With more than 4,100 breweries and brewpubs now operating in the US, our little country that could has finally joined the ranks of esteemed brewing powerhouses like Germany and Belgium. For years, hubs like San Diego and the Portlands have flooded the market with quality product, nobly inspiring their fellow Americans to choose better beer. But even though those meccas are undoubtedly responsible for America’s new baller status, there are new cities rising to meet them.
The brewers in these 10 cities represent the latest in a long line of ambitious, passionate, and community-minded entrepreneurs willing to throw caution and a ton of cash to wind in the name of great beer. Until now, though, they’ve been flying quietly under the radar, just waiting for some beer writer, frustrated with covering the same damn IPA release, to come along and blow up their spot. Well, (cue airhorn!), consider it blown.
There are three things you need to know about North Carolina’s Research Triangle: college sports is its king, indie music is its queen, and craft beer is the gallant, youthful prince that brings it all together. Home to All About Beer Magazine’s annual World Beer Festival, Bull City has emerged from the Raleigh and Chapel shadow as a North Carolina craft beer hub second only to Asheville’s long-reigning dominance, with five production breweries and brewpubs leading the ever-growing roster.
Holding court as Durham’s oldest craft brewery, Triangle Brewing Company has been dishing out inspired Belgian- and American-style ales since 2007 (check out the Habanero Pale Ale). Fullsteam is the place to be come nightfall, when bands, sports fans, and food trucks take over the giant, hangar-like Rigsbee Ave taproom, which pours brews from the experimental, taproom-only R&D line or ultra-local selections from the Beautiful South series. And after merely two years, Ponysaurus Brewing Co. has boldly entered the fray with a rotating fleet of updated European classics like a tart weissbier, a nutty fig saison, and an herbal Biere de Garde.
Of course, no Durham adventure would be complete without a stop into the little beer store that started it all — Sam’s Quik Shop. Originally opened as an Esso gas station in 1949, it’s transitioned into a destination for rare and great bottles since owner John Boy took over in the ’90s. It looks like a standard convenience store. Except, with 1,500 bottles from around the world, it happens to be one of the beer shops in the country, and just another reason Durham should be a destination.
Read the entire list HERE.