Generally, we don’t need an excuse to enjoy a cold brew, but because today is National Beer Day in the States, we’ll take it. Here, we’ve rounded up our favourite breweries from coast to coast in the US, and we’ve even thrown in a couple distilleries (World Whisky Day is 7 May, so consider this an early celebration). Some, like Coors, are remarkable for their size, while others charm with homegrown hospitality. So grab a pint, a stein or go all in with a growler and give it up for malted barley and hops. Cheers.
Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA and Windsor, VT
Harpoon has opened both of its New England facilities to the public. In Windsor, you’ll feel like you’re at a microbrewery (outfitted with a cosy beer garden), whereas the larger-scale Boston Seaport experience outshines the similar offering from local rival Sam Adams. (And they’ve got a vibrant beer hall to round out the tour.)
DC Brau Brewing Company, Washington, DC
At DC Brau Brewing Company, tours are offered on Saturdays only (on a first-come, first-serve basis every hour between 1-4pm), but the tasting room is open daily (hours vary) so you can fill growlers or try some of the District’s favorite beer on tap. We recommend you try the Citizen, a Belgian pale ale offered year round.
Palmetto Brewery, Charleston, SC
Stop by Palmetto for a tour on any weekday at 5pm or Saturday between 1-10pm, and say hi to the guys who fuel the city’s pub culture. The pride of Charleston often hosts live music ‘Loading Dock’ gatherings on Fridays; call ahead for info.
Goose Island Brewery, Chicago, IL
This 45-minute tour showcases Goose Island’s entire production line, and sends you off with a complimentary pint glass. You’ll even get a look at the barrel-aging process behind beers such as their Bourbon County Stout.
Coors Brewery, Golden, CO
Yes, it’s big. In fact, Coors runs the largest single-site brewery in the US. But that’s why it’s great; whereas craft breweries offer charisma, Coors offers enormous scale via a 30-minute self-guided tour of its Rocky Mountains facility. After the tour, sample some of the best and most popular taps, or take a break on an ice bench in the refrigerated tasting room.
High West Distillery, Wanship and Park City, UT
In 2009, High West launched its Saloon bar and restaurant (a James Beard nominated restaurant, no less) with a whiskey distillery in the basement. Production outgrew those operations and headed just outside of Park City to Wanship, atop a winding mountain road. Whether you’re touring the newer facilities or perusing the cocktail menu at the Saloon, you’ll be well looked after.
Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA
It’s always beer o’clock at Fremont’s famous Urban Beer Garden, which slings Seattle’s favourite local pours daily between 11am-9pm. And set those expectations high: In 2015, Washington produced nearly six times as many hops as the next leading producer (59.5 million pounds to Oregon’s 10.7 million).
Spirit Works Distillery, Sonoma County, CA
If you’d like a detour from Napa and Sonoma wine-tasting tours, head to Spirit Works, which offers noteworthy vodka, three types of gin and three types of whisky. Schedule a visit any time between 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday.
Eagle Rock Brewery, Los Angeles, CA
Eagle Rock has a small taproom with soul, and they love to inspire craft beer enthusiasts with regularly scheduled events (for example, there’s a monthly meet-up for female beer lovers). The brewery also hosts food trucks on the lot, so come hungry. You can drop by unannounced for a tour of their facility and sample any of the perennial and seasonal taps.