A few people have mention local brews which made me think of something. I would suggest looking for any breweries local to you, and if you find some, see if they give tours. Typically, if there's a tour there will be a tasting room where you can try stuff out.
yes Yes YES.
I really enjoy brewery tours! Especially the free beer! You learn alot about the process. I have only been on three tours, the Budweiser and New Belgium Breweries in Ft. Collins Colorado , and the Summit brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota. Believe it or not, the best was the Budweiser "brewmaster" tour.
Even though I hate bud, I really wanted to see how beer was made at the large scale. You really have to respect how they keep such a consistant level of quality when they don't have any strong flavors to hide flaws behind.
The Brewmaster tour costs $25*, and you get to see everything. First they take you into an old control room and let you taste
or smell all the ingredients. Then you get to taste the beer at each of its stages: the grain/hop mixture "wort", the beer after primary fermentation, and the beer after secondary fermentation. If, like me, you've never brewed beer before its an awesome experience. By the end, my g/f and I felt like we were brainwashed into liking bud light though.
Also part of the brewmaster tour, you get to see the testing lab (which has a meeting room attached with working budweiser taps built into the wall), and another favorite of mine, the canning/bottling room. I got to stand three feet away from a machine that was canning 60 budweisers a second. Woah.
*most brewery tours are free however, just not as good access.