For a beer drinker, there is nothing more exciting than that first sip of beer, fresh from the tap at the brewery, enveloped in the heady aroma of hops and yeast.
It is a good time to be a beer lover because craft brews are better and easier to find than ever before. Yahoo Travel went in search of brews worth traveling for. For help with some of the beer choices, we turned to the beer experts at Untappd, the social gathering app where beer drinkers can share ratings of beer and breweries with each other. The ratings are on a scale of 1-5. While people frequently give an individual beer a 5 rating, the likelihood of that perfect rating on all the beer produced by a brewery is nil. Taking into account the variability among drinkers, any brewery with an average rating of 3.5 from several thousand reviewers is worth trying.
With that in mind, here are the top hop stops we found in each state.
A few boxes of Folklore’s famous beers. (Photo: Folklore Brewing and Meadery)
Folklore Brewing & Meadery in Dothan produces a variety of beers that you can sample during tastings every weekend. If you can’t make it to the brewery, the beer can be purchased at local stores around Dothan. The average rating on Untappd is a respectable 3.68.
Midnight Sun Brewing Company is one of several Alaskan breweries that have made a name for themselves beyond the borders of their own state. The tasting room is open daily, with brewery tours on Thursday evenings. The brewery carries a hefty 3.78 average rating.
Barley Bros. Restaurant & Brewery proves that good beer can be found at a pizza joint. The brewery’s average rating is only a 3.34, but go for the pizza and try the Chocolate Stout, which rates a 3.96, and you no doubt will go home happy.
Superior Bathhouse gives you an amazing chance to sample some craft beer on Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park. The location makes it fun and the rating of 3.55 makes the brewery a credible player in the beer market.
A refreshing glass of Green Flash beer. (Photo: Green Flash)
Green Flash refers to that elusive moment of sunset perfection when red or orange suddenly glows green. It’s an appropriate name for this San Diego based brewery, whose beers often rate near perfect. The beer is available almost nationwide, but the real treat is visiting their tasting rooms, which are open daily and come complete with their own in-house food truck. The rating of 3.8 makes this brewery one of the top in the country.
Wow! If craft beer is your thing, you should be in Colorado. Long before there was legal marijuana, the state had amazingly great beer. Odell Brewing in Fort Collins is a prime example of a brewery that outshines the competition in many states with an average rating of 3.8. Tastings and tours take place daily, often accompanied by live music and food trucks.
Two Roads Brewing Company took a former manufacturing building in Stratford and turned it into a superior craft brewery. Tastings take place every day except Monday, and tours take place on weekends. Reviewers on Untappd rate the brewery at 3.68.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton has made quite a name for itself in the craft beer world. Almost two million beer drinkers have given the brewery an average rating of 3.85. Tours, tastings, bocce, and cornhole happen every day but Sunday.
A little beach and a little brew. (Photo: Florida Keys Brewing)
The tasting room at Florida Keys Brewing Co. in Islamorada is the perfect laid-back beer stop for the Upper Keys. A serious rating of 3.72 makes it a contender for really good brew as well.
Reformation Brewery boasts a goal of setting beer free. We think they have accomplished just that. Reviewers give the brewery a rating of 3.76 for the 44 beers produced so far.
Maui Brewing Co. proves that not every adult beverage in the islands needs a piece of fruit and a paper umbrella. Apparently some tasty ales and lagers flow here as well. And they come with piles of pub grub 7 days a week. The beer averages a rating of 3.61.
At Laughing Dog Brewery, the laughter and the beer flows seven days a week in their taproom in Ponderay. Reviewers give the brewery a 3.6 and advise that you try the Dogfather—a double stout aged in bourbon barrels.
You will never be the same after sampling Revolution Beer. (Photo: Revolution Brewing)
Good beer is not hard to find in Chicago. Revolution Brewing leads the revolt against mediocre beer with choices that consistently rates near 4.0. The brewery’s overall rating is a whopping 3.85
Sun King Brewery in downtown Indianapolis brings in a rating of 3.69 overall, and individual beer ratings in the low 4’s. Tastings and growler fills are available at two taproom locations.
Firetrucker Brewery is apparently smokin’ good beer. The brewery garners a rating of 3.64; individual varieties rate 4+. The taproom is open seven days a week in Ankeny.
Radius Brewing Co. is a new kid on the block. Brewpub beer doesn’t always rank as highly as true brews, but a rating of 3.63 is not a bad start for the newcomer.
Country Boy Brewing in Lexington has a taproom with 24 taps and food trucks outside. Need another reason to visit? A rating of 3.69 on Untappd should do it.
The names of each beer make drinking at Great Raft an even more memorable experience. (Photo: Great Raft)
There really is great beer in Louisiana beyond NOLA. Great Raft in Shreveport does not seem to have produced a bad beer yet if you look at the individual ratings. The brewery’s rating overall is 3.77.
Allagash Brewing Company in Portland has almost outgrown the title of micro-brewery, but with beers that consistently rate over 4, it is not in danger of outgrowing the craft. The store and tasting room are open Monday-Saturday with tours by reservation. The brewery’s overall rating is 3.87.
Burley Oak in Berlin is serious enough about the craft of beer that they farm their own grains. It is working. The brewery has an overall rating of 3.71. Stop in for tasting or tours, often accompanied by live music.
Sometimes small breweries put more into a catchy name than into the bottle. Not the case with Abandoned Building Brewery. Using locally grown hops, the brewery has tapped into a rating of 3.63.
Founders even has a Breakfast Stout, because…why not?! (Photo: Founders Brewing)
Founders Brewing is another brewery that is no longer micro in size, but which has grown admirably since its beginning in 1997. An overall rating of 3.96 from a total of more than 3 million reviewers is an astonishing accomplishment. The huge taproom in Grand Rapids overlooks the brewery and frequently features live music.
Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors has a taproom guaranteed to be fun—live music, games, and special events. And did we mention the beer? The brewery produces consistently good IPAs and stouts, with a brewery average rating of 3.75.
Ocean Springs is home to Crooked Letter Brewing Company. Creative name; good beer. Samples are free for the over-21 crowd when you take the tour. There is no taproom due to state laws prohibiting onsite sales of beer. With a rating of 3.71, the tour should be on your list of things to do on your Gulf Coast holiday.
St. Louis might be the original home of that not-so-microbrewery that shall remain nameless, but it is also home to Side Project Brewing. Reviewers think pretty highly of the brewery with the humble name, rating it an astonishing 4.41. Their 36 beers consistently rate 4+ on Untappd. Stop by their Maplewood tasting room to find out why this may be the highest-rated brewery in the country that is open to the public.
Lone Peak Brewery in Big Sky is family owned and operated, producing beer in a pub setting that consistently averages ratings in the upper range of 3’s. The brewery itself has an overall rating of 3.58.
Make a pitstop at Kinkaider Brewing Co. (Photo: Kinkaider Brewing Co.)
Kinkaider Brewing Co. is part of the growing group of farm breweries. The beer is a product of ingredients raised right on the family farm. The taproom opens on weekends. Stop by when you visit the Nebraska Sandhills and taste the difference those fresh ingredients make in a craft beer. The brewery earns an overall rating of 3.6.
With a rating of 3.6, Great Basin Brewing Co., has something to offer besides beer—beer bread. Stop in at either of their pubs in Reno or Sparks for fresh bread and a taste of beer.
Stoneface Brewing Co. resides in an unassuming metal building in Newington. Step inside to find out what craft beer is all about. Consistent ratings near the 4 point mark give the brewery an overall rating of 3.94.
Cape May is touristy in a fun way, and Cape May Brewing Company is fun in a tasty way. The brewery earns the high mark of 3.62 overall.
Marble Brewery in Albuquerque offers two locations for tasting, tours, and beer gear. Their award-winning beers earned them an overall rating of 3.75 among Untappd beer lovers.
Just a few of Southern Tier’s 174 beers. (Photo: Southern Tier Brewing Company)
Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood has a long list of 174 beers produced in its five-year history on Untappd, with ratings high enough to give the brewery an overall rating of 3.8.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone is not only a community-minded business, it’s a fun place to hang out, with live music and activities every weekend. Oh, and the beer earns the brewery an average rating of 3.72.
Laughing Sun Brewing Company in Bismarck has a 65-seat pub featuring their beer, live music, and local art. The brewery has an overall rating of 3.65.
Beer is big in Ohio and Rockmill Brewery is up to the task of satisfying residents and visitors alike, with an average rating of 3.72 among Untappd reviewers.
Roughtail Beer is distributed in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, but to see how it’s made and sip a sample, stop by the brewery in the City. A sip or two should be enough to explain their 3.74 rating.
Only greatness is on tap at Boneyard Beer. (Photo: Boneyard Beer/Instagram)
In a state with so many amazing craft breweries, Boneyard Beer is among the top in the state with an overall rating of 4.0. Samples pour seven day a week in their tasting room.
VooDoo Brewery successfully combines a pub and restaurant with award-winning beer, earning a hefty rating of 3.8 on the Untappd scale.
Tilted Barn Brewery is Rhode Island’s first farm brewery and the love of the craft shows in the beer. With just over a year on Untappd, the brewery’s 17 brews have earned it a whopping 3.97 from almost 2,000 reviews.
Westbrook Brewing Co. in Mount Pleasant, has a huge and loyal following. The beer earns an average rating of 3.97 from over 300,000 fans. Tours and tastings happen Tuesday through Saturday.
Hay Camp Brewing Company in Rapid City is relatively new in the craft brewery game, but in just two years have developed enough of a local following to earn a respectable rating of 3.68.
Try a pilsner or a pale ale from Yee Haw! (Photo: Yee Haw Brewing Co.)
Yee Haw Brewing Co.has a fun name and a selection of tasty beers garnering it a rating of 3.7 from 3,500 reviewers in only three months. The tasting room is now open in downtown Johnson City. Stop by and see what the fuss is about.
Up and comingcraft breweries in Texas have a tall order to fill, having had competition from popular mid-sized breweries like Spoetzl since 1909. Saint Arnold Brewing Company began in the early years of craft beer and now has a loyal following that brings in a rating of 3.75.
The Annex by Epic Brewing is the place to sip an Epic Beer. The choices range from popular IPAs to tasty stouts aged on whiskey barrels. The beer earns an average rating of 3.72.
In a little over a yearHermit Thrush Brewery has generated big buzz and a long list of fans, pushing the brewery’s overall rating to a strong 3.72. Art, beer tastings, and beer to-go are yours for the taking just off Main in Brattleboro.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery has you covered with a taproom in Richmond open Wednesday through Sunday. Arrive thirsty or with your own growler (or two). The brewery rates a 3.83 among Untappd’s reviewers.
Relax after a long day with a glass of Sound beer. (Photo: Sound Brewery)
In a state filled with serious craft brewers, Sound Brewery in Poulsbo stands up to the competition with a slate of beers that rate in the upper 3’s, giving the brewery an overall rating of 3.75.
Charleston Brewing Companybrings together good beer with exceptional burritos with their fun pub—Blacksheep Burritos and Brews. The brewery rates a solid 3.6, enough to make any decent burrito taste even better.
There is some great beer history inWisconsin, so it’s no surprise that the micro- breweries are abundant. Ahnapee Brewery in Algoma is a shining example of what’s available. The brewery rates 3.7 on Untappd.
Blacktooth Brewing Companyis home to some highly rated award winning beer. Stop by the brewery in Sheridan seven days a week for a taste of how beer is made in Wyoming. The brewery snags a 3.66 rating by the Untappd reviewers.
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