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Have you seen the new Discovery Channel documentary "How Beer Saved the World"? It credits beer as the greatest invention of all time; the most critical piece in the puzzle of how modern civilization came to be. According to the show, "if it wasn't for beer, we'd all still be living in caves," and that beer is responsible for advances in agriculture, medicine and inventions, including the wheel. A beer festival is just the place to honor this drink! There are hundreds of beer festivals around the world. This week, I'll focus on festivals in the United States.

The Great International Beer Festival is set for April 9 in Providence, R. I. Proceeds benefit many local charities. There are afternoon and evening sessions; both include live music, food and an unlimited sampling of beers.

This website is the "Home of Arizona's Premier Beer Tasting Festivals." Flagstaff's Made In the Shade Beer Tasting Festival includes more than 50 breweries with a backdrop of mountains and the cool shade of pine trees. Tempe's festival boasts "more than 200 craft beers!" The Great Tucson Beer Festival waits until the cooler days of autumn to toast the Southwest's finer brews.

Your ticket for the San Francisco International Beer Festival includes unlimited samples from more than 300 breweries and a variety of foods from some of the cities best restaurants. Tickets for the April 16th festival go on sale March 17 and sell out in just a few hours.

The Seattle Beer Week celebration has become so big that businesses and events involved reach far beyond the borders of Seattle and the week has turned into 10 days, from May 19-28. Beer dinners, festivals and tasting events are too numerous to name.

Trip Tracker is compiled by Joy Guest. Is there a vacation or excursion that interests you? E-mail or comment online at

"According to the Guinness Book of World Records, there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap. The Great American Beer Festival is the American brewing industry's top public tasting opportunity and competition." -- www.great americanbeerfestival. com