Luxist readers nominated their favorite brew pubs around the country as part of the Luxist Awards for best in entertainment. One brew pub is located in Vemont and the only way to sample its beer is to go there yourself. The second brew pub has won countless awards while the third one features hand-crafted beer. The fourth brew pub brews its award-winning beer on the premises while many consider the beers made by the final brew pub among the best in the world.
About halfway between Manchester, N.H. and Montreal, Quebec sits the sleepy town of Waterbury, Vt., home to The Alchemist Pub and Brewery. The geographical details may seem trivial, but the only way to get a beer at this Luxist-nominated brew pub is to go there yourself – all ales flow from The Alchemist's own basement brewery. The only beer that's "to-go," they like to say, is the beer in your belly.
Perhaps things would have been different if the The Alchemist had been founded a few decades earlier – the brewpub is located Waterbury's original post office, which would have made for quite the convenient distribution network. Instead, the building was renovated and reopened as a brewpub in 2003 by proprietors Jennifer and John Kimmich. The pair has been brewing handcrafted beer onsite ever since, using only the best imported malts and domestic hops.
Every Friday, new casks of beer are debuted, but four stalwarts are always available on tap alongside the newbies. There's Donovan's Red, a medium-bodied and malty ale named after Waterbury's 19th Century Irish restaurant. Light beer drinkers will appreciate the appropriately-named Lightweight, a crisp pilsner that took third place at the 2006 World Beer Cup. For hops lovers, Holy Cow I.P.A. is an aromatic blend of six different malts and five different hops. And finally, there's Pappy's Porter, a dark and deep ale that's great for bitter New England evenings in the winter.
For over a decade, Four Peaks Brewing Company has been among the best destinations for beer in the Southwest. It countless awards at the likes of the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival.
Four Peaks' building started out as something quite different from its current incarnation. Back in 1892, the warehouse was first constructed to store milk for Pacific Creamery and Bordens Creamery. Today, the red brick walls and high wooden ceilings surround a different kind of libation: the delicious ales of Four Peaks Brewing Company.
In addition to seasonal varieties, the brewpub boasts a handful of mainstays. There's Kilt Lifter, an award-winning Scottish-style ale, amber in color and smoky in taste. For Anglophiles, there's 8th Street Ale, an English-style bitter beer made from rare Kentish hops. Those looking for something a little sweeter will enjoy Arizona Peach, a subtle and fruity beer. Hops-lovers will enjoy Hop Knot I.P.A., named for the weaving of four different types of hops at four different times during the brewing process.
Lost Coast Brewery
On California's northern coastline, the mountains along the Pacific are so rugged and steep that Route 1 veers back inland in order to avoid the treachery. Along this stretch, known as the Lost Coast, the towns have names like Shelter Cove and Petrolia. Route 1 finally finds the ocean once again in Eureka – home of Lost Coast Brewery.
The brew pub offers weary travelers a delicious break from the winding roads that likely conveyed them to Eureka. Proprietors Barbara Groom, a former pharmacist, and Wendy Pound, a former family counselor, gained their expertise by sampling pubs in the British Isles in the 1980s. They returned to the U.S. and purchased the Pythian Castle, a century-old edifice in Eureka, from the Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias and started Lost Coast Brewery in 1990.
Lost Coast's offerings include Alleycat Amber, a caramel-flavored ale with a dash of medium-bodied malts and hops; Downtown Brown, a nutty ale with a hint of hops and roasted malts; Great White, a citrusy beer with unmalted wheat, barley and a "secret blend" of herbs. For those more interested in solid nourishment, there's a wide selection of seafood, burgers, vegetarian fare and other victuals in Lost Coast's café.
Boosted by a banner year in 2005 that saw 24,000 barrels of beer produced, Lost Coast moved into an even larger building down the road. It's currently the 46th-largest brewery in the U.S., and distributes beer in 19 different states.
Though Silverdale is about 20 miles from downtown Seattle as the crow flies, the body of water that lies between the two towns makes the trip a bit more complicated than one might expect. The journey from Seattle takes you down around the southern boundary of Puget Sound – 70 miles by car – but it's worth the time if you're headed to Silver City Brewery, a Luxist nominee in the best brew pub category.
The Silver City story starts long before the brewpub's 1996 debut. Steve and Scott Houmes first went into business together in 1990, opening a restaurant called Top Notch Burger. Six years later, feeling squeezed by the big burger chains, they decided to regroup and try a new approach by entering the brew pub business. They remodeled their Silverdale location into its modern form, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Silver City brews its beers on premises. Some favorites include Clear Creek Pale Ale, a blend of three lightly roasted British malts and hints of caramel; Panther Lake Porter, a dark, chocolatey ale; and Fat Scotch Ale, a malty and whiskey-esque brew that clocks with a hefty 9.2% alcohol content. Silver City sells beer by the glass at its bar and restaurant, but for those who want to take home a larger quantity, the microbrewery sells kegs as well.
Plan a night out at the Spuyten Duyvil and you might miss the very attraction for which you came. The brew pub, whose storefront is encased in red wrought-iron bars and includes scant mention of its own title, is among the best in the Big Apple, if not the world.
Located in the shadow of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and between the Lorimer and Bedford Avenue stops of New York's L subway line, Spuyten Duyvil is just the sort of unassuming hotspot that would be a favorite in Brooklyn's Williamsburg district. Enjoy one of Spuyten Duyvil's dozens of obscure beers, and don't be disheartened if Lagunitas is the only one with which you're familiar.
On a pleasant spring or summer afternoon, head outside to the back porch to enjoy your drink (just be prepared for the cigarette smoke emanating from the European tourists camped out there). Most of all, don't be afraid to ask the laid-back bartenders for beer selection advice – you won't be the first person bewildered by their expansive selection.
for the brew pub that you believe is the best of breed. The voting period runs through April 30 and winners will be announced on May 1.