Visiting a brewery can offer many advantages over going to a local bar and ordering a beer or two. One of the best things about visiting a brewery is being able to sample the beer. However, there is more to a brewery visit than just the beer. During your visit, you will be able to see behind the scenes and learn how the process works. This will give you a whole new appreciation for the beer you are already drinking.
Other advantages of visiting a brewery over a bar include:
Pristine condition: Since the beer has never been transported in a hot truck or stored for extended periods of time, you are able to sample some of the freshest beers you will ever try.
Dispensing method: You are able to enjoy a beer that has been dispensed using a draft system. This is something that not all bars have the room or the money to install.
Selection: Visiting a brewery will give you access to a selection of beer that is not available in stores or at bars.
Here is a list of some of the best breweries in the country.
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Dogfish Head Craft BreweryMilton, Delaware
Successfully crafting beer for almost two decades, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery comes highly recommended and is a must see for any beer enthusiast. Opening in 1995, Dogfish head was Delaware’s first brewpub and was the smallest commercial brewery in the country at the time of its opening.
Brent Malenius, a beer enthusiast from Georgia, says the IPA from Dogfish Head is the best. “Their 90-minute IPA is the perfect beer,” he added. “Nice and hoppy, and a good kick with nine percent alcohol content.” If you are looking for something less intense, Malenius suggests going for the 60-minute IPA. He did warn that the 120-minute IPA is not for the faint of heart and should be sipped not chugged.
Founders Brewing CompanyGrand Rapids, Michigan
With fall just around the corner, the Founders Brewing Company will be releasing four new beers starting mid-September. Founders Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers believe in crafting a beer that is for renegades and rebels. Their brewing philosophy and desire to create a beer that is full of flavor is why Founders Brewing Company has such a huge following.
Founders is definitely another brewery high on Malenius‘ list of recommendations. “The quality is super high regardless of the type of beer produced.” He added that he has never had a bad beer from there and his personal favorite is the “Dirty Bastard,” a Scotch-style ale.
Brewery OmmegangCooperstown, New York
Known more for baseball than anything else, Cooperstown is home to one of the top breweries in the country. So, when you think about it, the fact that this brewery made the list is obvious. Nothing goes better with baseball than beer…and Cracker Jacks.
Brewery Ommegang offers fine crafted beers, focusing primarily on Belgian ales. In addition to sampling beer and taking a tour of the brewery, guests will have a chance to relax in the café where Belgian bites, including ice cream and waffles, are available.
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Lagunitas Brewing CompanyPetaluma, California
There are many fans of the Lagunitas Brewing Company, including those who enjoy tasting experimental beers. This brewery has won the hearts of beer enthusiasts for its out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to experiment with different crafting techniques, flavors and ingredients.
The “Brown Shugga” was created in 1997 during the brewing a batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale. The result from this failed attempt resulted in one of the best new beers ever made. “I love it,” Malenius said. “It’s one of my favorite mistakes…for beer.”
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New Glarus Brewing Co.New Glarus, Wisconsin
Considered by many to be one of the best mid to small breweries in the country, the New Glarus Brewing Co. is dedicated to using 100 percent natural ingredients to produce world-class, hand-crafted beers. This brewery is owned by Daniel and Deb Carey and their enthusiasm for crafting the best beer possible is evident in how they operate their business and in the products they produce.
Chris Cremeens, a beer enthusiast from Wisconsin, has enjoyed the self-guided tour at the New Glarus Brewing Co. and agrees that this brewery is one of the best in the country.
Bell’s BreweryKalamazoo, Michigan
Bell’s Brewery believes in brewing the most flavorful, unfiltered, high-quality craft beers in small batches. There is a nice variety of choices, including hoppy beers and amber ales. The brewery also offers seasonal beers, including its summertime signature beer “Oberon Ale,” one of Malenius’ favorite because it has a smooth, lighter taste.
This brewery was the first in Michigan to serve beer by the glass. Its general store offers beer-to-go and home brewing supplies for those wishing to craft their own beer concoctions at home.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.Chico, California
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. made this list because of its dedication to using only the best ingredients to create its bold beers. This brewery also sticks to what works, using traditional techniques to create its beers. Top creations available from Sierra Nevada include the Torpedo IPA, the “Tumbler” (seasonal: autumn) and the “Celebration Ale” (seasonal: winter).
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Anheuser-Busch BreweryJacksonville, Florida
Known and available just about everywhere you go in America are the beers crafted by the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. However, visiting the brewery in person will definitely give you a chance to see and taste the beer in a different like, meaning you just might end up liking a beer you never truly enjoyed before.
Aryn Dalzot, a beer enthusiast from Florida, enjoyed being able to taste the beer fresh from the holding tank. “I personally do not like Bud Light,” he said. “But it was amazing being so cold and fresh.” He also added that the smell of hops during the tour was amazing.
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As you can see, there are a variety of breweries across the country. The uniqueness of each brewery is what gains its large followings and dedicated drinkers. If you are looking for a brewery to visit, check out one or more from the above list of top breweries or speak to a beer enthusiast. Chances are he or she will be able to point you in the right direction and offer plenty of suggestions for your next brewery adventure.
Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.