Long gone are the days when the brewpub was a fine-dining farce. Fried finger foods and inferior brews have been replaced by chef-driven menus, and the beer brewed in-house is a far cry from the watered-down, inferior selections that once flowed out of drafts across the nation. The quality of house-made brew rivals the nation’s top operations. In some cases, it even eclipses their larger-scale counterparts, thanks in part to increased variety, care, and creativity.
There’s zero doubt, however, that consumers are clamoring for this brand-driven product. The hyper-local demand is constantly growing, and it simply doesn’t get any more honest than beer made by the same restaurant serving the food.
Here are five brewpubs across the country with rabid fanbases:
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN | USA Today named the legendary restaurant its No. 1 Brewpub in America as decided by popular vote this year. Opened in 1996 in the old Chicago & North Western railroad depot, the restaurant, located in Green Bay Packers territory, has a Hoppy Campers Club as well as a 400 Club that allows guests to drink its revered beers—like the Great American Beer Festival Gold-winning Boathouse Pilsner—out of a half-liter mug.
ST. LOUIS | Missouri’s first new brewpub since Prohibition opened its doors in 1991. European pub fare complements signature beers in a restored turn-of-the-century brick and timber building. Upward of 70 styles will be brewed each year. The restaurant will also suggest pairings. Fish and Fries with Pilsner, Fried Bologna and Ham Toastie with Kölsch, Schnitzel with Hefeweizen, and Mussels with Fries and Pale Ale are some of the favorites.
CALIFORNIA | Taps Fish House calls itself a “full-scale fish and chop house complemented by an award-winning brewery” as opposed to a beer-focused restaurant. There are locations in Brea, Corona, and Irvine. The brewery was founded in 1999 and its beers reflect the classic brewing traditions of Europe as well as the creativity of the American Craft Beer scene. The brewery has won more than 70 medals, produces over 46,000 gallons a year, and distributes to other restaurants.
MEMPHIS | Tennessee state laws prevented restaurants from brewing and selling beer until 1992. Right after the law changed, Boscos became the state’s first brewpub on Dec. 26 of that year. The restaurant brews more than 60 styles each year, including the GABF Silver Medal–winning Boscos Famous Flaming Stone. Gayot.com named the institution, housed in the former Bombay Bicyle Club, one of America’s Top 10 Brewpubs in 2016. The restaurant also incorporates its beer into pizza crust.
BALTIMORE | The awards are plentiful for the upscale restaurant located in a former townhouse. In 2009, Esquire named The Brewer’s Art its No. 1 bar in America. Gayot called it a Top 10 Brewpub and Draft Magazine named it one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in America in 2015. Fine-dining options such as Braised Rabbit Leg and Roasted Pork Belly can be ordered next to some of the city’s most sought after brews, like the Abbey-style dubbel, Resurrection.