11 More Top Craft Breweries: Readers' Choice
August 1, 2013
These craft breweries also deserve a little love, according to you readers
Boneyard Brewery, Bend, Ore.
We heard from our readers that the Pacific Northwest, particularly Bend, Ore., was woefully unrepresented in our list. And we listened: that's why we knew we had to check out this reader-suggested brewery. We hear that the RFM IPA is not-to-be missed, and let's just say that Hop Venom IPA and Notorious Triple IPA, at 10 percent and 12 percent ABV, respectively, look like they have a bite. We'll be watching this Oregon brewery to see what happens next.
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.
Another Bend, Ore. brewery to receive a whole lot of love? Deschutes, of course (it was a runner-up in our own poll). Says Luke Skyora, senior editor of Wine & Spirits magazine, Deschutes deserves its good name "for their reliability and commitment to balance over bombast."
Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, N.
There was outrage when our initial list of breweries didn't include any from North Carolina — we know, get it. But that doesn't mean we don't have plenty of love for the craft breweries of North Carolina, including Fullsteam Brewery. Fullsteam knows how to take the best of its state's produce and resources, like locally grown basil and hicory smoked, locally grown barley, and incorproate it into its brews. With both a solid line of flagship beer and "esoteric" beers, there's something for everyone to love at Fullsteam.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, Va.
This reader-suggested brewery, Hardywood Park is the love child of two friends, turned homebrewers, turned BCJP judges and ciccerones. And with it, Hardywood Park has shown a dedication to its Richmond roots with some unusual beer styles, like a "community hopped" IPA, and the Hardywood Saison Rustica, with locally grown lemongrass, star anise, and peppercorns.
Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro, Vt.
Hill Farmstead may only sell its beers throughout Vermont, but that hasn't deterred its fanbase. Redefining what "local" means in a craft beer (the brewery sits on a farm), Hill Farmstead makes some of the most "lusted-after" beers in the country, says Clare Goggin Sivits, writer for BeerGoggin.com. It may be a young brewery, but we'll be waiting to see where the brewery goes into 2014.
Hops & Grain, Austin
One of the runner-ups in our poll, Hops & Grains has a growing fan base in a town that's full of craft beer — and we can see why. A World Beer Cup winner in 2012 for its altbier, Hops & Grains have three solid flagship beers; but we think it's their greenhouse, where they experiment with small-batch, limited-edition seasonals. Judging by this month's selection, like the Chardonnay Alt, we can see why the taproom's always busy with craft beer-loving residents. (Oh, and pups love them too for their recycled spelt dog treats.)
Jester King Craft Brewery, Austin
Another Austin favorite, but we couldn't ignore how much readers loved Jester. This farmhouse brewery reinterprets farmouse ales into a variety of styles, like a Hoppy Farmhouse Ale, the Farmhouse Imperial Stout, and the Farmhouse Rye Imperial Stout. All while using local ingredients, we can see why the beers are worth a trip to Ceres park for a visit (especially now that the brewery can serve beers in-house, thanks to the change in Texas law).
Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo.
We know, we know — we've shined a whole lot of praise onto some Colorado breweries. But this veteran (and reader-suggested brewery) of the craft brewing scene in Colorado deserves some praise, if only for that Milk Stout Nitro that everyone loves. Despite the large number of breweries north of Denver, Left Hand has made a home for itself in the Longmont with the community with a number of community initiatives, like the Homefront IPA. That, plus a seriously good lineup of brews, makes Left Hand a mile-high winner.
Schlafly, St. Louis
We saw Boulevard Brewing, Schlafly's neighbor, fly to the top of the poll, but Schlafly was a runner-up to our poll. Its wide range of brews, from summer lagers to bottle-conditioned Tripels, make it a clear hometown favorite. There's a reason it's called "the St. Louis Brewery."
Star Hill Brewery, Crozet, Va.
Star Hill, a reader-suggested brewery, is one of the most award-winning breweries in the state; and seeing as it's the start of Virginia Craft Beer Month, naturally we had to take notice. With quite the range of brews, like the German-style Smoke Out, it's clear that Star Hill has paved the way for other Virginian craft breweries.
Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Baltimore
A close runner-up in our poll and a reader suggestion, Stillwater is a Baltimore darling, to be sure. And it's also got some major street cred in the craft beer industry, as one of Rate Beer's top 100 breweries in the world in 2012. In a town that's slowing growing in the craft beer, Stillwater is leading the way.
Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, Minn.
Again, readers couldn't believe that Minneapolis wasn't represented on our list. Forgive us, you darling beer lovers of Minneapolis — surely, you won't be surly anymore? Surly Brewing Co. has been a veteran of the Minnesota beer scene since 1994, and has taken on the challenge of making better beers for the good people of Minnesota. Case in point: its Furious beer, an American IPA that's a favorite among craft beer lovers everywhere.