America’s craft beer explosion
Draughthouse, Austin, Texas
Austin has a lot going for it, from its scintillating music scene and multicultural festivals to its great barbecue joints (though you will need to head to nearby Lockhart for the best of the best). Its beer scene is no less celebrated. Draught House is a festive and feel-good spot that serves up a changing array of their own inspired seasonal brews, as well as scores of great microbrews on draught from across the country. It is a sprawling place to while away an afternoon, with an outdoor patio, a food truck and a seemingly infinite beer selection. Tuesday is the night to come, though, when every draught in the house costs just $2.75.
Dogfish Head, Rehoboth, Delaware
In the ocean-loving town of Rehoboth, Delaware, Dogfish Head serves delectably innovative brews – “off-centred ales for off-centred people” as they describe it – using unusual ingredients in daring combinations, often with winning results. Try the Raison d’Etre, a Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar and raisins, or perhaps the oak-aged Burton Barton, a surprising blend of English-style old ale and imperial IPA. After basking on the beaches a short stroll away, their brews (and beer-basted pub fare) make a fine cap to the day.
Brooklyn Brewery, Williamsburg, New York
Just across the turgid East River from Manhattan, this brewery is yet another reason why Brooklyners are feeling so smug these days. The Brooklyn Brewery makes finely crafted pilsner, pale ale and other classic brews as well as fine seasonal libations like the summer ale.You can head to the brewery for a free tour on the weekend or just pop over for happy hour on Friday, when $20 gets you five different brews. There is not much ambience, but you need only take a short stroll to find a vertiginous array of shops, bars and restaurants in this hipster-loving enclave in north Brooklyn.
Boston Beer Company, Boston, Massachusetts
Created in 1984, the Boston Beer Company (better known as Samuel Adams brewery) launched to international stardom on the merits of its beautifully balanced Boston Lager – which made other American beers at the time taste like poorly filtered water. Come for the free tour (and free beer), plus a free ride (by trolley) to Doyle’s Cafe, an historic 1882 watering hole that serves up great pizza and even better clam chowder, plus yet more Samuel Adams choices. Not a company to rest on its laurels, the Samuel Adams brewery is constantly coming up with new selections, with more than two dozen seasonal as well as artisanal brews (the Brewmasters Collection). A recent warm-weather hit includes a brew dubbed “26.2” in honour of the Boston Marathon.