Small Wonders: 10 Top Nanobreweries Slideshow


Barrier Brewing Co., Oceanside, N.Y.

“Brewing for quality, not quantity” is the motto of Evan Klein and Craig Frymark’s single-barrel Long Island brewhouse. They specialize in aromatic, hop-forward brews such as the spicy Ruthless Rye IPA and the easy-glugging Greenroom Pale Ale.

Healdsburg Beer Co., Healdsburg, Calif.

In the heart of California’s wine country, Kevin McGee fashions unfiltered, naturally carbonated real ales such as the English-style IPA, The Alexander Cask, and a golden ale dubbed The Fitch Cask. He produces less than 1,000 gallons of beer each year.

Ambacht Ales, Hillsboro, Ore.

Belgian-inspired Ambacht uses local, organically grown ingredients to devise its line of rustic beers, which includes the Pie Cherry Pale Farmhouse Ale and the Golden Rye Farmhouse Ale. Each bottle of naturally carbonated beer is finished with a dollop of honey, which imparts a subtle sweetness.

Lawson's Finest Liquids, Warren, Vt.

Sean Lawson specializes in delicious oddballs such as Maple Tripple, a strong ale brewed with maple sap instead of water, and the cinnamon-spiced Red Spruce Bitter, which is infused with sprigs from red spruce trees.

Hess Brewing, San Diego, Calif.

On a 1.6-barrel system, veteran homebrewer Mike Hess turns out terrific brews such as golden Claritas Kölsch, smooth-sipping Grazias Vienna Cream Ale and the super-bitter Amplus Acerba San Diego Pale Ale.

Worth Brewing, Northwood, Iowa

In the tiny Iowa town, Peter Ausenhus takes to a 10-gallon system to fashion brews such as the generously hopped Dillon Clock Stopper and the campfire-scented Black Chow Smoked Porter.

Heater Allen Brewing, McMinnville, Ore.

Though based in IPA-crazed Oregon, longtime homebrewer Rick Allen eschews bitter brews for German-style beers such as the crisp, sparkling Pils and the dark and malty Dunkel lager.

Piney River Brewing Co., Bucyrus, Mo.

Headquartered in a barn in the Ozarks, husband-wife brewers Brian and Joleen Durham craft fiercely local beers such as Missouri Mule IPA, Ozark Firefly Wheat, and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale. Oh, and the name? That’s a river that runs nearby.

Beetje Brewery, Portland, Ore.

At Beetje (a Flemish word that loosely translates to "little bit"), IT project manager Mike Wright uses a 1.5-barrel system to make small-batch beers including the refreshing Urban Farmhouse Ale and Little Brother, a dark, strong Belgian ale.

Bat Creek Brewery, Bowling Green, Mo.

Owned by Jeremy Gilbert and Ryan and Heather Daffron, Bat Creek uses a smaller than 1-barrel system to crank out five year-round beers including the malty Flip Nut, lemon-nuanced Heartland Wheat, and the roasty, slightly sweet Machine Shed Stout — named after the shed that serves as the brewery’s home.