The Best Craft Beer Bar in Every State
A great craft beer bar simply needs great craft beer. Whereas a dive bar must, without any perceivable force, assume a certain personality to be stellar, a craft beer bar just needs the right taps. Good food and comfy seats are nice, but if your most interesting brew is a Blue Moon seasonal, it doesn’t really matter. Luckily, we live in an age when every state, no matter how macrobrew inclined, has at least one of these joints. If you want the best of the best, this is our list of each state’s best craft beer bar.
Eli Cannon’s Tap Room
695 Main St.
In the land of Gandhi-Bot and Two Roads Brewing sits a legendary beer bar. Eli Cannon’s Tap Room kicked the big beers to the curb long before it was popular to do so, and a couple of decades later, they’re still going strong. With over 30 carefully curated taps, the Middletown bar is a craft institution. The aforementioned locals find their way into the lineup often, as do other locals—Thomas Hooker, etc.—and cross-country gems from the likes of Against the Grain, Crooked Stave, and more. Link
1337 14th St.
Churchkey spearheaded the craft movement in DC. It’s a great beer city, and, since 2005, Churchkey has been one of the bars at the forefront. With an impressive tap and bottle list that includes over 550 beers, some of which are DC Brau, obviously, Churchkey is the kind of place where you don’t even need another bar in town. Link
Two Stones Pub
2 Chesmar Plaza
There are three Two Stones Pubs nowadays, but we still find ourselves frequenting the Newark location when in town for some Dogfish sampling. And while you’ll find plenty of Dogfish Head niceties on tap—Noble Rot, Chateau Jiahu, Kvasir, etc.—you’ll also find plenty of goodies from all around the US. We usually go with a flight and a helping of tacos when we’re nearby. Link
Novare Res Bier Cafe
4 Canal Plz
The funky name means “To Start a Revolution Beer Cafe,” and that’s just what this Portland-based bar did when it opened its doors. Borrowing elements from many drinking cultures, the bar is like a dark Belgian cafe with a bit of American youthfulness. The multiple sources of influence are reflected in the varied beer menu. You’ll find the best Maine Brewing and Oxbow have to offer, but you’ll also find legit German Kolsch, smooth English porters, and other specialties from around the globe. It’s a beer bar that’s completely unique and always fun. Link
737 South Broadway
Any time your bar has an official hotel for patrons making the trek, you know you’re doing something right. Max’s Taphouse is a Baltimore institution. And the reason for that hotel? How about the fact that you’re going to want a few days to try and drink your way through the 102 taps, 5 casks, and 1,000 bottles. A frequent stop for breweries looking to showcase their portfolio—rarities included—Max’s Taphouse is nirvana for beer lovers in Maryland. Link
144 North Main St.
From Barley Wine Beer Dinners to Breakfast Stoutfests, Armsby Abbey has given beer-loving residents of Massachusetts plenty of boozy events for their calendar. Of course, even when there isn’t anything special going on, there’s always something special on tap. You need some clout to secure brews from Hill Farmstead and Freigeist, and that’s just what Armsby Abbey has. First opening its doors in 2008, the Worcester bar has learned how to curate a tap and bottle list like the best of them. Link
WHYM Craft Beer Cafe
3548 Lafayette St
While Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and others seem to carry the craft brew flag of the Northeast, the funky WHYM Craft Beer Cafe allows New Hampshire residents to join in on the fun. Grab a cold pint of Maine Beer Company’s Lunch—a Cool Material staff favorite—along with some seriously solid fish and chips and you’re gonna be in a real good spot. It’s relaxing and removed from the (relative) craziness of Portsmouth, so you can kick back with a beer and enjoy it in peace. While the tap list isn’t as extensive as others on this list, we’ve been really pleased with the selection of drafts, the bottle list, and the friendly and knowledgeable staff. Link
395 Bloomfield Ave
When we’re in Jersey, we want two things: Carton and Kane. Actually, three things, because we want a pork roll and cheese, too, but for the beer, we go to the Cloverleaf Tavern. With Joisey gems on tap, we rarely feel the need to explore the rest of the expertly selected bottles and taps. If we did, however, we might enjoy some cross-country winners from Knee Deep and others. Link
615 Manhattan Ave
Blind Tiger makes this one difficult because we have a soft spot for pioneers. But, while we love Blind Tiger, and you’ll find us there often, we’re giving the nod to the newcomer, Tørst. Yes, you’ll find a lot of Evil Twin on tap, hell, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and co. are involved with the Brooklyn bar, but, thanks to their tremendous beer knowledge, you’ll also find so many other stellar brews to pour into a glass you’ll want to steal. It’s hip—it’s Brooklyn—but it’s not overly pretentious, and, boy, do they know their beer. Link
264 S 16th St.
Belgian? Sure. You’ve got your underlit, woody aesthetic; buckets of mussels and frites; and tap list that would make anyone from Brussels feel at home. But craft, too? Oh, hell yeah. Just because Monk’s does Belgium proud, doesn’t mean they don’t also serve up some of the most amazing American craft brews around. Pliny the Elder miles and miles from California? It’s basically a staple at Monk’s. Incredible charity events where Tom Peters sells off bottles of Firestone Walker PNC Buckwheat Stout, a beer no one else on the East Coast ever saw? Got that, too. Link
With a perfect score on BeerAdvocate, visitors can expect some quality in their glass when they saddle up at Norey’s. A local favorite since 2000, it wasn’t until 2009 when craft beer became a focus of the nightspot. But once it did, boy did they run with it. With a draft list that includes Northeast favorites and worldly wonders, patrons can usually find something new and exciting to try. The bottle list, however, is where things get really interesting. Enjoy a bomber of old Firestone Walker Sucaba, a Cisco sour, or one of their Belgian offerings when you pop in. Link
Three Penny Taproom
108 Main St.
This was a tough one. We won’t blame you if you lean Prohibition Pig, The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, or Blackback, but we’re going with our personal fav: Three Penny Taproom. In Vermont, you look for three things: Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s, and The Alchemist. Three Penny has them all. They also have the solid beers from the breweries that get overlooked when you have your Hill Farmstead blinders on, namely ones from Zero Gravity and Lost Nation. And while our food destination in Vermont is always Parker Pie—a great bar in its own right—the food is damn tasty at Three Penny Taproom. Link