Should you find yourself traveling around our fair country or with some free time and simply in the mood for a good buzz, poke your nose into some of the best brewery stops across the U.S. We think you’ll find that flights, tours and tastings are all ideas made better when you add beer. Here are the best breweries from east to west, so you can cross them off the list as you go.
Samuel Adams Brewery - Boston, Massachusetts
As much as we try to mix in the small-time shops of quality craft beers, admired and worshiped by their local comrades, we can’t help but start off with Samuel Adams as a must-see big boy of brewing for your first east coast stop.
A city full of heavy drinkers, Boston seems like the fitting place to go for a brewery experience, and Samuel Adams is the head honcho of the trade. With a guided tour, beer sampling and specialties like Boston Brick Red only made and sold here, you’d be nuts to pass on the experience.
If you like learning about the beer-making process, getting a little wrecked on any of the many clever Sam Adams libations and walking out into a mob of angry beer guzzlers, then boy have we got the afternoon experience for you.
Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn, New York
Regarded as one of the top beer spots in the New York area, the reputation doesn’t come easily to most, but it does when you have solid ales behind your doors. The highest exporter of brewery beer, Brooklyn Brewery holds a high priority on not just making good beer, but making good beer that goes great with good food.
The hip local brewery offers free tours behind the magic of its veteran brew master Garrett Oliver and his love for companioning beer and food into one magnificent event. If you come across a 'beer food companion' or 'guide to beers' book in any store, it’ll likely be Garrett’s, which is a clear sign that he knows exactly what he’s doing. Visit for a quick tour or wait for one of the many events put on by Garrett and the brewery, if your taste buds can stand to wait that long.
Dogfish Head Brewery - Milton, Delaware
What may begin as a quick afternoon trip to the brewery will turn into a long, delicious weekend at the Dogfish Head Brewery once you realize the tour is free, the lodging is close by and beer-friendly and there’s even dolphin kayaking. We didn’t know dolphins could kayak, but now we’re interested!
Dogfish Head never needed any selling when it came to its taste, but now the whole experience of the brewpub can make it a hobby. With some of the best IPAs in the business, Dogfish Head is a staple beer for the craft beer connoisseur. If that doesn’t help you get there, just remember dolphin kayaking.
Goose Island Brewery (Clybourn Brewpub) - Chicago, Illinois
With locations in Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville, easily two of the best spots in one of the best cities, Goose Island has made a home for itself to Cubs and Sox fans alike, the only thing the two can seem to get along about.
With more than 30 beer options and some of the best burgers and beer food in the Midwest, folks know Goose Island as the go-to brewing experience. So what if the weather is either too hot to breath or too cold to walk outside, Chicago’s best blends of urban, vintage and classic ales, along with bourbon stouts, are all waiting inside the same building. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.
Surly Brewing Co. - Minneapolis, Minnesota
What started as a brew kit gift and experimental garage lab experiment in 1994 quickly took shape into a determined Minnesota man’s mad science of craft brewing. Local Minneapolis beer lover, Omar Ansari, got serious with his beer and quickly crafted himself a lucrative brewing lifestyle. The president and his dozen or so helpers have made Surly into the Minnesota brewery rave since 2004.
With five unique year-round beers of pale ale, pilsner and brown ale taste, the hop master himself is growing bigger with every specialty beer and semi-abrasive ale he drops on the northern Mississippi River dwellers.
Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, Colorado
Taking you back to where the gold rush began, downtown Idaho Springs will get you up to speed with a nice buzz from any of its 20 or so craft brews. Just outside of Loveland skiing and Clear Creek rafting, Tommyknocker finds its home in the middle of adventure.
The brewery itself is an adventure of its own, considering its long list of beverages with the taste and scent of Colorado in every drop of maple nut, hoppy IPA and heavy wintery porters. If you’re looking for a great time, you’ve found it. Just don’t get blasted and go skiing or rafting.
Mother Earth Brew Co. - Vista, California
True to the mom and pop of microbrews and an honest inspiration for creating a lasting taste in your mouth, Mother Earth is new to the scene but hipper than her other local friends.
The newly renovated tasting room, about to reopen its doors in spring of 2013, is the proud parent of more than 30 beers, with anything from a refreshing light beach blonde to the stoutest of all strong, dark suds. If you happen to be floating carelessly through Southern California’s underbelly, or near “whale’s vagina,” see if you can’t stroll through for an afternoon of freshly brewed beer; anything to keep your sunburn at bay.
Beachwood Brewing - Long Beach, California
New to the brewery scene, this Southern California spot is a refined and refreshing experience. Beachwood not only offers the best of the best, ranging anywhere from 8-14 quality house beers, but also ensures they’re poured to perfection.
The Long Beach brewery uses a state-of-the-art draught system called the Flux Capacitor, which maintains both the perfect CO2 levels and precisely the right temperature for each beer. If you’re looking for a sure thing, Beachwood is the way to go. The brewery is now housing a couple new beers worthy of a mention, too: the Full Malted Jacket Scottish-Style Ale (both barrel-aged, and regular).
Deschutes Brewery - Portland, Oregon
Keeping it simple in the heart of downtown Portland, Deschutes has a high ceiling, open arm invite to all its patrons. The brewery, located in the hipster mecca, has a steady high quality of beer flights in its tanks.
If you’re out riding your bike around the downtown area, or find yourself immersed in the casual culture of bookshops and cafes of Portland, Deschutes sets right in the middle of it all, with a solid food menu to back up its beer list. And its seasonal beer never fails.
Next: The United States of Beer
Rogue Ales Public House - Newport, Oregon
Finally, a 1989 brewery set right outside of the Northwestern hop fields, converted into a lively, pet-friendly 35-tap “crustacean stacean,” is the Rogue Ale Public House, one of the west coast’s most talked about breweries.
Well-known to the friendly Oregon folks, Rogue is noted as one of the most significant in a rising tide of brew masters. The brewery even combined its talents with neighborly Portland’s unmatched donut stops, Voodoo Donuts, in a collaborative effort.
If you’re wondering about the food, visitors of the brewery say they were more likely to eat there multiple times than to try anyplace else in town. Many of its food items feature its ales within, including the chili, fish, soups and seafood plates. Clearly the best thing to go with Rogue beer is more Rogue beer.