By the time a brewery is on the radar of every beer-loving American, it’s too late to go and enjoy it. Cans will sell out instantly, growler fills will take an eternity, and snagging a seat at the bar is akin to snagging a seat at the hottest restaurant in town. You need to know about a great brewery before the hop-craving masses. That’s why we compiled this list. Here are 8 breweries we think are about to blow up. Hit them up before they do.
Henry & Fran Brewing Co.
West Boylston, MA
Henry & Fran Brewing Co. started in a small barn, producing a new beer every week or so. That’s not exactly a model for taking over the beer world. You know what is a model for taking over the beer world, however? Brewing exceptional beer. And that’s just what’s going down in West Boylston, Massachusetts. Started by two Iraq War vets, Henry & Fran gets its name from a pair of intersecting streets in Fallujah, where the founders were deployed in 2006. That’s enough to earn our respect, but a great backstory isn’t why they made our list. They made our list because their flavorful, inventive beers are top-notch. Very of-the-moment beers like sour ales with lactose and fruit can be found should you journey up for a growler fill (there’s no taproom yet). Link
Ann Arbor, MI
We receive a lot of email from new breweries looking to get their names out there, but we like to hold off until we see if they’re legit or not. So when we received an email from Nick Panchamé about his new venture, HOMES Brewery, in January of 2017, we wished him luck and said we’d keep an eye on them. We did, and, boy, are we glad. HOMES Brewery is killing it, with both exceptional beer and stellar branding. Fruited sours, Vienna lagers, and plenty of IPAs pour from the taps at this Ann Arbor brewery. Beers change frequently, so it’s hard to point to one to try, but the IPAs are up there with the best of the best and King Cold Brew is straight fire. Maybe catch a Michigan football game and do a little pregaming at HOMES. You can thank us later. Link
We have a soft spot for farm breweries. The connection to the ingredients just seems special, and there’s often a focus and care for the product and the process. Such is the case with Arrowood Farms, a farm and brewery in Accord, New York. Water comes from Rosendale’s historic limestone caves. Hops and grains are cultivated on the property. Hell, the entire setup is powered by the solar panels they installed on the property. Now that matters little if the beer isn’t good, so we’re happy to say that Arrowood Farms more than passes the taste test. Make the trip and enjoy a beer while relaxing on the farm. It doesn’t get much better than that. Link
Located in the West Kensington area of Philadelphia, Fermentery Form churns out delightfully complex wild ales. Of course, you probably don’t know that, because the blendery is rarely open. In fact, the only consistent time Fermentery Form is open is from 2–8 pm on Saturdays. They do open one weekday a week, most weeks, but that info is only announced on Instagram prior to the doors being unlocked. But you know what? The tricky planning is all worth it, because when you do get to taste the beer from Fermentery Form, you’ll sip on wonderfully funky brews that rival the best this country has to offer. Link
Ology Brewing Co.
This small-batch brewery is constantly experimenting, which means you’re sure to encounter a wide variety of brews should you stop in. Oddities like tart milkshake IPAs and house-made komucha fill out taplists highlighted by IPAs and fruit-forward brews. Like any smart upstart brewery, Ology offers select beers in 16 oz. cans and even sells 16 oz. can koozies for those ready to tailgate with something hoppy. Link
Greensboro Bend, VT
Any plugged-in beer geek will recognize the location of Wunderkammer Bier as that of the highly praised Hill Farmstead. There’s a reason. Vasilios Gletsos, a brewer at Hill Farmstead and former main man at Laurelwood, is pushing forward with this new venture while still helping Shaun Hill and company at Hill Farmstead. And a Hill Farmstead stamp of approval is good enough for us. The beers will focus on foraged and gathered ingredients, so expect ingredients like turkey-tail mushrooms, sumac, and citrus fruits. The beers will be limited and only available—at least for now—at Hill Farmstead and the Hunger Mountain Co-op, so start planning your next beer trek to Vermont. Link
Little Cottage Brewery
As beer becomes more localized, populated towns and major cities are seeing an influx of fantastic upstarts. For Marietta, Georgia, that upstart is Little Cottage Brewery, a small-batch brewhouse with big flavor at the forefront of the experience. Russian Imperial Stouts with vanilla beans added. Rye whiskey barrel-aged smoky porters. Old ales with molasses. This is one of those diamond-in-the-rough type spots that we almost feel bad publicizing since the Little Cottage faithful probably want to keep it as their own. So, yeah, sorry, guys. Link
Piloted by Adam Paysse, the founder and former brewer of Holy Mountain, Floodland Brewing has some industry smarts behind it. With only a couple dozen beers under its belt, Floodland is still very much in its infancy, something echoed by the brewery’s website, which is either still under construction or purposely basic. Snagging beer isn’t easy. There’s no tasting room and bottles are only offered through online public sales and through a bottle club, which is full for the year, so… yeah, it’s tricky. It’s also worth it. Link