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8 Craft Breweries to Watch in 2013

8 Craft Breweries to Watch in 2013


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In honor of American Craft Beer Week, the breweries we’re excited to see grow

The craft breweries we're excited for in 2013.

It’s that time of year — American Craft Beer Week — when we head to our favorite craft brewery and toast to just how good we have it here in the good ol’ U.S. A. With more than 2,300 operating craft breweries in the country (as of March 2013) and more opening every day, it’s the golden age of craft brewing — which is why we get particularly excited when we see a new brewery explode onto the scene.

Click here for 8 Craft Breweries to Watch in 2013 Slideshow

In 2012, 409 brewpubs and microbreweries opened their doors, the fastest growth in the beer industry since Prohibition. And when you take a look back at the best-selling breweries of 2012, you’ll find most of the top dogs opened in the 1980s and 1990s. In many ways, the craft breweries opening today owe their success to the granddaddies of craft brewing before them.

While we hate to pick our favorites out from the rest — after all, there’s more than enough great craft breweries in each of the 50 states — we’ve found eight newly opened breweries that have blown away expectations. Growing as a craft brewery is no small feat, yet these guys have figured out how to stand out in a sea of well, beer. With awards under their belts and expansions underway, these little (soon to be big) beers will no doubt soon end up in hands from coast to coast.

Click ahead to find eight craft breweries to watch in 2013 — the ones that are making waves this year, and we expect will continue to do so for years to come.


What’s the Brew-Haha?

These eight breweries—as scenic as they are savory—are creating quite the buzz.

T he Legislature hasn’t yet declared beer our official state beverage (what’s the hold up, folks?), but it is. A beer’s what we reach for on 100-degree days. A cold one’s what we’re cracking open at the start of every three-meat-plate dinner. It’s the social glue of our tailgate parties, honky-tonks, and float trips. Our love affair with fermented brews dates back to our lager-loving German and Czech ancestors, who bequeathed us quenching classics like Pearl, Shiner, and Lone Star. But there’s a new era upon us, one that’s evolved beyond the light beer and “Long live longnecks” credo of our daddies’ drinking days.

We’ve officially entered the age of the craft beer. Breweries like Saint Arnold, Real Ale, and Live Oak have been tinkering since the nineties with Old World recipes to produce new beers that are smoky, sour, and dark. But innovation has become the rule, not the exception, in the past couple years, since the watershed legislation of 2013 that allowed breweries to sell beer on-site and brewpubs to distribute to outside bars and retailers. Since then, places like Deep Ellum Brewing Co., in Dallas, have rapidly expanded, adding taprooms and distribution centers, while the fermented nectars of ambitious start-ups like Austin’s Black Star Co-op have begun springing up in local watering holes where they were once forbidden. There are now some two hundred breweries and brewpubs in Texas. The following eight—which stretch from far-flung West Texas to downtown Houston—are as refreshing as they are road-trip-worthy.

Big Bend Brewing Co., Alpine

Travelers heading west on U.S. 90 who’ve got Marfa on their minds would be wise to make a strategic pit stop in Alpine to visit what may be the most remote brewery in the country. Founded in 2012, it doesn’t have a long history, though brewmaster Steve Anderson, formerly of Live Oak Brewing Co., in Austin, has already been garnering attention for his Old World–style beers (like Tejas Lager and Big Bend Hefeweizen). Call for hours. Tours Wed–Fri at 3, Sat at 1 & 3 $10 (includes souvenir glass and tastings). 3401 U.S. 90W, 432-837-3700, bigbendbrewing.com

Must Drink: The citrusy Frontera IPA

Community Beer Co., Dallas

As its name suggests, this two-and-a-half-year-old brewery in the Design District puts a premium on bringing friends and strangers together in the name of some of the best beer in all of North Texas. Its communal cup—and yours—runs over during weekly open houses, which feature live music, food trucks, a small gallery of local artists’ works, a giant Jenga game, and a behind-the-scenes peek at its operations, which boast an in-house yeast lab. Open Wed & Thur 5–9, Fri & Sat 5–10. Open house & tours Sat 2–5 $15 ($10 in advance includes souvenir cup and three beer tickets). 1530 Inspiration Dr, 214-751-7921, communitybeer.com

Must Drink: Public Ale, an English-style extra special bitter

Freetail Brewing Co., San Antonio

First came the brewpub, in 2008, a big leap from Scott Metzger’s “duct tape and determination” home-brewing days. Then, last summer, came the 30,000-square-foot production facility, which paves the way for much wider distribution. You can still visit the original location and pair your seasonal brew with a Supreme Batastrophe pizza, before heading south of downtown to see the thirteen-tap tasting room and inquire about the expanded barrel-aging and sour-beer program word on the street is they’ll be using Pinot Noir barrels from the Oregon winery co-owned by none other than Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Original brewpub: Open Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight, Sun noon–midnight. 4035 North Loop 1604 West, 210-395-4974. Taproom: Open Thur & Fri 4–9, Sat 2–9. Tours Sat 3 & 5 free. 2000 S. Presa, 210-625-6000, freetailbrewing.com

Must Drink: Bat Outta Helles, a malty Bavarian-style helles lager

Hops & Grain, Austin

At the eastern end of boozy Sixth Street you’ll find the most visitor-friendly taproom in Texas: it’s open seven days a week, doubles as a coffeehouse, has a library of board games, and welcomes kids and dogs (the latter, restricted to the patio, get brew biscuits made from leftover grains). For now, the beer is “free” with the purchase of a souvenir glass, though owner Josh Hare is working to procure the necessary permits to sell brew on-site. Open daily 8–10. Tours Thur & Fri at 5, Sat at 1, 3 & 5 free. 507 Calles, 512-914-2467, hopsandgrain.com

Must Drink: Greenhouse IPA series, a monthly release experimenting with hops

Jester King Brewery, Austin

Just as the local terroir brings Jester King’s farmhouse (read: wild yeast) ales to life, so too does its pastoral setting infuse the mood at this popular brewpub. On the 220-acre spread in southwest Austin is a former thirties-era machine shop from Victoria (where you can peek at the fermentation tanks), an open-air barn (the perfect spot to eat a pie from Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza), and huge oaks under which to play cornhole and wonder why anyone would choose to do his day-drinking indoors. Open Fri 4–10, Sat noon–10, Sun noon–6. Tours Fri at 6, Sat & Sun at 1, 3 & 5 free. 13187 Fitzhugh Rd, 512-537-5100, jesterkingbrewery.com

Must Drink: Le Petit Prince, a dry farmhouse table beer Atrial Rubicite, a sour raspberry beer

Photograph by Trevor Paulhus


Breweries Find That Coffee Is Their Second Favorite Beverage

Most Tuesdays, Josh Dill follows a routine. He strolls down South Main Street in Yardley, Pa., where he lives, for coffee at Pretty Bird Coffee Roasters, then commutes by train to his office near Trenton.

After returning home, Mr. Dill has dinner and beer at Vault Brewing, in an old bank across from Pretty Bird. “They get me coming and going,” said Mr. Dill, 36, the owner of RnD Consulting, an information systems service provider. “They’ve got me locked in.”

Vault and Pretty Bird have the same owners. And it’s not the only brewer deciding to add coffee roasters and cafes under the same umbrella — offering uppers as well as downers. Last summer, Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall, a city in southern Michigan, opened Dark Street Roasting Company and Coffee House.

Image

Hotbox Roasters, which cans beans and nitro cold brew and is owned by Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colo., opened a Denver coffee shop (which also serves beer) in January. In May, the Social Tap restaurant opened in Oak Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, serving lattes and more beginning at 7 a.m. using beans roasted by its owner, Two Brothers Artisan Brewing.

“The idea of owning both sides of the clock was always attractive to us,” said James Cain, an owner of Vault and Pretty Bird, which opened in June in a cheerful shop decorated with verdant plants and pink neon.

Many brewers see a bridge connecting their day and night clientele. “The market is a natural crossover,” said Sean Arroyo, the chief executive of Heritage Brewing and Veritas Coffee. “Most beer consumers are coffee consumers.” The brewery was founded in 2013 in Manassas, Va., about 30 miles southwest of Washington, by military veterans. From its inception, it has sought to make coffee a company pillar. “We brew early in the morning, and we needed that fix,” Mr. Arroyo said, laughing.

Heritage bought a small roaster, installed it in the brewery and started experimenting with cold brew extracted under nitrogen pressure. (Mr. Arroyo says the process creates greater consistency.) Feedback from taproom customers helped Heritage fine-tune its technique before starting Veritas in 2015.

Today, you’ll find the coffee in cans and on tap at Heritage Brewing Company Market Common Brewpub & Roastery in Arlington, Va. It opened in April, merging a coffee shop with a restaurant, beer store and brewery. “Throughout the day, we transition into meeting our consumers’ needs,” Mr. Arroyo said, adding that Heritage aims to open a coffee shop next spring in Chantilly, Va., about 25 miles west of Washington.

What to Cook Right Now

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the coming days. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • Do not miss Yotam Ottolenghi’s incredible soba noodles with ginger broth and crunchy ginger. for fungi is a treat, and it pairs beautifully with fried snapper with Creole sauce.
    • Try Ali Slagle’s salad pizza with white beans, arugula and pickled peppers, inspired by a California Pizza Kitchen classic.
    • Alexa Weibel’s modern take on macaroni salad, enlivened by lemon and herbs, pairs really nicely with oven-fried chicken.
    • A dollop of burrata does the heavy lifting in Sarah Copeland’s simple recipe for spaghetti with garlic-chile oil.

    Installing a coffee shop lets breweries maximize square footage at an early hour, when taprooms would typically sit silent. “The cafe activates our space at a time when we wouldn’t otherwise be open,” said Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times Beer, which began brewing and roasting coffee in 2013.

    A year ago, Modern Times set aside part of its taproom in the Point Loma section of San Diego for a cafe. It opens at 8 a.m. daily and sells flights of cold-brew and pour-over coffee made with beans that it ages in rum barrels.

    The approach borrows serving styles and flavoring techniques from the beer world, enticing customers with a different kind of buzz. “People that come into our tasting room for beer are really excited about trying our coffee once they’re here,” said Mr. McKean, who noted that the brewery has extended its cafe hours to 5 p.m. It’s “definitely awesome” to have nonalcoholic options in the tasting room, said Mr. McKean, who will offer coffee at forthcoming outposts in Los Angeles Encinitas, Calif. and Portland, Ore.

    The company also uses its roaster to create blends that are infused into beers, like the smooth and chocolaty Black House stout. (Purpose Brewing & Cellars, which opened in Fort Collins, Colo., in August, also custom-roasts coffee for its beer.) Modern Times sells its beans at its taprooms and online, and cans its cold-brew coffee. This maximizes the brewery’s packaging expertise and canning machinery.

    “It’s not running 24 hours a day,” Mr. McKean said. “By canning coffee, we’re finding another way to put that equipment into use when otherwise it would’ve been idle.”

    Whether coffee or beer, all Modern Times products share similar logos and labeling. In Pennsylvania, Vault and Pretty Bird stay distinct brands, even though the production brewery and roastery share the same building, and coffee regularly finds its way into beers like the Breakfast Stout, also starring oats and maple syrup. The aim is to let both companies stand on their own.

    “The intention isn’t to say, ‘Vault does beer really well, so they should be able to do coffee really well,’” said Mr. Cain, the Vault owner. “To us, Pretty Bird means good coffee and Vault means good beer.”

    Not all breweries separate their beer and coffee brands. Last August in Flint, Mich., the hard-hit auto manufacturing city, Tenacity Brewing reconfigured part of its home, in a former firehouse, into Heyday Coffee Roasters. It roasts the beans used in its espresso drinks and draft cold brew, which customers can enjoy in the brewery’s quiet, couch-filled den.

    Heyday has attracted early risers like Crystal Pepperdine, the founder and executive director of Flint Handmade, a nonprofit arts organization. On the first Friday of every month, she runs Craft, Coffee and Donuts, which draws craft enthusiasts to the taproom. “It’s just like getting together with a friend over breakfast at someone’s house,” Ms. Pepperdine said.

    Community sits at the heart of coffee and beer. “You sit around in the morning with a cup of coffee, then you sit around at night with a glass of beer,” Mr. Arroyo said. “To merge those two cultures just seems natural.”


    The top 50 craft breweries in the United States in 2021

    Who’s pumping out the most craft beer in the United States these days?

    The Brewers Association — a trade association made up of independent craft brewers — recently released its 2021 list of the top 50 craft beer producers by volume.

    While much of it is the same from the 2020 list — Yuengling is still king! — there was definitely a lot of movement on the bottom half of the list.

    Here are all 50 breweries with last year’s ranking also noted.

    1. Yuengling (Pottsville, PA)

    2020 ranking: 1.

    Yuengling has held the top spot for volume among independent craft brewers for six years running. It’s the sixth-biggest beer maker by volume behind bigger companies like Anheuser-Busch.

    2. Boston Beer (Boston, MA)

    2020 ranking: 2.

    Founded in 1984 by the legendary Jim Koch, Samuel Adams is often credited for helping introduce Americans to craft beer.

    3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA)

    2020 ranking: 3.

    If Boston Beer Co. helped change things out east, Sierra Nevada is its counterpart out west. The company’s introduction of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 1980 is recognized as a seminal moment in the history of the industry.

    4. Duvel Moortgat (Multiple cities)

    2020 ranking: 5.

    The Belgian-based craft conglomerate owns several influential craft breweries in the United States: Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, Calif., and Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, Missouri.

    5. Gambrinus (Multiple cities)

    2020 ranking: 6.

    The San Antonio-based Gambrinus not only makes the popular Shiner Beers but also produces Trumer out of California.


    Massachusetts

     Monson’s Tree House Brewing is a team that likes to set a simple goal and pursue it relentlessly. Whether that&aposs showcasing a hop varietal in the most intense, yet pleasurable way possible (see: Tree House Brewing&aposs Eureka series of single-hop session blonde ales), or using single-origin coffee beans as a stout adjunct (see: its਍ouble Shot series of robust stouts), purity is a recurring theme. The਋rewery recently added a canning line so itsਏresh nectars can be enjoyed later. 160 East Hill Rd., Monson, Mass. 01057

    A beer from Tree House Brewing&aposs Curiosity series, a rotation of experimental, pale, hoppy beers.

     West County Cider’s Maloney family has been fermenting rustic cider in rural Western Massachusetts since 1984. While annual production from their Colrain farm has experienced some growth (up from 100 cases to 2,000 annually), this remains a tiny operation that invests in quality over quantity. Drinking the dry, authentic ciders provides an opportunity to connect to America’s original table beverage𠅊n experience that surprisingly few U.S. cider producers are facilitating. West County Cider does not do tours or brewery visits, but its਌iders can be found in these locations.


    Goose Island to open taproom, begin tours at Fulton Street brewery

    Back when Goose Island was nearly the only craft brewer in town, getting the public into its Fulton Street brewery was not a priority. The brewery was for making the beer that went on taps and shelves around town, not hosting people and telling stories.

    That philosophy no longer works in an increasingly competitive craft beer landscape, which is why Goose Island is adding public tours and an 89-seat tasting room to its brewery. Both are expected to launch early next year.

    Ken Stout, Goose Island's director of consumer experience, said the lack of public access long nagged at him, but the industry's growth has made opening the brewery's doors essential.

    "Lagunitas opened that beautiful tasting room," Stout said. "Revolution has a great tasting room. There are all those new brewpubs. We are the most-known brewery in Chicago, but people don't know where our brewery is."

    It's an obvious missed opportunity in an industry where craft beer has become an experience and ideology almost as much as fermented grain in a bottle or can. Sixty-one percent of American breweries in 2013 had a "significant onsite distribution presence," either as a brewpub or a taproom, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association.

    Tours and taprooms are among the most effective methods of connecting with an audience, said Julia Herz, director of the Brewers Association's craft beer program.

    "There are many positives, including a deeper connection with the local community, an avenue for sales and event revenue, a place for extended education and also an option to interface directly with the appreciators of their craft beers," Herz said by email. (The Brewers Association has not counted Goose Island as a "craft brewer" since Anheuser-Busch InBev bought the brewery in 2011).

    "Tasting rooms often are the birthplace of many of today's craft brewers' greatest ideas," Herz said. "A tasting room is a place where brewers who pay attention can get instant feedback and a read on how beer lovers respond to their offerings."

    Gabriel Magliaro, an owner of Half Acre Beer Co., said the tenor of his Lincoln Avenue brewery changed as it opened to the public — first tours, then a bottle shop and, in late 2012, after the brewery had been in business for five years, a taproom.

    "The ability to get anyone who wants to come in to see our tanks and talk about beer with the people making it — that is what we do for a living, in my opinion," Magliaro said. "The people who come are in it for the beer, but also the camaraderie and spending time with people elbow-to-elbow at the bar. They're in it for the experience."

    Half Acre is planning to expand its Lincoln Avenue taproom by about 60 percent and build a taproom at its forthcoming second brewery, on Balmoral Avenue, which is expected to begin production by the end of the year.

    For most breweries "it would be crazy not to" have a taproom or offer tours, Magliaro said.

    "Financially it's a good thing, and to not share what you're doing at the source with the people who care most about it, why wouldn't you do that?"

    Craft beer was far less experiential when Goose Island opened the Fulton Street brewery in 1995. And it wasn't so long ago that Chicago brewing barely extended past Goose Island (there was Rock Bottom, Piece Pizza and a smattering of suburban brewers), but Stout said the brewery can't fight change anymore. The Chicago metro area has more than 50 operating breweries with many more in planning.

    "There's no better marketing device than getting people in your brewery," he said. "They get to touch the beer and smell it and feel it, and talk with people who love telling the story. You've got to get them in your house and show them a great time, and that we're credible."

    Credibility has become particularly important for Goose Island since becoming part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, leading to a robust discussion of its "craft" merits. Stout acknowledged as much, and offered a comparison to his college music-listening days.

    "When The Replacements came out, they were underground and sounded great," Stout said. "After a few albums, they got outside of just being played on WXRT and it was like, 'Oh man, they're not as good as they used to be.' We've got a little of that going on."

    While Goose Island's expansion isn't directly tied to Anheuser-Busch buying Goose in 2011 — the expansion "is all generated by Goose Island revenue and profit," Stout said — Goose production has been up considerably since exporting some of its brewing to A-B plants in New York and Colorado. So in that sense, the expansion can be directly tied to Goose's ownership. Stout said the tour will not shy from that part of its story.

    "We don't want to hide it because it's the truth, but we want to give context," Stout said.


    Where To Drink The Best Craft Beer In And Around San Francisco

    You won’t make it very far in the Bay Area without finding excellent beer, whether at local breweries or beer bars. While brewhounds from around the world regularly make pilgrimages to malt meccas like Sierra Nevada in Chico, Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa or San Francisco’s original craft brewer, Anchor Brewing, there are dozens of classics and newcomers opening every month all around the region. Here are 10 of the best destinations, plus additional recommendations to further your sudsy adventures while in town.

    1. Fat Angel
    One of San Francisco’s coziest and most charming bars, Fat Angel boasts a stellar rotating selection of draft beers and rarities. Since opening in 2010, it has become a destination for wine and beer fanatics alike. Watch Facebook for updates on the venue’s constantly changing taps and beer-pairing dinners. Fill up on a surprisingly excellent (and mountainous) kale salad, flatbreads and sherry-laced chicken potpie as you sit by the open window, overlooking the lovely Lower Fillmore neighborhood. 1740 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, CA 94115 fatangelsf.com

    2. Monk’s Kettle
    Monk’s Kettle has been one of San Francisco’s great (and intimate) temples to beer since it opened in 2007. It boasts 28 beers on tap and an encyclopedic beer menu of more than 180 bottles, and the staff is well educated and will steer you right if you convey your beer preferences or mood. Grab a sidewalk table (ideal during mellow weekday lunches) and order quality gastropub fare, like the beloved pretzel knots with cheddar fondue or cornmeal fried oysters. 3141 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103 monkskettle.com

    3. Toronado
    Like the legendary biker dive Zeitgeist, Toronado is famous for its grumpy bartenders. But what makes this longtime beer bar actually worth it is the 45 or more constantly changing drafts. (Check out what’s on tap before you visit here.) You can bring in sausages from neighboring Rosamunde Sausages, another local institution. (Pro tip: Try the duck, fig, brandy sausage). Enjoying both together in the divey, dingy Lower Haight bar, you can’t help but think, “Toronado, long may you live.” 547 Haight St., San Francisco, CA 94117 toronado.com

    Hopwater Distribution’s 31 beer taps feature a wide range of rotating California drafts.

    4. Hopwater Distribution
    One of the coolest beer spaces to come along in years, Hopwater Distribution opened in 2014 in the so-called Tendernob (the borderline of Nob Hill and the Tenderloin). The historic brick space houses upstairs tables that gazing down over the bustling bar below and features 31 beer taps (a nod to California’s status as the 31st state) with a wide range of rotating California drafts. Fill up on Dungeness crab tater tots, or attend one of the venue’s regular beer dinners. 850 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108 hopwaterdistribution.com

    5. Mikkeller Bar
    On a sketchy Tenderloin block around the corner from Union Square, Copenhagen brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø opened the only U.S. location of his famous Mikkeller Bar in 2013 with Chuck Stilphen, founder of the Trappist in Oakland. The bar quickly became a destination for beer lovers from around the world. Its 42 taps showcase a rotating selection of American and international beers, plus two cask beers and an extensive bottle selection. There’s also a sour room downstairs, featuring Lambic, geuze and other pucker-worthy brews. Try the house sausages, among other surprisingly excellent dishes. And don’t miss the Mikkeller Tenderloin Series of house beers in collaboration with Mikkeller’s Copenhagen brewery. 34 Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94102 mikkellerbar.com

    6. Trappist
    Intimate but expertly curated, the Belgian-inspired Trappist from Aaron Porter and Chuck Stilphen (and its sister cafe and beer shop, Trappist Provisions) has been Old Oakland’s beer king since it opened in 2007. Located in a brick building dating back to the 1870s, the Trappist features 25 rotating taps and a 100-plus bottle list. Dine on house sausages or a Reuben filled with Perdition Smokehouse pastrami from the heralded Berkeley BBQ restaurant (another strong craft-beer source). 460 Eighth St., Oakland, CA 94607 thetrappist.com

    7. Beer Revolution
    One of the East Bay’s best, Oakland’s Beer Revolution has been packed since it opened at the beginning of 2010 near Jack London Square, thanks to its chilled-out vibe and outdoor patio. Or is it because of the 50 draft beers that change “hourly and daily” according to the website? Consider it beloved for all those reasons. The place doesn’t serve food, but you can bring in food from neighboring establishments. 464 Third St., Oakland, CA 94607 beer-revolution.com

    8. Biergarten
    This Munich-meets-Hayes Valley beer garden, located in a parking lot, feels the most like Germany of any beer garden in town. Maybe that’s because it’s run by the German owners of long-beloved Suppenkuche restaurant, located just up the street. Under strewn white lights at picnic tables, locals fill up on bratwurst, giant pretzels and six rotating German beers on tap. It feels like one festive beer party. 424 Octavia St., San Francisco, CA 94102 biergartensf.com

    Play corn hole and table tennis at Lost & Found, one of the Bay Area’s most fun beer gardens.

    9. Lost & Found
    Opened one year ago, Lost & Found in Oakland sports 17 rotating California beers on draft (plus draft root beer for the kids) and is one of the most fun beer gardens around. The 7,000-square-foot patio is lined with plants and shrubs, and you can play corn hole and table tennis as you chow down on Thai curry popcorn and instant-ramen funnel cakes. 2040 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA 94612 lostandfound510.com

    10. Liquid Gold
    A Nob Hill arrival at the end of 2014, Liquid Gold (from owner Tim Lee) is a modern craft-beer outpost, intimate yet sleek, with a changing list of 30 mostly Californian draft beers listed on a flat screen above the bar. There is also wine on tap from locals like the Winery SF and a grab-and-go shop in back for take-home wine and beer. 1040 Hyde St., San Francisco, CA 94109 liquidgoldsf.com

    And a few more…
    Don’t miss newer and notable San Francisco breweries like Cellarmaker, Fort Point Beer Company, Almanac, Pine Street Brewery, Barrel Head Brewhouse and Sunset Reservoir Brewing Co., or the excellent Rare Barrel in Berkeley, brewing only sour beers. There’s also Oakland’s Ale Industries, Diving Dog Brewhouse and Woods Bar & Brewery. Balance that with visits to longtime local brewers like the great Magnolia (the original Haight Ashbury and new Dogpatch locations), Speakeasy, Thirsty Bear, 21 st Amendment, and of course Anchor Brewing. In the Mission, Southpaw BBQ brews great beers in house served with excellent ’cue, as does Bartlett Hall near Union Square.

    More top-notch local beer bars include Church Key in North Beach, City Beer Store in SoMa, Amsterdam Café in the Tenderloin, Lucky 13 in the Castro, Shotwell’s in the Mission, La Trappe for Belgian beers in North Beach and the Beer Hall on Polk Street. In Oakland and Berkeley, try the Hog’s Apothecary, Westbrae Biergarten and Brotzeit Lokal.

    This post is brought to you by our friends at MasterCard Priceless Cities.


    Best beer in Montreal

    1. Réservoir

    An old brewpub classic of the Plateau streamlined with modern decor, this bar&rsquos in-house beers and limited collaborations with guest brewers are masterfully made. Be sure to try the food by one of Montreal&rsquos most sought-after chefs here , Marc-Alexandre Mercier of the gone-but-not-forgotten Hôtel Herman. The pilsner here&rsquos is a go-to all year round, but picture yourself chilling on the rooftop terrace watching the world go by with a cold pint of their grapefruit IPA in hand. Now that&rsquos summer.

    2. Dieu du Ciel!

    Veteran craft brewery Dieu du Ciel! is one of Montreal&rsquos most iconic and revered breweries that&rsquos been hard at it for over two decades. Order the 20 consistently rotating beers on tap by the pint or tasting tray, or choose from the highly curated list of bottles either made in-house or imported from some of the world&rsquos finest breweries. Sure, you can find their beer in corner stores all over the city, but nothing beats a pint right from the source.

    3. Vices & Versa

    This one&rsquos the city&rsquos clubhouse for beer nerds. With 40 craft brews on tap that change every day, this is where you come to taste the best of what the province&mdashand the world&mdashhas to offer. For the past 15 years, Vices & Versa has been Montreal&rsquos house of hops, frequently being the proving grounds for up and coming breweries and a point of access to rare and highly sought-after suds from the likes of Cantillon and Evil Twin.

    4. Benelux

    The amalgamated name for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, this brewpub with locations in downtown and Verdun focuses on the styles of beer hailing from its namesake countries. Grab a hotdog from the kitchen and wash it down with a pint from the dozen house-brewed beers available on tap. The Sherbrooke location is popular with a McGill University student crowd, so expect it to be packed on weekends. Due to the popularity of that location, you might be better served at the more spacious spot in Verdun.

    5. Brasserie Dunham

    Take a trip outside the city to Dunham where you&rsquoll find one of Quebec&rsquos most celebrated breweries. Best known for their bottles and wild labels, Brasserie Dunham is the kind of experimental brewery that makes some of the most innovative beers you&rsquore likely to ever taste. Props go to a sour foeder-fermented grisette brewed with plums called the Funk Royale and the Vini Viti Vici, a collaboration with beers aged on the lees of grapes from various Quebec winemakers. Open since 2001, Dunham has been brewing some of the region&rsquos best brews in styles that suggest nothing is off-limits.

    6. Le Saint Bock

    This ultra-popular Latin Quarter brewpub is a classic of the genre. While the décor might be a little lacklustre, it&rsquos the 40 plus beers on tap&mdashmany of which are brewed on site&mdashthat keep the bar full night after night. Settle into a nice hoppy New England IPA, or if you&rsquore after something with even more funk, don&rsquot shy away from Malédiction framboise, a milk stout blended with raspberry purée. Check in for regular tap takeovers where breweries from all over Canada and beyond come and sling special suds.

    7. Brasserie Harricana

    It&rsquos got all the trappings of a classic tavern with big round wooden tables, roasted chickens served whole and frothy pints of ale, but it&rsquos also stylish: Pastel pink leather armchairs, bartenders as polished as the glasses and tasteful kitsch hung on the walls suggests as much. As for the beer? Expect anything from an ultra-classic English bitter to a saké-fermented blonde. Though the bar may seem ultra-modern with its futuristic flux capacitor carbonation system, the brewery takes its roots and name from owner Marie-Pier Veilleux's small town family brewery that operated from 1975 to 2013.

    8. Isle de Garde

    The 150-seat brasserie opened by six beer fanatics may seem enormous but sitting by the bar on a packed Friday night will feel more like grabbing a pint at the local than at one of the city&rsquos most vibrant breweries. The two dozen taps are loaded with rotating brews made in-house and across the province with a strict focus on highlighting Quebec breweries. Beer may be the draw here, but the food deserves a mention as well with dishes like ricotta gnocchi and escargot or a Thursday-only burger made from beef aged 60 days.


    BEER-CATION: New breweries, tours & tastings draw craft beer fans to WNC

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Apr. 9, 2013) - Consumers continue to lift their glasses to all things beer, and destinations like Asheville – aka "Beer City USA" are tapping into the trend. Craft beer sales jumped 15 percent in 2012, and more than 400 new craft breweries opened nationwide, offering thirsty travelers myriad ways to add local flavor to their vacation plans via tasting rooms and tours.

    In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, beer lovers travel from far and wide to experience the dozen microbreweries that brought Asheville the title of "Beer City USA." As a part of the inaugural North Carolina Beer Month, one creative fan will name a new Asheville brew and win a vacation prize package. Area brewers and beer enthusiasts are also making merry with tours, events and special craft beer releases. A full calendar of events and list of Asheville breweries is available at http://www.exploreasheville.com/beer/.

    Hip Hops! Music Video Release & Beer-Naming Contest

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    Vacation Giveaway

    Hop heads can also get in on the festivities by helping to name an Asheville beer. The 10 most creative names will be selected as finalists and then voted on by Asheville&aposs fans. The winner will receive a grand prize getaway to Asheville, plus a six-pack with the winning name and the winner&aposs face on the label! Details and an entry form are available here.


    These Are the 50 Biggest Craft Breweries in America

    If craft breweries are small-town record shops like Empire Records, macrobrewers are often viewed as Music Town, a big, bad corporate music emporium. But nowadays, many craft breweries are big businesses in their own right. Every year, the Brewer’s Association releases a list of the top 50 craft breweries in America ranked by volume of beer sales. It’s a unique window into the beer Americans are drinking.

    ALSO: A Lesson in Restraint: Getting to Know Table Beer

    And based on the top 50, we’re drinking plenty of Yuengling. The top three breweries in the USA are unchanged from 2015: Yuengling, the Pennsylvania- and Florida-based brewery again takes the top spot, with Sam Adams parent company Boston Beer Co. coming in second, and Sierra Nevada landing in third. Other breweries of note in the top 10 are the West Coast IPA–loving folks at Stone, the Midwest beer heroes at Bell’s, and Gambrinus, which provides Texas with all the Shiner beer they could ever want.

    MORE: Brewers Association Names the Best Beer Bars in America

    It’s also important to note the breweries not on this year’s list because they were acquired by macrobreweries like Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors. That’s why uber-popular beermakers like Lagunitas, Ballast Point, Breckenridge Brewery, and Four Peaks, all of which made the list last year, were excluded from this year’s rundown. But the good news about breweries exiting the top 50 is that it allows some craft breweries experiencing a ton of growth to enter the list, and others to move up in the ranking. Here are some movers and shakers you should be on the lookout for next time you’re in the liquor store:

    The pride of the Twin Cities, Surly went from not being included in the top 50 last year to rocketing into 42nd place. The brewery opened a new brewing facility, beer hall, and restaurant at the end of 2014, and that extra brewing capacity allowed it to finally ramp up production enough to be one of the largest beer producers in the country. IPA lovers lose their minds over Surly’s flagship Furious, along with its other hop-filled beers like Todd The Axe Man, OverRated, and Abrasive.

    3 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co

    10 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co

    13 Artisanal Brewing Ventures

    14 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

    21 Great Lakes Brewing Co

    24 August Schell Brewing Co

    31 21st Amendment Brewery

    34 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co

    36 Narragansett Brewing Co

    37 Green Flash Brewing Co

    40 Bear Republic Brewing Co

    41 Karl Strauss Brewing Co

    47 North Coast Brewing Co

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