24 Craft Breweries Every Beer Lover Should Know

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Snake River Brewing Twitter/@snakeriverbrew Jackson Hole, Wyoming's Snake River Brewing makes beers "to match the scenery."

The recent explosion of craft breweries in the U.S. has shifted the beer industry's attention to quality, not quantity. May 12-18 is American Craft Beer Week , which means it's the perfect time to discover a new artisanal brew.

We found the 24 coolest American craft brewers making waves in the industry, from a Latin American-style cerveceria in Chicago to a sustainable brewery in Maui that uses local Hawaiian ingredients to make its brews.

A brewery is considered a craft brewery if it produces fewer than 6 million barrels per year, with 75% or more of the company owned by the craft brewer, according to the Brewers Association .

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5 Rabbit Cervecería

5 Rabbit Cervecería

Located: Bedford Park, Ill.

Located outside Chicago, the first Latin American-style brewery, or cervecería, in the country infuses its brews with ancho chili, piloncillo cane sugar, and other Latin flavors.

5 Rabbit was inspired by an Aztec myth, and the names of the beers all coincide in some way with the Aztec calendar.

The brewmasters believe in enjoying and savoring life, so every few weeks they publish a recipe on their website that would pair well with one of their beers.

Alchemist Brewery

Alchemist Brewery

Located: Waterbury, Vt.

Alchemist sells just one beer: Heady Topper, which is found only in Vermont. They say they'd rather focus on doing one beer perfectly instead of doing many imperfectly.

Heady Topper is a double IPA brewed with a proprietary blend of six hops that blend together to make a great beer.

Amplified Aleworks

Amplified Aleworks

Located: San Diego, Calif.

Amplified Aleworks isn't the only craft brewery in San Diego by a long shot, but it's one of the coolest.

Operated out of the popular California Kebab and Beer Garden, their best deal is on Sundays when you can pay $20 for four Amplified beer samplings and some thick-cut hickory smoked bacon. It's pretty hard to go wrong with bacon and beer.

Base Camp Brewing Co.

Base Camp Brewing Co.

Located: Portland, Ore.

Portland's new kid on the block, Base Camp, will thrill outdoor adventurers with its 22-ounce aluminum bottles of Carabiner Cream Ale or In-Tents Indian Pale Lager.

Visit the taproom, designed with exposed timber beams, chairs woven from climbing ropes, and trail maps encased in glass countertops, and order the S’mores Stout. Your server will blowtorch a marshmallow garnish at the table.

Big Alice Brewing

Big Alice Brewing

Located: Long Island City, N.Y.

Named for the power plant between Manhattan and Queens on the East River, Big Alice has no official recipes for its beers. Instead, it makes each brew differently with fresh ingredients in unique combinations like the curry and lapsang smoked porter, or the cinnamon, rose, and bird's eye chili abbey.

Beer lovers can buy CSA shares of Big Alice beer each season to receive a large sampling of some of their brews every month.

BRU Handbuilt Ales

BRU Handbuilt Ales

Located: Boulder, Colo.

Chef Ian Clark opened BRU Handbuilt Ales in February so he could have a place where he could combine his love of brewing and cooking under one roof. The food menu was created to complement the different beer offerings on site, making for one unified taste experience.

Being a trained chef gives Clark the unique ability to craft some very artful beer recipes, like an imperial stout made with Colorado peaches and bitter cocoa or an IPA brewed with fresh lemon zest and juniper.

Butte Creek Brewing

Butte Creek Brewing

Located: Ukiah, Calif.

Butte Creek specializes in beers that are good for the earth. Organic, all natural ingredients produced without pesticides or artificial fertilizers keep the beers’ taste and aroma pure.

Lauded for its wholesome, unadulterated ingredients, Butte Creek's 22-ounce IPA was recently included in Greatist’s list of 10 Healthier Beers.

Butternuts Beer and Ale

Butternuts Beer and Ale

Located: Garrattsville, N.Y.

Making beer can be a complex operation, but Butternuts manages it with just a handful of employees in Upstate New York. Butternuts makes four main beers: an American milk stout made with chocolate malts, a hoppy IPA, a Hefeweizen, and, the most popular brew, the Pork Slap pale ale.

Despite its size, the tiny brewery distributes far and wide in the northeast, and their beers have quickly become a favorite of the hipster scene.

Cape Cod Beer Company

Cape Cod Beer Company

Located: Cape Cod, Mass.

The Cape Cod Beer Company is a small operation with a great tasting room where visitors can sample different brews. This is especially key since they don’t bottle their beers and it's hard to find their beers outside the Cape Cod area.

This brewery is all about environmental sustainability: They strive for a small carbon footprint by sourcing their hops from a local farm, keeping their beer local, and recycling everything.

Chelsea Brewing Co.

Chelsea Brewing Co.

Located: New York, N.Y.

Manhattan’s largest craft brewery sits on Pier 59, with a pristine view of the Hudson River through the restaurant’s two-story glass wall. It serves up to 25 handcrafted premium beers, including a seasonal Spicy Pumpkin Pie ale that tastes like puréed Thanksgiving-dessert magic.

Its year-round brews, seen on draft menus citywide, include New York-themed beers like the Checker Cab Blonde Ale and the New York State of Mind Wet Hop.

Churchkey Can Co.

Churchkey Can Co.

Location: Seattle, Wash.

Founded by "Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier and former Nike designer Justin Hawkins, Churchkey’s Pilsner-style brew brings back the original, flat-top beer can. Every six-pack comes with the necessary churchkey-style can opener to tap the vintage-inspired cans — hence the tagline, “It’s worth the effort.”

Churchkey distributes in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

Crooked Stave Artisan Brewing Project

Crooked Stave Artisan Brewing Project

Located: Denver, Colo.

Inspired by "old world brewing methods," Crooked Stave “blends science and art through creativity and passion” to make some of their exclusive beers.

Denver residents can apply for their annual cellar reserve membership, which gets them some cool stemware glasses, members-only apparel, 15 percent off taproom purchases, and access to the brews not sold in stores.

Funky Buddha Brewery

Funky Buddha Brewery

Located: Oakland Park, Fla.

Located near Boca Raton, the Funky Buddha Brewery & Lounge made a name for itself with its food-flavored brews like the No Crusts Peanut Butter and Jelly Brown Ale, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, and Rice Krispy Treats Ale.

The owners recently expanded by opening a 20,000-square-foot production site, which will allow them to distribute more widely starting in 2014. The taproom hosts a rotation of food trucks nightly, making the Funky Buddha an artisanal beer drinker’s nirvana.

Maui Brewing Company

Maui Brewing Company

Located: Lahaina, Hawaii

The Maui Brewing Company infuses its beers with Hawaiian flavors like Maui gold pineapple, hand-toasted coconuts, and lemongrass to create ales such as its Coconut Porter and Bikini Blonde Lager.

The Hawaiian brewery prizes sustainability: Its cans are designed by Maui artists, manufactured on Oahu, and packaged in a unique, recyclable plastic carrying case—which is safer for marine life if not disposed of properly. It also donates processed grains to local ranchers for cattle feed and composting.

Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift Brewing

Located: Everett, Mass.

Part of what makes NSB so unique is the team that started the operation. It’s three friends who not only work together, but live together in one apartment.

In 2013 NSB started the Night Shift Barrel Society, which gives members exclusive perks and previews to their cool brews like the rosehip and peppercorn saison, or the green tea and orange wheat ale.

Ommegang Brewery

Ommegang Brewery

Located: Cooperstown, N.Y.

Ommegang’s popular Belgian-style beers hail from the same upstate New York town as the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In addition to creating classic beers, like Witte and Hennepin, the brewmasters are also finding inspiration from the HBO TV show and book series “Game of Thrones.” The ‘Take the Black Stout’ is their dark, chocolatey beer, while the ‘Iron Throne’ is their blonde ale. They recently released two more: a red ale called 'Fire and Blood,' and 'Valar Morghulis,' a Belgian dubbel-style beer.

Red Lodge Ales

Red Lodge Ales

Located: Red Lodge, Mont.

Red Lodge Ales prides itself on being a totally sustainable brewery. Their site is home to one of the largest solar thermal arrays in Montana, which harnesses solar energy to power their operations.

The brewery also recycles their cleaning solution, reusing it on multiple brew batches to limit waste. In addition to its beers that are available year-round, the brewery releases a number of seasonal beers just for Oktoberfest.

SingleCut Beersmiths

SingleCut Beersmiths

Located: Astoria, N.Y.

SingleCut creates beers that celebrate (sometimes odd) traditions and flavors. For the unofficial Jewish tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas, for example, they brewed a crisp lager with matzah and Szechuan peppercorns. They age some other beers in original whiskey barrels that were owned by Jack Daniels.

The brewery is small right now, but they plan on doubling the number of beers they offer over the next year.

Sixpoint Brewery

Sixpoint Brewery

Located: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Every year Sixpoint teams up with Beer Advocate, a publication devoted to beer, to host a day-long event in Brooklyn called Beer for Beasts, where a love of beer and a love of animals comes together. Sixpoint brews single batches of unique beers only available at the event, and all proceeds go to the Humane Society of New York.

This past year the reigning favorite was called the Not-So-Thin Mint, containing “all the elements of a Girl Scout cookie.”

Snake River Brewing

Snake River Brewing

Located: Jackson Hole, Wy.

Snake River bottles up the local flavors of Jackson Hole in beers brewed “to match the scenery.” Even though they brew just 5,000 barrels a year, they have a crazy number of different beers available, and some of them can be bought online and shipped to you.

Snake River is also home to a gourmet brew pub, with truffle burgers, house-made Italian sausages, and freshly baked bread.

Tallgrass Brewing Company

Tallgrass Brewing Company

Location: Manhattan, Kan.

Tallgrass Brewing Company was founded by a husband-and-wife team, who pursued their dreams and quit their jobs to move to a small town in Kansas's Tallgrass Prairie and open a microbrewery.

They serve creative beers like the 8-Bit, a hop-rocketed American pale ale that actually comes with its own "video game," and Buffalo Sweat, an oatmeal cream stout, in funky-looking cans.

Three Floyds Brewing

Three Floyds Brewing

Located: Munster, Ind.

In addition to its year-round beers like the Alpha King, a big American pale ale with citrus and hoppy flavors, Three Floyds Brewing also releases a different seasonal beer each month, such as the Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, only available on one day of the year the company declared Dark Lord Day. Experts have rated this beer one of the best in the world.

There's also an on-site brew pub, which has a 3,000-square-foot organic garden from which it sources most of its produce.

Throwback Brewery

Throwback Brewery

Located: North Hampton, N.H.

Voted one of Bon Appetit’s 10 favorite nanobreweries (which typically make beer on a three-barrel system or smaller), this microscopic brewery produces just 360 gallons of artisanal beer each week.

Their “Franken-brewer”—a system comprised of recycled, retro tanks—only takes in ingredients sourced within 200 miles of coastal New Hampshire. The Maple-Kissed Wheat Porter uses velvety syrup, and the Spicy Bohemian pilsner packs a punch with roasted jalapeños.

Yards Brewing Company

Yards Brewing Company

Located: Philadelphia, Penn.

Yards is the first 100 percent wind-powered brewery in Pennsylvania. They also donate their spent grain to a local bison farm for reuse. This is all part of their plan to give back to their city by "going the extra yard."

Because they’re located in such a historic U.S. city, Yards has a small line of beers made as a tribute to the American Revolution, including Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale and General Washington's Tavern Porter.

Find your favorite local brewers.

Find your favorite local brewers.

The 10 Best Craft Breweries In New York State »

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