Food & Drink

What's Your Desert Island Brewery? We Asked Brewers to Name Theirs.

beer on beach
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Being stuck on a desert island would be horrible -- especially since there's no electricity or indoor plumbing. Or beer! Delicious, life-affirming beer... that sweet nectar which makes everything better. We wouldn't wish that fate on anyone.

But that got us thinking about our favorite hypothetical cliché: if you were stranded on a desert island with one brewery (not a bad situation, really), which would it be? One with a wide variety of options? One that does one thing really, really well? We put the question to a bunch of beer luminaries from around the country. The results are far more delicious than anything Robinson Crusoe probably drank.


A photo posted by @shaftski on

New Glarus Brewing Co.

New Glarus, WI
“I have so many questions: Is the brewery operating on the island? Does the brewery have access to necessary ingredients? Or am I limited to a container packed full of my desert island brewery’s beer? Regardless, I would find it hard to limit my drinking to one particular beer, so I'm choosing a brewery that makes a wide range of quality beers. I’d be happy drinking New Glarus' beers -- from Two Women Lager to Wisconsin Belgian Red to Zwickel to Serendipity.” -- Tom Bleigh, Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. (Portland, OR)

Svalbard Bryggeri

Longyearbyen, Norway
"The world's most northern brewery, Norway's Svalbard Bryggeri is beer made by a man whose commute requires a snowmobile and a rifle for polar bears." [Editor's note: Good enough for us.] -- Jon Eager, Indeed Brewing Co. (Minneapolis, MN)

3rd Wave Brewing

Delmar, DE
"3rd Wave brews the best peach wheat beer, with hundreds of pounds of local peaches. It's the most refreshing beach beer." -- Lauren Bigelow, Mispillion River Brewing (Milford, DE)

Firestone Walker

Paso Robles, CA
"This brewery has it all! Pivo Pils has you covered for day drinking in the sun -- and hopefully on this island you have an opaque cup to avoid getting light-struck. Firestone Walker's classics across the board are always consistent, including a world-class barrel-aged and sour program that consistently puts out interesting new offerings. And now with Luponic Distortion, Matt Brynildson is showing the world what amazing new flavors we can expect from experimental hop varieties in the future." -- Thomas Kelley, El Segundo Brewing Co. (El Segundo, CA)


San Francisco, CA
“This is such a tough decision. If I had to drink beer from only one brewery for the rest of my life, it would have to be Mikkeller. From Beer Geek Breakfast to It’s Alive to Stateside IPA, they brew such a wide variety of beers to choose from that I don’t think I’d ever get bored. Not to mention, they continue to innovate and collaborate with other breweries (including our upcoming limited release collaboration, Bugs and Berries), so it’s like I'd still get to enjoy brews from many of my other favorite brewers, too.” -- Jennifer Glanville, Samuel Adams (Boston, MA)

Private Landbrauerei Schönram

Petting, Germany
"This brewery produces some of the most authentic and refreshing traditional Bavarian lagers you'd be fortunate enough to enjoy. Brewmaster Eric Toft -- a native of Wyoming, but German as can be -- also steps far away from Bavarian tradition by brewing one of the first (and finest) IPAs in Germany. Very few breweries can brew lagers to this level anywhere in the world, let alone IPAs. The diversity, quality, and elegance of Schönram’s beers is a rare combination. My personal favorites are the Hell, the Pils, and the IPA. Its hefeweizen might just be the best breakfast beer on the planet."  -- Steve Schmidt, Smuttynose Brewing Company (Hampton, NH)

Fonta Flora Brewery

Morganton, NC
"I have a few top five all-time desert island beers -- Mahr’s Bräu Pilsner, Orval, and Saison Dupont would all be on the list. But for breweries, I’ve lately been impressed by a small brewer here in NC called Fonta Flora. I haven’t had a beer I didn’t like, which says a lot, because they’ve made some pretty 'out there' creations including using ingredients like mushrooms, quinoa, and carrots. I’d never get bored!" -- Bill Manley, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Fletcher, NC)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Chico, CA
"Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is one of the first craft beers I enjoyed when I was just getting into craft beer all those years ago. In a sea of beers made with unique and curious ingredients, Sierra’s Pale Ale is a welcome sight, standing the test of time and yet still relevant in today’s craft marketplace. Sierra Nevada's Porter resonated with me early on, too. I enjoyed my first one in the parking lot at a Grateful Dead show in the Bay Area. I was struck by its chocolate and roast character wrapped around a distinct hop [flavor]. And the Torpedo IPA with its bold, assertive hop, citrus, and pine character stands up to any IPA on the market. This brewery's wide range of flavors and styles should be in your desert island cooler."  -- Shaun O’Sullivan, 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA)

Comrade Brewing

Denver, CO
"I'll opt to drag the beers from my friends David Lin and Marks Lanham at Denver's Comrade along to the island. Marks is the brewer who made me believe that good beers are the kind you want to crush after two sips. Send me all of the Superpower IPA, Hop Chops, and Honeyman that you can find, and I'll be a happy man." -- Ben Edmunds, Breakside Brewery (Portland, OR)


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Russian River Brewing Co.

Santa Rosa, CA
"I've said this for years -- Vinnie Cilurzo is my favorite brewer in the world because he can do all styles exceptionally well. Some of my favorites are some of his least known -- OVL Stout and Compunction stand out. And even though it's somewhat better known (but nowhere near the status of the legendary Pliny beers), Blind Pig may be my favorite everyday IPA at the moment." -- Adam Avery, Avery Brewing Co. (Boulder, CO)

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and doesn't like desert islands. Follow him to shade: @LeeBreslouer.