City Suds: The Best Urban Breweries and Brewpubs
Portland. San Francisco. The other Portland. We all know about some of the traditional brew hubs across the U.S. But these days great beer is popping up all over, often outside of the predictable places and right in the city you call home. Touring a brewery and grabbing some quality pints is a fun, affordable way to spend a Saturday. In honor of the perfect beer-drinking season that is fall, we asked some city-dwellers around the country for some of their local favorites, and even did some…ehem…“research” of our own. Here, some must-hit breweries in on-the-rise beer towns.
Chris Abell is a web producer and contributing writer at Travel+Leisure. You can follow him on Instagram at @buildingflavors.
Goose Island in Chicago
Goose Island makes a mean IPA, and you can drink your fill at their Windy City headquarters before catching a Bulls or Blackhawks game (without worrying about driving) at the nearby United Center. Tours are $12. The brand also has a smaller brewpub in Wrigleyville, just a fastball away from the home of the Cubs, if you want booze and baseball when hockey season is over.
8th Wonder Brewery in Houston
As we said, the perfect beer-drinking season is fall—and the surprising Houston Astros might just be playing baseball well into it. And what better place to celebrate the team than at a young microbrewery named after and inspired by the old Houston Astrodome—dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” upon its 1965 opening. For delicious beer and an ode to all things Houston, visit their taproom, located just east of downtown.
Legend Brewing Company in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond’s oldest running microbrewery at an appropriate 21 years old (remember when that felt old?), Legend Brewing Co. sits just across the bridge from downtown in a neighborhood called Manchester. All their beers are great—we recommend the Legend Brown Ale—but the brewery’s patio views of downtown might be just as good.
Harpoon in Boston
What started as a thesis by two Harvard Business School students has grown into one of New England’s favorite drinks. The Harpoon brewery, located in Boston’s up-and-coming Seaport District, hosts not only $5 tours but also some lively festivals and events, including the massively popular Octoberfest. Their wide variety of beers (and great-looking labels) makes it a brand worth checking out. Note: Harpoon has a very un-urban brewery location in Windsor, VT, as well.
Denizens Brewing Co. in Washington, D.C.
Technically located just 100 yards beyond D.C. borders, in bustling Silver Spring, Maryland, Denizens offers $10 tours on Saturdays that wrap up with a generous tasting menu. That’s not to say Saturday is the only day to go—the brewpub hosts regular events such as trivia and comedy shows during the week. Order up some tasty barbecue from BBQ Bus, which pairs well with just about any of Denizens’ brews. Silver Spring is easily accessible on the DC Metro line.
Samuel Adams in Boston
Sam Adams is sort of the godfather of microbreweries—it’s been so successful, in fact, that it’s almost “macro” at this point. But its Jamaica Plains brewery maintains its gritty atmosphere and proudly boasts a Boston-steeped history. Best of all? Tours, and some samples, are free: though the company suggests a $2 donation that goes to local charities. The original Sam Adams Boston Lager is a can’t-miss, but we recommend trying one of their tasty seasonals.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland has had a well-documented tough run—all the more reason to keep great beer nearby. Pat and Dan Conway (we’re gonna take a shot in the dark and guess that they’re Irish) surrounded themselves with experienced brewers and launched Great Lakes in the Ohio City neighborhood. Just across the Cuyahoga River from downtown Cleveland, the up-and-coming area has a handful of quality bars and restaurants worth checking out. As is the rotating selection of beers. Tours are just $5.
Bronx Brewery in New York
Stone Brewing in San Diego, California
You might recognize this brand from its intimidating logo and aggressive names. The actual brewery is located about 30 miles north of San Diego, in Escondido, but locals recommend hitting the huge outdoor patio and fire pits at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station, right in the city. Be careful, though, as all of Stone’s many beers all have one thing in common: they’re stone cold strong.
Four Corners Brewing Co. in Dallas
Craft breweries were a long time coming to Dallas thanks to some obscure zoning laws, but they’re finally here—and Four Corners is a great place to get your first taste. The brewery offers free tours every Saturday, and with a plethora of good restaurants in its Trinity Groves district on the west side of the city, you can make a full afternoon of a trip. From here, you can also some of the best skyline views in the city.
Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville
You know about the whiskey and the barbecue: now it’s time to learn about the local beer. Yazoo really ignited the Nashville beer scene when it poured its first pint in 2003, and like the city itself, the brewery has a unique, funky charm that is gaining real attention. Located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, not far from Broadway and all that wonderful Tennessee honky-tonk, the brewery attracts drinkers from all walks of life. Young and old, hipster and…normal...come to take $8 tours and enjoy the bountiful tastings. The beers are very drinkable and not overpowered with alcohol. Try the Dos Perros.