9045 Carroll Way San Diego, CA 92121 (858) 790-6900
Like a lot of young men growing up in America, Jack White's affection for high-quality beer started when he was in college. When he grew bored of buying the same beers from the store weekend after weekend, and the keg parties became a little bland, he started dreaming of creating his own beers that would offer something unique to the market. His taste buds were ready for something new, and his ambition was about to change his life. Joining forces with roommate Pete A'Hearn, it wasn't long before Jack turned his UCLA apartment into a brewhouse. When he realized that he didn't have access to the supplies and ingredients that he would need to create exceptional craft beers, he did what any entrepreneurial spirit would do. He opened his own supply store and filled it with everything he and many other small brewers needed to get the job done right. The make-it-work spirit would eventually drive Jack to massive success in the beer industry. Ballast Point Brewing was introduced to the world in 1996, and they had outgrown their production facility by 2004. The brewers now operate six drinking locations, including multiple facilities for brewing. If you visit Ballast Point in Miramar, California, you can experience the elegance of their restaurant plus take a tour of the backend to see where many Ballast beers are created. You may even walk out with a keg under your arm, so get ready to flex those muscles.Introducing the Brew
Ballast Point Brewing now offers more than 20 year-round beers, and they usually have more than five limited-release brews on the market. You'll notice these beers by the colorful fish pictures that grace the front label on most of their bottles. Jack created the brewery because he wanted to make money while doing something that he loved, and he joined forces with like-minded people who also wanted to keep the brand about things that they loved. Since they all loved to fish, many of their beers are named after fish and feature front-label fishing artwork. Most beer enthusiasts are familiar with the year-round beers produced by this brewery. One of the most popular options is Manta Ray IPA, which offers a strong aroma of citrus fruits with hints of pine. This is a smooth beer that you can drink bottle after bottle while having a good time with friends or enjoying alone time with someone special. Other popular options include Watermelon Dorado Double IPA, Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, and The Commodore American Stout.A Step Beyond Brewing
What started as a small brewing adventure in an apartment near the UCLA campus is now a thriving business that offers more than that long list of brew options. They are now investing in home brew workshops to help other enthusiasts learn the craft of homebrewing. While Jack still maintains an active interest in the business, he has moved on full-time to teach science and to hopefully inspire another generation of brewers. Ballast also hosts a variety of large events throughout the year, drawing attention to their beers while giving their fans a reason to celebrate. This includes events at all of their locations where fans are allowed to taste test new releases coming in the future.The Rewards are Pouring In
Ballast Brewing is now one of the most recognizable names on the American craft brewing scene. Their beers have won an impressive number of awards, and that recognition isn't expected to slow down anytime soon. Some of their most heavily rewarded beers include Big Eye IPA, Black Marlin Porter, and California Kölsch German-Style Pale Ale.Ballast Point Brewing Company Beer List
79 N 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249 (718) 486-7422
Do you believe that a few of the best things in life come from unexpected places? If so, you may find yourself right at home with a bottle of beer from the Brooklyn Brewery in hand. This brewery was founded by two of the most unlikely people: an international journalist who spent more than five years touring the Middle East before learning the art of homebrewing and a banker.
Steve Hindy was introduced to tasty homebrewed beers while working in countries that made drinking adult beverages illegal. Once back at home in New York, he started making his own beer at home and pulled his neighbor, Tom Potter, out of the banking world and into the brewing industry. Together, they started the Brooklyn Brewery with a commitment to supporting their local community.
Tom and Steve shared a love for the arts and parted from the crowd when it came to marketing their new brewery. For instance, they decided to give their beers to local museums, theaters, musicians and charities free of charge rather than paying for traditional advertising. This was a unique strategy to get their craft beers in the hands of buyers, and it has paid off. The Brooklyn Brewery in New York city is now one of the most celebrated businesses and is known by true beer lovers around the world. If you haven't been introduced to this brewery yet, take a few minutes to learn a bit more about who they are and why they're committed to brewing excellence.An International Community in Brooklyn
Many small breweries pride themselves on employing people from their local communities and sourcing their ingredients from local farms and businesses. The Brooklyn Brewery is committed to serving their neighbors in New York, but they also place an emphasis on opening their doors to dynamic professionals from around the world. Just as the founders had full lives with deep interests beyond the brewing industry, the people now working for the brewery come from all corners of the world and have a wide variety of personal interests. If you peek into their bios, you will find a mishmash of writers, scientists, actors, musicians, farmers and even a popular beer commentator.
This unique assortment of employees comes from the brewery's commitment to embracing creativity. They look for innovative twists when crafting their beers, and they appreciate the creative sparks that make each of their employees unique. These employees come from all around the world and many speak multiple languages, but for now, they are working together in Brooklyn to bring tasty beer to the international community.Brooklyn Brewery Beers
When the Brooklyn Brewery opened their doors in 1988, they started out with an American Amber Lager known as Brooklyn Lager. With an ABV just over five percent, this is a light beer suitable for everyday enjoyment, occasional celebrations or your most relaxing dinner party. This beer joins more than 10 additional craft brews in the growing lineup of Brooklyn-brewed, year-round beers.
This "perennial" collection proves that the brewers have mastered traditional brewing techniques while showing that they take pride in innovation as well. You can expect to find pale ales, saisons, IPAs and pilsners in the mix. This includes light ales, dark ales and even an Orange Peel Pale Ale named Naranjito. There are some spicy beers full of hops as well as some with intense alcohol content, but those light beers that you can drink without much thought are well represented as well.
The Brooklyn Brewery also offers a growing collection of seasonal beers, and they release some of their bestsellers in oversized bottles. If you want to see what creativity is doing for the brewery, get your hands on beer from the Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment. Beers in this collection are released on a rare basis and are difficult to find, but they represent some of the more cutting-edge brewing techniques and unusual ingredients making an appearance in the brewing industry today. In addition, Brewmaster's Reserve beers are served at select restaurants in small quantities, so keep your eye out for them as you travel and dine.Have a Little Fun with the Brooklyn Brewery
Do you enjoy booking vacations or road trips that give you a great excuse to drink delicious craft beer? You may want to check the Brooklyn Brewery's website and follow them on social media so that you're first to learn about their annual Brooklyn Mash international tour and other events taking place throughout the year. This brewery is committed to supporting the arts, and they put on some of the most entertaining beer events in the United States. The Brooklyn Mash is an international tour, so it may even give you a good excuse to visit lands further away.
This brewery started as a hobby and was established by two of the most unlikely candidates. It now serves as an international haven for excellent beer, and it's a great example of how people around the world can come together over a shared love of beer rather than dividing over differences in beliefs and opinions. The brewery is located in Brooklyn but embraces the good in the world at large.Brooklyn Brewery Beer List
1400 Ramada Dr. Paso Robles, CA 93446 (805) 225-5911
The more you learn about the Firestone Walker Brewing Company, the more you may appreciate an authentic passion for the craft of brewing. Not only does the company offer one of the more impressive collections of beers available today, but they offer something unique at each of their California brewery locations. This is one brewery that refuses to settle into a single box, and they are now a must-watch entity within the American brewing scene.California Brew with a British Twist
To understand the roots of this successful brewery, you have to learn a little more about a man named Adam Firestone. He was born and raised in the heart of California's wine country and was attracted to the process of brewing quality beer from a young age. He started experimenting with his own recipes after converting wine-making equipment into brewing equipment. The idea of opening his own brewery stuck with him for quite some time before his sister was married to a man named David Walker.
David is from Britain and found the concept of opening a brewery equally appealing, so he was the perfect partner for Adam. The two men make light of their relationship on their website by referring to one another as "the bear" and "the lion." While they admit to disagreeing at times, they also recognize that the character and success of the brewery were born from their conflicting opinions and unique ideas. Adam has the heart for crafting quality beer with a California spin, and David brings a touch of the British spirit. Together, they make up the Firestone Walker Brewing Company.The Firestone Walker Brewery Experience
You may know this brewery by the beers that you pick up at the store or order online, but the best Firestone Walker experiences come when you visit one of their three breweries in California. While many breweries expand to multiple locations, this company offers something unique to visitors at each of their locations. You could include all three of these locations in a Cali brewery tour and discover something new with each visit.
The Paso Robles location gives you access to the original brewery, and you can sign up to take a brewhouse tour and/or a barrel house tour with well-trained Beer Educators. It's now common for breweries to give scheduled tours of their breweries, but it's not so common for fans to get a glimpse into the barrel-aging room. The Firestone-Walker brothers offer these tours at select times, so it's important to look at the schedules on their website and then call the brewery to reserve your space.
If you want a fine dining experience in addition to some relaxation at the bar, head to Venice to visit The Propagator. This restaurant is attached to a bar and is home to a small experimental brewery. This is where the brewers try out innovative recipes, and they allow their visitors to taste those concoctions at special times. You can watch their website for release dates if you're in the area.
Are you always looking for a good reason to go wild? You may want to visit the Buellton location to learn more about the Firestone Walker Wild Beer Program. The brothers take barrel-aging and fermenting to a new level by brewing with a variety of wild yeasts. This beer line is known as Barrelworks, and you'll find an assortment of wild beers on tap at this location and the Venice location.Firestone Walker Beers – Variety & Experimentation
Many breweries are now focusing on modern brewing methods and experimental ingredients, but few have invested their time and money in as many creative directions as the Firestone-Walker brothers.Their impressive beer collection includes the all of the following:
Many breweries are now topping their beers off with artistic labels and creative names that stick in your mind, but the brewers at the Firestone Walker Brewing Company have kept their names fairly tame. Some of their most memorable names include Good Foot, Hat Trick, Oaktoberfest and Winter Wookey. They have even resorted to naming some of their products with simple numbers, and these beers range from Ten to Eighteen. The brewery is still one of the most respected names on the American brew scene, so it's clear that you don't need fancy names to stand out in today's competitive market.Firestone Walker Brewing Beer List
40 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (347) 227-8676
You may know the Sixpoint Brewery by the six-pointed star that graces the front of their canned beers, but there's a lot more to know about this Brooklyn brewery. The company started out as a small pub in Red Hook that served nothing but draft beer. The doors first opened in 2004, and it took the brewers six years to start offering their best brew in cans. In 2017, they made a bold decision to start offering their ales in raw, unfiltered form. They also introduced some innovative raw materials at that point, making an impressive splash on the American beer scene.
Today, Sixpoint is far from the most prolific brewery on the market when it comes to year-round releases. They keep the circle small but delicious, and they send out the random surprise by hitting their fans with limited-release beers at unexpected times. You also never know when the brewery, which is better known as a crazy laboratory by insiders, will put out small batches of super funky and oddball brews, so it's easy to get caught up in the Sixpoint fandom. They will keep you waiting for the next creative concoction, so let's get to know Sixpoint in more depth.The "Mad Science" Philosophy
If you have ever watched an artist splash paint across a canvas or sink their hands into wet clay to create a sculpture, you may understand the chaotic, messy process that is behind most beers from the Sixpoint Brewery. The company embraces a philosophy of "mad science," which they define as a combination of the following:
Instead of striving to recreate beers that have already been overdone for years, the brewing artists at Sixpoint get in touch with their gut instinct of how a great beer should taste, smell and look. They then use that foundation of scientific knowledge and passion for free thinking to bring their unique creations into the world. It creates a working environment that is quite different from many other breweries. You could expect nothing less from a group of brewers and beer fanatics who think of beer as a true art form rather than a way to simply make money or to get their fans intoxicated.Year-Round Concoctions from the Sixpoint Brewery
This brewery only offers four beers year-round, but they are all solid contributions to the American beer culture. They vary in intensity with their Sweet Action Blonde offering an ABV of five percent and their Resin IIPA boasting an ABV just over nine percent. This range delivers something for every occasion. When you're ready to kick back with friends and enjoy a low-vibe night of laughs, there are easygoing brews that will free you to indulge in multiple cans. For those intense occasions when you want one stiff drink that will put you in a great mood, Resin is there to assist.
These beers each fit the culture of Sixpoint in their own way, even though they aren't as innovative and unexpected as many of their small-batch releases. You can still expect bold flavors and satisfying aromas that can only come from quality ingredients and a spark of creativity in every batch.What to Expect from a Sixpoint Limited Release
If you really want to get into the Sixpoint movement, you have to watch for their limited releases. While these beers are widely distributed to everyone in their line, they aren't pushed out on a schedule. You have to wait for the mad scientists to come up with something that they think is worth sharing, and then you have to get your hands on a few cans before they disappear. They sometimes vanish just as quickly as they appear.
Limited release beers can represent any type of beer, and they all have a creative spin or unusual ingredient that you may find intriguing or even insane. Look for lagers, IPAs, porters and a variety of ales. You may also indulge in the occasional IIIPA, Gose or Coffee Blonde.Beer as a Culture
Sixpoint embraces creativity in the brewing process and is known as one of the most innovative and wacky breweries in the country. They also believe that beer is a powerful part of culture, and they strive to bring people together through their creations. When you pick up a can with that six-pointed star, you know that you're about to taste something new and exciting.
The brewers at Sixpoint aim to express themselves through their beer rather than knocking off what others have created, and there's always some new commentary that they want to add to our culture. Experiment at your own risk.Sixpoint Brewery Beer List
420 Mahantongo St, Pottsville, PA 17901 (570) 628-4890
The Yuengling Brewery was founded by an immigrant from Germany, but it remains the most American brewery still in operation. In fact, it is listed in the national registry as "America's Oldest Brewery." David G. Yuengling made his home in Pennsylvania and opened the Eagle Brewery in 1829. His goal was to live out the American dream by earning an honest living producing high-quality beer for the local community. What he actually did was establish a family business that would pass down the family tree for more than five generations.
The Yuengling legacy started with just two beers: Lord Chesterfield Ale and Lord Chesterfield Porter. Both are still served today and remain crowd pleasers, but the brewery has changed significantly over the years. You won't find this brewery putting out colorful labels with silly names, but they have managed to remain relevant after more than 100 years in the American beer market.Weathering Hard Times
Some may say that the competitive nature of today's beer market is difficult to maneuver, but the biggest obstacle to ever hit the American brewing scene was the era of prohibition. Many breweries packed up and called it quits, assuming that the illegality of beer made it a losing business proposition. David Yuengling took a different approach by creating cereal beverages that were as close to beer as you could legally get at the time.
David supplemented his beverage business by opening a dairy farm on land next to the brewery. This did more than help the brewery survive those difficult years. It also established a connection between the Yuengling family and the local dairy farming community, which would later lead the family to heavily invest in sustainable brewing methods.Coming Out of the Dark
The Eagle Brewery was renamed to incorporate the family name in 1873 when David's son joined the company. Once prohibition was lifted, the team got right back to the brewing business. They created their Winner Beer and resumed their role as one of the most prominent businesses in Pennsylvania. It wasn't long until word of their exceptional quality and fresh taste spread to nearby states, allowing the family business to expand quickly.
By 1998, the Yuengling Brewery had to pull back from some of those long-distance markets because demand for their beer had surpassed the maximum capacity of their brewing equipment. Just as David had refused to call it quits when he was slapped with prohibition, the family refused to limit the reach of their business. They opened a second brewery and have continued to expand to new markets and new brewing locations to this day.The Modern Yuengling Brewery
Today, more than five generations of Yuenglings have served their time at the brewery. Each new generation has brought fresh ideas to the table, allowing the company to keep up with changes in the beer market. This is surely a secret to their survival, but the real secret is in the quality of their product and their commitment to protecting the environment and giving back to their immediate community.
Many breweries are now embracing sustainable and eco-friendly brewing practices, but the Yuengling family has gone much further than most of their competitors. They have found creative ways to reuse, recycle and conserve natural resources, including:
The most prized beer from this brewery is Yuengling Traditional Lager. It has earned the brewery awards and remains one of their most heavily requested beers. The brewers produce six additional year-round beers along with a growing collection of seasonal brews. Their Oktoberfest beer is released in the fall, and their Summer Wheat lightens up the heat of summer. These are two of the most popular seasonal beers now available, but you never know what these dedicated brewers will come up with in years to come.
The year-round beer collection includes a couple light beers as well as Porters and a Black & Tan. While the brewery isn't known for creating attention-grabby names or artistic labels, they do offer classy packaging that gives their brand a sophisticated appearance. They're also known for keeping their recipes simple and incorporating superior-quality ingredients, so you may think of them as one of the best options for pure beer bursting with natural flavors.Yuengling Brewery Beer List
5429 Shaune Dr. Juneau, AK 99801 (907) 780-5866
Juneau, Alaska, is home to the Mendenhall Glacier and the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure, which offers stunning panoramic views of the city. From riding the Mount Roberts Tramway and exploring the city museum to kayaking, whale watching, hiking and watching bears roam in the wilderness, there is no end to the excitement of Alaska's expansive terrain. While many people can't tolerate the extreme cold for longer than a vacation, some outdoor enthusiasts rearrange their lives for the opportunity to live in Juneau. You can count the founders of the Alaskan Brewing Company among those brave explorers.
In the 1980s, Marcy and Geoff Larson were 28-year-olds with adventurous spirits and a love for the excitement of Alaska. They dreamed of packing up and moving into the wilderness, but they needed to start some type of business that would allow them to live comfortably away from the big cities on the American mainland.
Since Geoff was a homebrewer, someone close to the couple suggested that they start a brewery in Alaska. The idea sunk in, and they were on their way to opening the first brewery in Juneau since the prohibition era hit the country.The Opening of the Alaskan Brewing Company
Once committed to opening a brewery in Alaska, Marcy and Geoff did their homework. They studied the traditional Alaskan Amber Ale that was popular during the gold rush era, and Marcy even found documentation that listed some of the ingredients included in those old time Alaskan brews. Geoff got to work creating his version of an authentic Alaskan beer in an attempt to make their founding beer something truly deserving of a brewery in Juneau.
In 1986, Geoff and Marcy enlisted the help of 10 friends willing to work for free and completed the production, bottling, and distribution for their first 250 cases of handcrafted Alaskan beer. They established the Alaskan Brewing Company in a 2,000-square foot facility, which is where the brewery is still located today. They have expanded the original building into a complex that covers nearly 50,000 square feet, and they now distribute their beer to more than 20 states. Their complex in Juneau houses their bottling facilities as well as professional offices, a tasting bar and a gift shop full of merchandise.
Just as the brewery once gave the couple the freedom that they needed to live out their dreams in the Alaskan wilderness, it is now providing jobs for others living in Juneau. The fact that the brewery is a leader in the American beer industry is perhaps just icing on the cake.Authentically Alaskan Ingredients
All beers from the Alaskan Brewing Company are GMO-free. They may have an upper hand when it comes to freshness because they are made from natural resources that are abundant in Alaska. This includes:
Alder smoke and other ingredients found readily in Alaska give many brews from this company a distinctive flavor and aroma. You don't have to fall in love with Alaska to appreciate the authenticity of this brewery.Beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company
While they started out with just one authentic Alaskan ale, the brewery now produces more than five year-round beers plus a few seasonal brews and a growing collection of limited-edition labels. They are known for naming their recipes after the icy cold terrain in which they live. For instance, the year-round beer lineup includes an American Double IPA called Hopothermia and an IPA named Ice Bay. Other fan-favorite beers from this brewery include Big Mountain Pale Ale and Husky IPA.
Most breweries now have beer lines that include innovative brewing techniques and interesting ingredients, and the Alaskan Brewing Company is no different. Their Limited-Edition line includes Mocha Milk Stout, Raspberry Wheat, and Smoked Porter.Visiting the Brewery
The Alaskan Brewing Company operates just one brewery, and it is located in Juneau. In addition to a stocked tasting bar and gift shop, they offer guided walking tours through the brewery. This is a unique tour that delivers goodies along the way, so expect to pay a small fee when you join. Tours start every hour on the hour with the last tour leaving at six in the evening.
If you just want to stock up on memorabilia from one of your favorite breweries, you can visit the Alaskan Brewing Depot on South Franklin Street in Juneau. No beer is served at this location, but they do have a shop that offers some of the most popular merchandise. Is there any better way to end your next trip to Alaska?Alaskan Brewing Beer List
1800 Pike Road, Unit B Longmont, CO 80501 (303) 823-6685
Every summer in Brevard, Colorado, craft beer lovers come together to watch a massive beer can go up in flames. This happens at the closing of the annual Burning Can Festival and is one of the most memorable events for fans of the Oskar Blues Brewery. The brewery was first to start canning craft beer, so it's only fitting that they light up an oversized can once a year in order to raise money for charities that serve their local community. The festival gives thousands of people a valid reason to cut loose and enjoy exceptional craft beer, and it exemplifies the unique culture of this modern brewery.Where It All Started
The Oskar Blues Brewery started out as a brew pub in Lyons, Colorado, in 1997. The pub transformed into a brewery two years later when they started brewing fresh beer in the basement. While they were committed to serving high-quality beer that the locals enjoyed, it wasn't until 2002 that the brewery appealed to the larger craft brewing scene. This is when they had the brilliant idea of distributing their popular Dale's Pale Ale in cans rather than bottles.
The Oskar Blues brewers were one of the first to see the many benefits to storing, shipping and sipping beer in aluminum rather than glass, and the movement caught on rather quickly. It wasn't long before most American breweries were distributing their craft beers in bottles and kegs as well as cans, but the Oskar Blues Brewery refused to continue with the glass bottle trend. To this day, they only distribute their products in cans and kegs.The Oskar Blues Breweries
In 2008, the Oskar Blues Brewery was moved from Lyons to a much larger space in Longmont. This location remains the brewery's headquarters, but this fun-loving brand refers to it as an "anti-headquarters." Visitors are welcome to enjoy tours of the brewery at any time, and many have witnessed adults riding big wheels, playing basketball and laughing their way through the work day. The brewery features live music on the weekends and is always the perfect place to celebrate or just meet new people.
The second brewery location opened in Brevard, North Carolina, in December of 2012. The outdoor patio with bar is just as popular as the Tasty Weasel Taproom. Regulars may stop in any day of the week, but the weekends are when the action really starts. This is when the food trucks roll in, and the live music is unleashed.
In 2016, the brewery made their grand opening in Austin, otherwise known as the "Live Music Capital of the World." This is the perfect location for a craft brewery with a strong interest in the music industry. Some of the best live music concerts in the city are featured in this brewery every weekend.Beyond the Breweries
You don't have to visit one of those three breweries to enjoy an authentic Oskar Blues experience. You can visit the Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons or Colorado Springs. These restaurants pride themselves on serving great beer alongside food prepared with fresh ingredients, and of course, live music plays from the background.
If you're ever in Longmont, you may want to stop by the Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids to see another spin on an Oskar Blues restaurant. When you're in the mood for an Angus burger with thick fries and a shake, head off to the Chuburger food truck. Mountain biking enthusiasts may want to jump in line for a meal and a new bike designed by the Oskar Blues Brewery at the CYCLHOPS Bike CANtina. This restaurant serves Mexican food, but you can always head over to Hotbox Roasters if you prefer donuts and craft coffee with your beer.
All of these restaurants were developed by the Oskar Blues team, and together they give fans a variety of ways to enjoy this popular brand of craft beer. Local fans can also ask the brewery to cater their events, and the menu includes food from most of their restaurants.What's in the Can?
When you aren't zipping through trail runs and burning up the can at the Burning Can Festival, you may want to explore some of the canned beers produced by the Oskar Blues Brewery. They started out with Dale's Pale Ale, but the brewery now produces more than 15 beers. Many of these beers were crafted with some of the brewer's favorite music legends in mind, so every can gives you a good reason to put on some tunes and relax for an evening, a weekend, or right in the middle of the day.
Do you want to enjoy an Oskar blues experience without getting buzzed? The brewery now offers a small collection of craft sodas, including root beer, black cherry, and sweet orange. This should come as no surprise from a brewery that has expanded into restaurants and even food trucks.Oskar Blues Brewery Beer List
235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616) 776-1195
The Founders Brewing Company is an excellent example of the concept of "pivoting" in business. Just when you think a product is going to flop or a business is going to tank, you pivot to something new. You give the product a fresh label, or you rename the business with a new spin that might work better for the intended market. In some cases, you give up on the original market altogether and start catering to a new crowd. This is exactly what Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens did when they realized that their first brewery was on the verge of collapse.
Rather than filing for bankruptcy and allowing their brewing dreams to collect dust, they committed to a bold pivot that would eventually send their brewery soaring to the top of the American brewing market. Realizing that they really weren't passionate about the well-balanced beers that they originally produced, they decided to raise the bar when it came to complex flavors and aromas that demand attention.
They re-branded their business, changed their brewing practices, and started producing beers that were in line with their personal drinking pleasures. They became the Founders Brewing Company that fans across the United States rave about today.Not Everyone's Beer
Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers made one mistake when they first opened their brewery. They played it safe. They produced beers that they thought everyone would love. The end result was a line of beer that failed to stand out in the market. They were rewarded with a business on the edge of destruction and a mountain of debt.
That remarkable pivot allowed them to craft beers that they wanted to drink, but they were no longer a beer brand for the masses. They started catering to enthusiastic and adventurous beer drinkers who wanted something more than a delicate balance between malts and hops.
After more than 20 years in business, Founders is now one of the most respected breweries in the United States. Rather than building up a large collection of year-round beers with expected flavors, they split their efforts between year-round, seasonal, specialty and limited-edition brews. They also have an impressive barrel-aged series and a few nitro draft beers.
This impressive lineup has earned the brewery more than 10 medals from prestigious competitions like the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. They've also won four European Beer Stars. That's quite impressive for a brewery that openly refuses to cater to just anyone and everyone.What to Expect from a Founders Beer
All beers currently produced by the Founders Brewing Company are designed to blow you away with something not found in just any bottle. It starts with a powerful hit to the nose and ends with a stellar impression on your taste buds. If you look for mild, well-balanced flavors that you can drink without giving it much thought, you may find that you're not the ideal Founders fan.
If you're more interested in innovative flavors and your taste buds demand complexity, then you may vote yourself into the Founders fan club. While many beer companies are now focusing on fun names and artistic labels to grab attention on store shelves, the brewers at Founders continue to place the most attention on quality. They allow their beers to stand out in flavor and aroma rather than competing for the cutest names.
Many of the year-round Founders beers are IPAs, but they throw in a Pure Raspberry Ale and a scotch-inspired ale known as Dirty Bastard. The seasonal lineup is where you'll find some of the more relaxed beers that you can enjoy on a sunny day or when the complexity of the year-round lineup defies your laid-back mood. Look for delicious simplicity in a bottle of Mosaic Promise or a drop of liquid sunshine in the Founders Pilsner known as PC Pils.
If you want to try something new, look at the specialty, limited and barrel-aged beers from Founders. You'll come across some new flavor profiles, and the aromas will bite your nose in an unexpected manner. This is where you'll experience the full creativity of the Founders Brewing Company.The Light of Grand Rapids
Founders remains rather small when compared to many competitive breweries in the United States, but that's more by design than fault. This is a company backed by passionate homebrewers who want to perfect their craft rather than churning out as much beer as possible each year. They focus on unique recipes that deliver intense aromas and complex flavor profiles, and they hit the spot for a narrow segment of the American beer market.
In the future, expect Founders to continue pushing innovation and experimentation on the brewing scene. While they may not have breweries across Michigan or expansive production facilities, they do have what it takes to remain a shining light for beer lovers in Grand Rapids and across the country.Founders Brewing Beer List
1221 E Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 906-9148
If you are looking to capture the spirit of the Elysian Brewing, plan a trip to Seattle in late September. Start by looking online to grab tickets for the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, which is the biggest Elysian event held each year. It typically happens the last couple days of September, but tickets go on sale in early August. You'll get to sample some of the best pumpkin brews while appreciating the giant pumpkins that seem to flourish in this dynamic city. Some of the beers are poured out of massive pumpkins. Since this brewery is best known for its exceptional pumpkin beers, it's only fitting that they celebrate pumpkin season with their biggest fans.
If a trip to Seattle doesn't fit your fall agenda, try to pick up some of the pumpkin-inspired beers that come from Elysian just in time for Oktoberfest. You'll see why this brewery has been named among the best large brew pubs by the Great American Beer Festival three times. With a little more exploration of their expansive beer lineup, you'll also see that the Elysian brewers are quite innovative when it comes to selecting their star ingredients and creating recipes that stand out in today's crowded craft beer market.Elysian Breweries Then & Now
If you visit Seattle today and ask about the best breweries, most locals will point you in the direction of an Elysian establishment. There are now four restaurant breweries in the city in addition to the expansive Elysian production facility on Airport Way in Georgetown. This includes the restaurant at Capital Hill, which was the original brewery. This is the spot that introduced the Elysian name to the world of beer.
This first brewery opened in 1996 as a beer hall with the capacity to seat more than 200 guests. It remains an active brewery and full-service restaurant serving draft beers and delicious food to hungry guests until at least two in the morning every day of the week. Minors are welcome in the restaurant until 11 p.m., and there are a variety of fun events hosted at this location throughout the year.
The largest Elysian establishment can accommodate more than 400 guests and is located downtown in the stadium district. The doors open only to guests of drinking age, and you can catch happy hour prices all day on Sunday. This is by far one of the most popular breweries for Seattle sports fans, so you may find it difficult to catch a table on game days.The Elysian Beer Lineup
There have been more than 350 different beers released by Elysian Brewing since they opened their doors in 1996. This includes those popular pumpkin beers, which are released seasonally each year. This also accounts for a variety of seasonal and limited release beers that represent the more innovative spirit of the Elysian brewers. They use some of their brewery equipment to experiment with creative recipes and unusual ingredients, leading to one of the more interesting beer lineups on the American scene today.
There are fewer than 10 Elysian beers produced year-round, but their selection of limited-release options is always more expansive. Expect fun names like Hawaiian Sunburn for a Pineapple Habanero Sour brewed with habanero peppers or Mens Room Black for an intense red beer crafted to ease headaches for a man on his wedding night.
The creative names extend to the Elysian year-round lineup, but you won't find many unusual ingredients in these brews. Most of the options are IPAs, but the flavor profiles range from tropical fruit explosions to bitter hop bombs. The Brewers throw in a red and an Imperial Oatmeal Stout for good measure, and they use quality hops and malts to create flavors worthy of lip licks and aggressive head nods.The Future of Elysian Brewing
Elysian has dominated the beer market in Seattle and is gaining popularity throughout the United States, and they showing no signs of letting up in years to come. They are actively expanding their production space to incorporate new programs. This includes an impressive project to create superior wood-aged beers. They also use their newer breweries as tanks of innovation, which allows them to produce a variety of new recipes each year.
In the future, look out for new seasonal and limited releases that use unusual ingredients to create experimental brews. Also, pay attention to the Elysian brand when fall rolls around, and you start seeing pumpkins on front porches around town. That's your signal to get your tickets to the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival or to check out the newest pumpkin release from this innovative brewery.Elysian Brewing Beer List
1601 Airport Road. Ukiah, California, 95482 (707)463-2627
Do you know someone who just always seem to come in first? They're always first with innovative ideas. When they come up with something new, it's likely to make headlines. In the world of American craft brewing, the Mendocino Brewing Company is the equivalent of that person. The brewery has a rich history that dates back to pre-prohibition days, and it was the first brewery established in California once craft brewing was legalized. It was 1983, and the original establishment was known as the Hopland Brewery.
The name came from the brewery's location on Highway 101 in a small town known as Hopland. News of the brewery spread rapidly throughout northern California, and visitors started to stop in to get a taste of the state's first craft beer. It wasn't long before the Mendocino Brewery became a must-see stopping point for visitors traveling along scenic Highway 101.An Ongoing History of Firsts
As craft breweries started to pop up throughout California and the rest of the country, the Mendocino Brewers probably knew that they had to come up with something bold and fresh to remain one of the prominent breweries in the craft industry. It was the early 1980s when they released their magnum-sized six packs to great applause. These oversized, heavy bottles placed their Red Tail beer in high demand throughout Northern California and helped boost the company's distribution to surrounding states.
By the 1990s, the Mendocino Brewing Company was distributing 12-ounce beer bottles to more than 10 states. Those magnum bottles remained popular items for many years to come and are still cherished collector's items today.
The Mendocino brewery was the first to hit the market with the magnum six pack, and they continued to receive multiple awards for their creative packaging. Today, it's easy to pick out a Mendocino beer on the shelf because of the detailed, eye-catching artwork featured on the labels. The brewery started working with an artist to create some of the first artistic labels in the craft brewing industry, and it has paid off in terms of branding.The Days of Rapid Expansion
When the Mendocino Brewing Company used the financial backing of an entrepreneur to open an east-coast distribution center, they became one of the first American craft breweries to act on the concept of regional distribution. This second distribution center allows the brewers to deliver fresher beer to a wider market with much faster delivery times. Many breweries are using this distribution model today, but Mendocino will go down in history as one of the pioneers.Diversity Inside the Bottle
While artistic packaging has won the Mendocino Brewing Company awards and a lot of praise from beer enthusiasts, it's what they pack inside the bottle that keeps this brewer relevant today. They have one of the most diverse range of beer collections, so there's a little something for every drinking style. Some are hopped up for a punch of bitterness while others are more mellow.
There are now nearly 10 beer collections distributed by this brewery, and they all offer something that certain beer drinkers will appreciate. One of the most popular options is the Legend Collection, which includes the brewery's flagship beer, Red Tail. You can no longer buy this beer packaged in those magnum-sized six packs, but it's still one of the most popular beers from the Mendocino brewers.
The Select Collection features three beers that are tied together by their hawk-themed packaging. Eye of the Hawk is an American-style Strong Ale. Black Hawk Stout is an Irish-style Dry Stout. The collection is rounded out by an English-style IPA known as White Hawk Select.
Other collections include a small selection of seasonal beers, a collection of Imperial brews, a few regional labels and even some organic beers. Then you have Kingfisher, which has a collection all to itself. This is a well-balanced premium lager that is fermented, and that utilizes some of the highest-quality hops in the country. This is the beer that you reach for when nothing but the best will suit the occasion.Will the History of Firsts Continue?
The Mendocino Brewing Company is now known nationwide, and their beers are distributed in almost every state. The original brewery continues to serve draft beer in Hopland, and the company now boasts one of the more diverse and exciting beer collections. They are known for embracing a variety of brew styles and for creating interesting labels that make you want to drink.
The question is whether the tradition of coming in first will continue as the craft of brewing advances over time. You'll only know if you pick up Mendocino brews to see what goodness they pack into those bottles in the future.Mendocino Brewing Beer List
345 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA. 95448 (707)433-2337
What better home for a thriving brewery than in the heart of California's Wine Country? The Bear Republic Brewing Company operates from a restaurant and pub located in Healdsburg, conveniently located on the edge of the city's active wine district. Owned and operated by the Norgrove family, it's only fitting that the establishment offers a family-friendly environment where delicious meals are served alongside handcrafted beers.
On any given day, you can find more than 10 beers flowing from the tap. After more than 20 years in business, the brewery now boasts more than five year-round beers, a small collection of seasonal brews and an impressive list of draft specialties, barrel-aged beers, and limited-edition releases. They also have the Legacy Series, which contains select labels believed to define the brewery's establishment and development over more than two decades of growth.The Family Tradition
Where would you expect a family of professional brewers to develop their award-winning beer recipes? In the comfort of their home, of course. Most Bear Republic beers sold throughout the United States were originally developed through trial and error by members of the Norgrove family. Their experiences with homebrewing directly influenced the brewing procedures that are now implemented on a larger scale in their commercial brewery.
Today, the family produces handcrafted beers that are never filtered. They hand select the best ingredients because they know that the quality of the ingredients will determine the strength of the taste. With those values firmly in place, the Norgrove family has evolved from a family of passionate beer enthusiasts to one of the 40 largest breweries in the country.Award-Winning Bear Republic Brews
The most decorated beer in the Bear Republic lineup is a year-round beer called Racer 5 IPA. Columbus and Cascade hops bring a strong floral character to the flavor, but Crystal malts, wheat and malted barley balance the hoppy spice with just the right sweetness. This beer has won two gold and two silver medals from the Great American Beer Festival in addition to one World Beer Cup silver, two golds from the California State Fair and two additional international awards.
When browsing the catalog of Bear Republic beers, you can't help but notice the racing theme. Some of the more popular labels include a malty Session IPA called Pace Car Racer, an American Pale Ale known as Grand-Am and an insanely bitter Double IPA named Fastback Racer. Café Racer 15 is another seasonal brew that makes the love of racing an unmistakable quirk of the Norgrove family.Building a Legacy
While the brewmasters at Bear Republic take price in every unfiltered craft beer that they create, they reserve the best of their creations for their Legacy Series. There are currently fewer than five beers in the collection, and each is believed to say something special about the brewery's history.
Big Bear Black Stout is a Classsic American Stout that has won more than five awards, including a gold medal at the World Beer Cup in 2002. Red Rocket Ale has won 10 awards, and Peter Brown Tribute Ale has eight noteworthy awards under its belt. This makes the Legacy series a star-studded lineup of handcrafted brew.One Memorable Year
2006 was a remarkable year for the Bear Republic Brewing Company. Not only was this the year that the brewery won the prize for Small Brewing Company and Brewmaster of the year at the Great American Beer Festival, but it was the year that they expanded to a second brewpub in Cloverdale, California.
This establishment goes by the name Factor Five Brewery but is a secondary home for the Bear Republic brewing family. Both establishments strive to bring exceptional craft beers to the world while creating a welcoming environment for all beer enthusiasts.Bear Republic Brewing Company Beer List
35 Fire Pl, Santa Fe, NM 87508 (505)424-3333
You may know Santa Fe beers by their simple yet elegant cans. This is a brand that doesn't need to grab your attention with flashy packaging and intricately designed labels. They put on a show with interesting flavors and high-quality ingredients instead. The Brewers are also known for creativity and experimentation, which is best revealed through the growing collection of small-batch brews that they distribute only in New Mexico.
The innovative side of the Santa Fe Brewing Company is also displayed through their Los Innovadores series. This is a lineup of tasty sours that are barrel-aged underground in a cave. Kriek is a Sour Ale that is fermented with fresh cherries from Michigan and brewed with unmalted barley and Two-Row Pale malts. Single Barrel combines features of wine and beer to create an incredible sour that has won four awards. Both of these Sour Ales are available in 750 ml bottles that are more elegant than your standard beer bottle.
Are you thirsty for even more originality? The Brewers at Santa Fe are also known for developing seasonal beers, and they typically release new flavors every few months. They create these beers in small batches and give them interesting names. You never know what you'll get when you see a new can or bottle label pop up from Santa Fe.Year-Round Beers from Santa Fe
If you don't live in New Mexico and want to try Santa Fe Brewing products without making the trip, there are close to 10 flavors that you can buy in 10 states in the southern U.S. If you expect your beer to deliver a satisfying bite of hops, you're likely a good match to Happy Camper IPA. It's brewed with a potent blend of five premium hop varieties and is well balanced by four quality malts. It's a sweet treat that delivers that kick of flavor that you crave. This beer has won six awards to date.
For the coffee lovers, Java Stout delivers the heavy texture of a thick, rich coffee. This is a heavy beer with an ABV of eight percent, and the recipe combines premium organic coffee beans and a selection of five malts. This includes chocolate malts, which contributes to the intense aroma and layered flavor profile. Java Stout is a six-time award winner and is the perfect way to start a day of excitement or celebration.
Other award-winning Santa Fe beers include Black IPA, State Pen Porter, and Nut Brown Ale. The lineup includes light beers that you can drink mindlessly and heavy-hitters that are best taken at a slower pace. Each beer includes unique ingredients and a different combination of hops and malts, so you may want to do some experimenting before deciding on your favorite.The Making of a Leading New Mexico Brewery
In 1988, the Boulder Brewing Company went out of business and sold off their brewing equipment. Mike Levis was a curious New Mexico resident who purchased some of that equipment and tried his hand at craft brewing. By 1996, he had established the Santa Fe Brewing Company and had turned it into an award-winning establishment. When the brewery was purchased by a crew of four driven Brewers a year later, they purchased better equipment and expanded distribution into Colorado.
Today, the Santa Fe Brewers remain loyal to their New Mexico roots. All of their beers are crafted in the state, and their distribution is gradually expanding across the southern United States. Their main brewery is located in Santa Fe and includes a barrel cellar, a tasting room and space for events. The brewery also operates two separate taprooms. One is located in Santa Fe and the other is in Albuquerque.
The Santa Fe Brewing Company has changed ownership several times, and each change has a larger, more productive brewery. The Santa Fe brand is now recognized throughout the U.S. and is known for offering high-quality beers full of flavor and crafted from premium ingredients sourced from the southwest.Leading the Future of Sustainable Brewing
Like many modern breweries, the Santa Fe Brewery is now taking steps to make their brewing practices Eco-friendlier. All water used to make their beer is sourced from a natural well, and they reuse up to 80 percent of their waste water. This waste water is used for irrigation around the brewery, and they maintain a state-of-the-art system to ensure that as much water as possible is re-purposed in a safe manner.
The brewery also operates from an elaborate solar panel system that reduces their dependence on electricity by more than 10 percent. What about their Albuquerque tasting room? It was created entirely out of recycled shipping barrels, making it a popular building for tourists and environmentalists as well as beer enthusiasts. While these measures may seem simple, it's the small things that may allow the Santa Fe Brewing Company to remain one of the leading American breweries for generations to come.Santa Fe Brewing Company Beer List
74-5612 Pawai Pl, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 (808)334-2739
Some breweries specialize in one brew style, but the Brewers at the Kona Brewing Company prefer to diversify. This Hawaiian-based brewery produces a wide selection of ales and lagers, ranging from dark to light and sweet to hoppy bitter. Each beer sports a fun, lighthearted name and a bold label featuring colorful beach scenes. What else would you expect from a company established and still headquartered on the beautiful Big Island?
Spoon Khalsa and Cameron Healy opened the doors of the first Kona Brewing establishment in 1995, and they chose Hawaii for good reasons. They wanted to support the Hawaiian economy and protect the natural environment through eco-friendly brewing practices. They also wanted their beers to reflect the distinctive Hawaiian culture while utilizing the freshest ingredients to create the boldest flavors.The Kona Distribution Model
While many breweries produce their beer in one or two locations and then ship the bottles, cans, and kegs throughout the United States, Kona Brewing operates a little differently. In order to ensure that consumers receive the freshest beer possible, they establish brewing facilities close to major distribution markets.
This makes good business sense in two ways. The company lives up to its commitment to protect the environment by using less gas to delivery beer to stores and restaurants. Their products also spend less time in transit, so the chance of a customer opening a stale bottle of beer is minimized.The Kona Brew Collection
The Kona Brewing Company started with Pacific Golden Ale and Fire Rock Pale Ale. Pacific Golden Ale was renamed Big Wave Golden Ale and remains one of the breweries most popular beers. It has a strong aroma drenched with hops, but the flavor is more on the sweet and fruity side. It's refreshing, just as you would expect from a golden brew made from summer.
Kona now produces more than ten beers, but not all of those lagers and ales are distributed outside of Hawaii. The company is devoted to the freshest ingredients and utilizes the natural resources of Hawaii. They also capture the spirit of Hawaii through their ingredients. For instance, Koko Brown Nut Brown Ale includes toasted coconut, and Castaway IPA features hints of passion fruit and mango.Building a Legacy
You can also pick up on Kona's Hawaiian roots when you consider the fun names given to each beer. What about a bottle of Lavaman Red Ale or Pipeline Porter?Award-Winning Kona Beers
Brewing companies are now battling it out on a routine basis for prestigious awards handed out from the Great American Beer Festival, the North American Beer Awards, the World Beer Championships and many other reputable organizations. There are a few Kona brews that have collected an impressive list of awards.
The most awarded beer is Longboard Island Lager, which has received more than 30 awards. This includes nearly 10 gold medals and a long list of first place and "best of" titles. Big Wave Golden Ale has received more than 10 awards while Fire Rock Pale and Hula Hefeweizen have received more than five awards.Where to Find Kona Today
You can order beer gift baskets and other products online that may include beers from the Kona Brewing Company, but there are three additional ways to find Kona beers:
Kona pubs serve more than ten original brews daily, but only a few select beers are shipped to larger distribution markets. You can now find those beers throughout Hawaii and in a growing number of states throughout the U.S. Kona also distributes beer in Japan.Taste the Kona Difference
What makes Kona different from many competing beers is the use of natural resources from Hawaii. This includes some of the fruits and other flavor ingredients and the water. While the mainland breweries in the U.S. do not use water straight from Hawaii, the Brewers do adjust the minerals in the water to ensure that it's a close match. All breweries also use the same yeast, hops, and malts, ensuring consistency regardless of where the beer is produced.
When you put those fresh Hawaiian ingredients to work, you end up with relaxed, refreshing flavors and an impressive variety of beer styles. Consider it Hawaii in a bottle.Kona Brewing Company Beer List
929 N Russell St, Portland, OR 97227 (503)281-2437
When you crack open a bottle or can of beer, you have faith that the beer within is going to provide something of value. Perhaps you're after refreshment or liquid courage. Maybe you just need to take off the edge or escape reality for a short period of time. Whatever it is that you need in the moment, you just know that opening a beer will bring you home. That's exactly how Rob and Kurt Widmer probably felt when they quit their day jobs and start scrounging up parts to build a brewery in Portland, Oregon.
It happened in 1984. It was just five years after the brothers started experimenting with the art of homebrewing. It was also five years after Oregon declared it legal to brew beer at home. They didn't have any formal training. They had no guarantee that their brewery would ever become financially stable. What they had was complete faith that they could brew beer that would sell well to their local community.
Holding that faith, they worked hard and opened the first Widmer Brothers brewery the same year. An award-winning brewery soon to be known across the country was officially on the market.Setting the Bar High
When you have undeniable passion and are highly confident that the world needs a piece of that passion, you step out to do big things. You don't wait for permission. You don't wait to follow behind others. That passion compels you to take big leaps forward even when you don't have a solid picture of the finish line. This is exactly what you could say the Widmer brothers did after launching their Portland brewery with just two beers.
They didn't have the equipment to effectively filter all of the brew that they were producing, so they decided to leave their Weizenbier unfiltered. This was unprecedented for this style of beer in the United States at the time, but it became one of the brewery's first success stories.
The Widmer's sense of innovation and urgency to get great beer out into the world also led them to create the first full menu of seasonal beers that covered every season of the year. The brewery was draft-only at this point, but they made a splash across the country as the first to unleash such an extensive lineup of seasonal options. In 1996, they took the next big leap forward and started bottling their beer and dreaming of wider distribution channels.
Today, the Widmer Brothers distribute beer throughout Oregon and Idaho. They remain a regional brand, but beer enthusiasts across the country have tried some of their more popular brews. The fan base is destined to continue marching across the country as innovation and passion boost the Widmer Brothers Brewing Company toward greater success.What's in a Bottle of Widmer Brothers Beer?
The Widmer Brothers Brewing Company started out with just two beers, but they now offer more than five selections. They also feature the W' series, which releases one new beer recipe each year. You never know what you're going to get because the beers in this lineup offer traditional beer types as well as more experimental recipes with a modern twist.
Another claim to fame for the Widmer brothers is their Collaborator Project. It has been in operation since 1988 and gives homebrewers the chance to have their best recipes produced on a larger scale. Some of the biggest award-winning Widmer Brothers beers were first introduced through this program. This is a powerful outreach to the homebrew community, which is where the Widmer brothers found themselves before taking that passionate step to quit their jobs and start a brewery in Portland.A Brewery with Connections
The Widmer Brothers Brewing Company may distribute to a small region of the United States, but that doesn't mean that they haven't placed their unique stamp on the beer market. In 1988, they joined with other local breweries to start the Oregon Brewer's Festival. This is now the largest and one of the most popular brew fests in the United States, and over 70,000 breweries travel to Oregon to participate every July.
Even with that wide-reaching event to their credit, the Widmer brothers continue to operate just one brewery in Portland. They have dramatically upgraded their equipment and expanded their brewing capacity to reach a larger market, but they remain a small brewery offering high-quality brew in an overly saturated market. They seem to focus on connecting with homebrewers and allowing passion and innovation to spark new creations. That's what you get from two brothers who fully believe in their ability to produce beer that the world needs to taste.Widmer Brothers Brewing Beer List
1401 Miner St, Idaho Springs, CO. 80452 (303)567-4419
You'll find the Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, this city was flooded with prospectors in search of gold in the 1850s. Tommyknocker Brewing was created to serve quality craft beer to the prospectors, but the founding brewers may not have realized that they created a brewery that would remain popular well into the 21st century.
The name Tommyknocker was chosen in honor of the elf-like creatures believed to live and sing deep in the gold mines. The miners talked about hearing them, so it only made sense for them to go drink with the Tommyknockers after spending time deep in those mines.
In 1994, the Tommyknocker Brewpub and Restaurant opened on Miner Street. This location is conveniently located right off the interstate and is open daily not only for those in search of a tall glass of beer but also for community members interested in a hot meal or a glass of all-natural soda.
The brewery also gives back to the surrounding community by working with local organizations to fund charitable events. From eco-friendly practices to some of the freshest ingredients in the modern craft brewing industry, there's a lot to learn about the Tommyknockers.What's on Tap?
The Tommyknocker crew now claims more than 20 years in business, but their history of brewing goes back much further. While they started out as a small brewery serving craft beer to local miners, they now have a lineup of close to 10 year-round ales and lagers. They also have 10 seasonal and specialty brews along with a few tap-exclusive options available only in the pub.
These beers are bottled and shipped to more than 10 states, but fans also flock to Idaho Springs to enjoy a glass straight from the tap. The brewery allows fans to take behind-the-scenes tours, but it's best to call ahead at least one day to make sure that you visit on a day that is open for visiting tours. If you can't get to the pub, it's not difficult to find bottled Tommyknocker beers online and in many liquor stores.
What makes Tommyknocker beer standout in today's market is the use of natural ingredients straight from the mountains. They use fresh snow melt right from the Rockies as well as valerian root, mountain cherry and other fresh ingredients from the surrounding landscape. They use those ingredients to craft exceptional beers, and then they give those beers memorable names. How about a glass of Butt Head Bock Lager or a few sips of Jack Whacker Wheat Ale?
As if the beer lineup isn't impressive enough, the Tommyknocker crew also crafts a small line of all-natural sodas. While Root Beer is the fan favorite, they also offer Almond Crème, Strawberry Crème and Orange Crème. The sodas are made in small batches and are sold by the case.Going Green & Winning
Tommyknocker prides itself on being one of the most awarded breweries in the United States. Their beers have won more than 100 medals from competitions throughout the world. This includes gold medals from some of the most prestigious beer comps in existence.
Even with that level of success, the company remains humble and continues to give back to their local community as well as the environment. They now have an active recycling program and incorporate renewable energy into their operational practices.
In the future, the Tommyknocker Brewery is expected to offer new beers with fresh ingredients and intense flavor. They may even expand their soda line. You can look for them to host events in their local community, giving back to the city that has assured them many years of successful business.Tommyknocker Brewery Beer List
4607 Wedgewood Blvd. Frederick, MD 21703 (301)694-7899
Do you find yourself gravitating toward unknown beers when you see a creative or artistic label? Do the colors and interesting artwork make you wonder what flavors and aromas are waiting to escape the bottle? If so, you may find beer from the Flying Dog Brewery irresistible. This brewery is known for creating exciting labels that correspond with the name of each beer in a quirky manner. If you consider deciphering meaning behind an interesting label a natural part of a beer-drinking session, you might want to explore what this brewery has to offer.Meet George Stranahan
Carnegie Mellon University awarded him a Ph.D. after years of study. He opened a nonprofit research center known as the Aspen Center for Physics and is actively bringing physicists from around the world together to debate and explore new ideas that may one day change the world. He has wandered through some of the world's most challenging terrain and has struggled to the top of dangerous mountains. Add to it the books that he has written and the many moments of time that he has captured with a camera, and you'll understand why George Stranahan is a man worth meeting.
Perhaps George's most memorable accomplishment was establishing the Flying Dog Brewpub in 1990. The original pub was located in Aspen, Colorado, but less than four years later it expanded into a larger brewery in Denver. Today, George and his partners operate a successful craft beer business known as the Flying Dog Brewery, and they use state-of-the-art equipment to produce noteworthy flavors with premium ingredients.Filling Glasses Year Round
Flying Dog currently offers around 10 brews that are released year-round. They feature some interesting names that will make you want to take a big gulp. If you've encountered a few raging bitches in your lifetime, you may appreciate their Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA. If a splash of blood always gets your attention, the splattered label on a bottle of Bloodline Blood Orange Ale may fit your mood perfectly. Other popular year-round beers include Easy IPA, Doggie Style Pale Ale and Pearl Necklace Chesapeake Stout.Seasonal Brews from Flying Dog
While some breweries create only a few seasonal beers, the Flying Dog Brewery releases more seasonal than year-round flavors. The collection includes porter, barley wine, marzen, IPA, milk stout, lager and a variety of ales. Everything from Egg Nog Ale to Raspberry Leaf Ale is included, and this lineup offers some unique flavors that show the creative spirit of the Flying Dog brewers.Catch a Limited Release
You'll occasionally see specialty beers released from this brewery, and they usually involve experimental brewing styles, collaborations with other successful brewers or explorations into untested brewing ideas. These beers may or may not suit your taste buds, but they're always interesting to try at least once. If you like experimenting and staying on top of changes in the beer industry, these limited releases will show you what's new and upcoming.Visiting the Flying Dog Brewery
If you're a fan of the beers produced by George Stranahan's brewery, consider paying a visit to see the action up close. They operate a popular tasting room that quickly fills to capacity, but you can ensure there are seats for your crowd by making advance reservations. Those reservations will earn you a lively tour of the brewery as well, so wear closed-toe shoes and get ready to taste up to 20 beers while enjoying delicious food created by the Roasthouse Pub. There's no better way to see what a flying dog should taste like.Flying Dog Brewery Beer List
124 E Elm St, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 (715)723-5558
For the Leinenkugel family, you could say that brewing is in the blood. The brewery was founded by Jacob Leinenkugel in 1867 and has now cycled through more than five generations of family brewers. With authentic German roots and a passion for crafting superior-quality beer, Jacob had everything needed to operate a profitable brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. What he didn't know in the early days of developing his business was that he was creating a legacy that would stick with his family for more than 100 years to come.
It was the family's fourth generation that transitioned the Leinenkugel Brewing Company from a small-town brewery to a growing regional operation. They expanded the beer lineup offered by the company and extended the distribution channel to include Chicago, Minnesota, and Michigan. This positioned the company as an up-and-coming brewery with highly desirable products, and the Miller Brewing Company bought the brewery in 1988.
Today, members of the Leinenkugel family continue to work on behalf of the brewery, working to promote the brand throughout the country. They now operate two breweries in Wisconsin as well as a lodge that has more than 300,000 members. Miller gives the brewery nationwide reach for easy distribution, but this is still a family business that may continue to pull future generations into the brewing industry.The Leinenkugel's Year-Round Lineup
There are nearly 10 Leinenkugel beers that hit the market year-round, and they represent a wide range of brewing styles. It starts with Leinenkugel's Original beer, which has won two awards from the Great American Beer Festival. This classic lager was crafted from a family recipe created in 1867, and it delivers a crisp bite along with a refreshing finish. This is a lightly golden beer that will fit into virtually any setting with just about any meal you may want to serve.
Other year-round beers from the Leinenkugel Brewing Company include a Red Pale Ale with a strong hoppy aroma and flavor, an India Pale Lager brewed with five hop varieties, a Dark Lager with hints of cocoa and two Weiss recipes with fresh, flavorful ingredients. This beer lineup is expected to expand in the coming years, and the creative brewers are sure to include additional brewing styles.
One of the most awarded beers from this brewery is the Belgian Witbier know as Sunset Wheat. It took home a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2006. In the same year, this brew was awarded a bronze medal from the World Beer Cup. This is a citrus-soaked brew with a golden appearance and tall head of bubbling foam when poured into a glass. It's another light beer that goes well with sunshine, relaxation and summer fun.The Leinenkugel's Seasonal Lineup
You can't have a successful brewery without an Oktoberfest brew, and the Leinenkugel family delivers one of the most refreshing. Their Märzen-style offering is simply called Oktoberfest and places the bold sweetness of toasted malts front and center on your taste buds. Spicy hops shine in the background, but this is a malt-inspired beer that comes out just in time for the Oktoberfest celebration.
Other seasonal offerings include a rye beer called Canoe Paddler and Anniversary Lager, which was designed to celebrate the brewery's 150th anniversary. Keep a lookout for new seasonal beers to hit the market in years to come.The Shandy Twist
One of the more unique beer lines from the Leinenkugel Brewing Company is their collection of four Shandy brews. This is a flavorful beer style that blends quality brew with soda or fruit juice. The idea was born from the need to make a limited supply of beer stretch to satisfy a large crowd of cyclists in Munich in the 1920s. One creative brewer blended the beer with lemonade and soda, but the Shandy beers on the market today are sometimes blended with apple juice, orange juice or carbonated lemonade.
The Leinenkugel's Shandy lineup started with a blend of natural lemonade flavoring and beer, which is known as Summer Shandy today. They now offer Harvest Patch Shandy as well as Watermelon and Grapefruit options. These are light beers that you can enjoy on the beach or while relaxing on the front porch in warm weather. They're also good picks for anyone who enjoys a fruity twist to their beer.Pay the Leinenkugel Brewery a Visit
If you're a fan of Leinenkugel's beer, you might want to plan a trip to Wisconsin. Visit both of the breweries and sign up for a tour of the first brewery established in Chippewa Falls. Tours are only available to those of legal drinking age, and you should wear closed-toe shoes. If you live in the area and enjoy hanging out with other committed beer enthusiasts, consider joining the Lodge to maximize the fun.Leinenkugel Brewing Beer List
1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA 92029 (760) 294-7899
You know you're holding a Stone Brewing product when you see the gargoyle staring back at you from the top of the bottle label. While some find him a little creepy, most agree that he gives each bottle intriguing character and allows the brand to standout on the shelves. To the brewers at Stone, he wards off evil spirits. Gargoyles have scared away spirits for many years, but to Stone, the spirts are "cheap ingredients, pasteurization, and chemical additives." Those are three things that you won't find in Stone craft beers. Brewing in California, Stone now operates two main Bistro & Gardens locations plus a growing list of outposts. The bistros are located in Escondido and San Diego's Liberty Station. These venues are more than watering holes or simple bars. They cover thousands of square feet and include a restaurant as well as bar space, theater space and room for games like bocce ball. These are the type of bars that you visit to have a little fun, connect with someone you love or celebrate a milestone in your life.An Introduction Meant to Happen
In 1989, Steve Wagner booked time at a rehearsal studio in Los Angeles for his band. This studio was owned by Greg Koch. The two beer enthusiasts were introduced at the studio, but their mutual love for beer didn't become apparent until they were reunited at a UC Davis seminar dedicated to the sensory evaluation of beer. That seminar was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship that would eventually bring Stone Brewing into the world. In 1996, Steve and Greg opened their first Stone Brewing location in San Marcos. When they struggled to find local businesses willing to fill the tap with their brews, they started to distribute independently. To this day, they remain completely independent and handle their own production, shipping, and sales.Thriving on Craft Brew
In 2012, the second Stone brewery was opened in California. This new site included fermentation tanks, a packaging hall, and a distribution center. The company fully embraced their status as independent brewers and distributors, and these were the facilities needed to put their beers in the hands of craft beer enthusiasts across the nation. While Steve and Greg originally dreamed of perfecting delicious beers and sending them out into their local community for enjoyment, their dream was much grander at this point. They wanted to expand beyond California. They wanted to make a big impact on the craft beer industry around the world. While growing throughout California and opening that long list of outposts, Stone also had a growing list of beers to celebrate. They now offer year-round releases like Stone Ripper, Stone Tangerine Express IPA, and Stone Ruination Double IPA. Stone Coffee Milk Stout is one of their two seasonal beers, and they have special releases that appear on the shelves for limited periods of time.Expanding into the World
In 2014, Stone Brewing announced that they planned to open one of their Bistro & Gardens locations in Berlin. This brewery is a true tribute to the success of Stone Brewing. The brewery operates a 100-hecotliter customized stainless steel brewhouse plus a 10-hecotliter "experimental system." Instead of just occupying a building, they have a campus with a main building, a packaging and distribution facility and added event space. Stone has also expanded their beer lineup to include a couple of collaboration brews and a small batch collection. As this ambitious brewery makes its way out into the world, there's no telling where they may pop up next.Stone Brewing Beer List
500 Linden Street Fort Collins, CO 80524 (970) 221-0524
Jeff Lebesch is a living testament to the fact that successful people do the things that many others only talk about doing. Many young men around the age of 30 who enjoy homebrewing will talk about bottling their favorite creations and striking it rich. Few head off to Europe to ride around on mountain bikes, asking beer lovers for their ideas and feedback. Few stop talking about bottling their brew long enough to discover new brewing methods and ingredients that have real potential in the modern beer industry. Some may dream of such a trip. Others may laugh and say that you should just get right to the business of bottling. Jeff fits into neither of those groups because he actually took that bike trip and used the information collected to create recipes with the power to serve as the foundation of a respectable brewery. He then returned to his wife in Fort Collins, Colorado, and create Fat Tire Amber Ale. This was one of the first two beers that he created after his trip, and it turned into the flagship beer for the New Belgium Brewing Company.Fat Tire Was Only The Beginning
Fat Tire was named after the fat tire on the mountain bike that Jeff rode through Europe, and that explains the cherry red bike that you see splashed across the label of every Fat Tire ale bottle. While that amber ale still defines the brand, New Belgium now produces more than 10 year-round brews and an impressive collection of seasonal beers. The lineup includes something for everyone, including multiple IPS's, Black Lager and Czech-style Pilsener. The flavors offered by New Belgium beers are just as varied as the brewing styles. Citrus lovers will enjoy Citradelic, Citradelic Lime and Tartastic. Hop heads are naturally drawn to Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA. Brews like Sunshine Wheat and Glutiny can appeal to just about anyone who appreciates a good bottle of beer.The Lips of Faith Initiative
The New Belgium Brewing Company now offers a special line of beers known as Lips of Faith. These beers have more artistic labels that are clearly distinct from the cutesy and often simplistic appearance of the brewery's main year-round beers. The Lips of Faith releases are more limited and are crafted around more experimental brewing practices, some unusual ingredients and some collaborations with other influencers in the beer industry. This is where you turn when you want to taste something a little different.The Belgian Difference
Many beer enthusiasts know that there's something different about the aroma, taste and mouthfeel of New Belgium beers. That difference comes down to the blend of ingredients and some of the brewing processes. This brand is based on Belgian beers, which often use a wider variety of ingredients than you typically get from an American, German or Irish brew. For starters, Belgian beers tend to use a wider array of spices and fruits. They are also often re-fermented to create their champagne-like appearance, which is different than just adding carbonation like many other brewing styles. Belgian beers also use different strains of yeast than other brewing styles, and many experts say that you must master the yeast in order to master this type of beer. It's the yeast that gives many of these beers their unique taste, but the New Belgium Brewing Company is also known to add some unique ingredients that take their recipes to the next level. Combine mastery of Belgian brewing with the spunk to travel Europe on bike, and you see what it takes to stop talking and actually create a successful brewery known around the world.New Belgium Brewing Company Beer List
1044 NW Bond Street Bend, OR 97703 (541) 382-9242
The Deschutes Brewery aims to make shareable beers just as social media experts want you to share their posts. They want you to climb up on a bar stool and toast to good times with close friends. They hope to craft beers that you crack open while cooking dinner with someone special at the end of a long day or while celebrating a graduation, anniversary, birthday or any other special occasion. If you're all about good times with good people, you will fit right into the Deschutes family. In order to live up to this lofty goal of creating beers worthy of socialization, the Deschutes brewers select their ingredients and brewing processes based on the drinkability of the final product. Their goal isn't to create beers that require a refined taste or that you can only tolerate one small glass at a time. They create beers that make your tongue tingle for the next taste and that you can enjoy one bottle after another when the urge strikes. They also keep it all in the family by maintaining a family and employee-owned company.Beyond the Mainstream
Deschutes brewers also pride themselves on stepping "outside the brewing mainstream." They do this through experimental brewing processes as well as by taking sustainability seriously. They received a Sustainability Award from the Business Intelligence Group in 2016, and they won the Oregon Sustainability Awards in 2015. Their effort to make a positive contribution to their local community and impact the environment as little as possible has brought them to take on a variety of measures, including:
They also work with the Deschutes River Conservancy to restore the Deschutes River with part of the water that they use annually to brew their products. If you want to lift your glass in pride, this is the beer brand that allows you to drink up with a clear conscience.The Deschutes Beer Lineup
Black Butte Porter was the first beer crafted by the Deschutes Brewery. They started out as a small public drinking house serving the community of Bend, Oregon. Black Butte is a highly drinkable beer that offers rich flavors of coffee and chocolate and remains one of the most popular products from the brand. Deschutes has now expanded to include a line of eight year-round beers. These are the brews that you're likely to see in bottles at the store, in a keg at a big party or pouring straight from the tap when you visit an establishment that serves products from Deschutes. You can also get your hands on these flavors by visiting one of their Oregon breweries, which are now located in Portland and Bend. While you're there, make sure to book a tour of the brewery.Some of the more popular year-round beers include:
Deschutes also offers a growing collection of seasonal beers. You have to catch these at certain times of the year, but they're more than worth the wait. It starts with Red Chair NWPA for the first four months of the year, and then Hop Spice Session IPA is released to spice up your mid-year. The final quarter of the year brings the autumn and holiday releases, which compete quite victoriously with the many other seasonal ales released around this time. If you want to taste the more adventurous side of the Deschutes Brewery, select one of their Reserve Series beers. With names like Dissident and Abyss, these beers are released in small batches and are crafted with experimental methods and ingredients. This is where you step away from the mainstream and enjoy a little creativity in your bottle.Expansion Under Way
The Deschutes Brewery is actively looking to expand across the United States, so you never know when a brewery may pop up in your neck of the woods. Their Roanoke, Virginia, location is already on the way.
1280 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma CA. 94954 (707) 769-4495
If you find yourself in Chicago or Petaluma, California, you should stop into one of the breweries operated by the Lagunitas Brewing Company. Both of these breweries feature tap rooms loaded with the most popular beers crafted and distributed by this popular American beer company. You can slide up to the bar or kick back in a cozy chair and enjoy live music along with specialty beers that you may not catch in bottles or cans. If you go at the right time, you can also take a tour to see where Lagunitas brews are created.
What started as a meeting of the minds between a group of beer fanatics has now blossomed into a respectable craft beer businesses. In addition to their two breweries, Lagunitas opened a Tap Room & Beer Sanctuary in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2016. Another tap room/sanctuary will open in Seattle, Washington, in 2017, and a brand new brewery is on its way to Azusa, California. Not only can you see a complete menu for each of these locations online, but you can check their live music schedule to make sure that your visit is perfectly timed to your musical tastes. Expect quirky personalities, lighthearted moods and a good-humored vibe that will make you want to hang out all night. That's the spunk that has inspired the good-natured and sometimes confusing descriptions found on all Lagunitas beer labels as well as on their website, and it carries through in their upbeat breweries and tap rooms.What Is Lagunitas Serving?
You don't have to wait for your beer to hit the bar to start having a good time at a Lagunitas tap room. Just reading the names of their craft brews is enough to put a smile on your face. We're talking about CitruSinensis Pale Ale, A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale, Sucks Brown Shugga' Substitute Ale and Hop Stoopid Ale. How do you order those beers without showing your teeth? There are now more than 10 year-long beers produced by Lagunitas, and they have a growing collection of limited-release flavors. If you enjoy their creative titles and unique flavors, you may want to watch their website to catch their OneHitter Series beers as well. These beers are released one time during specified dates, and then they're gone forever.
This is where you'll find some of their more creative and experimental beers, including a sour ale fermented with red wine grapes and a coffee-laced beer left to age in whiskey barrels. You can find most Lagunitas beers in your local stores, but there are some special releases that are only available through their breweries and tap rooms. With the company expanding across the country, most fans will have an opportunity to get in on the live action at least once in the near future.From 1993 to the Top
The Lagunitas Brewing Company was founded in 1993, but few would have predicted how far they would come in the next ten years and beyond. Today, they are one of the most popular producers of craft beer in the United States, and half of the company is owned by beer giant Heineken. Their tap room locations are expanding almost as fast as their beer collection, and they're gaining fans by the day. Pick up a bottle of their popular Brown Shugga, and you may count yourself amongst those fans.Lagunitas Brewing Company Beer List
1075 East 20th Street. Chico, CA 95928 (530) 893-3520
The man behind the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is a hop-loving, fermentation expert named Ken Grossman. He spent his younger years watching his friend's father craft homebrew in his kitchen, and it was only a matter of time until he would start filling his own jugs with concoctions of his own. When he was ready to pick up and move, he ended up in Chico, California. He opened a homebrew supply store named The Home Brew Shop and started testing out unique recipes that made his fellow beer drinkers lick their lips. It wasn't long before the beers he crafted at home were in high demand with the locals.
You could say that the rest was history or that a world-renowned brewery was already in the works, but Ken still had a bit of work to do. While he owned a supply store that took care of the equipment needed to craft delicious beers, he didn't have the quality hops that he knew would take his beer to the next level. That's when he did what most successful homebrewers do. He took to the road and found what he needed. Two years later in 1979, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company came to life. Ken had officially gone from a young man experimenting in his kitchen to a successful brewer. He started out with a small homebrew business in Chico, but it wasn't long for his hopped-up brews began to grab attention of beer lovers everywhere. Today, Sierra Nevada operates breweries and tap rooms in California as well as North Carolina, and their collection of year-round releases is growing by the year. They also have seasonal beers and an impressive selection of specialty brews.It's All in the Hops
There are so many breweries and homebrew enthusiasts trying to peddle their craft beers that you now must offer something original to get ahead of the competition. For Sierra Nevada, that extra something is a passion for Cascade hops of superior quality. Ken Grossman insisted on using only the freshest and most aromatic hops available when he first crafted his original pale ale, and that standard still guides the company today. If you enjoy a kick of bitterness and the intense flavor that comes from premium hops, you may find yourself at home amongst the growing crowd of Sierra Nevada fanatics.Sierra Nevada Beers
Ken's flagship beer just happens to hold the title as the company's biggest seller today. We're talking about Sierra Nevada Brewing's Pale Ale. This handcrafted ale is made with whole-cone hops and offers an intense aroma with citrus overtones. Magnum and Perle hops are used for bittering, but every batch is finished off with a heaping dose of those aromatic Cascade hops. This is the type of beer that you enjoy over a steak dinner, but it goes just as well with a light summer salad.
The Sierra Nevada year-round lineup now includes 10 beers, and that number is destined to grow in years to come. Some of the more popular options include Hop Hunter IPA, Torpedo Extra IPA, Nooner Pilsner and Kellerweis. You may also want to pick up some of their seasonal beers. End the year with a Celebration pumped up with hops, or give your family picnic a little zest with Summerfest Crisp Lager. If you have a daring side, put your bravery to the test with one of Sierra Nevada's High Altitude beers. These are experimental brews with something extra. For instance, Hoptimum is a hopped, dry-hopped and torpedoed beer designed just for true hop heads. You may occasionally find some special releases escaping the Sierra Nevada vault if you watch carefully.
800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524 (970) 498-9070
What do the Anchor Brewing Company and the Odell Brewing Company have in common? They shared the talents and entrepreneurial spirits of Doug Odell. This successful businessman was once a young man working at the Anchor Brewing Company while simply trying to make a living. It was there that he would catch the homebrewing fever and start dreaming big. That was back in the 1970s, and in 1989 Doug opened the Odell Brewing Company with the help of his devoted wife, Wynne.
Doug and Wynne ended up introducing their brew to the world from Fort Collins, Colorado, purely out of strategic thinking. They were living in Washington when they decided to turn Doug's passion for homebrew into a business, but they didn't want to compete with the aggressive Brewers already saturating the market in that state. They went on a search for towns that would supply everything that they would need to get their product to the market: a college campus full of beer-guzzling students, traffic coming from a nearby highway, and easy access to a large city. Fort Collins fit the criteria and was home to a beloved family member, so it became home to what would soon become a major American brewery.Expanding the Family
The Odell Brewing Company was a family-owned and operated business up until 2015. That's when they decided to sell most of the company to the employees who had been helping it flourish for years. Today, Odell is an employee-owned business dedicated to slow, deliberate growth. In addition to operating their brewery and tap room in Fort Collins, they now distribute beer to 11 states. They even send a generous portion of their brew to the UK.Odell Brewing Beer - A Quick Overview
Just as the Odell brewers are focused on slowly expanding their beer sales throughout the United States, they've taken the leisurely path to releasing new flavors. Their year-round lineup includes nine beers, including an amber ale known as 90 Shilling, a porter called Cutthroat and a couple pale ales and IPAs. They've even thrown in Easy Street Wheat to give their lineup a little more character and variety. These beers have intense aromas and lasting flavor combinations, and the crown of foam stands tall when you pour them into a glass. While many breweries put more focus on their year-round beers than their seasonal releases, the Odell Brewery offers more seasonal flavors. This includes Isolation Ale, Oktoberfest and an IPA known as Tree Shaker. They also offer some limited releases, so keep a watch on their lineup for those unique flavors that may disappear about as fast as they're released.Bring on the Food Trucks
When you visit the Odell Brewing Company's tap room in Fort Collins, make sure that you show up on a day when the food trucks are in full swing. This brewery is known for holding a variety of fun events throughout the year, and many of them include some of the best food trucks in town. These trucks come to the brewery to serve Odell fans in the mood to party. From hot dogs and mac and cheese to Mexican and Italian, there's a little of everything being served in the Odell backyard.Add Philanthropy to Your Plate
The Odell Brewing Company is now just as passionate about giving back to the local community as Doug Odell was about homebrew in his early days of business. They select new charities to share their profits with each month, so you're helping someone out when you pick up a bottle at your local store, send a few bottles to someone as a gift or stop by the Fort Collins brewery for a drink after work. If you believe in doing good in the world, this is the perfect excuse to drink a good beer.Odell Brewing Company Beer List
603 E Brewery St. Shiner, TX 77984 (361) 594-3383
How can a little town in Texas with a population barely over 2,000 people contribute to the world of American craft beer? If we're talking about a city named Shiner, it can supply a prolific brewery that produces exceptional beers for one of the industry's leading brand names. That brewery is known as Spoetzl, and the beers that they craft are released under the Shiner brand name. This name honors the tiny town that has supplied the hops, malts and homebrew passion to keep drinkers across the country shaking their beer glasses for more.The Man Behind It All
As case after case of Shiner beer is shipped across the United States, today's brewmasters have one man to thank for the successful business that they now enjoy. This man is none other than Kosmos Spoetzl. He was born and raised in Bavaria, but his adventurous life pointed the way to Shiner, Texas, where he purchased the only brewery in town and started crafting his own recipes. Perhaps no one in this small Texas town ever dreamed that the Bavarian brewing up drinks for the locals would ever go far, but Kosmos put Shiner on the map by producing top-quality brews that beer enthusiasts far from town wanted to taste. That brewery is still operating in Shiner, but it now produces far more beer than the local community can drink. It also features weekday brewery tours, a gift shop and a bar that keeps visitors toasting and sipping for hours.What's on Tap at Spoetzl Brewery?
The Spoetzl Brewery now produces more than ten different beers, including year-round and seasonal releases. While they're not the most prolific brewers, they more than makeup for that in flavor and quality. When you're in the festive spirit around Halloween time, find a bottle of Shiner Oktoberfest. If you want to enjoy a glass of beer with distant relatives at Christmas, bring out the bottles of Holiday Cheer. These are just two of the most popular seasonal beers produced under the Shiner label each year, and they compete quite well with similar beers produced by other leading breweries.
Shiner is also known for releasing a specialty beer in honor of the Spoetzl Brewery's birthday each year. This brew is simply called Birthday Beer, and the label and recipe will change every year. You never know what the brewmasters will come up with for this special holiday, and it's fun to collect a bottle each year to see how the labels change.
The year-long releases produced by Spoetzl include a variety of brewing styles and flavors. This includes the dark and mysterious Bohemian Black Lager, the easy-going Light Blonde and the super creamy Homespun Ale. You'll find something that meets your drinking needs whether you want to sit at home and enjoy an intense hop-soaked brew or you want something light that you can down quickly while out with friends. The spirited brewery in a tiny Texas town has definitely mastered the art of versatility.Stepping It Up in Shiner
Shiner may only boast about 2,000 residents, but it has a lot to brag about when it comes to the Spoetzl Brewery. Kosmos started the company in a small brewery located in a tin shed, but the facilities now include state-of-the-art buildings and the some of the best brewing technology available. While Kosmos is no longer working his magic in the brewery, he's left the place in charge of exceptional brewmasters and talented businessmen. If you want to see what beer might taste like if it were crafted in a small tin shed, pick up a bottle of Shiner beer.Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner Beer List
1265 Boston Ave, Longmont, CO 80501 (303) 772-0258
The best Christmas gifts are those that keep giving for months or years to come. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy gifts of all time was handed to Dick Doore by his brother in 1990. Beneath the wrapping paper, Dick found a homebrewing kit that allowed him to make a batch of beer in his own kitchen. This kit introduced the art of craft brewing to what would one day become the co-founder of the Left Hand Brewing Company.
Several years after Dick began crafting his own beers at home, he connected with Eric Wallace, and a winning brewery was in the works. Between Eric's extensive traveling and beer-tasting experience and Dick's refined brewing skills, the pair had what it took to first impress their friends and later impress beer-guzzling fans. They opened their doors with their flagship brew, Sawtooth Ale, in January of 1994. The brewery was located in downtown Longmont, Colorado, and they had kegs heading out the door to customers within months.Talent Leads to Swift Progress
The Left Hand Brewing Company is different from many competing craft beer companies because it wasn't inspired by an elaborate trip across Europe or a life of beer guzzling and taste refinement. It started from a simple homebrew kit intended to give one young man a little pleasure in the short term. Once the brewery was established, the goodwill behind that gift turned into a lifetime of success and profit.
The business took off quickly, and word of the delicious flavors produced by Left Hand spread first in the local area and then across most of the United States. Today, Left Hand Brewery is well regarded in the U.S. as well as in Japan and Europe. While their original Sawtooth Ale continues to please fans, it's their Milk Stout Nitro that has made the biggest impression on the beer industry. Left Hand brewers created the first nitro beer bottle and started a new trend in the industry with this unique offering, and their Nitro Series is now one of the most innovative line of beers offered by Left Hand.
The brewery is still operating out of Longmont, Colorado, and they have more than eight year-round beers on the market. They've also created more than five seasonal brews, and their list of limited releases is always impressive. Somewhere along the way, they've managed to merge with Tabernash Brewing and earn a long list of awards. This includes nearly 30 medals from the Great American Beer Festival and around 20 additional awards from the Beer Cup and the European Beer Star.Participating in the Left Hand Movement
If you're inspired by the history of the Left Hand Brewing Company, there are several ways to get involved in their corner of the craft beer world. You can pick up or order their bottled beers, including the popular Introvert Session IPA, Extrovert American IPA, Mountain Mixer and Black Jack Porter. You may also want to try some of their innovative nitro beers like the seasonal Hard Wired Nitro.
Another option is to visit their tasting room in Longmont. You can take a tour of their state-of-the-art brewery and learn more details about the history of the company. If you go on the right night, you may even enjoy live music, and food trucks parked right off the patio. Finally, you can join the Left Hand family in supporting a variety of charities throughout the year. They participate in some fun events, including the annual Hops + Handrails Beer Fest & Rail Jam. They also bike for Multiple Sclerosis and take action to support a variety of causes for the good of society.Left Hand Brewing Company Beer List
506 Columbia St, Hood River, OR 97031 (541) 386-2247
If you think of success in terms of accolades, medals, and awards, you might consider the Full Sail Brewing Company one of the most successful craft breweries around today. Located in Hood River, Oregon, this company has earned more than 300 awards. Not only does this include over 100 gold medals for some of their highly regarded beers, but it includes a growing list of awards and recognition for the brewery itself.
What does it take to earn that enviable reputation in today's extremely competitive beer industry? For locals and visitors lucky enough to visit Oregon, it may have something to do with the stunning location of the brewery. It's located right on the river, so you can order drinks from their deck and look out at the flowing water and a maze of colorful kites sailing in the wind. Hood River is a big attraction for kiteboarders and sailboarders, but it's also a relaxing place for beer enthusiasts to kick back and get in a jolly mood.From Scraps to Shiny Gold
You don't always have to start with the best location and a newly constructed building to establish a profitable business with a strong fan following. The original Full Sails crew started out with an old building that once served as a fruit cannery, and they didn't have state-of-the-art brewing equipment back in 1987 when they opened their doors.
They pushed through the hard work of rebuilding that well-aged building that many other business owners may have laughed off. Within one year, they were doing something that no other brewery was attempting. They bottled their own brew. Again, this wasn't with modern equipment worth thousands of dollars. It was a manual machine that gave the Brewers many headaches, but they continued until their bottled beers were in the hands of local fans.
Sometimes you have to make the most of your scraps until you can afford to bring home the shiny gold. For the Full Sail Brewing Company, the gold was those gold medals and other awards. Their hard work started to pay off in 1989 when their flagship beer, Amber Ale, won big at the American Beer Festival. Today, that ale remains one of their most decorated beers. Some other top winners include Classic IPA, Session Premium Lager and Session Black Lager.Setting High Standards
Another secret to winning the gold and building a successful business is setting your bar high. Full Sails is a leading brewery when it comes to protecting the environment, and they use hops, barley, and spring water exclusively from local farms and springs. Every Full Sails beer is handcrafted, though they now have some state-of-the-art equipment that makes brewing much easier and faster.Here are some of the ways that Full Sail Brewing protects the environment:
Finally, a craft brewer must present a solid product that consumers want to buy in order to be successful in today's competitive craft beer market. The Full Sails Brewing Company started out with just their Amber Ale, but they now offer a growing collection of core brews plus five flavors in the Brewmaster Reserve collection, several options in the Pub Series and a couple of unique beers in their Barrel-Aged Series. From Bourbon Imperial Stout to Cascade Pilsner and Slipknot IPA, this successful brewery offers a ton of flavor for every beer enthusiast.Full Sail Brewing Company Beer List
1722 Fremont Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84104 (801) 467-0909
That magic of the Uinta Brewing Company started in 1993 when the first kegs of Cutthroat Pale Ale left a small brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah, and made their way out into the world. This light beer with 4 percent ABV and a delicate balance of caramel malts and piney American hops took the craft beer market by storm and remains one of the bestselling brews from Uinta. It was an impressive introduction from a brewer destined to leave his mark on the beer world.Great Things from Humble Beginnings
The Uinta Brewhouse Pub is now located on Fremont Drive in Salt Lake City, and the brewery now operates state-of-the-art equipment in massive Utah facilities. They turn out a remarkable number of kegs and bottles each year, but this thriving business was born from humble beginnings. The founder was on a soul-searching journey to find some meaning in life when he stumbled upon the homebrew scene in Salt Lake City.
After completing a course in homebrewing in none other than a bathroom, he moved on to create his own brewery in an old car repair shop. This brewery was the meaning that this brewer was searching for, and his small brewery was destined to create beers worthy of awards and, even more important, praise from a growing crowd of beer enthusiasts. It's interesting that his first beer was named Cutthroat because the brewery that he established in that old repair shop was destined to become cutthroat competition for all brewers in the United States.
It didn't take long for the little brewery that could to start doing amazing things. In 2000, they expanded to a larger facility with state-of-the-art equipment. In 2005, they launched the Four+ Brewing Company and continued to increase production and product reach for their Uinta Brewing labels. They continued to expand their facilities in order to keep up with demand, and in 2009, they joined the movement of aging select beers in old barrels that once held sweet bourbon.
The Uinta Brewing Company has even experimented with unique bottling processes, and they have created a unique bottle that gives their products character. Somewhere along the way, they even managed to switch over to sustainable energy through the use of wind turbines and solar panels. Today, their brewery is sustained 100 percent by renewable energy sources that are healthier for the environment.The Uinta Beer Lineup Today
The Uinta Beer Company now produces more than 10 year-round beers, two gluten-free beers, more than five seasonal releases and a small collection of bottled beers known as Brett. They also have a sizable list of limited-release beers available at most times. While Cutthroat Ale continues to lead the pack as one of the brewery's most popular selections, there are some other favorites that have won the approval of beer enthusiasts throughout the United States.
Yard Sale Winter Lager and Season Pass Vanilla Porter are two popular seasonal beers released in the winter, and some of the leading year-round beers include Hop Nosh IPA, 801 Pilsner, Trader Session IPA and Ready Set Gose Organic Gose. The brand is known for creating bold flavor profiles with a generous dose of fresh hops, but the Uinta brewers are excellent when it comes to balancing that bitterness with high-quality malts and other interesting ingredients. When you kick back with a glass of Uinta beer or pop open a bottle and take a long sip, keep in mind the humble roots of this successful brewery. You can drink up in peace, knowing that these beers are born from one of the most environmentally friendly breweries around today.Uinta Brewing Company Beer List
1800 West Fulton St. Chicago, IL 60612 (800) 466-7363
Every great brewery has its secrets. You may take a tour of the facilities and see the state-of-the-art equipment, the busy bottling facilities and the massive warehouses stacked with kegs and boxed bottles and cans. What you don't see are the small rooms where experiments in yeast propagation are going down. You might not see the special quarters where award-winning recipes yet to be released are developing by the day. What about storage areas filled with whiskey barrels in the process of aging bourbon brews?
If you're touring the famous Goose Island Beer Company, you can guarantee that those rooms are hiding out somewhere. This popular craft brewery is well known for pushing beyond the limits and conducting experiments that eventually lead to innovations in the beer industry. For instance, they were pioneers of bourbon barrel-aged beers and are always in the process of crafting small batches of experimental recipes.
Some of those experiments make it to the market and others may never go beyond the taste buds of a select circle of brewers and initial taste testers. Those secret rooms and experimental recipes are all integral to the art of crafting exceptional beers. The biggest secret is that each new industry development and each new beer release was proceeded by at least one inspiring moments. Those moments are what ultimately keep the Goose Island brewery at the top of its class.Inspiring Moments of History
Every glass of Goose Island beer enjoyed around the world is easily traced back to one whirlwind European vacation enjoyed by John Hall in the late 1980s. John enjoyed drinking high-quality beer and was amazed by the fresh, innovative brews being served throughout Europe. After tasting his way through that vacation, he returned to the United States and took it upon himself to bring that innovative spirit to the beer market in his own country.
John started the Goose Island Beer Company in 1988 with his own versions of innovative craft beers. His hometown was Chicago, and he took full advantage of the ample supply of fresh water available in the state. His beers were instantly approved by local consumers, and he opened a larger brewery in 1995 along with a bottling facility to start pouring his product to a larger audience. That brewery has doubled its size over the years, and the company is now operating two pubs in the United States along with a few in other countries.
While John Hall started this brewery from the inspiration of the craft beer scene in Europe, it's the massive fields of fresh hops and other intriguing ingredients that inspire the growing list of beers produced by the brewery. All of the hop varieties used by Goose Island come from Elk Mountain Farms in Idaho. The brewers work closely with the hop growers to create unique strains, and they only utilize the highest quality crops in their final products. Every hop field could inspire a new award-winning beer flavor at any moment in time.
Today, all of this inspiration has led to a massive business operating state-of-the-art equipment. Of course, those secret rooms and hideaways are important to the development of new yeast strains, hop varieties, and ingredient combinations.Goose Island Brews Today
Most of the beers produced by the Goose Island Beer Company today fall into one of the categories:
The brewery also has a growing collection of limited-release beers that you have to catch during short windows of opportunity. They're also well known for their Festivity Ale, which is their only holiday beer in circulation.
2320 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport, OR 97365 (541) 867-3660
It's 1988 in Ashland, Oregon, and something brilliant is brewing in the basement of the Rogue Public House. A group of ambitious and creative brewers are putting their magic together to craft beers that will take the market by storm. There are some large, successful beer companies clearing a path for ambitious brewers, but this group of beer enthusiasts aren't following along. They're in search of their own path and are willing to trample the weeds and overcome the obstacles on their own. These brewers are content with their smallness because they want something of quality and substance rather than something massively profitable.
We're talking about the original crew of Rogue brewers. They considered their new beer pub a revolution because they were stepping away from what was already being done in the craft beer industry. They were going their own way with the intention of crafting something uniquely their own. They were going, Rogue.
These Rogue brewers weren't creating safe beer recipes with the intention of pleasing everyone. They were brewing for a crowd of spirited rebels who wanted something genuine and fresh. They found their market rather quickly and opened their second brew pub just one year later. The second location was in Newport, and the Rogue Revolution was underway.Understanding the Rogue Revolution
Rogue describes their revolution as "a desire and a willingness to change the status quo." They're working with a rather simple equation that has equaled out to great success: quality + innovation = bold, new craft beers.
They start with quality. This means quality ingredients, all the way down to the water and the character of the people pouring their hearts into every barrel of brew. Then they use their creativity to explore new brewing methods and strategies. They give each of their beers a fresh twist that makes it uniquely Rogue.
The final product isn't another replication of the beers that are already on the shelves at your local store. They don't stop until they create something that stands apart and delivers something new. That's the revolution that has won Rogue many loyal beer fans.What's in the Bottle?
They started out with just two beers, but their collection now contains more than 30 flavors. This includes a series of India Pale Ales that allows you to match your mood to your hops. You can select from 4 Hop IPA, 6 Hop IPA, 7 Hop IPA or 8 Hop IPA. The brewery works with 10 varieties of hops, and these hop-forward beers each incorporate a different blend. Whether you're in the mood for an intensely bitter beer or you want to keep it light and drinkable, there's a Rogue IPA to suit you.
Some of the other popular beers from Rogue include Chocolate Stout, Dead Guy Ale, Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout and Mocha Porter. Keeping in line with their Rogue reputation, expect to see some unique titles coming from this brand. For instance, you might want to try a bottle of Voodoo Doughnut Grape Guerilla or fill your glass with Wasted Sea Star Purple Pale Ale. If you don't take a risk with your names, you're not completely Rogue.
If you read up on some of these beers, you'll notice that Rogue uses a lot of trademarked ingredients. Rather than using the same hops, malts, and yeasts that every other brewery is utilizing, they have created some of their own strains and blends. That's just one more way that they are forging their own path in the craft beer industry.Doing Things Right
Rogue strives to do everything right even when competitors are cutting corners. That's part of their revolutionary mindset, but they have proven that you can do things the right way while exploring extraordinary ideas. One great example is their Beard IPA. It was inspired by and crafted around the yeast found in one of their brewer's beards. You would expect something like that to come only from the Rogue brewers.