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14 Best American Breweries to Visit This Year

Whether you like IPA or barrel-aged saisons, these taprooms are worth the trek to experience.

Enjoying a delicious beer in the comfort of your home or at your favorite local bar may be easy and efficient, but there's something to be said about making it a point to get out on the road and enjoy it at the brewery where it was made. In addition to ensuring that you're getting fresh product, taking a seat in a taproom can also be one of the better ways to get to know a town or city—especially if the local scene counts beer as a strong suit. The craft beer boom has also made it more likely that you'll find something you'll love to sip on, no matter which region you happen to be in, whether you prefer a hazy IPA or a barrel-aged Belgian farmhouse ale. But before you hit the road, read on for the best American breweries to visit this year, according to beer industry experts.

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Port City Brewing Company (Alexandria, Virginia)

Virginia is no stranger to great local beer, but residents say there's one place that is worth visiting both for the delicious product and the experience itself.

"One longtime favorite taproom that's constantly finding new dimensions to both its beer and taproom program is Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria," says Steve Quartell, a Virginia-based beer expert. "I loved seeing their new Brewers' Cut series roll out—small batch beers from one of the area's largest breweries—some of which I hope lean crispy since their lager program never disappoints."

If you happen to stop by, there's also likely to be something going on. "Their events calendar has always been one of the most robust in the area, whether you're looking for trivia, biking in from the Mt Vernon Trail for Pedals and Pints, or maybe bluegrass night—maybe even with owner Bill Butcher on banjo."

Ratio Beerworks (Denver, Colorado)

The Mile-High City was among the first in the U.S. to make a name for itself in the craft beer scene. These days, its reputation is only growing stronger, thanks to breweries such as Ratio Beerworks, a RiNo outfit that has become a darling amongst locals and visitors alike.

"It's punk rock and music-themed, which is always enjoyable. But they also host a ton of art events, have a sunny front patio, a happening backyard, and a funky taproom that's ADA accessible," says Clare Thomas Allen, a New York City-based beer expert and founder of Make Every Day Hoppy.

She also appreciates that the staff is all trained to spot unwelcome or aggressive behavior and takes pride in being a safe place. "It's LGBTQ+ friendly and welcoming to all," she says. "And RiNo is a walkable neighborhood, too, which is super, super nice for Denver."

Allen says she's also a die-hard fan of the brewery's King of the Carrot Flowers, a special seasonal release that typically draws plenty of beer fans hoping to score a pour or two for themselves.

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Von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall (Stowe, Vermont)

A brewery that earns as much high praise for its beers as it does its on-site activities and beautiful natural surroundings makes for a nice trip. And in Vermont, Von Trapp Brewing—founded by descendants of the same family portrayed in The Sound of Music—allows visitors to revel in nature and a facility that feels like they've been transported to another country.

"It is possible that Von Trapp Brewery is the best place in the country to experience the seasons," says Mandy Naglich, a beverage and beer expert and author of How to Taste. "The bierhall itself has soaring ceilings with equally lofty windows showcasing the scenic mountains of Vermont: Lush in the spring, colorful in the fall, and covered in a layer of uninterrupted the winter."

Even better, Naglich says there's a beer selection to suit everyone. "There are clean, well-made pilsners that will please any beer fan, and for the more adventurous, there are options like a maple smoked lager and grapefruit radler. I recommend a Bavarian pretzel with mustard and a flight of four lagers in their outdoor space!"

Lost Generation Brewing Company (Washington, D.C.)

A trip to the nation's capital typically involves stops at a long list of museums and monuments. But according to Quartell, there's also plenty of great beer to be had in the District at Lost Generation Brewing Company.

"I love this spot because Lost Gen's taproom and staff manage to capture something too many breweries miss: A sense of place," he says. "You can really relax with a Shift Beer whether you're in the industry or not, which is a 4.7 percent ABV lager that absolutely crushes."

The brewery also shows some range outside of its lagers. "After your Shifty, aim towards hoppy beers, because co-owner and brewer Jared Pulliam spent enough time brewing with Lagunitas that he knows his way around some lupulin," Quartell explains.

Notch Brewing (Salem, Massachusetts)

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Salem, Massachusetts has a reputation rooted in history that draws in crowds of visitors every year. But the sight of the infamous witch trials also has more than its fair share of contemporary draws—including its beer scene.

"I grew up in a town next to Salem, and it was always the cooler, artsy escape from the average suburb," says Ash Croce, a beer writer and former bartender. "The art and tourist scene there has allowed the hospitality scene to thrive with creativity, and Notch Brewing is making wonderful European lagers in a cool spot right in the center of town on the water."

In fact, it can be a great way to get a real feel for a place with a genuine local culture that often gets overshadowed by its past. "I love to spend a day hitting up the shops and seeing which artists are showing at the Artist Row stalls before grabbing a beer and some snacks at one of the communal tables at the brewery," she says.

Wheatland Spring Farm & Brewery (Waterford, Virginia)

While some of the most popular taprooms are located in city centers, there are others where the beers are just an added bonus to the beautifully serene surroundings.

"If you really want to air things out, find a way to get out to Wheatland Spring Farm & Brewery," says Quartell. "You'll get wide open spaces for sure, but know that this is not just some acreage that someone opened a brewery on, there's a reason Farm comes first in the name."

He explains that the Branding family has created something new by using estate-grown grains and pure well water to help make some of the most characterful beers the area has to offer—something he calls "truly farm to pint."

"I can't wait for the Saturday I can head out there and take turns positively delighting in a fresh Corn Crib lager in one hand and a farm kitchen-made caprese sandwich in the other," he tells Best Life.

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Pelican Brewing (Pacific City, Oregon)

Taking a road trip down the rugged Oregon coastline is an item on many traveler's bucket lists. If you're searching for places to stop along the way, look no further than Pelican Brewing, especially at its namesake location.

"Outrageous NW ocean views, beach vibes, excellent beer and food, and a bunch of locations make it easy to visit and hang," says Chris McClellan, beer expert and founder of The Brew Enthusiast. "I loved visiting their original location and try to stop in whenever I'm roaming around coastal Oregon.

Grimm Artisanal Ales (Brooklyn, New York)

Even as the biggest city in the U.S., New York still finds time for great beer. And for many, one Brooklyn taproom stands out as a bright spot, even for the Big Apple.

"Grimm was one of the first breweries I was introduced to when I moved to New York City," says Croce, who explains she first fell in love with their beers while working a busy event in Manhattan long before the then-nomadic brewery had an address of its own.

"I've remained a fan through their establishment of a brick-and-mortar space and recent expansion," she says. "The beer is always well made and interesting, the vibes at the brewery are top-tier, and the brewery cat Simcoe is an icon."

Jester King (Austin, Texas)

An exterior photo of Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas
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There's plenty to see when traveling across the Lone Star State. But if you're after the best beer, experts say you should consider swinging by one location in Austin.

"Jester King is a brewery I've admired since I was new to the industry in 2012, and having the opportunity to visit and taste barrels with them in 2022 was a gift," says Aiyana Knauer, a New York City-based brewery operations manager. "The land they're on is beautiful when in bloom, the goats are adorably cute, they've also got cats, and the beer is great. Jester King does things how they want, and I am a sucker for the esoteric."

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Strong Rope Brewery (Brooklyn, New York)

There's no shortage of fun activities and impressive views in New York City. However, locals know that one taproom is a great way to spend an afternoon and take in the uniqueness of a Brooklyn enclave.

"Summer is almost here in New York City, which means it's time to check out Strong Rope's Red Hook Brewery and Taproom!" suggests McClellan. "Besides the fresh, delicious beer and friendly staff, there are also fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor and a wonderful family-friendly vibe."

Allagash Brewing (Portland, Maine)

Even in a state that's had as much of an impact on beer culture as Maine, it's hard to overstate how influential one of its top breweries has been on the development of brewing in the U.S. That's why experts say a trip to Allagash Brewing's headquarters in Portland is worth the journey.

"Allagash is a place I hold in a tier of utter awe and almost religious reverence," says Knauer. "It's the brewery that popularized a traditional European beer style that no one else was really making at the time, they do them better than anyone else, and their portfolios of other offerings are equally fantastic.

The trip is also worth it because of how much bigger and more capable the operation is compared to other craft ventures. "Visiting a large brewery is just cool, there's no way around it!" Knauer says. "I'm used to seeing much smaller tanks, and seeing tanks like theirs that are the size of a taproom—or larger—really puts me in my place."

Green Bench Brewing Company (St. Petersburg, Florida)

Just beyond the shadow of Tropicana Field lies Green Bench Brewing Company, an award-winning outfit that has made a name for itself on the national beer scene. The brewery fills up with baseball fans before and after Tampa Bay Rays games, and it remains one of the best attractions in town any day of the week for many who hail from the area.

"I'm a Florida girl, so when I go home to visit family, heading to Green Bench Brewing Company in downtown St. Pete is an absolute must," says Cristina Martin, a New York City-based cocktail expert and beverage educator.

She says the brewery's famous Postcard Pils remains one of her favorite beers, but adds that half the fun of visiting the taproom is getting to try what they have available from their rotating selection of impressively diverse styles.

"But on top of all that, it's simply a great place to meet with friends and just feels like home," Martin says.

Marshall Brewing (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

A Belcher pint glass from Marshall Brewing on a picnic table
Copyright @marshallbrewing / Instagram

Most travelers know one of the best parts of hitting the road is coming across unexpected locations—especially when they become some of your new favorites.

"Marshall Brewing in Tulsa is a brewery I didn't know about until I visited American Solera to brew a collab and blend some barrels," Knauer says. "It's literally on the same block, and the brew teams from both breweries share beers on the loading dock after work."

She says the facility was Tulsa's first production craft brewery, and visiting it felt like the first time she ever set foot in one. "It was comfortable like stepping into your favorite thrift store, small enough to feel like I was just let in on a secret, and had a portfolio of classic European beers," Knauer explains. "Sipping an English-style best bitter and watching the sun set across Tulsa is magic!"

Xül Beer Co. (Knoxville, Tennessee)

It's not uncommon for new breweries to repurpose old locations and transform them into something special. And when the beer is as enjoyable as the surroundings, it's worth taking a trip to experience it for yourself.

"Located at the edge of downtown Knoxville in a renovated 1960s-era former VW dealership showroom, Xül Beer Co. (pronounced "Zool," yes, like in Ghostbusters) is making some of the most fun brews in all of East Tennessee," says Shea Donahue, manager of The Brew Shop in Arlington, Virginia. Their PB&J Mixtape fruited sour is childhood nostalgia in a can, and their wall of pinball machines further encourages one to feel like a kid again."

He adds that the brewery's famed HYFR Double IPA series is also worth consideration "if only for the G.I. Joe-themed can art."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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