Independent, small, craft brewers are popping up all over the nation. The last fifteen years or so has seen a massive surge in the popularity of unique and tasty alcoholic beverages that fit the desires of just about anyone. Quintessentially American, the explosive transformation of the beer industry presents everybody with an abundance of choices and fierce competition. To help you wade through the plethora of amazing options, check out our list of the top ten most interesting breweries in the United States.
Top Ten Most Interesting Breweries in the U.S.
The Alchemist Brewery
(Waterbury, Vermont) – The Pappy Van Winkle of beer, Alchemist is probably the most highly regarded brewery in America because of their famed Heady Topper double IPA. This titan of brewing is actually a fairly small set up. There’s few that debate that Heady Topper is a great beer, but part of the reason the beer is so sought after is the fact that it’s brewed in such small quantities that it’s just tough to find outside of Vermont. People actually buy handfuls of the chrome-colored cans and sell them to the highest bidder.
(Galesburg, Michigan) – Michigan is serious about a handful of things: football, the automobile industry and beer. In 1983, Larry Bell started the Kalamazoo Brewing Company as a supply shop for home-brewers. By 1985, he began selling his own home-brew. He continued to grow the business before changing the name to Bell’s Brewery in 2005. Bell’s beer has gotten so popular that they recently opened a new production facility that has the capacity to produce 500,000 barrels per year.
Dogfish Head Brewery
(Milton, Delaware) – Brewing visionary Sam Calagione founded Dogfish Head in 1995. The name from the place the Calagione’s spent many summer vacations: Dogfish Head, Maine. Dogfish Head is well known for their use of wacky ingredients like seaweed and a beer brewed using ingredients that were procured from a 2,700 year-old drinking vessel found in the tomb of King Midas. They are also well known for their 60 minute, 90 minute and 120 minute IPAs.
21st Amendment Brewing
(San Francisco, California) – 21st Amendment is one of the coolest, trendiest breweries in the US. They can their beer, but it’s not a gimmick to get people to try their fare. Their stuff is really good. Their every day beers include favorite Back in Black IPA, Brew Free or Die IPA and Bitter American Session Ale. They also brew seasonal favorites Sneak Attack (Farmhouse Saison), Fireside Chat (Winter Spiced Ale) and the refreshing Hell or High Watermelon (Wheat Beer). Their insurrection series includes Hop Crisis (Imperial IPA), Monks Blood (and He Said Baltic Style Porter and Belgian Style Tripel (both are a collaboration with Elysian)
Green Flash Brewing Company
(San Diego, California) – Founded in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley, Green Flash has made it their goal to up the game on the IPA. The beer is currently only available in seventeen states. If you aren’t lucky enough to be one of those states, I suggest that you take a road trip as soon as possible. Their beer selection includes West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red Ale, Imperial IPA, Palate Wrecker IPA and Green Bullet (Triple IPA).
Ballast Point Brewing Company
(San Diego, California) – Also located in the beer mecca of San Diego, Ballast Point was founded in 1996 by Jack White (not the musician, sadly) and Yuseff Cherney. The company began in the back of a home brewing supply store. They are well known for their Big Eye IPA, Ballast Point Pale Ale, Black Marlin Porter and Sculpin IPA. Like a few other breweries, Ballast Point also has a distillery that produces rum, gin, vodka and whiskey.
Photo - Beers in Paradise
(Cooperstown, New York) – Within a few miles of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame sits Brewery Ommegang. When visiting the brewery, you might get a feeling that you are actually at a historic European brewery instead of New York State. Known for their Belgian style beers, Ommegang was founded in 1997 by Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield. Their beer selection includes Ommegang Abby Ale, Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, Rare Vos Amber Ale, Three Philosophers as well as a line of beer inspired by HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California) – In 1997, Korbel Champagne Cellars came up with the idea of brewing their own beer. Their massive beer selection includes Aud Blonde (Blonde Ale), Beer Esteam (Steam Beer), Blind Pig IPA, Dead Leaf Green (EPA), Gaffers (EPA), Happy Hops, Hop2It, Hopfather IPA, Russian River IPA, Damnation (Golden Ale) and Mortification (Quadrupel). They are most known for two of the most sought after beers in America: Pliny the Elder (Double IPA) and Pliny the Younger (Triple IPA).
Three Floyds Brewing
(Munster, Indiana) – The state of Indiana isn’t well-known for beer, but maybe they should be. Three Floyds, founded in 1996, is one of the most beloved breweries in the US. Many beer geeks consider Three Floyds to be the best craft brewery in the country. Their talented brewers have created some of the most unique, flavorful beers including Alpha King (Pale Ale), Robert the Bruce (Scottish Ale), Jinx Proof (Pilsner) and Zombie Dust (Pale Ale).
(Newport, Oregon) – Founded way back in 1988, Rogue has cemented itself as one of the giants of craft brewing. They are well-known for Rogue Dead Guy Ale as well as myriad wacky brews including Rogue Farms Chipotle Ale, Rogue Farms Marionberry Braggot, Rogue Farms OREgasmic Ale and the recently released Sriracha HOT Stout.