American Link | October 16, 2015
Microbrewery Tour Across America
Microbreweries are taking over America. Every region of the country has their unique beer makers. Here’s a sampling of each region's best microbreweries; be sure to visit if you are in their neck of the woods.
Father/son team, Jeremy and Steven Raub, and Steven's wife, Ting Su, started the Eagle Rock Brewery in 2009. Since then, the family-owned brewery has added at least six other members. The first brewery in Los Angeles in decades, Eagle Rock Brewery produces award-winners such as Solidarity Black Mild, Manifesto Wit, Revolution XPA, and Populist IPA, in addition to seasonal-only selections. The brewery boasts a number of other award-winning beers using local flavors. Maintaining their roots in the community, they conduct beer forums, brewery tours, and programs.
Portland, Oregon, may be well known for having a brewery on every corner, but the state's best microbrewery is actually found in Bend, Oregon (although, they do have a tasting room in Portland). Gary Fish, Founder and President, established the Deschutes Brewery in 1998. The company remains family-owned and operated, however, in 2013 an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) was set up so employees could own a percentage of the company. Deschutes Brewery beers are available in many states outside of Oregon, as the company continues to expand eastward. Currently, Deschutes has close to 30 different types of beer, including those available year round, seasonal brews, and a special series of ales. The original brewery in scenic Bend offers tours, tastings, and participates in beer events around the country.
The Four Peaks Brewing Company in Arizona is located in a historic creamery building. Started by a group of beer lovers as way to drink and share beer without paying for it, Four Peaks Brewing Company offers at least eight beers ranging from peach ale to oatmeal stout, in all of its Arizona locations. The original brewery offers tours at select times on Saturdays so that beer lovers can see the brewing process up close and personal. Four Peaks is a unique microbrewery in that it offers cans of beer, rather than bottles, to preserve the integrity of the brew.
In 1994, the founder of the Great Divide Brewing Company, Brian Dunn, was the sole brewer. Now, the Great Divide has over 40 employees and is continuing to expand in its downtown Denver location. As the brewery has grown, so has its reputation for great beer. Great Divide is the proud recipient of numerous awards including 18 Great American Beer Festival medals, and 5 World Beer Cup awards, to name just a few. Dedicated to maintaining its Colorado culture, they use sustainable brewing practices creating 25 options including those available year round, seasonal, barrel-aged, and limited release styles with names relating to Colorado's unique climate and terrain like Yeti, Whitewater, and Hibernation.
The Half Acre Beer Company was inspired during the time Half Acre's President, Gabriel Magliaro, spent in Colorado hanging around the craft beer culture at Avery Brewing Company. Half Acre began in 2006 with a space in Wisconsin before moving to Chicago's North Center neighborhood with the help of a used 15-barrel brew house from Colorado that was driven back to the Windy City. The brewery now employs 38 people and offers weekly tastings and tours of its facilities, as well as a taproom. Half Acre is recognized for tallboy beer cans fill with famous west coast-style pale ale-Daisy Cutter, Double Daisy Cutter, and an annual release made with Galaxy hops called Galactic Double Daisy Cutter.
Daniel Carey is well known in the craft-brewing world. The Master Brewer and his wife, Deb, created New Glarus Brewing after years of experience in both business and brewing. In 1993, Deb founded New Glarus Brewing as a gift to her husband. The microbrewery has become near legendary since then. Dan studied the art of brewing in Germany and uses traditional methods and mechanisms to create his beers. Determined to stay small and local, New Glarus beers are available only in select locations in Wisconsin. The brewery releases six year-round brews, and a few seasonal offerings according to a set schedule, such as Serendipity and Strawberry Rhubarb.
Although Ohio was once a bastion of brewing activity in the 1870’s, it wasn't until 1988, when the Great Lakes Brewing Company began, that the industry was officially renewed. Brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway opened the brewery, and were joined by Master Brewer Thaine Johnson and engineer Charlie Price. Many others have joined the team. Since the first small batch was produced in a single building, Great Lakes Brewing Company has grown to encompass three buildings, with a multi-million dollar renovation to increase production capabilities. The most popular and award-winning craft brewery in Ohio, Great Lakes Brewing Company is know for award-winning year-round, seasonal, and pub exclusive beers including Burning River® Pale Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald® Porter, Commodore Perry® India Pale Ale, Conway’s Irish Ale®, The Wright Pils®, Oktoberfest, Nosferatu®, Christmas Ale™, and Blackout Stout® as well as the beer that started it all, the Heisman.
Home brewer Paul Kavulak and his wife, Kim, started as a hobby in 1992, and went pro in 2005 with the founding of the Nebraska Brewing Company. Since then, they have increased their team to include six more brewers. They also expanded from a used system purchased from Japan to a full-scale brewery and brewpub, as well as a taproom. They also give tours so the public can learn about and taste the beer. Nebraska Brewing Company offers standard beers in cans, a reserve series of barrel-aged brews, seasonal brews, and very limited edition beers.
The idea for Brooklyn Brewery was sparked in 1984 after Steven Hindy ended a stint as the Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press and learned about home brewing in a region that prohibits alcoholic beverages. He returned to Brooklyn, where he and his neighbor, Tom Potter began to reinvigorate the once lively Brooklyn beer scene. Eventually the duo met up with Master brewer Garrett Oliver, of Manhattan Brewing. Since the early days, Brooklyn Brewery has been very popular, not only with locals, but also all over, and the team has grown to include other families as well. Brooklyn Brewery is known for a variety of beers including everything from Black Chocolate Stout to East IPA, seasonal favorites, and limited-run brew master’s Reserve releases.
The spark for the Maine Beer Company began in 2006; but didn't officially start brewing until 2009 or so. Starting from a "Nano brewery" founded by siblings, it continued to expand until the Peeper brew caught on. Freshness is key to the company's hoppy American style ales-every bottle has a freshness stamp. Still small, the Maine Beer Company offers a tasting room with select beers that are only available on site. They are not yet opened for brewery tours.
The Devils Backbone Brewing Company has a staff of 15, including everyone from the original founder, to the office manager, and all the brewers. Established in 2008, Devils Backbone Brewing Company now includes "the outpost", a 15,000 square foot production facility, and taproom. The Devils Backbone Brewing Company has won numerous awards and accolades for its many different beers, such as the signature Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, 2012 Gold World Beer Cup and 2009 Great American Beer Festival Silver Medal winner. The plethora of beers has beautifully drawn labels on the bottles with some brews packaged in cans.
CEO and Founder Joey Redner opened Cigar City Brewing in 2009 with brewer Wayne Wambles. Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale and Jai Alai India Pale Ale are the year-round brews with a rotating selection of 30 seasonal ales. The Tampa based Cigar City Brewing charges for its tours, but you get not only a barrel-full of information, a tour of the brewery, the canning, and bottling lines for your $5.35, but also a filled 16-ounce souvenir glass to quench your thirst. The Tampa based brewery is known for its Cuban and food inspired brews like the Cuban-style Espresso Brown Ale and Guava Grove Farmhouse Ale.
Credits // Author: Carly Zinderman Photos Provided By: Brooklyn Brewery & Half Acre Beer Company