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Photo: mfajardo

Here are twenty of the best microbrews America has to offer and the towns to drink them in.
1. Kettlehouse Brewing Company, Missoula, Montana

Known lovingly as the “K-hole” by Missoulians, this tiny brewery features an even smaller taproom where you’ll find locals of all stripes downing Cold Smoke Scotch Ale.

They don’t serve food, but the intensely hoppy Double Haul will usher in the perfect ending to a day of fly fishing the Clark Fork (a mere 200 feet from the front door) or exploring Glacier National Park.

2. Barrio Brewing, Tucson, Arizona

If you’re visiting Tucson to cure Seasonal Affective Disorder, consider this brewery for your therapy. Barrio is hard to find, but the beer and the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains makes it worth the effort.

Their porter is a GABF award winner and even in the heat of summer should not be passed over for the lighter beers in their lineup. Don’t be alarmed when the patrons shout that a train is coming. Beers go on special when the railroad gates come down over the road outside.

3. Full Sail Brewing Company, Hood River, Oregon

This tiny town in the Columbia River Gorge is the gateway to Mt. Hood and home to some of the world’s best windsurfing and kayaking. The drive through the gorge to get there is worth the trip itself, but the beers take it to the next level. Enjoy a cask-conditioned Imperial Stout while looking out over Hood River and the Columbia Valley.

4. Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Break away from the tourist strip and head to Second Street for late afternoon sun and fresh beer out on the patio. You can hear live music, mingle with locals, and drink a great Scotch Ale.

5. Clipper City Brewing Company, Baltimore, Maryland

Every year, scores of tall ships sail into Baltimore’s historic ship-building Inner Harbor as mobile museums. After exploring some of the ships that altered the course of human exploration and transportation, grab a Loose Cannon IPA. Clipper City is known as much for their whimsical beer labels as for their small-production winter reserve ale.

6. Free State Brewing Company, Lawrence, Kansas

Kansas may be considered fly-over country, but as you look over the wheat fields, you’ll realize all those craft beers you’ve enjoyed your whole life were born right here. What better way to get in touch with the beer’s grainy lifeblood than a stop into Free State? Lemongrass Wheat is the perfect thirst-quencher for a summer afternoon on the prairie.

7. Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que Smokehouse & Brewery, Austin, Texas

While you’re in Austin checking out the music scene, get back to what Texas is really about by visiting Uncle Billy’s. Don’t expect to find a dark beer on tap, but the Back 40 Blonde is surprisingly hoppy. Also available are brews by the newly opened 512 Brewing.

When in Texas do as the Texans do and slather their signature habanero hot sauce on your food.

8. Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Brewery‘s central location in the city makes it an easy stop-over between sites and events. Notable brews are The Pennant Ale ’55 and the Post Road Pumpkin, one of the best flavored ales around.

9. Sleeping Giant Brewery/Lewis and Clark Brewing Company, Helena, Montana

This small city is central to all locations in the Big Sky State but is best known for its deep roots in the boom-and-bust world of precious metals. Stop into Lewis and Clark (still known as Sleeping Giant to the locals) for a burger and a Tumbleweed IPA, one of the best IPAs in the country.

10. Deschutes Brewery & Public House, Bend, Oregon

Bend has become synonymous with rec-head culture. At Deschutes you’ll find friends recounting the day’s rides along McKenzie River Trail or how the world looked from atop one of the Three Sisters.

While the Deschutes brewery has a nice taproom, its Public House offers special brews — like cask-conditioned ales — that the brewery doesn’t.

11. Ale Asylum, Madison, Wisconsin

You expect something different from this funky Midwest college town and the Ale Asylum delivers. The cleverly named brews run the emotional gamut from Ambergeddon to Happy Ending, fitting perfectly with the underground culture of the city that gave us The Onion.

The brewers bring their eclectic tastes to the taproom. The Hopalicious APA, as the name suggests, tastes like it’s brewed on the other side of the Rockies.

12. Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, Washington

Ideal parking at the Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA / Photo: Evil Erin

A trip to the San Juans won’t be complete without a stop at Boundary Bay. Like most taphouses worth visiting, it’s often packed with locals. The IPA has the hoppiness associated with the Pacific Northwest, and the Amber is well balanced and smooth.

13. Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville Pizza does various takes on the traditional pie, and their Shiva IPA and Houdini ESP are both exceptional brews.

14. Moab Brewery, Moab, Utah

Moab is home to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and is unique in the world for its mountain biking scene. When visiting the Moab Brewery, check out the Dead Horse (named after the famous Canyonlands vista point) and Deraillieur Ales.

15. AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, California

AleSmith shows you what craft brewing is all about. Both the brewmasters and their beers have won awards. They have a huge selection (by brewery standards) on tap, so expect to spend a full weekday afternoon sampling. Note: the taproom isn’t open weekends.

Happy folks beering up at the The Long Trail Inn, Vermont / Photo: broken_images

16. Long Trail Brewing Company, Bridgewater Corners, Vermont

The Green Mountains of Vermont are home to the Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S. It crosses the state’s highest peaks from the Massachusetts state line 270 miles north to the Canadian border. It’s also the namesake of Long Trail Brewing, one of New England’s premier micros.

Stop into their active brewery and see the action from a balcony above the floor on a self-guided tour, or just enjoy one of their signature ales on a balmy day in their riverside “beer garden.”

17. Twisp River Pub, Twisp, Washington

Northwest sport climbers and mountaineers alike will run across the small town of Twisp at some time in their lives, if only passing through to get to the exposed granite of the northern Cascades. The Twisp River Pub is excellent; Methow Brewing is a true microbrewery, keeping batches to 100 gallons or less for the highest quality. They also pull some beers by hand using a traditional beer engine.

18. Novare Res Bier Cafe, Portland, Maine

Old Port’s Novare Res has the best beer selection anywhere in New England. Whether you grab a seat inside at one of the wood-paneled bars or outdoors on the expansive patio, anything from Maine’s local Allagash Brewing is a good pick for a pint.

19. Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Expect something different from Dogfish Head beers — like the Raison d’Extra, a brown ale brewed with raisins. If you’re going to sample more than a couple, bring money for a cab. These beers not only have plenty of alcohol, but they seem to have been magically brewed to hit harder than most. Dogfish also handcrafts gin, vodka, and rum. Plan to sleep in.

20. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium was one of the founders of the microbrew movement and has since grown to the point that it blurs the line between micro and macro. Their top-notch beers have a wide fan base, but they also put on a deep roster of community events focused on sustainability.

Don’t miss the summer Bike-In Cinema nights (think drive-in, but with bikes and beer). There’s nothing more pleasurable than lying back on the grass under glittering stars, sipping a Fat Tire Amber and enjoying a flick with 300 like-minded souls.

***Explore the world party scene with 101 PLACES TO GET F*CKED UP BEFORE YOU DIE. Part travel guide, part drunken social commentary, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die may have some of the most hilarious scenes and straight-up observations of youth culture of any book you’ve ever read.***

About The Author

Eric Warren

Frequent Matador Contributor Eric Warren has lived in various Montana locales including Missoula, Big Sky, Bozeman, and Billings, for 25 years.

  • Stephanie

    Who exactly decided these were the top? The list left out the best: Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth, Texas!

    Their brew tour on Saturdays can’t be beat. Live music, bbq for sale and $5 gets you a logo pint glass to fill up three times with their various brews. The owner seems pretty down to earth and genuine too since he conducted the tour when I went.

    The Ugly Pug happens to be my favorite.

  • Lily

    I think Brewer’s Art is way better than Clipper City (as far as baltimore microbreweries go)

  • Tim Patterson

    Long Trail is a good brew but the best micro brew in Vermont is Trout River, from East Burke, which also happens to be home to the best mountain biking east of the Mississippi.

    Great post!

  • ian

    Great roundup. It’s always nice to see micro-breweries with their own distinct personalities. My only question: when’s the Canadian roundup coming :-D

  • Hannah

    Boundary Bay is in my college town – no better place to chill after a hard day of studying! And their food is fabulous!

  • Patrick

    How can New Glarus Brewing in New Glarus Wisconsin possibly not be on this list? They have won NUMEROUS awards. Are they possibly not considered a microbrewery? I find that hard to believe since they only distribute locally in Wisconsin. If they are this list surely needs to be revisited. Check this link to view the long list of previous awards they have received:

    They have a vast array of seasonal and limited edition brews as well as their staple of year round concoctions. I understand you can’t get em all in the top 20 but for my money there is none better. Thank you.

    Pat in WI

  • joshywashington

    mmmm beer! I love beer, I mean really. I would marry beer ( is that legal in Iowa?) if my folks and uh, wife would understand…and foot the bill. And i would have a beer flavored cake and serve beer for dinner, and my lovely beer bride would toss a beer bouquet!

  • Mike

    I immediately skimmed down to see if DFH made the list.

    Great round-up, Eric!

  • Austin

    Novare Res is a bar, not a brewery.

  • Carlo

    Bike-in cinema sounds fantastic. Sign me up.

    And I agree with Ian…it would be hard to choose from BC alone!

  • Rick Green

    I would venture as the top 20 in BC, in no particular order other than alphabetical:

    Barley Station
    Central City
    Granville Island (on Granville Island, not Kelowna)
    Howe Sound
    Mission Springs
    Taylor’s Crossing
    Whistler Brewhouse

  • Hal

    Awesome to see Novare Res get a shout-out here (no, it´s not a microbrewery itself, but does serve all the best brews Maine has to offer). It was a favorite hangout spot when I lived in Portland.

  • David Miller

    Great roundup. Proud to say I’ve been to 2 of these, Long Trail and New Belgium. I think New Belgium gets a special mention because they’re a standout example of how a company can grow into a total powerhouse but still retain hometown roots and employee ownership, as well as being stewards of their local area and pro-conservation / sustainability in general. not to mention that Fat Tire is just a staple brew when you live in CO.

    Looking forward to checking some of these others.

  • Philly Beeraholic

    It seems that this article is more focused on the breweries in terms of the establishments to visit, rather than the total quality of their brew catalogues.

    In that respect, great article!

  • Chris

    Asheville Pizza and Brewing? Really? If you’ve been to Asheville, why didn’t you hit up the Pisgah Brewery. It’s all organic beer, and they have an amazing view room, live music, and an outdoor fire pit.

  • Sarah Menkedick

    I second (third? fourth?) the ahhhhh, beer commentary. Microbreweries are the best-kept U.S secret. When people ask me what I miss most about the U.S, I finally have something to say besides, “uh, my family…and, uh, eggs at three in the morning…” BEER.

    Although I must say my favorite beer of all time isn’t on this list. Bell’s 2-hearted, of Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo Michigan, makes my heart weep.

  • Colleen Marquis

    Michigan, hello?

    We have more breweries than all yea-alls!

    Ann Arbor Brewing company
    Grizzly Peak Brewing company
    Fletcher street brewing
    BELL’S!! (love the two hearted ale!)
    and a host of others,

    you could probably write an article on the top 20 Michigan breweries and yet they didn’t make the cut?

  • Lynn Fantom

    After you hike, bike and kayak in Acadia National Park (more at, try Bar Harbor Brewery and Atlantic Brewing. Then get a lobster at Thurston’s Lobster Pound.

  • Christine

    Although these days I can only drink beer of the gluten-free variety (oh, how I miss Chimay!!!), my favorite American micro-brewed beer was Humboldt Hemp from the Humboldt Brewing Company in Arcata, CA (and they have a really good Chocolate Stout too…yuuumm…).

  • brewergreg

    nice list, well intentioned, but lacky in any real substance. a few belong, brooklyn, dfh probably, nbbc.
    but no anchor? no sierra? no descutes? no russian river? no three floyds?

    any list lacking any of above is not credible. but thanks for playing anyway

  • Eva

    Brewergreg – I don’t believe Sierra Nevada is still considered to be a microbrewery. Craft beer, yes, but it’s kind of a major player at this point. But thanks for playing… :)

  • Hal

    @brewergreg: Deschutes is on the list, see #10.

    I think it´s great the U.S. has so many killer microbrews. Every other comment reads “What! You left off…?!” Let´s just be happy we have this many options available to us.

  • Nate Weber

    It’s great to see Kettlehouse get the credit they deserve. I live in Missoula and they make some tasty brews. Some other very good beers they make are Lake Missoula Amber, Fresh Bong Water, Old Bong Water, Zula Stout. Basically anything you are feeling they will have!

    We also have two other great breweries in Missoula:
    Big Sky Brewery – Home of Moose Drool Brown Ale
    Bayern Brewery – Make one of the best ambers I’ve ever had.

  • Mike Andres

    Don’t think Brooklyn Brewery’s a micro anymore, since it’s #31 on total beer volume in the US ( For quality microbrewed ales in NYC area check out: Bluepoint, Southhampton, Six Points, Kelso and even Heartland is decent. Also check out Beer Table which is one of the most unique bars, maybe in the US.

    In Philly check out Triumph Brewing Company (brewpub) which brews truly awesome German style beers. I was dazzled.


  • Jon Wick

    I second your comment! Back home, I was a micro brew nerd, but I now live in Korea where finding a beer that’s worth a damn is an adventure itself. I’ve been to 6 on this list and they are all worth your time- one of the greatest thing going is that the possibilities are nearly limitless.
    p.s. Big props to Kettlehouse- nothing better than a cold smoke after a day ripping fat montana powder!

    • Hal Amen

      Thanks Jon.

      Have you checked out Platinum Brewery in Seoul (assuming that’s where you’re living)? They put out some decent brews. There’s a location in Apgujeong and another in Gangnam.

  • Sarah

    This is great! I can’t believe there’s good beer hiding in Kansas…that makes me happy.
    It sounds like you need me to give you a proper beer tour in Asheville and you can return the favor in Montana. Mountains, moose, and beer is a good combo.
    Keep writing!

  • jal33l

    Technically, New Belgium is classified as a craft brewery these days. Also, if you’re ever in Fort Collins, their tasting room and tour is excellent and free.

  • Bryon

    I’m so glad Boundary Bay made it on this list. I’m from Bellingham and it really is an awesome place to hang out and their beer is soooo good. Highly recommend the Scotch Ale and the Cabin Fever Seasonal. Every Wednesday night during the summer is Reggae Night!

  • Mark

    I love these lists because everyone becomes territorial…Here in Philly, Victory seems to be king…

  • NorCal

    I’m just envious that he was able to hit up all those micro breweries to try them all. That’s my type of job. Going from state to start judging breweries!

  • Kris

    Maybe someone mentioned this- I haven’t read all the comments.

    My opinion? Whoever wrote this really needs to go to Portland, Oregon. That the Rogue Brewpub was left out only tells me that the author must have never visited.

  • prufrock

    Summit is probably not a micro anymore, but its quality is legendary. Michael Jackson saw fit to put it on the cover of his world guide to beer. But it started small. I remember the 1920s vintage bottling line that broke down all the time, and the two Webers in the back of the shop. But, seriously… who won “Best Brewery in America” in 2007? Anyone? Bueller…? That would be Surly. Brewed and operated by three guys, they have made such an impact on the Twin Cities market they can barely keep up with production. New clients are lucky to get it, and the loyalty is amazing. If you like Two Hearted (and who doesn’t?) try the Surly Furious.

  • Ryan

    I’m in the middle of a year of living in Thailand and aside from my dog, I’d have to say that American microbrews are what I miss the most! My U.S. homebase is in Fort Collins,CO so I know the New Belgium culture quite well. If anyone is ever in the area, be sure to make a day of the local brew tasting by visiting Odell, Fort Collins Brewery, C.B. & Potts, and Coopersmiths. They also host Brewfest each summer than gives you a taste of all Colorado has to offer. If you have the time, tour the whole state and see just how wonderful the life is of a beer drinker in Colorado–CHEERS!

  • Jacki

    Im going to have to second the Rahr brewery in Fort Worth and honorable mention to Saint Arnold in Houston, Ugly Pug and Lawnmower are my faves!

  • Mike keyess

    Deschutes brewery, All you will find there is a bunch of tourist and Republican. Gerry Fish the owner is a big time supporter of Bush administration and quite a jerk. Try one of the other really great brewery in Bend. The Bend Brewery where the owner meet you at the door. And the beer is great. Silver moon is a little hole in the wall but also great beer.


  • Amanda is a traveling wedding photographer

    Glad to see a Utah brewer represented! That’s my home area. There are a few good breweries here. We have Red Rock and Squatters in Salt Lake. Moab has Eddie Mcstiffs as well as the Moab brewing co. I think Park City has Uintah ( no positive on that one ). For a conservative state, we make really good beer!

  • Jay

    Definitely some notable ones left out, but to be fair I’ve only tried 2 on this list. I can think of Stone, Bell’s, Rogue, Sierra, Redhook, the Lost Abbey, Magic Hat, Ithaca, Harpoon, River Horse, and Troegs that are some favorites that didn’t make the cut!

  • Shawn Baker

    Kettle House? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    They use some crappy yeast that makes their beers taste vinegary like it’s gone bad in the fermenter.

    Big Sky makes far better quality beers.

  • John

    Please try Ninkasi Brewing Eugene, OR.

  • Matt

    Way to go, Kettlehouse!

    Now crank up that canning line and get enough brew made that some will get all the way to me in Vermont!

  • Eric

    What about Schlafly Bottle Works- St. Louis Missouri. Up and coming brewer in the Micro-brew market. Just entered the top 50 micorbrewers in the US.

  • Steve

    Surly Brewing produces great beer. I was really surprised not to see them on this list. They’re easily my favorite brewery, and they can hardly produce fast enough to keep up with the demand. They’re definitely still really small, but they are THE definition of a ‘diamond in the rough.’ I guess not too many people have discovered Minnesota’s microbreweries — more for me!

    Oh, and while Bell’s Two Hearted is a great beer, it really doesn’t hold a candle to Surly Furious. There’s just so much more character in the Furious.

  • prufrock

    @ Steve–


    Are you going to the Summit Brewery tomorrow night for the Historic St Paul baseball thing? Should be fun–

  • Phin

    I’ve had some great beers in several locations, such as the following:
    Oregon: Deschutes (regardless of ownership or political affiliation — it’s still good beer) & Full Sail are great, among others (Bridgeport, etc.)
    New Hampshire: Smuttynose
    New Hampshire & Washington: Red Hook
    Massachusetts & Vermont: Harpoon (great IPA)
    New Jersey: Flying Fish
    New York: Southampton & Bluepoint


  • Rick

    OMMEGANG in Cooperstown NY…Cave aged (in Howes Caverns) Belgium Style

    and the Old World NYC classic McSorleys…they were there before your Grandfather was born, 7th off of 3rd

  • starr

    long trail would definitely NOT be my pick for vermont. their beers are alright, but uninteresting. how about trout river? or magic hat?

  • W.B.

    This entire list is suspect because Surly Brewing Company isn’t on the list. The list seems to veer towards the ‘trendy’ and not ‘good beer’.

    • prufrock

      Check this, above:

      prufrock replied on June 2, 2009

  • Stephen Hilger

    I am sorry, but this list is simply ludicrous. Kettle House #1? They are a decent brewery but you have to be kidding me. Having the Moab brewery even mentioned is upsurd, there beer is nothing to gloat about compared to most microbrews. Missing Surely, and New Glarus. Deschutes should be higher, and where is Russian River?

    Full Sail #3? wtf?

    • Hal Amen

      Hey Stephen,

      This isn’t a first, second, third ranking, just a list of 20 beers.

  • Fred Sampson

    I agree with people above about Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo MI being left off this list. Their “Two Hearted Ale” is the best beer I have ever had. I also tried the summer ale from Bell’s, and it is the best wheat beer I have had.

  • chuckl

    Not a single brewery from Northern California? Ever heard of Sierra Nevada, Russian River Brewing Company, Northcoast, Bear Republic, Moonlight Brewing, Anderson Valley Brewing, Valley Brewing, Jupiter, Lost Coast, Speakeasy, 21st Amendment, Lagunitas? Have you ever even been to NorCal?

  • Sarah

    HAHA, I love how everybody is getting all sensitive & hurt by the choices that made the list. But beer is definitely SO personal.

    If you’re ever up in my ‘hood, give Mammoth Brewing Company a try.

  • Mitch

    This is a great list!
    As a home brewer and micro brew enthusiast, I enjoy trying new brews and visiting new breweries. I actually have a blog about home brewing and the Michigan microbrewery scene. As I just started in mid March, still not a lot of content.

    In Michigan there are a couple notable breweries:
    1. Bell’s Brewery, know for their wheat ale, Oberon. Delicious!
    2. Michigan Brewing Company, which has two locations. Webberville and Downtown Lansing, MI. Known for the Celis lineup of brews.
    3. Frankenmuth Brewery. A brewpub in which it was closed for almost two years and has reopened in July, 2009. Exceptional atmosphere in the German style city.

    I urge anyone in the mid Michigan area to check out these breweries and their great tasting beer.

    • Marc R

      Props for the Michigan beers on the list, right. Anyways, Bells is good sure, but what about Founders? New Holland? Right Brain? HopCat? Jolly Pumpkin? Shorts? Dark Horse? Arcadia? Michigan is overtaken the Pacific Northwest as the beer capital of America, and the other neglected any of these choices.

  • Darren

    There are some good microbreweries on this list, but some of the best are left out. Have you ever had Michigan micro-brews? Michigan is home to the best micro-brews in the United States (Great Lakes = great water = great beer)! RateBeer’s “Best 100 Brewers in the World” list has Bell’s at #5 and Founders at #4. Not to mention Dark Horse and Short’s are a couple more Michigan micro-breweries that are exceptional. They didn’t even make your top 20 of united states brewers. What did you use to rate these places?

  • Front Fog Lamps

    I have to say from the bottom of my heart, you done well with this post, very useful stuff.

  • Rob Cowan

    I don’t know where you get your information on the twenty best Microbreweries in the USA but you must be mistaken. I have never heard of Ale Asylum in Madison Wisconsin. Oh! but I did hear of the Onion Newspaper. Did you ever hear of the Great Dane in Madison Wisconsin. Their Irish Emerald Stout is the best I’ve had anywhere on the planet. Maybe you should send your beer tasters there and find out for yourself. Then maybe with the Ale Asylum and the Great Dane, Madison will win as the best beer town in America.

    Rob Cowan
    Deerfield, IL

  • Jason Stone

    Cleveland,Ohio has a great Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company check them out

  • Francisca

    Nice tips, but i was expecting something else.. it is strange to remind you the US is not America.
    Anyway, New York is even more atracctive now!

  • Running Man

    Thank you for recognizing Boundary Bay Brewery, if atmosphere and aesthetic appeal make life better (which it does) then this place is a big bowl of awesome. Something about this place just feels right, plus with it being so close to the best wood fired pizza in all the land (La Fiamma) it makes it that much better if that is humanly possible.

    You looked into The ‘Ham and The ‘Ham looked back with a big ass smile on it’s face.

  • Hogga

    Roaadddd Trip! Here I come!

  • Cornelius Aesop

    Where is the Midwest in this list, I’ve heard of plenty of Midwest microbrews (never the Ale Asylum in Wisconsin) that should at least get an honorable mention. Go to for a list of great microbrews by state in the midwest.

  • Sean

    No Stone Brewing? Get your head out of the sand. Russian River deserves a mention as well. While sours are not my style, theirs are the best, and the Pliny the Elder IPA is enough on its own to earn a spot in this list.

    Thumbs up to Sarah for mentioning Mammoth Brewing. I ALWAYS stop by the brewery when I’m up there snowboarding and take as much home with me as I can.

  • Chuckl

    Most people probably don’t realize this is a joke.

  • Hogga

    Love this post! Needs to go on my bucket list… all I need is a designated driver to take me from brewery to brewery. Wonder how long it would take to road trip this route!?

  • xtine

    Can’t believe Longtrail was chosen for Vermont- it is the most over commercialised brewery to visit in a state full of great breweries!

  • Katie

    Why no love for the south? Sweetwater is an amazing brewery with an even more awesome story. Not to mention Highland! Not everyone can travel west and north all the time, give us some options in the southeast.

  • E. Grover

    Love the list…but did you forget Alaska is part of the United States. Best beers I have ever had exist only up in the AK. If you get a chance check out Midnight Sun Brewing Co’s Panty Peeler or their Sockeye red (if you want an IPA with some bite).

  • Isoruku

    Fat Tire? The most over-rated microbrewery in America? Take a blind taste test and compare it to Flying Dog (curiously missing from your list) and decide which is better. And why is Great Lakes not on the list?

  • David Hannam

    Was in Portland, OR this Fall. Ran across Deschutes Brewery. Fantastic beer good food. Hop Trail was on tap. I would love to go back!

  • jeff gregoire

    Author needs to get out more–

  • Bill

    How bout 3 Floyds?

  • Doug

    Really? I live in Maine and there are MANY fantastic breweries but Novare Res Bier Cafe isn’t even a brewery! It’s a great place to grab a pint, but what the heck is the point of reading your list? You CLEARLY have not been to any of these places. I feel dumber for reading this list and now wasting my time responding.

  • Rob

    The author has apparently skipped some states in his travel.  I’ve found that Michigan has one of the best brewing traditions out there, and there are at least 5 that warrant, at minimum, an honorable mention: New Holland, Dark Horse, Bell’s, Arcadia, and Founders.   And I would daresay Founders should have been toward the top of the list, and Bell’s would arguably merit the top 20.   For the record, I am slightly biased, since I grew up in Michigan, but I’ve lived in 4 different states in the midwest in my beer drinking life, and Founders is still the best overall brewery (as far as consistency AND overall quality) I’ve found — in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois or Wisconsin.

    • JPP

      Agree with all comments, this list is very weak..Southern Tier Brewery in Lakewood, NY should be  recognized for their fine ales…

    • am

      Right on. But my favorite in Michigan is Shorts. Humu Lupa Licious is hands down the best brew ever. New Holland is #2 and Dark Horse is #3.

  • Threejwshsl

    Your story was paid for by New Belgium it seems. I do like Fat tire and will order when a local brewery is not available. And you did not make it to Portland OR. We have more breweries per capita then any where in the world. Beertown as its known by the locals has some of the best beers in the world. I can not put down what I have not tried so the beers you picked are I’m sure world class. I just don’t include New Belgium in that category. We have McMenamins the 3rd largest non brewer beer in The US. The Black Lab, HUB an organic brewer all of these brewers and more have won first place in contest’s. We also host one of the largest brew fest in the US. And no mention of Rouge Ale’s in Newport OR. You wave a flawed list.

  • Mike A

    Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) is still a microbrewery…

  • Jdonmeyer

    No Stone, Lagunitas, Russian River, Bell’s or New Glarus?  Not a very good list.

  • Oasis Elsewhere

    Terrible list.  Where is Two Brother’s Brewing Co. listed?  Stone Brewery?  Where is Celis? Even Sierra Nevada–the godfather of pale ales.  Terrible list. 

    • Oasis Elsewhere

      Correction:  Bell’s Two Hearted Ale of Michigan is arguably one of the best beers in America and everyone in the Great Lakes region knows that.  And the ‘critics’ rate it highly..

  • Guysmith1

    Would have liked to have seen a couple more Oregon and Washinton brewerys on the list, Fort George in Astoria, Rogue in Newport, and a little place in Stevenson that brews “Big” Beers, Walking Man Brewery!

  • Greg Sitek

    One that needs to be added to the list is New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI. While it produces a number of really fine beers my favorites are Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel, Totally Naked and Two Women. What could be more fun than having a Spotted Cow, watching a Fat Squirrel with Two Women Totally Naked? If you’re in Wisconsin try these… you’ll be most impressed.

  • Joe

    Maybe you were writing an article about the top 20 medical marijuana dispenseries while you were in San Diego, cause you certainly forgot to add Stone Brewery.

  • Vtacap

    As usual these type of comments are way off! Stone Brewery in Escondido,Ca. is way to good to not be mentioned,if not in the top 3!

  • Hsmith

    Author missed both Founders and Three Floyds. I’d put their beers (especially 3F) up against anyone’s.

  • Cassandra

    One of my favorite breweries is Frankenmuth Brewery in Frankenmuth Michigan! Their Oktoberfest ( is the highlight of my fall. Definitely should have made the list! Michigan has some of the top breweries in the entire country… where is the love?!?

  • Tim

    Barrio Brewery over Nimbus Brewing? Another example of someone picking the safe same old beer over something new, innovative and challenging.

  • wmurray

    Looks like you forgot this great Michigan microbrewery!

  • SVin

    Bell’s should certainly make the list.  Their neighbor to the South Three Floyd’s is also excellent.

  • Ikswoklus

    Michigan craft fan that I am, I believe Atwater Brewery deserves an honorable mention for their Vanilla Java Porter. Very smooth and excellent flavor. Tons of great breweries and brews lift off this list… disappointing.

  • Slug

    New Glarus Brewery, New Glarus, WI
    Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro, VT
    Founders Brewery, Grand Rapids, MI

    As far as pure beer deliciousness goes, these three blow Dogfish Head, Long Trail and New Belgium outta the water!!

  • Greg Sitek

    There are numerous great local breweries and I feel that the one in New Glarus deserves being noticed if not for the great tasting brews but for their sense of humor. There’s nothing more enjoyable than sipping one of its brews while watching Spotted Cow chasing Fat Squirrels across the pasture only to be distracted by Two Women Totally Naked.

  • Bootlegger

    Wow this list is way off. I have lived in Maine and now San Diego I go to Montana frequently and have been to Oregon many times and there is a country full of epic microbrew beers that this author has never had. Only one microbrew from San Diego? Come on man. Some of the finest crafted and hoppiest brews are comming out of the south west these days. I will agree that Ale Smith is great but what about Green Flash, Stone, Balast Point, lagunitas and Russian River? You even included a brewery from Utah, can I have brew above 3.2% please? This list makes me depressed as I site here drinking a cold Stone IPA.   

  • Grizz Bear

    You are missing Surly Brewing from Minnesota.

  • Scott Cocking

    Lost Coast Brewery, Six Rivers Brewery, Eel River Brewery and Mad River Brewery in North NORTHERN Ca (Humboldt, not the Bay Area) have great beer too, but really, ya can’t drink EVERYTHING on the planet.. nice job, but go north, you’ll thank me. 

  • Ughhh

    I really wish matadornetwork would stop writing articles about beer, and the ones they have written, well that they would take them down. In each one I have read, including this one, it seems that the author just through something together without doing the proper research. Many of the previous posters have posted many microbreweries that I am flabbergasted none of them made the list. I would but Bells, Founders, Dark Horse, Lagunitas, stone, russian river, omegang, Allagash, lost coast, sierra nevada… oh the list goes on and on with breweries better than the ones listed here. Long Trail?? How can that even dare to be on this list? I do believe dogfish head deserves to be on this though despite what some comments have said… you include alesmith but neglect so many better breweries in the same area… just a piss poor job of research and writing…

  • Ryki30

    You have clearly never been to Michigan.

  • Straverse

    Here is a better list: Founders, Oskar Blues, Lagunitas, Hill Farmstead, Bell’s, Dogfish Head, Stone,  Schlafly, Great Lakes, and New Glarus.

  • Bkiesel2002

    This is an awesome video of Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage, Alaska.  It’s funny and informative.

  • Teejeyo

    MI has a lot of good microbreweries however Dragonsmead is by far the best MI has to offer. You you come across a bottle of Absolution, do not hesitate to buy it. 

  • Brewwws

    2nd Street Brewery is about the 12th best brewery in New Mexico.  La Cumbre in Albuquerque is the best.

  • James Bragiel

    3 floyds munster IN.

  • Sharyn Thompson Scalici

    Where do they get their hops?

  • Pamella Yates

    University of Phoenix just checking prices on beer for marketing research.

  • Scott Mitchell

    Not one mention of Redhook in Seattle, which started this whole microbrew renaissance 25 years ago? This article is a joke.

  • Johnny Lynch

    We have the land, buildings (7,000 sq ft beautiful barn) in America’s Most Beautiful Place Empire Michigan for a New Brew Pub/Micro Brewery concept. Call me for a presentation and proposal @ 480-707-7191.

  • George Stephen Tipsword

    I’m surprised to see Dogfish is so low on the list , They truly belife in making quality beer over pleasing the masses.. Bitchtes Brew is really enjoyable , Good flavor. Good buzz , worth every penny.. GST Katy, Tx.

  • Ken D Megal

    Always interested to read about craft beer, but this list is really kind of a joke. This looks like someone’s personal list and not an objective look at the craft beer landscape IMO.

  • Stephen Body

    Eric Warren, who write this piece, is a “writer, photographer, and enterprising filmmaker with an unhealthy love for all types of transportation. His work appears in a variety of publications, including many in the cycling world”. He’s evidently involved in trying to develop a TV series based on starting a brewery and driving all over America, borrowing wisdom and techniques from brewmasters and brewery owners. This is the second list like this I’ve read today and the same dynamic accounts for the HOWLING shortcomings in both pieces: the person writing it has only a marginal knowledge of and focus on the American craft brewing culture. Those of us who work daily in the beer trade KNOW that the best city in the US for brewing – both larger craft brewers and small producers – is San Diego, followed closely by Portland – neither of which has a brewery represented. Here in Washington, we’re all very fond of both Boundary Bay and Methow Valley Brewing but neither is regarded as anywhere in the top 20 of our state’s breweries. Mr. Warren somehow went to Asheville and wound up with the merely good Asheville Pizza, when the remarkable French Broad Brewing is less than 1000 feet away. He went to Bellingham and whiffed on one of the most celebrated and decorated breweries in the US, Chuckanut Brewery. And in Santa Fe, he found Second Street but somehow missed the excellent Marble Brewing.

    Those of us who are involved in the craft brewing culture cringe when lists like this one come out because it’s hardly impossible to find someone who’s involved and committed to craft brewing, knows it in depth, and is willing to sit down over a beer and give a writer some facts. Lists that are as highly-suspect as this one are siezed upon by craft beer novices and taken as gospel, giving aspiring beer lovers a LOT of false impressions. Mr. Warren may want to be a beer expert but, while this list does contain some great breweries, it also contains some that are evidently there only to prove Eric Warren’s street cred. I wish that organizations like Matador Network would actually expend some energy to find qualified people to write lists like this. It’s not all that hard and then you’d have a list that doesn’t generate valid, scornful comments like those above.

    • Teresa Mack

      Stephen Body I could not have said to better! I would be interested in your top 20 beers in no order just to give it a try and gauge how close my pallet compares to a true connoisseur! Firestone, chuckanut and marble are on my top 20

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