Being from Colorado, I know a number of quality brewery tours that give you a first-hand glance at the beer-makign process...but these can usually be found in any city nowadays, especially with the popularity of craft beers in our culture. However, I recently stumbled upon a new business in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood called Brew & Grow, where home brewers can buy all the supplies they need to make beer on their own. Not only that, but it offers beer making classes, where you can make your own stout or ale, learn about flavors and consistency, as well as what food is best to pair with it. It's a great way to learn about a local activity while experiencing a city that is becoming a big player in the craft brew arena.
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that covers a couple more food getaways for the upcoming harvest season. One in particular that caught my interest--and this should be no surprise to my readers--was the Grape Education at Blackberry Farm in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. In mid-November, the farm hosts its Wine Geek 101 event, where guests learn all about wine tasting, selection and pairing. You can also partake in cooking demonstrations and tours of the farm. It's relatively pricey ($1,200 per person) but if you have the time and funds, I think it would be a magical trip.
For the autumn season, when cooking and comfort food reign supreme (how many days until Thanksgiving?), it seems appropriate to indulge in a culinary excursions. The best part about them is that they can usually be squeezed into a quick weekend trip, making it super easy to enjoy another location on short notice.