After wine country, why not a brewery tour?

Editor's note: The following blog entry was written by Editorial Intern Erin Liszewski, who is on her final college spring break. She will be writing this week from wherever the road takes her in California and Oregon.

I have been hoping to make the pilgrimage for years, and when the time finally came, I flew thousands of miles and drove thousands more in order to reach it. Distracted by the hundreds of drive-thru coffee stands and kitschy roadside tourist traps, I feared we might never make it. We drove through the Redwood forest (literally—through a tree), posed for a picture with a giant Paul Bunyan statue, took a several-hundred-mile detour to Portland, Oregon, but today finally made it to the Rogue Brewery. True, the journey was long and hard, but it was well worth it. The first time I tasted Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale, I fell in love. I remember it like it was just yesterday: I was at a tiny bar in Brooklyn and I ordered the drink on a whim, but the full body and sweet aftertaste became an obsession.

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Considering myself a bit of an amateur brewery-tour aficionado, I can say from experience that the tour itself was not particularly notable. There was no free beer and no free merchandise, but we become official Rogue Nation Citizens which entitles us to 75 cents off our first pint at Rogue's Brew Pubs—too bad they are all located in the Pacific Northwest and Japan.

Traveling with budget-minded students, we try to find as many deals as possible, and although none were to be had at the brewery, we found some great rates on hotels. We booked all of our hotels using SmarterTravel.com's price-comparison tool, and our AAA card gave us an extra $10 off. Even if you don't own a car, the discounts and services make signing up worthwhile, especially if you can just get your name tacked on to your parents' membership, like I did. Oh, the joys of being a dependent.

Road Trip by the Numbers

  • Beers tasted: 20
  • Espresso shots: 14
  • Miles driven: 1,253
  • Dual Citizens: 4
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