forty-five minutes south of Denver. It’s home to the historical center of the Colorado PGA. $79; 303-681-4653, beardancegolf.com
Murphy Creek Golf Course
The USGA thought enough of this prairie links in Aurora that it chose it to host this year’s U.S. Amateur Public Links. $35–$42; 303-361-7300, golfaurora.com
Consistently named one of Denver’s finest lodgings, this boutique hotel sits within walking distance of the festival. From $269 per night; 888-727-1200, hotelteatro.com
This year-old high-rise hotel has the largest rooms in the city, and the festival is a short walk away. From $209 per night; 303-312-3800, ritzcarlton.com
Breckenridge Brewery & Pub
With the possible exception of Portland, Oregon, Denver is the brewpub capital of America, and this one, on Blake Street next to Coors Field, may be the city’s best. breckenridgebrewery.com
Stick around to watch the team battle Jacksonville on October 12. Broncos home games routinely sell out, and as of press time tickets were going fast. Try stubhub.com.