The New Top 10 Beer Cities
When it comes to craft beer, America’s love for the IPA has not waned. But sours, Saisons and farmhouse ales are also hitting the beer scene in a big way. Cities that have helped to pioneer the movement from mass to craft are shaking things up, and some smaller cities in big beer states are making their mark on today’s brewing landscape.
San Francisco Bay Area, CaliforniaWhile San Francisco proper has been on the beer map for a bit, its new suite of craft breweries is shaking things up daily. IPAs are still king, boasting a flavor profile that is something so very Californian, but sours are moving in quickly. Many brewers are moving away from the strictly hoppy stuff that has been done before and are playing around with Belgian styles, sours, and rustic farmhouse ales, which are all making their way onto the scene in full force. Laughing Monk in the city’s Bayview district is working with local community gardens to create one-off beers that connect with the neighborhood and bring urban agriculture to the forefront of their persona. Their Bayview Gold adds chamomile at the end of the boil, giving it a soft floral aroma and light pineapple citrus flavor. This fall they’ll add local pumpkin to the Imperial Belgian stout. Their neighbors next door in San Francisco’s new Urban Point area, Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery, are distilling beer into whiskey, while also brewing their own and creating a virtuous circle they call a “Beerception: A Beer Within a Beer Within a Beer”— a beer that has been aged in a whiskey barrel that was made from that same beer. The Rare Barrel in Berkeley recently took home awards for its Apropos of Nothing and Ensorcelled – both American-style sour ales, and Headlands Brewing Co. in Mill Valley won accolades for its Pt. Bonita Rustic Lager. 960 1280
Bend, OregonIn laid-back Central Oregon, Bend is proving that big brother Portland isn’t the only city in this Northwestern powerhouse brewing state worthy of acclaim. The Deschutes Brewery overlooks the river of the same name, and is home to their adventurous lineup of pioneering beers—from the hoppy Bond Street series to the experimental, small-batch Reserve series. The Ale Apothecary ferments beers in old oak trees that they hollow out themselves. 10 Barrel Brewing Co. took home a prize at last year’s Great American Beer Festival for its Crush Cucumber Sour, as did Bend Brewing Co. for its creation in the same category of German-style sour ales called Volkskeet. When hunger sets in, head to the North Rim Brew Pub in the Old Mill District for good brews and good eats. 960 1280
Seattle, WashingtonAlthough Washington is often known for wine, the beer scene in Seattle is nothing to sneeze at. Not surprising since the state is one of the top in the country for growing hops. Ghostfish Brewing Co. won awards for its Ghostfish Grapefruit IPA and Watchstander Stout (both gluten-free beers) at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015. Rueben’s Brews Taproom took home honors at the same festival for its Gose German-Style Sour Ale and Dry Stout. Others to watch among the countless number of city hot spots: Stoup Brewing, Peddler, Urban Family Brewing Company, and don’t miss the urban beer garden at Fremont Brewing. 960 1280
Fort Collins, ColoradoUnlike its famous neighbors Denver, Colorado Springs, and Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado is home to some of the first craft breweries in the state—and some of the newest. Odell Brewing got started in 1989 in a 1915 grain elevator. Its roots are built on British styles. 90 Shilling Ale is the brewery’s top-selling flagship, and they just released Drumroll, a citrus-inspired American pale ale in the spring. Fat Tire put New Belgium Brewing Company on the map, but their Lips of Faith releases and citrusy, hoppy IPAs are getting everyone’s attention now. Don’t miss Funkwerks’ award-winning Belgian-Style Saison, barrel-aged golden Deceit, and Raspberry Provincial. Snowbank Brewing opened in 2014 by a group of self-described nerds and tech enthusiasts, and is a second home to local outdoor groups—staying true to its mission to focus on the passion for the Colorado lifestyle. 960 1280
Twin Cities, MinnesotaThe Twin Cities are exploding with great new breweries, especially for Saison lovers. Surly Brewing – the mecca – is one of the originals, and started as a smaller brewery in a suburb and expanded into a new location last year. The high-quality beer is worth the hype (try the Cynic Saison), as is the amazing space with outside seating, fire pits, a robust food menu, and outdoor events. Minneapolis’s downtown North Loop has a concentration of breweries within walking distance, including Fulton Beer, whose super drinkable Bourbon barrel-aged rye Saison called ExPat is only released once a year. Northeast Minneapolis is home to another hot spot of beer action. Go to Bauhaus for the really industrial vibe with garage doors that open up to a huge patio. Also check out: Indeed Brewing’s flagship Day Tripper Pale Ale and their Wooden Soul series of wild, sour, and barrel-aged beer; the results of locally grown seed, grain, malting, and brewing at Able Seedhouse + Brewery; and the peanut butter stout at Dangerous Man Brewing Co. Saint Paul staple Summit Brewing is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with four special limited-release beers, including a medium-bodied, floral, West London Style-Ale. And we hear that the seasonal S’Mores Porter at Flat Earth in downtown St. Paul is unreal. 960 1280
Omaha, NebraskaA surprise candidate, Omaha is gaining national recognition as a top beer spot. Breweries are sprinkled throughout the city, so for the best taste of the beer scene start with a craft brewery tour of the area. Infusion Brewing has a taproom where hipsters drink its popular Vanilla Bean Blonde Ale and play beer pong. The Benson Brewery is a neighborhood favorite housed in a remodeled turn-of-the-century movie theater, and Farnam House Brewing Co. specializes in combining Old World styles with American hops for their artisan farmhouse ales. Or take a jaunt to Crescent Moon Ale House, Omaha’s original craft beer bar, for top brews from local producers like Zipline, Lucky Bucket Brewing, and Spilker Ales. 960 1280
Fort Worth, TexasFort Worth, and its surrounding area, is having a major craft beer boom. Styles run the gamut from wild and sour ales to unfiltered American cream ales and wheat beers. Award-winning Rahr & Sons Brewing took home accolades last year for its Oktoberfest and The Regulator (a German-style Dopplebock), using family traditions and age-old recipes passed down from ancestors. Panther Island Brewing Co.’s Allergeez, an award-winning unfiltered American wheat beer, gets attention for its name and its Texas honey, chamomile flower and rose hip-infused flavors. Stop by the brewery/taproom at The Collective Brewing Project for snacks, corn hole, yoga, and some wild, sour and funky growlers to go. 960 1280
Portland, MaineWhile we will never dispute that the city that shares its name on the west coast will always rank at the top of any and every beer list ever, Portland, Maine is like the quiet, small (but strong!) little sibling of its Oregon counterpoint. Well-known local Allagash Brewing Company, who won awards for both their Triple and their White in 2015, brews some of the best Belgian-style beers around. Neighborhood brewery Rising Tide Brewing Company offers a variety of styles, anchored by a rye pale ale called Daymark, and a pilot program where new brews are tried out in limited batches. The buzzworthy Bissell Brothers are pushing the limits with their hazy, opaque, ultra-hoppy beers and their bold branding and release strategy. (They sell their coveted Swish Double IPA only in the winter). And newcomers Lone Pine, Fore River, and Austin Street are becoming fast favorites, even with Austin Street only brewing their beer one barrel at a time. 960 1280
Boston, MassachusettsThe Boston beer scene is making a comeback with Trillium, Lord Hobo, and Night Shift leading the charge. Trillium Brewing Company is gaining traction and reach in the area by adding a new 16,000 square foot facility and taproom in Canton to its original home in Fort Point. Draft highlights include wild ales (fermented with native New England mixed microbe culture), hazy west-coast style IPAs, along with well-received stouts and porters, and their beers can be found in more than 14 taps across the city. Night Shift’s Barrel Society membership is so popular that it is already closed for 2016 (sign-ups for 2017 begin in October), but their taproom is open daily with a solid lineup of staple and seasonal brews. And don’t miss out on Boom Sauce from Lord Hobo Brewing Company—the name says it all. 960 1280
Asheville, North CarolinaAsheville is a beer lover’s paradise. Decades-old staples are being joined by a suite of newcomers and their award-winning experimental ales and lagers. Wicked Weed specializes in West-coast style hoppy ales, open-fermented Belgian beers, and barrel-aged sours. Their location trifecta includes a brew pub in downtown Asheville, a “Funkatorium” (a sour and funky beer-dedicated taproom) in the South Slope Brewery District, and a 50-barrel production brewery in West Asheville. Altamont Brewing models a pre-prohibition style neighborhood brew pub, which means their beer never sees the light of day before it is poured into your glass. New Belgium Brewing from Fort Collins, Colorado just opened its new outpost in Asheville. In addition to Fat Tire, its thirteen year-round beers, including Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Slow Ride Session IPA, and Blue Paddle Pilsner, are receiving rave reviews. 960 1280
School of Artisan Food; North Nottinghamshire, EnglandLocated in Sherwood Forest (yes, Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood fame), the Schoolof Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire teaches all levels of students, including one-day classes in cheese making, bread baking, and sausage making. 960 1280
Giuliano Hazan’s Northern Italy Cooking School; Verona, ItalyIn this one-week immersive food and wine course with Giuliano Hazan, chef, cookbook author and son of Marcella Hazan, the godmother of Italian cooking, guests learn to make homemade pasta, risotto, meatballs and more. The class takes place in a sixteenth century villa in the heart of northern Italy’s wine country, where guests stay in luxury accomodations. 960 1280
James St. Cooking School; Brisbane, AustraliaWith a variety of hands-on classes ranging from Modern Australian Cooking to Dude Food (meat-heavy, single serving one pot wonders), Brisbane’s James St. Cooking School offers three-hour classes in which professional chefs demonstrate techniques followed by small group hands-on work, culminating in a shared meal as a class. 960 1280
Tokyo Kitchen; Tokyo, JapanStudents in Tokyo Kitchen’s three-hour classes learn about Japanese seasonings and table manners before diving into hands-on lessons in Japanese home cooking techniques. The menu rotates daily between different varieties of sushi, tempura and other Japanese specialties such as okonomiyaki, ramen, katsu and more. 960 1280
Cass Abrahams Capetown; Capetown, South AfricaConsidered the doyenne of Cape Malay cuisine, South Africa’s oldest cuisine, local celebrity chef Cass Abraham teaches private cooking lessons in her home. These courses, organized by Cape Fusion Tours, have been described as a history lesson and a cooking class rolled into one. 960 1280
Langlois Culinary Crossroads; New Orleans, Louisiana
Chef Amy Cyrex-Sins describes Langlois Culinary Crossroads as part dinner party, part interactive entertainment. While Langlois hosts private cooking classes by appointment, regular diners at Langlois can tour the kitchen, interact with the chefs and learn about traditional Cajun and Creole cooking.
Beijing Cooking School; Beijing, ChinaOffering one-day and ten-day classes in traditional Hutong cuisine, Beijing Cooking School trains students in both wok techniques and pastry, which includes dumplings, dim sum and noodles. Classes involve market tours and interactive demos as well as hands-on practice. 960 1280
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Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New MexicoThis historic farm in the Albuquerque area is known for its lavender fields and products. Stay in a Southwest-style room with a "kiva" fireplace and lavender-infused amenities, and enjoy meals using produce grown on-site on one of several patios and dining rooms. Guests are invited to help out on the farm, from harvesting lavender to learning how to compost, and volunteer days are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, during which participants learn about various farm duties. 960 1280
Flint Hill Farm AG, Coopersburg, PennsylvaniaLearn how to make cheese, milk cows, collect your own eggs for breakfast and other farm skills at this 26-acre dairy farm that dates back to 1850. A certified raw milk dairy, Flint Hill Farm produces both pasteurized and raw milk and pasteurized cheese, butter and yogurt. Guest may stay in the farm house or the farm’s RV. Horse riding lessons are also available, and the resident draft horse team is also a favorite with visitors. 960 1280
Mariposa Retreat at Earth and Sea Farm, Summerland Key, FloridaLocated in the Florida Keys near the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, Earth and Sea Farm harvests sea salt and grows bananas, papayas, soap nuts and many indigenous crops. Bees are also kept on property. Guests may pay to stay in the bed and breakfast, or stay in exchange for work through the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms program. Farm tours are available for groups of three to seven and include a Florida Keys Sea Salt tasting. 960 1280
Feather Down Farm, Kinnikinnick Farm, IllinoisGlamp in a canvas tent with running water and a nearby bathhouse and learn about farm life as you help gather eggs, feed animals, milk goats, take a hayride and harvest dinner from the acres of fields and orchards on this organic farm located 90 miles northwest of Chicago. Not hungry for a fresh salad? Enjoy a wood-oven pizza you create using farm ingredients, and save room for s’mores afterwards. 960 1280
Cold Moon Farm, Jamaica, VermontWake up with the roosters and milk goats, collect eggs, pick vegetables and help with other farm chores at this farm/B&B 15 miles from Manchester, Vermont. Five plush guest rooms in the main house each have a private bath, and share the dining room where farm-to-table meals are served. Take cooking classes, go hiking or enjoy a spa treatment after learning about the daily routine of farm life. 960 1280
Ridge to Reef Farm, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin IslandsWith the goal of producing one percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ food, the Ridge to Reef Farm invites guests to visit for the day or stay in one of their stilted cabanas and get their hands dirty learning about organic farming. When you’re not helping with the farm, hike the rainforest, visit the ruins of a Dutch sugar mill or explore the shops in nearby Frederiksted. 960 1280
North Country Farms, Kauai, HawaiiFarm in paradise at this Kauai organic farm just east of Kilauea. Stay in a farm-stay cottage surrounded by fruit trees and organic gardens from which you can pick your meals. The three-acre farm includes a pineapple field. Tours are offered during which the farm’s organic and sustainability practices are shared. 960 1280
Ewe Bet Farm, Cave Springs, ArkansasThis sheep farm just 15-minutes south of Bentonville and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art specializes in raising all-natural lamb using humane husbandry practices, and grazed in managed pastures. Guest stay in a large suite in the main house that has its own kitchen, fireplace, and deck overlooking apple and peach trees, and are welcome to help feed the sheep and lambs and learn about the daily routine of the farm. Breakfast is delivered to the room each morning and features homemade muffins, fresh eggs and fruit from the orchards. 960 1280
Nettles Farm, Lummi Island, WashingtonNestled on Lummi Island west of Bellingham, Nettles Farm focuses on raising Sulmthaler, Poulet Bleu and Poulet de Bresse chickens and supply neighboring renowned Willows Inn Restaurant with meat and produce. Guests at Nettles Farm may help with farm activities and take the “Butcher Your Own Chicken” workshop during which they prepare their own dinner. Guests also have first option to book a table at the in-demand Willows Inn Restaurant. 960 1280
The Inn at Valley Farms, Walpole, New HampshireStay in a 1774 Colonial home and enjoy a candle-lit farm-to-table, multi-course breakfast on this 105-acre property in Walpole, New Hampshire. Tour the farm and pitch in with chores that include gathering eggs, feeding the beef cows, pigs and goats, learning about sustainable farming, picking herbs and crops, and any other work that needs to be done. After, have an in-room massage, hike the property or explore the agriculturally rich area and the charming town of Walpole. 960 1280
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While Chili also claims to be the origin of this spirit, most experts lean toward the Peruvian story. Pisco is a grape-based spirit that is somewhere between brandy and grappa when it comes to ingredients and preparation. The Pisco Sour is the way to go and will quench any palate.
All bartenders know the deliciously bitter flavor of Fernet, which finds is origins in Argentina. A neat shot of the drink is known as the bartenders handshake. But if that is too much for you, try it mixed with cola. This cocktail is very popular in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country.
Genever, The Netherlands
Call it jenever, genever, Dutch gin or genievre, all are correct. This spirit is the granddaddy to gin and is a much more lucious and slightly sweet version. Next time you find yourself in The Netherlands ask for a Martinez served with Genever and not gin (the classic way).
Pastis, FranceWe've all heard about Absinthe by why not experience Pastis the next time you travel to France. This liqueur is a sweetened spirit that is related to the green fairy. Try it the classic way on ice and water or some of the fantastic cocktails like the one above called the Bastille Day Boisson. 960 1280
Fans of FX's Archer know that Pimm's Cups are amazing. Ever notice that the bottle says Pimm's #1? There are actually five other varieties that rarely make it to the U.S. and most aren't even made anymore. You can still find #3 and #6 in England so go check out an old bar and taste some history.
A stop in India might get you a taste of Feni even though it is just starting to become available in the U.S. This is a traditional liquor made from the cashew apples or the fruit that sits above the nut on the tree. Try this spirit neat, over ice or with a local lemon and lime soda called Limca.
Unique Liquors You Have to Try 14 Photos