Welcome back to Weekly Pint! After a bit of time off to explore other (beer-related!) pursuits, the Pint is back and ready to bring you the delicious tastes of the global beer scene, with travel stories, insider tips, how-to’s, and a bit of Brewing Science 101. We hope you’ll read, share, and comment on everything we do. Like you, we’re passionate about beer, and there’s much to discuss. Hmm, exactly how much?
With new breweries opening at a rate of roughly one to two per day for several years straight—there are nearly 5,000 in the USA at this point, triple the number from just 5 years ago—what’s now obvious is that the brewing industry is simply no longer dominated by the big, old-brands. “We won the craft beer revolution,” Van Havig, the Portland, Oregon based cofounder of award-winning Gigantic Brewing Co. told me recently. “It’s literally over.”
Maybe, maybe not—depends who you ask. But no matter how you slice it, today’s beer scene is almost as fluid as the restaurant world, with new breweries, bars, and collaboration brews multiplying like rabbits. For drinkers, this is a very good thing.
It can be hard to keep track of all the foamy good fortune, but we’re here to present a humble offering that could help. My first book (written by me, Christian DeBenedetti, your humble Pint editor), a travel guide called The Great American Ale Trail, came out in late 2011 following a decades-long upswing in breweries and beer bars across the nation. It seemed, with about 1,700 breweries open at the time, the national beer aisle was getting fairly well-stocked. I was wrong. The growth of brand new breweries has actually accelerated. Portland, Ore., for example, could hit 100 in the not-too-distant future. This was unthinkable ten years ago. The need for a new edition was immediately clear. You might be thinking, well, yeah! What about X,Y, or Z, which opened in the relatively recent past?
This week, that book—with its original foreword by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver—is being re-released in a completely revised and expanded edition, with 432 pages describing some 500 trip-worthy breweries, with 200 new destinations and updates to all the original text, from coast to coast. It wasn’t easy: the minute I would sign off on a chapter, some new brewery would announce a massive expansion, a second (or third) location, a new brewmaster, even overseas ventures. But the best destinations themselves will and do remain. It’s not meant to be an encyclopedia of brew but instead an atlas to discovery. I did my best to capture what, in 2016, is most exciting across the nation for lovers of that magical combination of malt, hops, yeast, and water. To give you a sneak peak, here’s a scratch list of 20 new beer spots setting the pace around the U.S., with full details and descriptions in the book itself. For any beer lover in your life—be it yourself, friends, family, or colleagues with a taste for the good stuff—I hope it’s a treasured and trusted resource for years to come.
— Christian DeBenedetti, Weekly Pint Editorial Director, author of BEER BITES and THE GREAT AMERICAN ALE TRAIL, & founder of Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery in Newberg, OR
Twenty of the Top New Destinations appearing in The Great American Ale Trail - Revised & Expanded Edition, 2016 ($22; Running Press, April 26, 2016). Buy the book here.
East Other Half Brewing Co. - Brooklyn, NY
Tree House Brewing Co. - Monson, MA
Oxbow Blending & Bottling - Portland, ME
Tired Hands Brewing Co. - Ardmore, PA
South & Southeast
Fonta Flora Brewery - Morganton, NC
Green Bench Brewing Co. - St. Petersburg, FL
Burial Brewing Co. - Asheville, NC
Edmunds’s Oast - Charleston, SC
Solemn Oath Brewery - Naperville, IL
Prairie Artisan Ales - Tulsa, OK
Toppling Goliath - Decorah, IA
Seventh Son Brewing Co. - Columbus, OH
Sante Adarius - Capitola, CA
Pfriem Family Brewers - Hood River, OR
The Commons - Portland, OR
Holy Mountain Brewing - Seattle, WA
Southwest & Rockies
Arizona Wilderness - Gilbert, AZ
Crooked Stave - Denver, CO
Casey Brewing & Blending - Glenwood Springs, CO
Brasserie St. James - Reno, NV