The Top 16 Breweries in America

Posted By Trav


Today’s podcast starts with a very apt question.

“So, what are you drinking?”

Jason and I get together this week to talk about one of our favorite subjects.


We take the time to list out our 8 favorite breweries each (for a total of 16 awesome places to visit) and let you know just why each one made our list.

The rules:

1) It has to be in the United States
2) We have to have visted the brewery in person.

In addition to our Top 16 we also list out some of our disapointments, as well as our wishlists.

If you have a favorite brewery make sure to leave it in the comments, we’d love to hear about it!

If we’re ever near to one we’d be more than happy to meet up, hang out, drink beer, and chat about our awesome brewery experiences!

Spoiler Alert:  All the breweries are listed below.  If you don’t want to ruin the surprise, stop reading now and listen to the episode first!  Then come back and check out all the links.

Right click to download this episode directly

Check out the entire library of EPoP Travel Podcasts on iTunes

In This Episode:

  • Which one of us is a professed beer snob.
  • Our biggest brewery disappointments.
  • A wishlist of breweries to visit in the future.
  • The top 16 breweries in the USA according to Jason and I.
  • Some hints about a possible itinerary for a big journey next year.
  • The real reason to work for yourself.
  • A request for your favorite breweries and an invitation!

and much more!

Links Discussed in This Episode:

The Breweries:

The Wishlist:

Jason’s Top Picks:
In alphabetical order

Travis’ Top Picks:
In alphabetical order

I Need Your Help

Share our top 16 breweries with your friends and start a discussion about your favorite breweries by clicking “Tweet This” below:

@ZerotoTravel & @PackofPeanuts discuss a favorite topic: #beer . We share our top 16 #breweries, what are yours? –> http://bit.ly/1qnipFi

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  1. You gents need to come up north, and we’ll go to VT and take a ride on the IPA Highway – find us some Heady Topper, Lawson’s Finest, and Hill Farmstead. You’ll never be the same!

    1. Trav says:

      @Nathaniel- Hey, if you’re offering, I’m coming. Although, after that drink you bought me that tasted like a campfire at WDS, I’m not sure I can trust your judgement…but I do know you’re good for getting the tab! Give us a time, we’ll all go out and podcast from the breweries.

  2. I’ll give you my top 8 as well! Just like you, I have to preface this with the fact that I have only been to a small fraction of U.S. breweries, but here are some of my faves:

    Honorable Mention: Jack’s Abby (Framingham, MA) – This is one of my mom’s favorites. I won’t give away her age, but suffice it to say, my parents are retired and my mom knows more about beer and music than I do. It’s a sad state of affairs. The tasting room is small and intimate.

    Honorable Mention: Cambridge Brewing Company (Cambridge, MA) – Funk is the new hop! At least that’s what I am hoping. I love American sour beers and CBC has a really solid one. Not to mention that they have great food!

    Honorable Mention: Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY) – I have to agree with Jason on this one. The main reason is the tap room that turns into a giant party. One time I ran into a girl I grew up with on the island of Maui. No idea she had moved to NYC.

    8. Bear Republic Brewing Company (Healdsburg, CA) – I really like tap rooms that have views of the fermenters and other brewing areas. Great, easy-going vibe and Racer 5 IPA is a winner every time!

    7. Thr3e Wise Men (Indianapolis, IN) – I had NO idea Indianapolis had a craft beer scene until I went there recently. Thr3e wise men had very good beer, but the ambiance was fantastic. If I lived in the area, I would be a regular and the Broad Ripple section of Indianapolis was my favorite (followed by the River Arts District).

    6. Trillium (Boston, MA) – This brewery has a small tap room, so get there early. Not much in terms of bar games or ambiance here, but GREAT beers. They come from the same mold as the highly touted Alchemist Brewery (makers of Heady Topper, the #1 rated beer). They achieve that great, creamy consistency in their ales. Plus, the folks working the taproom will talk your ear off about beer, which I love.

    5. Black Acre Brewing (Indianapolis, IN) – Another Indianapolis joint. This one wasn’t in a “happening” part of town, but the beers were phenomenal and don’t miss an order of the fries if you go here.

    4. The Wedge (Asheville, NC) – Asheville is an AMAZING beer town. You have to go. There are so many great breweries that I couldn’t include on this list. The Wedge is located in the River Arts district, so you can wander around and check out local artists, sculptures, glass blowers, etc and their galleries. Then grab a Gollum or Iron Rail IPA at the Wedge’s tap room. Interesting food trucks and movie nights make this a local favorite hangout!

    3. Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, CA) – Remember when I said funk was the new hop? Nobody does American Sour beers better than Russian River. My family and I ordered a HUGE flight and while I made sure that I got my fair share of their renowned IPA, Pliny the Elder, I wasn’t sad that the rest of my family didn’t touch the numerous sour beers!

    2. Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA) – This is very close to number 1. It’s a brewery that is lively and a great time. The very best part is, on the tour, you are given tasters…. of FULL beer. That’s right – take the tour and you will be in a good place! The food is good as well.

    1. Highland Brewery (Asheville, NC) – This is perhaps Asheville’s largest local brewery (New Belgium has an outpost here, but was started in CO). Highland Brewery completely overhauled it’s taproom a couple of years ago. They now invite quality local food vendors to sell a rotating menu of delicious fare. They built in a big stage for live music. And if you go in the Winter, their Cold Mountain beer might be my favorite beer of all time – it’s a nice, spiced dark beer. Every year, all the employees of Highland get together and decide on the ingredients for that year’s batch. It has all the features of a bigger brewery, but the community feel of a smaller one.

    That’s it! Thanks for this latest podcast. It was a fun one!

    1. Trav says:

      @Dave- The New York Budgeta- Wow, that might be the best, most comprehensive comment we’ve ever received. I just read it out loud to Heather (it took me 5 minutes) and now, we are regretting the fact that we’ll be in SE Asia from Oct-March. There are just too many cool breweries to go to, and we don’t want to wait!

      The Wedge sounds incredible, as does Highland…ok, really, they all do! And a full beer for tasters; yep, I’ll take that any day, all day!

      Thanks so much for the awesome comment, and we definitely owe you a few beers for the recommendations. Where do you live now? Might have to make a stop there!

      1. Absolutely Trav – I am up in NYC, so happy to share a few beers next time you are up this way. I am also excited to hopefully attend the huge family reunion!

        Glad you enjoyed my list! Of course, being in SE Asia won’t be so bad. My sister lived off of Bia Hoi when she studied abroad in Vietnam. But definitely check out some of those spots when you get back and if you visit any of those cities, specifically, let me know – I have plenty of brewery recs in Asheville, Indianapolis, Boston, and northern California!

        My blog identity auto-fills (for some reason it autofilled as The New York Budgeta – my blog is just The New York Budget), but I am the same Dave that sent you the question about frequent flyer miles and the limited number of points cards out there.

        Anyway, keep up the great work and I am looking forward to what EPOP has in store!

        1. Trav says:

          @Dave- No problem, I answered it on a podcast that is coming up out this Friday. And YES, definitely get to the family reunion. We can’t let our cousin AJ down!

  3. L says:

    If you are near Charlottesville, VA try Starr Hill brewery. I am not a big beer drinker but the brewer is my cousin and lots of others seem to like their beer.

    1. Trav says:

      @L- I’ve been dying to get down to Charlottesville anyway, so now I’ve got another reason. I’ll make sure to stop in at Starr HIll and tell the brewer I know their cousin!

  4. Dereck Curry says:

    If you’re in the Charleston, SC, area, check out Coast Brewing. They are a small brewery, but they make some really excellent beer.

    1. Trav says:

      @Dereck Curry- I’ve never been to Charleston, believe it or not. Savannah, plenty of times, and I’ve always wanted to compare the two. I’ll definitely check out Coast Brewing.

  5. RMF325 says:

    You need to visit the Burnt Hickory Brewery in Kennesaw, Georgia. Absolutely superb!

    1. Trav says:

      @RMF325- I certainly will put it on the list. Burnt Hickory just sounds like an awesome place!

  6. I live less than 2 miles from Stone Brewery, so I may be biased, but it has been rated the #1 brewery in -the world- by Beer Advocate Magazine. (See http://www.stonebrewing.com/news/081211/). Stone consistently makes the highest quality tasting beers, and the brewery and Bistro is just sick. (Waterfalls, bamboo, fire pits incorporating koi ponds, organic farming on site, and a beer list with 100s of craft beer from across America and the world.) It’s definitely a must-see, must-taste beer Mecca if you make it down to Southern California. http://www.stonebrewing.com/

    1. Trav says:

      @Christian Nommesen- I’ve heard some AMAZING things about Stone. That’s definitely jumped to the top of my list with your description. Let’s go grab a brew together!

      1. Let’s DEFINITELY grab a brew a Stone together when you’re in town! :)

        1. Trav says:

          @Christian Nommesen- You’re on…just had a Stone saison today in Portland…delicious!

  7. Sounds like you need a trip to SF to check out 21st Amendment. It’s a great spot for Giants games too. Lagunitas is just a short (and beautiful) drive from the city.

    1. Trav says:

      @Fred Perrotta- Yes, yes I do! Hopefully once we get back next spring from SE Asia…you’ll still be out that way, right?

  8. Bill Keating says:

    Cigar City in Tampa, several in DFW (number growing fast) , Founders in GRR, Firestone-Walker in Paso Robles, Ballast Point, AleSmith and The Bruery in San Diego. San Diego has several others I haven’t visited that are excellent. Elevation and ODells in CO. There are so many new ones it’s hard to keep up.

    1. Trav says:

      @Bill Keating- I’ve recently become obsessed with Firestone-Walker – their Double Jack IPA is incredible, probably my favorite beer at the moment. Since recording this, I’ve become much more of a beer snob. It’s weird, but I hated hops, and now I can’t get enough. It’s like a switch flipped in my brain!

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