Atlanta's Best Breweries

Must-Visit Atlanta Breweries

Georgia is still just one of a handful of states where brewers are not allowed to sell their beer directly to consumers. The good news is, that hasn’t stopped many breweries from opening up all around Atlanta. To get around these pesky blue laws, clever Atlanta breweries allow customers to buy a “glass” which comes with tasting tickets you can have before or after you tour the facility. Here are six breweries you will want to make sure you visit.

Jekyll Brewing
Live on the north side? You’re not overlooked. Head over to Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta. There’s plenty to keep you occupied at Jekyll Brewing. Their space has plenty of games to play in between sipping on their fabulous selection of craft beers. One of the most popular is the ‘Merican Amber with caramel notes and spicy finish. Tip: Visit on Tuesdays for a special release that won’t ever be made again. Taproom is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Monday Night Brewing
With a slogan that “Weekends are Overrated” the folks at Monday Night Brewing stand firm with this ideal, with brewery tours on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:30. They do make an exception on Saturdays with tours from 1-4. IPA lovers shouldn’t miss the Eye Patch Ale. Make a full evening of it. Luckily you aren’t far from the West Midtown hot restaurants after your tour is over.

Orpheus
Orpheus has a magnificent location overlooking Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Beltline. They have a terrific selection of IPAs, and especially appealing to some is their selection of and Sours beers. Bring your dog as they are dog friendly. Tip: They also have a comedy night the first Wednesday of every month from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Tours are Thursday through Sundays.

Red Brick Brewing
The oldest craft brewer in the Georgia, Red Brick has been around for greater than 20 years. The brewery is located in West Midtown, so you can visit one of the trendy restaurants in this up and coming area after the tour. The brewery is open Wednesday –Friday from 5-8 pm and on Saturday (11 am – 5 pm), Sunday 1-4 pm. On Friday evenings there’s live music.

Three Taverns Brewery
Three Taverns’ Decatur space is cozy with lots of brick and wood ceilings. Unique to them is their take on Belgian style. Save a couple bucks: Ride your bike to the tasting room and get $2 off your tour. Plus tours are free on your birthday. Tours are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays.

Wild Heaven Brewery
You can visit one of the lovely Decatur restaurants after you visit the Wild Heaven Brewery. Their beer lineup includes Belgian style Golden Ale (Invocation) as well as Saison (White Blackbird). For something that is more mellow and light try the Emergency Drinking Beer Pilsner Session Ale. Open 5:30 – 8:30 Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays 2-6pm. All ages welcome on Sunday afternoons 2-5pm.

Kansas City Brews: Both Big and Small Operations Impress

While craft beers seem to be popping up everywhere, some breweries have become huge empires, with distribution all over the country. And still, there are some that are happy to produce small quantities. They have a loyal fan base which happily comes to their brewery to enjoy their special craft beers. Or they may even have a restaurant where they serve their beer. Here, we explore two very different beer producers in Kansas City.

Bouldevard-Brewing-Kansas-City

Boulevard and McCoy’s are the two breweries we are focusing on, both located in Kansas City. These two couldn’t’ be more different. Boulevard is one of the biggest breweries in the Midwest, distributing to 25 states.  McCoy’s, unlike Boulevard doesn’t distribute their beer, but it is only available at this gastropub or their sister restaurant, The Foundry.

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Boulevard-brewing-craft-beer

Boulevard Brewing has massive tanks, beckoning you from far away. A tour includes a short, yet informative overview from one of the brewers. You’ll also get to see their bottling operations in action. After that, head down to the dark and cozy tasting room. Here you can choose from a dozen or so different brews. Try the Tank 7 Famhouse Ale or the Ginger Beer if available.

 

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The Bag of Bones is a specialty at McCoy’s

McCoys is just about the complete opposite of Boulevard. Here, the beer is as much the focus as the food. They do several styles of IPAs, which all have their merits. Try a flight of IPAs. But be careful as they are all around 7 percent ABV. Get the Pretzel with house made dipping sauces, The Bag of Bones and for dessert, the Bread Pudding with black and tan sauce.

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Dessert is a must at McCoy’s!

A Tale of Two Nebraska Craft Breweries: Ploughshare and Zip Line

You might be surprised to know some unexpected areas of the United States have not only embraced the craft beer scene, but have a thriving craft beer market. One such spot is Lincoln, Nebraska. Not only is this cattle country, but several craft breweries are doing a robust business here. Here are two of them worth a visit if you find yourself there.

Ploughshare Brewery

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While most breweries are so focused on producing beer, they tend to neglect the finer points of their establishment like the decor and food, which ultimately make people want to come back. That’s not the case at Ploughshare. An inviting opening space leads you in to the bar where you can choose your brew and gather with friends. More serious beer enthusiasts wanting a tour should visit on Fridays and Saturdays at 6.

Hop Heads will enjoy the Percheron IPA. The slight pine and citrus flavor marries well with the caramel taste. Most interesting is the Weathervane Belgian Style Witbier. It’s a definite departure from typical wheat beers, using 40 percent raw wheat and a rarely used brewing technique called turbid mash decoction.

As for the food, they are serious about pork. Items like the Schnitzel platter are hearty and satisfying. But we loved the Hunter (charcuterie), Gatherer (fruit and cheese), and Wanderer (fish) platters for sharing.

Zip line brewing NebraskaZip Line Brewing
Quite the opposite of Ploughshare, is Zip Line. This is a no frills spot where the sole focus is beer – no food or upscale decor. Named so after the owner had a zip line accident. His friends warned him opening a brewery may not be such a good idea saying “Remember that zip line accident..” But apparently it hasn’t hurt the success of the brewery.

The variety of beers is huge. So be ready to settle in for an afternoon. In fact, you may want to make sure you have a designated driver. Highlights were:
Black IPA – The slight chocolate flavor was a unique mix for IPA. Available from November to January only.
Double Stout – A smooth, easy sipping beer, but surprisingly light on the chocolate flavor. It has a slight spicy chocolate aroma, which you will definitely smell but only taste slightly. It is pretty similar to a Guinness. Go easy, this is 8.5% ABV.
American Tripel – This would be a terrific spring beer. The crisp taste along with citrusy flavors like grapefruit all make for the a perfect light beer to sip alone or with fish or chicken entrees.

Breweries of Ann Arbor

Craft beer may be a newer concept to some cities, but not in Michigan. The state boasts more than twenty breweries cranking out some fine craft beer. Ann Arbor, itself is home to about a quarter of these breweries.

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The interesting thing to note about many of these breweries is that they specialize in their own kinds of beer. At the Jolly Pumpkin (not it’s not all pumpkin beer, though that is quite tasty), it is sour beers. Receiving much popularity of late, these beers have somewhat of an acquired taste, but those that love them are huge fans.

At Wolverine’s, lager is the beer of choice, though the range is quite lovely no matter what your favorite type of beer is. One of the top picks is the Gulo Gulo their version of an India Pale Ale (IPA). Verano, the Mexican is quite pleasing (if only there was a taco truck in the parking lot).

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Another Ann Arbor brewery, Original Gravity, opened in 2008, sells no bottles or cans. Instead, visitors can drink on site or take growlers or kegs to go.  Unlike some the previously mentioned breweries, this one has a variety of styles including IPAs, Ambers, Wheat and Porters. But our favorite was the unique ginger beer, with ginger being apparent but not overbearing in every sip.

If you are a lover of craft brews, you’ll want to put Michigan, but more specifically, Ann Arbor, on your list of spots to visit. There’s fine dining, live music venues and plenty of fun eclectic spots to satisfy someone who isn’t a craft beer groupie too!