Sometimes there’s nothing that tastes better than a cold beer. Fortunately, the surge in craft beer and breweries over the last few years has made that urge easier than ever to satisfy. With creative, sometimes crazy brews, as well as plenty of tasty food to go alongside it, these nine brewpubs stand out from the pack.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When home-brewer extraordinaire Colby Cox and chef Gavin Fine met in 2012, everyone knew that only good things could come from the friendship. Roadhouse’s beers are a blend of ancient Belgian brewing techniques and more modern American styles, creating a unique selection that has made their taproom an essential stop on any visit to Jackson Hole. The brewpub will be reopening in a new location later this summer, including both a restaurant and a test kitchen where guests can try out some of the newest Roadhouse beers. Not only that, but will be the only restaurant on Jackson Hole’s iconic Town Square to have a patio! Beer tastes even better with a great view, after all.
Craft beer may have really taken off in the last 10 years, but Magnolia Pub and Brewery has been serving up English-style ales and hospitality since 1997, when Dave McLean, a Deadhead with a love of homebrewing, came back from London with a new appreciation for the community he found in the city’s many pubs. Now owned by New Belgium Brewing Company and Dick Cantwell, formerly of Elysian Brewing, Magnolia continues to be a favorite of locals and visitors alike. In addition to plenty of drafts as well as their signature cask-conditioned offerings, the pub has a wide range of food options, including their homemade sausages and Thursday-night fried chicken special. A second location will open in the Dogpatch neighborhood later this summer.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
While beer might seem synonymous with Wisconsin, in Green Bay the last brewery shut down in 1967. Until, that is, Titletown Brewing opened up in 1996, revitalizing the industry and giving residents fuel to survive the brutal Midwestern winters. The brewpub renovated the old Chicago & Northwestern Train Depot, where they offer a unique menu with items including the PB&B Burger with peanut butter and bacon, and the more traditional house-made brats. The beers often have a strong tie to the Green Bay area, like the Johnny “Blood” Red Irish Ale, which is named after a popular Green Bay Packers halfback. And if you’re truly a beer fanatic, their event space for weddings, parties, and more even serves a beer-centric menu.
Housed in a former movie theater in Chicago’s hip West Town neighborhood, Forbidden Root has been bringing its unique blend of herbs and botanicals to the beer scene for just over two years. The brewery’s offerings use unusual ingredients like sarsaparilla, wildflowers, and bitter liqueurs to add a twist to traditional brewing methods. The food is equally fun, with options like fried giardiniere and Bloody Mary beef jerky. Don’t miss their limited releases throughout the year, many of which are only available on draft.
The stars must have been aligned when Oregon brewing legend John Harris decided to open his own astronomy-themed brewery in Portland. Ecliptic is steeped in space-themed imagery, from the constellation-shaped lighting in the pub, to the constantly rotating food and beer menus that change every six weeks according to the old-world calendar. In addition to the ever-changing seasonal menus, there are a few favorite standbys, including the Capella Porter, which has won gold at both the Oregon Beer Awards and the World Beer Cup.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
One of the larger names on the craft brewing circuit, Founders’ All Day IPA is something of a legend; it makes up over 50% of their volume. Founders Brewery began in Grand Rapids in 1997; it was a passion project for two homebrewers who wanted to create a place where you could find great music, beer, and food all at once. The taproom was an instant hit, and in 2007 they had to move to a larger space to accommodate the crowds of thirsty visitors. In addition to delicious beer, Founders also has an excellent deli that serves up tasty sandwiches, soups, salads, and their famous beer cheese dip. And don’t miss their can’t-find-them-in-stores draft beers, available only at the brewpub.
Brooklyn, New York
Circa Brewing is new to the scene, but even though it just opened last year, it already has a huge following. People love the open kitchen and brewery, which allow visitors to see how the sausage (and pilsner) get made, and because Circa’s beer is only available on-premise, it goes straight from the tanks to the guests. Smaller runs also allow Circa to be more experimental with their brews, and more offbeat creations like their mango IPA and blueberry-pomegranate gose have been big hits. Anyone who wants to soak up a little of that beer can grab a slice of their house-made Neopolitan-style pizza, as well as options like burgers, fries, and onion rings
Charleston, South Carolina
Edmund’s Oast likes to do things a little different. Since the taproom opened last year, they’ve been experimenting like crazy, offering everything from fruited sour beers to their Lord’s Proprietor, a light brown ale with black tea. They even have special sections of the brewery for barrel aging and wild fermentation. The brewpub has a full service kitchen that makes everything from pizza to steaks, as well as their on-site charcuterie and salumi production facility. And if you’re looking to spice things up a little, don’t miss the Mexican Cake IPA, made with habanero peppers and cocoa nibs for the perfect balance of sweet heat.
A recent edition to the south-side neighborhood of Pilsen in Chicago, Alulu has already made its mark. People have been loving the local artwork, globally inspired menu that ranges from vegetarian lumpia to chorizo burgers, and, of course, the small-batch beer that you can’t get anywhere else. In addition to enduring favorites like the Soma Fjord IPA and Ghostly Liso Mexican lager, Alulu frequently has limited-run specials like the Fox de Locus watermelon kettle sour. If you’re visiting with a non-drinker (or kids), the house-made shrubs and pops in flavors like green apple, kiwi, and peach aren’t to be missed.