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Nothing beats getting together with friends at your local brewery on a Saturday afternoon, sampling delicious and unique craft brews, and learning a thing or two about the beer-making process. With more than 9,000 breweries across the country and over 700 opened in 2021 alone, according to the latest reports, it’s safe to say we’re having a brewakening of sorts. To honor this ever-growing industry, we rounded up some of the best craft breweries that should be added to your craft beer bucket list.
**The Trips to Discover team appreciates the entire brewing community and all they give back to their respective hometowns. In creating this list, we took into account breweries that are loved by their patrons, use quality ingredients, give back to the community, and most importantly… make some dang good beer!
Blowing Rock Brewing - Blowing Rock, NC
Nestled in the cozy mountain town of the same name, Blowing Rock Brewery opened its doors in 2013. With the support from their local community, Blowing Rock Brewing made it their mission to craft high-quality beer and create an amazing experience for anyone who walks through the door. Staying true to their homage to the high country, Blowing Rock Brewing is committed to making sustainability and sourcing local ingredients a top priority in their beer-making process.
MadTree Brewing Co. - Cincinnati, OH
MadTree Brewing Co. sprouted in 2013 and has been providing Cincinnatians with great craft beer ever since. Creating high-quality beer is their goal but, at the end of the day, they wanted to create something bigger than themselves which lends to their motto, “Inspiring Madness. Rooted in Purpose.” MadTree not only donates 1% of sales to nonprofits focused on environmental sustainability but 100% of their spent grain is also sent to local farms to feed livestock and in 2020 alone, planted 2,193 trees. This means you can feel good whenever you grab of a pint from their wide range of brews.
Pure Project Brewing - San Diego, CA
What started as an idea on a backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains, grew into what we know today as Pure Project Brewing. Rooted in the belief that quality ingredients and attention to detail matter, from grain to glass, Pure Project uses its beer-making as a source for good. They are a part of 1% for the Planet, create brews using ingredients aligned with the seasons, and are an active part of their community. Plus, they create some truly unique brews like their imperial porter with bergamot and earl grey tea and their imperial sour with blueberry and hibiscus just to name a few.
Wicked Weed Brewing - Asheville, NC
One of the best breweries in North Carolina, Wicked Weed Brewing is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to creating unique craft brews. Which became even more clear when they opened the South’s first-ever sour beer dedicated taproom, the Funkatorium. Not only has Wicked Weed masterfully conquered the beer-making craft, but they also mastered giving back to their community. From their Beer that Builds initiative to their sustainability committee, the Green Freaks, Wicked Weed knows creating a cleaner today helps build a brighter tomorrow.
Wynkoop Brewing Company - Denver, CO
Wynkoop Brewing Company, founded in 1988, secured their spot as the first-ever brewpub in the state of Colorado and have been a leader in the state’s craft beer scene ever since. Brewing handcrafted, small-batch brews in their modest basement brewery, Wynkoop is known to push the envelope when it comes to its tap list and pay homage to the community that helped build it into what it is today – a top attraction in Denver. A good example of this is their Benny’s Extra Special Bulldog Bitter, inspired and named after Benny the bulldog who happened to stop by one a walk with his humans and has been coming back ever since!
Bad Martha Brewing - Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Martha’s Vineyard is pretty synonymous with wine and wineries, but Bad Martha Brewing is changing that! Bad Martha believes in three things: great beer, getting bad, and doing good and they sure live up to that. While creating a fantastic variety of brews on tap, from brown ales and pilsners to IPA’s and even a refreshing hard seltzer, Bad Martha never forgets the community that helped make them who they are. With the simple idea to put community first, Bad Martha donates a portion of profits to a local hunger relief organization, so you can drink great beer and also do good.
Ministry of Brewing - Baltimore, MD
Perhaps one of the grandest brewery locations in the country, Ministry of Brewing in Baltimore and located in the former St. Michael’s Church is set out to revitalize its historic community gathering place. Apart from the beer being as unique and complex as the brewery itself, Ministry at its core stands for three things: education, community, and philanthropy. From helping high school seniors prepare for future jobs, continuing to maintain the essence of their establishment’s past life as a meeting place for the community they call home, and supporting philanthropic efforts for Baltimore’s public school system. This brewery truly knows what it means to be a part of the community.
Big Top Brewing Company - Sarasota, FL
Big Top Brewing Company quite literally started the craft brewery scene in the gulf coast town of Sarasota, FL as they were the first brewery to open in the area. Paying homage to the town’s history of the arts and the famous Ringling Circus, which inspired their name, Big Top, their team of brewers artistically crafts a wide variety of world-class beer. Hometown pride is a defining virtue of Big Top Brewing and is apparent with the artwork showcased in the taproom created by the local Ringling School of Art and Design graduates.
Hair of The Dog Brewing Company - Portland, OR
Pioneers of the brewing community, Hair of The Dog Brewing Company has been a Portland staple since 1993 and has grown its reputation to be innovators in many brewing techniques and practices. Family-owned and operated, Hair of The Dog brews their beer with only the best products and ingredients, sourcing directly from farmers themselves. In fact, 99% are within a 360-mile radius of the brewery itself! Known for their barrel-aged ales, dank and dense IPAs, and historic lagers, if you ever find yourself in the Portland area you have to give Hair of The Dog a try.
Forgottonia Brewing - Macomb, IL
Forgottonia Brewing is known for producing independently brewed craft beer as unique as their name itself. Using only the best ingredients, Forgottonia features local ingredients in many of their brews like the Allison Farm Honey Cream Ale and Camp’s Apple Cider Donut Ale made with apple cider and donuts from Camp’s Orchard. It’s clear Forgottonia has mastered making good beer, but they also make their beer for good, which is their mission to partner with local organizations and donate $1 from each sale to make positive changes in their region.
Modern Times Beer - San Diego, CA
Modern Times Beer in San Diego is a lot of things and we are sure glad brewing up amazingly tasty beers is one of them. Not only has Modern Times been purveyors of a great variety of craft beers, but in 2017 became California’s very first employee-owned brewery. A part from their year-round beer varieties like their Fortunate Islands pale ale or the Orderville IPA, you’ll want to check out their 2022 Calendar of Dankness for all the seasonal offerings to look forward to throughout the year!