By Matt Lynch and Andy Kryza
Here in the USA we might have our differences, but there’s one thing everyone can agree on: beer is wonderful. Well, actually, there are the people who don’t drink beer for religious reasons, or because they’re terrified of developing a beer belly, or because they (for some insane reason) don’t like the taste. Forget it, there is NOTHING that everyone in America can agree on, least of all beer.
With that in mind, sorting out the best brewery in every state is a daunting endeavor. Thrillist has writers and editors stationed throughout this fine land (now even in Hawaii!), and we had plenty of heated disagreements just among ourselves. After all, one person’s flawless IPA is another person’s over-hopped disaster. But hey, we fight because we care.
So what does the “best brewery” in a state look like? There’s no universal set of criteria. Obviously, making fantastic beer is a must (and that’s happening in so many places these days, it’s kind of becoming an extremely delicious problem). Does size matter? To a degree. If two breweries are pretty damn close in quality and one is providing beer to MANY more people, that could tip the scales. That said, as you’ll see, smallness and newness were by no means deal breakers, especially if you have people driving hours to wait in line for beers you can barely bottle before people snatch them up.
Without further ado, check out the picks, read about some beers to add to your bucket list (as well as some old favorites… ), or just check out your state, disagree immediately, and say terrible things in the comments. However you want to play it, happy drinking!
Alabama Back Forty Beer Co. (address and info)
Alabama might not be the most robust of craft beer scenes, but thanks to a relatively recent movement to increase the ABV limit beyond the former 6% limit, “new” styles are popping up to blow away expectations set by the (ride-on) lawnmower beers that dominate. The best of them all is Back Forty, which for half a decade has been tearing up the farmland courtesy of its flagship Naked Pig, Truck Stop Honey Brown, a peach wheat, and even a saison, which beforehand would have been unheard of in ‘Bama, and now ranks among the state’s best offerings. And it comes in a can, making it perfect for obligatory tailgating.
Midnight Sun (address and info)
It can be easy to forget about Alaska, what with it being so cold and far away. Maybe that’s why Midnight Sun excels so thoroughly at turning out big, attention-grabbing beers like its Gluttony Triple IPA and Berserker Imperial Stout, aged in both red wine and whiskey barrels for a complex flavor profile that you’re likely to enjoy whether or not you enjoyed the movie Clerks.
Four Peaks Brewing Company (address and info)
When you pull off a stunning Cinderella run as a 13 seed to win Thrillist’s Beer Madness, you know it’s your year, and that you have a legion of loyal fans who are willing to sit at home and vote (repeatedly!) while enjoying a smooth Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale.
Ozark Brewing Company (address and info)
Opened in late 2013, Ozark has already garnered significant attention both within Arkansas and regionally (and among aficionados of fantastic can design). Speaking of, it’s worked to upgrade its canning line to keep up with statewide demand for brews like its American Pale Ale and Belgian Style Golden Strong (it likes to let the names speak for themselves).
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Russian River Brewing (address and info)
California possesses such an embarrassment of beer riches that this sentence could name check 30 breweries and people would STILL hem and haw about the ones that didn’t even merit a mention, so let’s not even go down that road, okay? Otherwise we’d be here all day talking about AleSmith and Ballast Point and… nope! Nope, not doing it. The fact is, there are literally dozens of beyond-worthy California breweries, but only one of them makes Pliny. Additionally, if anyone ever offers you a Russian River Brew ending in a “tion,” just drink it and don’t ask questions. Especially if it’s Supplication.
Avery Brewing (address and info)
Colorado also has it quite good when it comes to beer, from the pioneering Oskar Blues and Great Divide, to the world-famous trailblazers of New Belgium. But at the moment, no Colorado beer tastes finer than Avery. Beyond its mainstays like the Ellie’s Brown and Joe’s pilsner, the brewery’s specialties are the stuff of legend, be they the amped-up flavors of the Dictators Series or the glories of Karma Belgian pale ale, a celebrated summer release that somehow tastes even better while sitting beside a roaring river.
New England Brewing Company (address and info)
These folks flat-out know how to name a beer. Gandhi-Bot IPA featuring a robot Gandhi on the damn label? Check. Wet Willy for a Scotch ale? Obviously. Fuzzy Baby Ducks because WHO CAN RESIST BABY DUCKS?! No one… in this particular case they’ll wait in line for hours just to drink some of it. Which brings up the second point: great beer names are all well and good, but they only really matter if the beer within is even better, and with New England, that’s virtually always the case.
Dogfish Head Brewery (address and info)
How good is Dogfish Head? So good that the brewery’s diverse portfolio — which includes everything from the legendary 90-Minute IPA to summer favorite Festina Peche to the Grateful Dead-themed American Beauty — has managed the heretofore unheard of task of making Delaware an actual destination, with fans of Dogfish making pilgrimages to the brewery to sample its barrel-aged rarities and other one-offs only available in the Blue Hen State.
Flickr/ Amber Waves Rally
Cigar City Brewing (address and info)
Apologies to Steven Stamkos, but Cigar City remains the best possible reason to visit Tampa, and possibly the state of Florida in general. Hunahpu’s remains one of the Holy Grail-iest of Holy Grail stouts out there and Jai Alai remains far more successful as a covetable IPA than it does as a sport (sorry, jai alai the sport). About the only thing this brewery doesn’t do well is meet the ravenous nationwide demand for more of its beer.
Creature Comforts Brewing (address and info)
One year. That’s how long it took Creature Comforts to go from Georgia’s newest brewery to its best. How’d it do it? Well, after setting up in a former car dealership, it got right to work. And while it usually takes breweries a while to work out the kinks, CC came out swinging with the already-perfect oak-aged Reclaimed Rye on its year-round roster, plus an aged limited series that has included everything from a cucumber/lime gose to an award-winning American brett. Not bad for a brewery that should still be in diapers.
Maui Brewing Co. (address and info)
Unlike certain other noted Hawaiian brewers that also make their beer on the mainland (stares daggers at Kona), Maui produces all of its generally excellent brews in Hawaii (because why would you go anywhere else? Oh right, shipping costs.). Its CoCoNut PorTeR is rightfully adored (the imperial version is rightly MORE adored). Lorenzini Double IPA (brewed with local citrus and Maui cane sugar) is another specialty release to keep an eye on.
Selkirk Abbey (address and info)
Rural northern Idaho might just be the furthest thing from Belgium, what with all the truck nuts and tin cans, which makes Selkirk Abbey all the more special. This is a place that takes its Belgian influence beyond aesthetics, brewing its wares on open-fire systems of the oldest-school variety. But none of that means a thing if the beers don’t hold up. Thankfully, mainstays like the Chapel Witbier and Deacon Belgian Pale and seasonals including remarkable saisons and Scottish ales take the Belgian influence well beyond imitation and into the realm of greatness.
Sean Cooley/ Thrillist
Half Acre Beer Company (address and info)
There are many worthy competitors for the Illinois craft crown since Goose Island moved onward and upward, and truth be told there isn’t necessarily a clear-cut number one. Revolution continues to win over new fans on the strength of an ascendant barrel-aging program and an ever-busy canning line. Pipeworks recently completed an expansion that has it poised to capitalize on the demand for its voluminous arsenal of fine ales. Daisy Cutter’s as beloved as it ever was even as it becomes increasingly ubiquitous (now if only the same could be said for special release Double Daisy Cutter!). Space, Akari Shogun… yeah, Half Acre particularly excels when it comes to the hop-forward stuff, but it does just about everything reliably well, and the Illinois crown remains its to defend.
3 Floyds Brewing Co. (address and info)
Truth be told, 3 Floyds is dangerously close to being an Illinois brewery, operating just over the border in Munster and possessing strong ties to the Chicago area. Sill, it remains an Indiana brewery, and even with other strong Hoosier contenders like Upland, Sun King, and emerging 18th Street, the choice wasn’t all that difficult. If you know beer, then you know all about Zombie Dust and Dark Lord Day, and you also know that it’s working on an expansion that’ll bring the world more beer, as well as a 3 Floyds move into the whiskey game.
Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. (address and info)
This aptly named outfit has turned its relatively modest hometown into a bucket list-level destination for beer geeks thanks to all the beer geek fanfare around brews like Kentucky Brunch, Assassin Imperial Stout, and King Sue — a T-Rex-rocking, Citra-hopped double IPA. Now it has its sights set on bringing its beers to a lot more people, which has come with some growing pains, but the prospect of more Toppling Goliath to go around remains an enticing one.
Free State Brewing Co. (address and info)
Tallgrass has a bit bigger profile and reach, but there simply isn’t a finer beer in the land than the exceedingly complex, yet balanced Old Backus Barleywine from Kansas’ original craft kingpin, Free State, which has been keeping Lawrence’s collective thirst quenched since 1989. Rock Chalk!
Against The Grain (address and info)
When you’re brewing beer in Kentucky, it gives you a bit of a leg up when it comes to tracking down bourbon barrels with which to make tasty beer even tastier. Against The Grain’s taking full advantage with the likes of its excellent smoked barrel-aged stout Bo & Luke and fantastically named (and made) English barleywine London Balling. Lest you think these guys only excel at the barrel-aged game, perhaps you’d like a word with a certain fine IPA of theirs: Citra Ass Down!
Flickr/ Shreveport Bossier
Great Raft Brewing (address and info)
With respect to OG Abita and NOLA Brewing, whose experimental sour program is getting deserved and expanded attention with the recent opening of a new tasting facility, Great Raft, a relatively new group out of Shreveport, is truly embracing what has become a hallmark of the LA craft beer movement: brewing beers that work well with local food. The most obvious examples of that come from its collab with the Besh Foundation, which has created bottles like the Provisions and Traditions, a dry-hopped kolsch brewed with local rice in the mash that had a hint of sake taste, while being exceedingly drinkable with Cajun seafood, but don’t pass on the Southern Drawl or Reasonably Corrupt black lager.
Maine Beer Company (address and info)
Started in a garage in the beer town that Allagash built, Maine Beer Co. has mastered the use of hops, like in A Tiny Beautiful Something, an incredibly highly drinkable APA that’s more balanced than any other 5.5% hoppy beer you’ll find on the market, and behemoths like the super-sought-after Lunch and Dinner. Its obsession with freshness and getting its beer from its facilities to the drinker have kept its distribution small, making its brews coveted outside the Northeast. Plus, its labels, which have the simplicity of a home brewer’s, are just really damn refreshing.
DuClaw Brewing Company (address and info)
Flying Dog gets much of the attention in Maryland (which seems unfair considering it’s a Colorado transplant), but damned if DuClaw hasn’t climbed to the top, seeing FD’s Ralph Steadman labels and raising them ones that look like metal albums. But it’s what’s inside that counts. And with brews like the award-winning Devil’s Milk barleywine ale, Naked Fish chocolate raspberry stout, and Sawtooth Belgian white on the robust roster, well, it’s more than earned its place among MD’s finest.
Tree House Brewing Co. (address and info)
Look, you could make a case for Trillium here and you certainly wouldn’t be out of place, to say nothing of the fans of Jack’s Abby and Pretty Things, which will undoubtedly have their say. But when you have carloads of people from all over the region (the world?!) flocking to the bustling metropolis that is Monson, you’ve got it going on. In this case, “it” is one of the country’s most sought-after IPAs in Julius, Good Morning (an imperial stout made with local maple syrup), and an army of other beers that seem to drop the jaw of anyone who tries them. This relatively young brewery cannot expand fast enough.
The Oldest Bar in Every State (and DC!)
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Founders Brewing Co. (address and info)
Discussing Michigan’s best breweries, the conversation inevitably comes down to Bell’s and Founders, with Jolly Pumpkin, Dark Horse and Kuhnhenn getting all wound up and leaving the conversation in a huff. It’s neck-and-neck, but we’ve got to give it to Founders, whose Kentucky Breakfast Stout has basically turned its release into a week-long holiday, and with All Day IPA being one of the best damn session beers a hop lover can still appreciate. The brewery has also brought Black Rye back from obscurity, and every year ups the profile of fruit beer with Rubaeus, a raspberry ale that manages to be sweet without cloying.
Surly Brewing Co. (address and info)
Weren’t Midwesterners supposed to be all nice and friendly? Surly made a name for itself with the aggressive, addictive bitterness of Furious, and hasn’t looked back, turning out big, bold, must-have beers like their Abrasive Ale (a double IPA) and Darkness, their excellent rendition of the must-have, released once a year, horde-worthy stout. Minnesota’s not lacking for exciting breweries, but nothing has come close to challenging Surly’s supremacy.
Southern Prohibition Brewing (address and info)
Like so many other breweries in the South, the Hattiesburg operation is young, but they’ve quickly expanded into and experimented with more styles of beer than many of their counterparts, canning regular rotations like the Suzy B. Blonder, Fire Ant Red Ale, and Jack the Sipper ESB. But for their envelope-pushers, look to the season cicada series, like the shockingly well-balanced, award-winning Sinister Minister, a malty, hoppy black IPA.
Perennial Artisan Ales (address and info)
Perennial’s known primarily as a purveyor of funky, inventive, heavily Belgian influenced farmhouse ales… that is unless you count Abraxas, its whale of a stout brewed with ancho chiles, cinnamon, cocoa nibs and vanilla, the barrel-aged version of which is (rightly) about as sought after a drinking experience as you’ll find. It’s also a rather difficult one to find. But hey, a Saison de Lis brewed with chamomile isn’t a bad consolation prize if you miss out.
Big Sky Brewing (address and info)
Montana’s a hard nut to crack, what with all the tiny breweries doing great things off the radar. Thing is, Big Sky’s been the constant for the state, and while conversation usually stops at the popular Moose Drool Brown Ale, it’s bottling up some beautiful, very-overlooked specialties, among them the Brush Tail farmhouse saison and harder-to-find stuff like the excellent Buckin’ Monk Tripel and Ivan the Terrible, a limited-release imperial stout that could easily team up with Old Rasputin to create a Legion of Doom for your motor skills.
Nebraska Brewing Company (address and info)
NBC’s brewpub might not look like much on the outside (most things in outdoor malls don’t), but don’t be fooled. In addition to the trademark cans of Cardinal Pale Ale and Brunette Nut Brown, its Reserve Series is doing bottle-conditioned wonders that stand among the big dogs, including the Black Betty Imperial Stout and the Responsibly Belgian ale aged in old brandy barrels that manages to be at once familiar and utterly unique. In a state known for chaff and Pizza Hut, NBC’s doing its best to add a maltier notch to the grain belt.
Tenaya Creek Brewery (address and info)
Perhaps the only business in Vegas that isn’t also a casino, Tenaya takes its brewing very, very seriously — so much so that it straight-up abandoned everything it was doing, including food service, to concentrate on the beer. The work shows: Tenaya has a gold from the GABF for its pilsner — one of the toughest categories — as well as the fantastic Hauling Oats oatmeal stout, a terrific Baltic porter, and the Old Jackalope barleywine.
Stoneface Brewing Co. (address and info)
Okay, it feels a little weird not having Smuttynose here, and this is by no means a knock on the still reliably excellent OG of Granite State craft brewing. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement of the meteoric rise Stoneface has experienced after just more than a year in action, struggling to keep pace with local demand for Hopulization double IPA and other highly sought-after brews. The way it’s growing, this pick won’t feel nearly so weird in a couple of years.
Carton Brewing (address and info)
Named for the cousins who founded it and not some kind of paradigm-changing packaging scheme, Carton Brewing has quickly captured New Jersey’s hearts and palates. Its Boat Beer is a session pale ale that’s damn fine for drinking on boats, of course, but you’d be a fool to limit yourself to only aquatic-adjacent consumption. At the other end of the spectrum you have Regular Coffee, an understated name for a potent coffee cream ale clocking in at 12% ABV. Hmm… maybe a giant 64oz carton wouldn’t be a bad thing? Oh wait, those are called growlers.
La Cumbre Brewing Company (address and info)
After only two years, La Cumbre had a GABF gold and a World Beer Cup bronze to its name for its hoppy Elevated IPA. And in just five years of being open, it’s upped the status of New Mexico’s entire beer game, meteorically rising like some sort of, let’s say, chemistry teacher with nothing to lose. La Cumbre doesn’t mess around with a whole lot of styles, relying on mainstays like the Pyramid Rock Amber and its signature Hef — a perfect desert-air treat — to hold down its line. But with the Project Dank series, La Cumbre lets loose with experiments in hops madness that would give even Pacific Northwesterners pause.
Other Half Brewing Co. (address and info)
Apparently rent in New York City is expensive, which often forces its breweries to set up a safe distance from the pricey fray. Then there’s Other Half, which last year opened its brewery and taproom smack in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, amidst $3,500/month one-bedroom apartments, because it wanted to truly become part of the neighborhood. Now those neighbors have access to the taps and cans of one of the finest young IPA-makers anywhere. The All Green Everything triple banger might be its darling in the trading scene, but it also does everything from a mean red wine barrel-aged stout to a nifty brett saison. Can it stay this dialed in as it inevitably grows? Who’s to say, but right now, the gettin’ is very, very good.
Wicked Weed Brewing (address and info)
Asheville might be small, but it’s still managed to eke out a place among the best beer cities in America. Wicked Weed stands tall among the pack, with playful concoctions like the Coolcumber — inspired by a gin cooler and flavored with cucumber, basil, and juniper — standing next to innovations on old-world favorites like a watermelon saison and the immaculate Black Angel Cherry Sour, which could make even the most ardent lager drinker a sourpuss.
Fargo Brewing Company (address and info)
We were really going to avoid making Coen brothers references, because we’re adults and in control. Then the state’s best brewery decided to call its wonderful IPA Wood Chipper and left us with no choice. The selection’s pretty sparse, really, though the addition of the new Mighty Red IRA is cause for celebration. Can you really be the state’s best brewery with just four year-round offerings. You betcha!
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery (address and info)
Great Lakes, with its Christmas Ale and Eliot Ness, might be Ohio’s most iconic brewery, but down the road in Akron, Hoppin’ Frog’s clandestinely brewing up the state’s best beer in what appears to be a storage unit. One sip of the 9.4% beast that is Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher, an imperial oatmeal stout, should be enough to make a fan out of anybody who doubts its reputation as one of the finest beers in the world.
Prairie Artisan Ales (address and info)
People go crazy over their subtly named BOMB! imperial stout and its variants (if you can get your hands on the aptly named rum barrel-aged Pirate BOMB!, do so). It’s not just about its stout game, though, as well-executed sours like the dry-hopped Funky Gold Amarillo are also worth seeking out. Luckily, Prairie’s distribution has grown prolifically in recent years, so that it’s increasingly within reach for more people who may not actually live near a prairie.
Breakside Brewery (address and info)
With more than 200 breweries ranging from the gloriously cultish Hair of the Dog to game-changing trailblazers like Deschutes, Widmer, and Rogue, Oregon’s one of those states where we could just rattle off brewery names all day to appease everyone. We won’t do that. Because we’re pretty sure Breakside is doing everything right. In just a few short years, it’s popped out hundreds of different beers, from the flagship Aztec — a spicy chili ale — to one-off stunts made with full pies to gose, any of which would land it near the top. Fact is, though, Breakside rises to the top by making something for everybody, and making pretty much everything great. Hell, when you win the GABF for the best IPA in a region saturated with them, you’re doing something very right.
Victory Brewing Company (address and info)
It’s right there in the name. End of argument. Fine, probably not. Tröegs (rightfully) has its share of devotees in the The Keystone State (oh wait should the pick have been Keystone?!). But Victory is stunningly reliable for a brewery of its size and reach, from its refreshingly drinkable Prima Pils to its hoptastic DirtWolf to more offbeat options like its cherry-channeling Kirsch Gose. Victory really has something for everyone, and for that it earns the, well, you know.
Grey Sail Brewing (address and info)
Proclamation Ale Company is making some serious headway in the Rhode Island beer scene, but for the time being, the biggest waves (nautical wordplay!) belong to Grey Sail and its Captain’s Daughter, which is a reliable outstanding canned double IPA, not the literal offspring of some brew-happy sea captain.
Westbrook Brewing Co. (address and info)
Remember how we said that craft beer had possibly jumped the shark because gose, that salty, centuries-old style was becoming mainstream? You have Westbrook to thank/blame for that. Its canned gose hit shelves in 2012, spurring the resurgence. And besides its regular rotations, Westbrook puts out a few seasonal releases, like Mexican Cake, an imperial stout brewed with habaneros and cinnamon, that are some of the most sought-out limited beers coming out of the South.
Crow Peak Brewing (address and info)
For the better part of the decade, Crow Peak — located in the small canyon-adjacent town of Spearfish — has quietly been making the best damned beer in SoDak, with its 11th Hour IPA laying the foundation for a program that has slowly expanded to include everything from maibock to the heavy Pile O’ Dirt Porter. Nothing super fancy here, though. Just damn fine beer from a brewery hidden away in the flurry of Harleys, Rushmore-bound tourists, and cascading hills.
Wiseacre Brewing (address and info)
Tennessee isn’t exactly known for its bustling craft scene. Maybe it’s the state’s soon-to-be-defunct 6.2% ABV cap. Maybe it’s the fact that nobody wants to put a tear in a beer that’s lovingly crafted. Either way, when Wiseacre debuted last year, it elevated the state’s profile exponentially. Its year-round beers — sold in cans, which is very Tennessean indeed – range in style from pilsner to coffee milk stout, while the specialties range wildly, offering up a tour of world beer styles with a kick, from a wine-aged saison to Belgian goldens, Oktoberfests, and Tennessee common ales. Hank Jr. would approve.
Jester King Brewery (address and info)
With all due respect to great Texas institutions like Deep Ellum and Live Oak… holy shit, Jester King! Utilizing old-school brewing techniques in a facility that looks like the unholy spawn of a Flemish farmhouse and a slaughterhouse, Jester’s take on traditional beers is unparalleled, be it a rare version of low-impact table beer, the Thrash Metal farmhouse strong ale, a double-fermented raspberry, or any number of sours cooked up by these glorious nut jobs who have turned a state best known for Lone Star into something completely different.
Uinta Brewing Co. (address and info)
Salt Lake City
Odds are, you’ve got some very wrong impressions about Utah beer, many of which involve less alcohol content than Kool-Aid. Uinta’s been around to disprove that notion since 1993, offering up everything from the strong Detour Double IPA to the Crooked Line black ale, which ages in rye barrels until it’s 10x stronger than the mythical 3.2 beer. It also does lower-impact beers like the tasty Cutthroat pale ale and the HooDoo kolsch. Point is, it does a little of everything. That includes shattering expectations and preconceptions.
Every State in the USA, Ranked by Its Food/Drink
Flickr/ Trevor Pritchard
Hill Farmstead Brewery (address and info)
The Alchemist… Lawson’s… what is it with Vermont and making beers that people flip out over to the extent that acquiring them requires either parting with a kidney or… taking a trip to Vermont! However, no brewery in the little state with the big brews reaches quite the staggering level of consistent excellence that Hill Farmstead does. An IPA that for most breweries would be a once-in-a-lifetime (or more likely, not-in-a-lifetime) accomplishment is just business as usual for it. The same can be said for its porters, its saisons… it pretty much doesn’t know how to make anything that’s less than incredible.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (address and info)
Opened in 2011 and named for the place in Australia where the founders were first turned onto homebrewing, Hardywood’s most celebrated beer it its Gingerbread Stout, a winter release brewed with local ginger and honey that tastes like Christmas and presents. Sticking with the holidays theme, its Farmhouse Pumpkin is a pumpkin-spiced saison that provides a welcome departure from the typical heavier pumpkin beer experience. But what about the summer, you ask impatiently?! Calm down and kick back with a can of The Great Return IPA.
Fremont Brewing (address and info)
Named for the famously progressive ‘hood where it’s located, Fremont’s quickly (it only opened six yeas ago!), captured suds-heavy Seattle’s attention by being really, really… conservative. Just kidding! It’s totally liberal: about the environment (it uses organic hops, green energy, mostly cans instead of bottles, etc.); about the amount of alcohol it squeezes into its Abominable Winter Ale (11%), and hops it puts in its signature IPA; and even about the materials used to build its “Urban Beer Garden” — the red leather banquettes came from a famed shuttered bar down the street — which just so happens to be one of Seattle’s best outdoor drinking destinations.
3 Stars Brewing Co. (address and info)
Just a few years old, 3 Stars is doing some of the most creative work in our nation’s capital (which is more than can be said for Congress, heyo!). Seriously though, from flagship offerings like its Peppercorn Saison to local collabs where it goes to the trouble of aging coffee beans in whiskey barrels before roasting them in order to craft delicious dry-hopped imperial porter deep with whiskey and coffee notes called Desolation, something Congress would know a thing or two about, right? Right?! Whatever, keep drinking and it will be funny.
Bridge Brew Works (address and info)
It’s pretty amazing that a tiny West Virginia brewery is flooding the land with great Belgian- and Euro-style beers, fantastic tripels, kolsch, Baltic porters, and black lagers among them. What’s even more impressive is that West Virginia’s best brewery is run by two dudes. You’ll forgive them for not offering tours. They’re too busy making the state proud.
New Glarus Brewing (address and info)
The extent to which New Glarus completely dominates the Wisconsin craft scene gets overstated a bit — breweries like Central Waters and Ale Asylum are doing some legitimately outstanding work. All, that said… well, New Glarus has grown into one of the biggest craft breweries in the country, without even sending its beer to anywhere else in the country! Spotted Cow may be essentially the state beer of Wisconsin, but it’s New Glarus’ funky and fruity offerings that really set it apart, like its peerless Raspberry Tart. Of course, when it decided to get into the hop bomb game with its Thumbprint Double IPA, that came out amazing, too.
Melvin Brewing/Thai Me Up Brewery (address and info)
If there’s one thing you don’t see a whole lot of in Wyoming, it’s people. And also Thai restaurants. Or Thai restaurants that are also breweries. And yet, here we have the state’s best brewery — which scored an IIPA gold at the World Beer Cup — serving up its wares with drunken noodles. It sounds like something you’d get out in Portland, not the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. It tastes like it, too.
Deputy editor Matt Lynch needs all the beer he can stockpile now that the Cubs are playing meaningful games again. Offer him some @MLynchChi.
Andy Kryza is a senior editor at Thrillist, a Portland resident, and a Michigan native who lost an embarrassingly large amount of sleep while debating between Bell’s and Founders… while drinking Jolly Pumpkin. Follow him to confused allegiances @apkryza.
Ben Robinson (@benjorobinson) and Liz Childers (@LizChilders1) also contributed to this report, so direct your anger at them as well.