When visiting a new city, my husband and I always search online for a cool local brewery to hit up. Over the years, we’ve visited 75+ breweries from around the country, and even a few overseas. For the purpose of this blog post, I will only include beer made in the US on my “Best of” breweries list.
While making this list, I used the following deciding points to help me:
- Is the beer good? This sounds like a silly question but you’d be surprised on the number of breweries that we’ve visited with beer that really isn’t that good.
- Is the staff friendly? Do the bartenders partake in conversation? Does the brewmaster come out to chat about what’s new? Do the people enjoy working at a brewery?
- Is the setting comfortable? Is it crammed or stuffy? Is the music blaring or is there a cool band?
- Is there something unique about their beers? Something that you don’t see at other breweries?
*Disclaimer: Since I live in Florida, I have obviously been able to visit more breweries within the state than outside the state. Therefore, you’ll see a small bias towards Florida breweries. However, I have listed some fantastic ones in other states too.
With that said, I have put together the following list of my top 5 favorite US breweries:
#5 – Aeronaut Brewing Company, Somerville, MA.
While in Boston for a wedding last year, my husband and I tried to visit as many breweries in the area as possible. I mean, who doesn’t drink a beer or two before attending a wedding? 😉 With that said, Aeronaut happened to be our favorite! Speaking as a southern girl, hospitality means a good deal to me and, I can gladly say, the bartenders/owners/staff here were great company to be around. Saison of Western Ghats was my favorite and A Year with Dr. Nandu (IPA) was my husband’s favorite. This is a spot that you won’t want to leave so you may have to call Uber to bring you home!
#4 – Swamp Head Brewing, Gainesville, FL.
My husband is a graduate of the University of Florida so we’re in Gainesville often to watch the Gators play. And a trip to Gainesville is never complete without stopping by Swamp Head. Their facility is beautifully built with windows that span their back wall that look out on a swamp. The beer at Swamp Head is solid across the board. I really can’t name a single favorite because I enjoy switching around between their core beers and their seasonal ones. If I had to comprise a small list of our most commonly ordered it would be Stumpknocker (Pale Ale), Wild Night (Honey Cream Ale), and Big Nose (IPA).
#3 – Lake Front Brewery, Milwaukee, WI.
The only thing better than drinking a cold brew, is drinking a cold brew while eating fried cheese curds. Seriously. The tasting room here is huge but it still feels homey. Once you order, you can sit inside or walk outside to sit on the back porch that overlooks the lake. It’s absolutely stunning! The beers and food here are all delicious. My favorites are Kilsch Pilsner and New Grist Ginger.
#2 – Intracoastal Brewing Company, Melbourne, FL.
If you ever wanted to try an apple pie ale or a tomato basil pine ale or rice krispy treats pale ale – THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU. This is the most imaginative brewery that I have ever been to and it’s always a treat seeing what they have on tap. In addition to their creative beers, they also have a solid list of the more traditional beers. So have a few beers, fill up your growler, and head over to the beach!
#1 – Coppertail Brewing Company, Tampa FL.
This is, by far, the most beautiful brewery that I have ever stepped foot into. From the copper tiles lining the wall to the window behind the bar looking at the brewery itself, this place is stunning! They always carry their 4 core beers and then they have a plethora of experimental ones. My favorite has been the I Lychee Hot, which is a habanero pepper/lychee berry combination. This is definitely a spot that you would benefit from ordering a flight so that you get a little bit of everything.
I think it’s about time for a beer now! 😉
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Also, please comment with your favorite brewery in the US. As I stated above, I love visiting new ones while traveling so I’d enjoy hearing about some more spots!