Hot, humid, muggy summer days call for one thing: a cool, crisp beer shared with friends, preferably over a plate of great food. As more and more craft breweries open across the U.S., it can become increasingly hard to distinguish good from great, and average from awesome.
Stacker has done the work and dissected hundreds of beer and brewery reviews, beer championship awards, and expert feedback to recommend the breweries worth checking out this summer in every state. From microbreweries obsessed with IPAs, to breweries helping save Sumatran tigers, and world record-breaking beer gardens, Stacker has located and listed every brewery worth a look during this hot season.
Familiar with the beer scene in your own state? Read on to see if your own local favorite has made the list, and pick out a few new names to try!
ALSO: Click here to see the best selling beer brands in America.
Located in a Birmingham building that has previously hosted a bank, firehouse, and secret bordello, Avondale Brewing Co. was ranked one of the best local breweries in 2015 by Birmingham Magazine. Their flagship Belgian-style farmhouse ale is affectionately named Spring Street—after the main thoroughfare in Birmingham’s historic Avondale neighborhood—and is brewed with a unique combination of house yeast, a four malt blend, and Slovenian hops.
With three of the top 10 rated brews from Alaska, Anchorage Brewing Company is not one to miss visiting if you find yourself in the U.S.’s most northern state. Situated in Anchorage, this brewery is best known for their barrel fermentation with brettanomyces and souring cultures—producing beer that combines the best of new and old brewing techniques. This is particularly present in their most popular brew, A Deal with the Devil: a barleywine style beer aged eleven months in Cognac barrels and brewed with galaxy hops.
Hailing from Phoenix, Helio Basin Brewing Co. was named one of the best local breweries in the U.S. in 2017. Their signature 602 brew boasts crisp, clear notes—a beer brewed specifically for hot summer days.
Founded by two former summer raft guides, Ozark Beer Company has become one of the most successful brewing companies in Arkansas, and is a name that is recognized in most major beer distributors across the U.S. Consistently ranked high for the brews, Ozark is found in Rogers and is known for their American Double/Imperial Stout, BDCS.
Award-winning powerhouse brewery Stone Brewing cannot be missed. Found in San Diego, Stone is known for their hops, high alcohol content, and very strong-tasting beers. Named “Best Brewery in California,” their IPA is popular nationwide with its strong hops and crisp notes.
Avery Brewing Co. was one of the U.S.’s first craft brewers, housed originally inside the city of Boulder. Due to demand and the influx of visitors, this award-winning brewery has since moved out to Gunbarrel, a few minutes away from its original home. While all of their brews are notable in their own right, Avery’s White Rascal has received accolades time and time again—helping to secure this brewery a spot on the list of the best breweries in the U.S.
Opening their doors in 2012 with two untrained brewmasters at the helm, Thimble Island Brewing Company has exceeded expectations and has quickly become a favorite of the state. As the largest self-producing microbrewery in Connecticut, Thimble Island currently offers four staple brews—including their noteworthy flagship American Ale, an original amber.
Dogfish Head is another American household name, known for their Dogfish 60 Minute IPA and consistently pleasing brews that can be found in grocery stores and beer distributors nationwide. Located in Milton, Dogfish Head continues to top the rankings, expand their production, and supply beers and brews to over 30 states.
Found in St. Petersburg, Cycle Brewing is sure to quench your thirst on those hot, muggy Florida days. Their owner Doug Dozark’s perfectionism has lead the company to six world-ranked imperial stouts, and plans to continue their progress by continuing their award-winning staple beers and limited releases.
Tired of overly sweet, fruity craft beers or flavor combinations that start to fall outside the normal realm of beer? Reformation Brewery is definitely for you. Located in Atlanta, Reformation opened their doors in 2015 to bring the focus back to European-style beers, with an emphasis on quality that has brought their Belgian-style ale Cadence awards and recognition.
Nothing pairs better with Hawaii’s staples of sunshine, sand, and surf than beer, and Maui Brewing Co. has managed to knock the local competition out of the water. The brewing company has six out of 10 brews on Hawaii’s top 10 list, with three of those six as the top three overall. Maui Brewing Co. can be found at Kihei and is best known for their Imperial Coconut Porter.
Love IPAs and currently visiting the Pacific Northwest? Make sure to stop by Idaho’s Mother Earth Brewing Co. in Nampa for their award-winning Boo Koo IPA. The brew features notes of garlic, apricot, and lime, with hints of clementine and mango, before being finished with soft hops and little of the bitterness that is often associated with IPAs.
Another household name, Goose Island Beer Company’s brewery sits near Chicago and is not only open to the public, but has more than doubled in size since their opening in 1995. Their Belgian-style saison won bronze recently in a European Beer Star Award, and their limited seasonal releases should also not be missed.
Looking for an award-winning, all-American epitome of craft beer that resides in the great state of Indiana? Look no further than 3 Floyds, a brewpub notorious for their limited Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout and year round Necron 99. Be sure to visit 3 Floyds during operating hours in Munster for their brews and grub—or on Saturdays for a walking tour of the brewery.
Looking for a brewer that can produce more than one top-ranked brew in multiple categories? Try Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., located in Decorah. Their Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout was named #1 Beer in the World by Ratebeer in 2015, while Beeradvocate named them the second-best brewery in the world. Tours of their facility include a commemorative glass and free 12-ounce pour of one of their flagship beers!
Named after the Prohibition-era custom of displaying stuffed or china tigers to alert patrons to the availability of illegal alcohol, Blind Tiger Brewery is Topeka's first craft brewery, opened in 1995. Awarded World Beer Cup 2014 Large Brewpub Division winner and 2015 Best Place for Lunch and Cold Beer in Topeka, Blind Tiger is great to visit on a hot summer day, whether for a pint of their famous Holy Grail Pale Ale or a bite to eat from their sustainable kitchen.
Producer of five of the top 10 beers in Kentucky (with three in the overall top three), Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse is definitely worth the visit if you find yourself in Louisville. Housed in one of the nation’s only Victorian-style, three-story “showpiece” brewhouses, Against the Grain is known for their chocolatey, creamy stouts, aged in bourbon barrels that lend oakiness and smokiness to the flavor.
Parish Brewing Company has been rewriting the brewing playbook since 2008, producing brews like Ghost in the Machine—a double IPA that often sells out after 48 hours. Located in Broussard, Parish Brewing Company is worth the walkthrough, with eight of the top 10 beers from Louisiana currently produced here.
Portland has become the craft beer capital of Maine, with a large supply of breweries appearing both in and right outside the city. Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, founded in 2013, is becoming a New England enigma for their hoppy, hazy beers that push previous conceptions of what beer is supposed to look and taste like—evident in brews like Substance, their herbal, hoppy, citrusy flagship ale.
With Salvador Dali-esque bottle artwork and tongue-in-cheek brew names, Flying Dog Brewery’s heritage hails from the likes of George Stranahan, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ralph Steadman. Their offerings are well-known for subtle citrusy notes, fresh, crisp finishes, and hoppy IPAs. Based in Frederick, the company offers Thursday through Sunday brewery tours that are not to be missed.
Though tiny, Massachusetts is a powerhouse for craft beer, originally kicked off by none other than the Boston Beer Company and its flagship brand, Samuel Adams. The state has played host to several large craft beer companies, including Tree House Brewing Company, which dominates BeerAdvocate’s top rated beers from Massachusetts. Tree House is a draft-only brewery that specializes in ales, and is located in Charlton, about an hour outside of Boston.
Originally founded in 1985—as an experiment in homebrewing with a 15-gallon soup kettle—Bell’s Brewery has become one of the largest beer distributors in the region. 100% family-owned and independent, the brewery is still dedicated to homebrewing and hosts a homebrewing competition every year. Bell’s is best known for their Two Hearted Ale, an IPA with hop aromas that range from pine to grapefruit over a malt backbone. The brewery can be visited in its original location in Kalamazoo and its new, larger brewery in Comstock.
Surly Brewing Co. is currently celebrating their 12th anniversary as one of the more prominent breweries in the north, producing three of the top five beers from Minnesota according to BeerAdvocate’s list. Found in Brooklyn Center, the brewery annually holds Darkness Day, a holiday dedicated to the release of Darkness, their Russian imperial stout.
Mississippi is another state that hosts a BeerAdvocate ranked powerhouse: Southern Prohibition Brewing. The company claims seven of the top 10 spots for best beer in the state and has no plans to vacate anytime soon. Southern Prohibition Brewing is housed in Hattiesburg, and known for their Sinister Minister, a black IPA which won a gold at the 2014 World Beer Championship.
Perennial Artisan Ales is a microbrewery and tasting room located in Saint Louis, and was originally founded in September 2011. Their brews are usually influenced by Belgian and American craft styles, apparent in their award-winning Vermilion barleywine. Full of big flavors such as plum, raisin, and spice, the beer is similar to a Belgian quad—but manages to possess a space all to itself.
Over 125 years old, the Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. is constantly expanding upon its original smokehouse origins to continue to provide the same peak freshness found in all of their brews. Located in Helena, the company has started to provide a brew called Bitcoin Bitter which can be paid for exclusively in Bitcoin.
Found in Lincoln, Zipline Brewing is known for their top rated IPAs and variations on the traditional pale ale. Taking on the more scientific side of brewing, Zipline Brewing Co. brewers work daily in a lab to ensure that their brews are consistently high-quality as their patrons have come to expect.
Located in Sparks, Revision Brewing Company blows its local competition out of the water: it boasts seven out of the state’s top 10 beers on BeerAdvocate. Another craft brewery obsessed with IPAs, Revision Brewing is set apart from the rest with its fresh notes, low bitterness but high hoppiness, and aromatic citrus finishes.
“Live Free, Drink Craft” is the motto of Stoneface Brewing Co., a brewery dedicated to expanding beyond the average craft brewery’s IPAs and stouts. Based in Newington, Stoneface offers a Rye IPA that has garnered accolades from visitors and locals alike, pushing it into the state’s top 10 beer rankings.
Kane Brewing Company dominates the rankings of beer found in the Garden State, with its emphasis on old-world techniques and new-world precision that has bolstered its success. Focused primarily on Belgian and American-style ales, the brewing company handcrafts all of their brews and is worth a visit on a hot, humid summer day.
Searching for a refreshing pint, coupled with good food, in a location that takes you out of the heat? The Boxing Bear Brewing Company, based in Albuquerque, is an award-winning microbrewery that hosts rotating handcrafted ales, lagers, and ciders—paired with hot paninis, meat and cheese plates, and chips and hummus.
Not a year old yet, New City’s District 96 Beer Factory was awarded the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup as Best Craft Beer Brewery in New York State in recognition of its soft, dank IPAs and hazy pale ales. Not one to stick entirely to the trendy craft beer scene, District 96 also dabbles in German and Belgian brews, rounding out its palate nicely while retaining the taste that brought it ahead of its competitors.
Forget awards and rankings for a moment—what about a world record? Raleigh Beer Garden offers the largest beer selection worldwide, with more than 350 drafts to choose from. The two-story biergarten found in Glenwood South has four bars, with one dedicated entirely to the beer produced in state. Complete with a patio, rooftop bar, and menu to match its liquid offerings, Raleigh Beer Garden is a safe bet for anyone looking to expand their tastes and try something new.
Drekker Brewing Company was founded in a garage by four friends who worked relentlessly to make their dreams come true. This hard work and determination paid off in the form of deliciously good beer, almost completely filling the top 10 on BeerAdvocate for Best Beers in North Dakota. The fun times don’t stop there—the brewery also offers quick bites, live music, and local artwork for your perusal as you sip on tasty brews.
Great Lakes Brewing Company is one of the older craft breweries in the nation and the backbone of the Ohio brewing scene. Founded in 1986, the brewery has grown and matured since its days of bottling its beer by hand after knocking the bottles with a screwdriver to produce foam and drive out oxygen. The company is now known for its seasonal and limited-release batches, especially its spiced Christmas ale.
The craft beer scene has exploded in Oklahoma; the number of breweries has more than tripled over the last few years. Several breweries, though young, already have many titles and awards under their belts—most notably Anthem Brewing Company, winner of multiple beer awards at the Best of Craft Beer Awards 2017. The brewery is located in Oklahoma City and specializes in old-world brewing techniques, with many German, Belgian, and Russian-style brews gracing the draft menu.
Very rarely is a brewery able to experiment with technique and flavor in the ways that Breakside Brewery does while still maintaining the level of quality that has earned it countless accolades over the years—including Brewery of the Year at the 2017 Oregon Beer Awards and the 2017 Best of Craft Beer Awards. Originally based in Northeast Portland, Breakside Brewery has expanded to Milwaukee, Northern California, and Northwest Portland.
Founded in 1829 on Centre Street of Pottsville, PA, Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the nation. Famous for its rich amber color, medium-bodied flavor and distinct taste, this is a brewery that is worth the stop, in part for the history as much as for the beer. The brewery now offers free tours for all ages, and they also have a brewery in Tampa, Fla.
The smallest brewery in the smallest state, Crooked Current was recently voted one of the best breweries to visit by Rhode Island Monthly’s Best of Rhode Island. Placing an emphasis on local ingredients and sources near its home base of Pawtucket, the brewery hosts an impressively long and enticing-looking draft menu.
Westbrook Brewing Co. is located in Mount Pleasant and is locally known for its uniquely named beers and flavor combinations. It holds a strong position in South Carolina’s beer scene and hosts a well-stocked tasting room with a large draft and bottle menu.
Founded in Hill City 15 years after its predecessor, Prairie Berry Winery, Miner Brewing Co. credits its success to locally sourced ingredients, the purity of the water onsite, and the old-world techniques used by its brewmaster, Sandi Vojta. Featured on websites such as Buzzfeed and newspapers like USA Today, Miners Brewing is not a stop to leave off your list.
Nashville’s Tennessee Brew Works’s motto is “Finely Tuned,” symbolizing not only their ongoing pledge to remain in harmony with their local community and brewers, but also their continuous delivery of quality beer in the region. The brewery works alongside its local farmers to ensure that its brewing process remains green, and produces some of the finer beer in the area along the way.
Founded in 2009 in a former machine shop in Austin, Jester King prides itself on its dedication to mixed culture and spontaneous fermentation. This dedication has paid off: the brewery has steadily grown in name recognition, sales, and rankings both in-state and nationwide. Famous for their flagship brew Boxer’s Revenge, Jester King will not disappoint.
Founded in 2008 in Salt Lake City, Epic Brewing has experienced large-scale growth but continues to specialize in small-batch artisanal brew. Now producing eight times the amount of beer that the brewery was originally intended for, Epic has opened a second location in Denver. The recipient of several awards, it’s the perfect pit-stop for those intending to check out the rest of Utah’s wonders.
Nestled in rural Vermont near Greensboro Bend, Hill Farmstead Brewery boasts a 220-year heritage of brewing and serving beer. Their logo originally hung over the tavern of Aaron Hill in the 1800s and their tradition of excellence continues today. A small-production operation, Hill Farmstead Brewery’s beers can only be found locally for the most part—making the trek there more than worthwhile.
Unlike its craft beer counterparts (whose origins more often than not started in a friend’s garage), Hardywood Park Craft Brewery was in the making for more than 10 years: both of its founders immersed themselves separately in different facets of the world of beer. Reunited, the childhood friends were then able to apply their extensive knowledge into building Hardywood to what it is today: a standout brewery, known and celebrated for its taproom lager and canned IPAs.
Opened in the second-largest hop-growing region in the world, Fremont Brewing Company is dedicated to providing its patrons with locally sourced, sustainable beer that is not only environmentally friendly but also good for the soul. On top of all of this, Fremont Brewing Company has become highly awarded, an impressive accomplishment in the craft brewery heavy area of Seattle.
The only craft brewery in Beckley, Dobra Zupas began as a restaurant with Slovenian roots. Even more exciting, Dobra Zupas seasonal food menu will already be available on site, and will only add to the experience. Do not miss this up and coming spot!
Started in 1993, New Glarus Brewing quickly established itself as a brewery that needed to be taken seriously. Since its inception, it has been the winner of many large awards, including Brewmaster of the Year in both 2005 and 2006. Following this, its Fat Squirrel and other beers have been listed in the Top 25 of Best New Beers in America by Maxim Magazine.
Started in the back of a Thai restaurant using a 20 gallon brewing set, Melvin Brewing has gained a reputation for using more hops than most in their beer, while dry-hopping the brew longer than normal. This, combined with their hourly quality checks, has lead the Alpine-based brewery to become an award-winning powerhouse in their region.