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Bucket List Breweries: 20 U.S. Breweries You Should At Least Visit Once

Bucket List Breweries: 20 U.S. Breweries You Should At Least Visit Once

To be great, a brewery has to make great beer. That much is obvious. But it’s not the only factor in making us want to visit. In this day and age, entire trips are planned around visiting brew-producing Meccas, and those trips are about more than what’s poured in your glass. Sometimes you want amazing food, killer scenery, and an afternoon of fun to pair with that double IPA. That’s why we suggest paying these American breweries a visit at least once. Each is about more than just great beer.

Pelican Pub & Brewery

Pacific City, Oregon

Welcome to Oregon’s only ocean-front brewery, where the beer is as good as the views of the sunset. If kicking back on the Pelican patio and sipping a Mother Of All Storms isn’t heaven, we don’t know what is. Tucked away in Pacific City, the brewery serves up solid food to pair with the beach views and killer brews. Link

Stone Brewing 

Escondido, CA

Often a brewery will pair your pour with some snacky bar food and bare bones decor. Not the case at Stone’s World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido, California. Not only can you get a fresh pour of Enjoy By, but you can drink it alongside some incredible cuisine crafted from ingredients from local farms. You can even spend time on the open-air patio and organic beer garden. It’s elevated beer sampling. Link

Hill Farmstead

Greensboro Bend, VT

Yes, it’s the best brewery in America, at least according to multiple publications. After many visits, it’s hard for us to argue. And while you go for the next level saisons and IPAs, the beauty of Hill Farmstead is its secluded location. Tucked away in Greensboro, Vermont, Hill Farmstead sits on the Hill family’s property, which isn’t exactly designed for the traffic it gets. After navigating the backroads, you emerge in an open space, snow-covered fields (depending on season) stretch as far as the eye can see. Outside of the gaggle of fans there, the quiet, serene beauty will allow you to meditate on a world class beer. Link

Monhegan Brewing Company

Monhegan, ME

We’re going to be honest, we’ve never had a beer from Monhegan Brewing Company. While that may seem like it makes them an odd selection, it’s exactly the reason why they’re on this list. You see, to visit Monhegan Brewing Company, you need to head to Maine, hop a boat, and make your way out to Monhegan Island, a place where less than 100 people live. On that island is where you’ll find a brewery churning out big IPAs and flavorful stouts. They’re only open May-October, so plan your vacation now. Link
Photo Credit: Maine Today

Jester King Brewery

Austin, TX

Farmhouse ales were originally brewed to be served during the warm summer months to the workers on the farm as refreshment, so what better place to enjoy them than in a similar setting. Jester King, purveyor of some of the finest farmhouse ales in the USA, isn’t some cold, stainless steel abode, but rather a large, rustic space with plenty of open outdoor area to enjoy your beer. You can even stop into the actual farmhouse/pizzeria to soak up some of the funky booze. Link

Dogfish Head 

Milton, DE

Dogfish Head can be considered one of the fathers of experimental brewing in the U.S., and their brewery has just as much character as their beer. When you arrive, you’ll find a steampunk treehouse, a plethora of free samples, and some bocce and cornhole. You can even chow down on some beer-infused food, or take a 20 minute drive to their brewpub for a more eclectic menu. Link

Asheville Brewing

Asheville, NC

Asheville Brewing makes a few standout beers—Draft Punk and Fire Escape, for starters—but that’s not the only reason to go. Their Merrimon Avenue location, which is affectionately known as the “Brew ‘n View,” is a brewery and dine-in movie theater. Yup, you can grab some quality brew, an award-winning pizza, and then drop three bucks to see a movie. Link

Tired Hands Brewing Company

Ardmore, PA

You know those hazy, juicy “Vermont” IPAs everyone is gaga over these days? Tired Hands does them as well as anybody. So head to their original brew cafe to try some Hop Hands and other offerings, but don’t leave after just a couple of pints. You need to stuff your stomach with bread. Yes, one of the best breweries in the States also bakes some of the best loaves in the States. We’re talking Tartine level bread. Bread so good that when they announced they would sell 10 loaves a day for take home, people reacted like it was a crazy bottle release. Oh, and the candied bacon ain’t too shabby. Link


Pottsville, PA

Don’t hate just because they don’t dry hop with experimental hops or age stouts in barrels that once held small-batch bourbon. America’s oldest operating brewery deserves your respect, and a tour is unlike the one at the brewery down the street that was partially funded through Kickstarter. From hand-dug fermentation caves to the old advertising posters, there’s a sense of history here you won’t find anywhere else in the States. Link

Tree House Brewing Company

Charlton, MA

We need one on here where you are going because the beer is simply otherworldly. Tree House Brewing is that pick. Purveyors of some of the finest IPAs this country has to offer—Julius, Green, and others—Tree House Brewing Company is worth the trip for some growler fills and cans. And while some of the charm has been lost after they expanded, there’s still a Koi pond and tree house to remind you of the quaint little operation it started as. Link

Maui Brewing Co.

Kihei, HI

It’s in f*cking Maui, what else do you need? How about the fact that they brew the insanely delicious CoCoNut PorTeR? Or the fact that you can enjoy a pint of that CoCoNut PorTeR while looking out on Haleakala and Molokini? You can even play some life-sized Connect Four and Jenga. Did we mention it’s in Maui? Link
Image Credit: Mauitime

New Belgium 

Fort Collins, CO

New Belgium’s La Folie holds a special place in our hearts as one of the first sours we fell in love with. While they make a great many beers, we really dig the Lips of Faith line you’ll find La Folie in. Besides sampling at their brewery, you can take a tour that includes a rock climbing wall, rolle bolle courts, and, if you go out past the main facility, a mad scientist workshop constructing crazy bikes. It’s an adult fun land. Link

Brewery Ommegang

Cooperstown, NY

Brewery Ommegang, like the beers it offers, feels plucked from the Belgian countryside. After you finish your tour, you can gather around a communal table to eat family style, toasting over a few beers. Or, when the weather is nice, you can dine outside with a view of the manicured grounds. The food is, unsurprisingly, Belgian—frites, crepes, waffles, mussels, and more. It’s like swinging by Westvleteren without leaving the country. Link

Cigar City

Tampa, FL

Cigar City, as the name would suggest, has a thing for cigars. Not only do they make a few beers that smell like the inside of a humidor, but the brewery even has someone rolling cigars by hand from Tuesday through Saturday. That’s right, not only can you stop by for some of the wildest and most awesome beers, but you can snag a quality stogie to pair with your growler fill. Link

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

Seal Beach, CA
Long Beach, CA

Is there anything better than meat and beer? We can’t think of much, which is why Beachwood is basically nirvana. Not only do they make seriously sensational beers like Amalgamator, Melrose IPA, and more, but they let you pair them with some Beer Braised Pork Cheek, Smoked Chicken, and more flame-licked goodness. Link

Church Brew Works 

Pittsburgh, PA

If you worship beer, you probably need to make a visit to Church Brew Works. As the name suggests, it’s housed in an old church. Not only that, they repurposed the pews into seating, used the excess wood to construct the bar, and refurbished most of the decor. Basically, it still feels like you’re in a church, only the wine has been swapped out for sweet, sweet beer. Link

Russian River Brewing Company

Santa Rosa, CA

You know Russian River from legendary beers like Pliny the Elder (and Younger), their collection of sours, and Blind Pig, but unless you’ve traveled to Santa Rosa, California, you haven’t experienced much of Russian River’s offerings. That’s because the brewery that cranks out some of the most well-known American brews churns out many more for their draft lines only. Never had Happy Hops, Perdition, or Hopfather? Well, you haven’t experienced all of Russian River’s brilliance. Link

Sierra Nevada

Mills River, NC

Yes, we know, the Chico, California, location is kinda holy grounds when it comes to craft beer in America, but for an idea of what a craft king can do after a long history of success, stop by Sierra Nevada’s new North Carolina location. At the Mills River Taproom and Restaurant you can sample 23 beers and stroll the manicured grounds where Sierra Nevada grows veggies and herbs for their restaurant and small-scale pilot brewery. You can also drink those experimental brews while enjoying live music. Link

Against the Grain

Louisville, KY

Nothing goes better with a baseball game than a cold pint. Problem is, most ballparks just offer a wide selection of AB InBev beers. Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats, a minor league baseball team, offers something far better: an exceptional craft brewery right in the stadium. Against the Grain, which offers gems like Bo & Luke, Citra Ass Down, and the hilariously packaged The Brown Note, is a 15-barrel brewhouse located in an old train station at the stadium. Link
Image Credit: Brews Travelers 365

3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Munster, IN

3 Floyds gets the nod not just for their stellar beers, but for their odd geeky/metalhead vibe and exceptional food. You already know about the beer—Zombie Dust, Dark Lord (if you’re crazy enough to go on Dark Lord Day), Alpha King, and more—but while you drink those in the company of action figures and comic book artwork, you can order house-made beef jerky, next level pizza, and killer desserts. It’s some of the best brewery food we’ve ever had. Link