One of the great things about craft beer is – anyone can brew it. That doesn’t mean anyone can brew it well, but a talented, hard working home brewer can turn out something fabulous, and when that home brewer decides to go pro, you can end up with amazing beer coming out of a small brewery few folks have heard of.
This fact was brought home to me this week. I am currently finishing up a Beer Geeks episode we shot at Jester King Brewery outside of Austin. The place is amazing. The beer is amazing. And I noticed they are included on one of those internet lists of America’s 50 best craft beers (this one was from the website The Daily Meal). Jester King surely deserves to be on that list in my opinion. So I thought I’d share a few more as well, with The Daily Meal’s notes on each:
Tallgrass Brewing Company, Manhattan, KS
When Jeff Gill and his wife Tricia pondered the age-old question “What do you want to do with your life?” in 2006, they immediately turned their thoughts to craft beer. It is a good thing too, because in 2007 they formed Tallgrass Brewing, a copper-clad brew house that is serving fans a unique array of tasty styles. Try the Buffalo Sweat, an oatmeal cream stout that is perfectly dark and decadent.
Abita Brewing Company, Abita Springs, LA
Beginning our list as a new arrival for 2015, Abita Brewing Company has more than earned its spot on this list. A popular write-in on our 2014 survey, this craft brewery has been functioning just 30 miles outside New Orleans since 1986. They began by brewing a mere 1,500 barrels of beer in their first year, and today have grown to a 100-seat brewpub that produces 51,000 barrels of beer and 9,100 barrels of root beer annually. The beer is made using fresh, simple ingredients, resulting in complex flavors that consistently delight and intrigue. Abita Purple Haze, brewed with pilsner and wheat malts and Vanguard hops, is infused with raspberries after filtration for a bold and sweet flavor unlike any raspberry wheat you’ve tried.
Prairie Artisan Ales, Tulsa, OK
Founded by brothers Chase and Colin Healey, Prairie Artisan Ales has gone through a lot of changes since its inception. Despite a significant slip on our list, this artisanal ale company still produces some of the tastiest and most versatile brews around. Their Limo Tent, a milk stout aged on chocolate, showcases their versatility and dedication to refined taste.
Dark Horse Brewing Company, Marshall, MI
What began as a small Michigan restaurant has become a serious brewing operation,16 years after Aaron Morse convinced his father to turn the family eatery into a brewpub. Dark Horse Brewing Company’s ales all have a natural flavor. Take, for example, their raspberry ale: it’s made with the freshest raspberries for a mild fruit flavor that doesn’t overpower like most fruit beers.
Tröegs, Hershey, Pa.
Brothers John and Chris Trogner founded Tröegs (a play on their last name) in 1996, and in 1997 they sold their first keg to a local restaurant in Harrisburg. Since then, they’ve developed 15 brews. While the Tröegenator is a year-round favorite, every Tröegs fan longs for the holiday season, when their Christmastime beer Mad Elf arrives on shelves.
Obviously, that’s just a tiny, tiny slice of what’s out there. The Daily Meal’s full list is here:
And remember what I always preach – wherever you are, drink what’s been brewed in the neighborhood.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.