Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

De Garde Brewing

Tillamook, Oregon

Distribution: California, Oregon, and Washington
When husband-and-wife team Linsey and Trevor Rogers started a nano brewery in the small, rural, farming town of Tillamook, Oregon they expected to quietly be making small-batch, spontaneously fermented beers for a tiny crowd. After leaving his job as a bar manager at the renowned Pelican Brewing, Trevor was probably hungry for an antithesis to the clean, refined and classic ales that brewery was known for. He struck out to make beer using wild yeasts and bacteria riding the wind in a seaside town that smells of manure. Who knew that his penchant for yeast and fruit would start a following that’s earned De Garde Brewing a worldwide cult following for their sour ales? So much for the tiny crowds. -- EJG

Old Nation

Williamston, Michigan

Distribution: Michigan and Illinois
You could refer to Old Nation alternatively as The House That M-43 Built. The brewery released this Calypso, Simcoe, Citra, and Amarillo haze grenade in April 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. Bolstered by the beer’s rapid success, Old Nation expanded its production nearly 100% and introduced two M-43 siblings: Cart Horse IPA and Boss Tweed DIPA. Partnering selectively with small distributors, its beers now reach as far Maine, Oregon, and even Berlin. -- KB

Funk Factory Geuzeria

Madison, Wisconsin

Distribution: Wisconsin
If lambic, the hallowed Belgian style of spontaneously fermented beer, isn’t esoteric enough, Funk Factory owner Levi Funk is exploring even the more outer limbs of that family tree. His was the first American breweries to introduce a meerts (pronounced mertz), a lower-ABV beer made from the second runnings, essentially the leftovers, from a lambic brew. Funk Factory has put out some fascinating wine-beer hybrids like Cervino, a blend of three single-barrel beers each aged on a different type of grape from a local winery. -- KB

Unknown Brewing

Charlotte, North Carolina

Distribution: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia
After an extensive brewing career working with Rogue, Terrapin and SweetWater, Brad Shell made Charlotte his launchpad for Unknown Brewing, an institution that is spirited by the philosophy of living life as carefree as humanly possible. And for our benefit, his team brews with seemingly no reservations regarding creativity. You want different? Try the extremely limited Rarest Bean Imperial Sweet Stout brewed with the most exotic coffee bean on the planet “processed” by elephants, or \the catnip-infused Kitten Snuggles farmhouse ale. Unknown’s normalcy killers are produced in their 22,5000-square-foot headquarters since 2006, and thanks to a recent $500,000 renovation, “Queen City” now has one of its most scenic rooftops complemented with an outdoor fireplace, rotating local artist exhibits, their co-owned pizza truck serving up Vietnamese-inspired toppings. -- AS

SweetWater Brewing

Atlanta, Georgia

Distribution: Throughout the Southeast and beyond -- use their beer locator tool here
Just because SweetWater is the largest craft brewery in the Southeast (and 15th in the country) doesn’t mean innovation and customer experience are now afterthoughts. The taproom is consistently festive, the new pilot system pours daring drafts, the Dank Tank serves up one-and-dones, and numerous events -- including the 420 Fest music extravaganza -- draw thousands. And now there's yet another major enticement: the new Woodlands barrel-aging facility adjacent to their expansive packaging warehouse has been consistently dropping the jaws of sour and stout enthusiasts since its birth a year and change ago. Ultimately, SweetWater is the embodiment of success in the industry of independent brewing. By the way, their refreshing 420 Pale Ale flagship is thankfully on Delta flights too. Now that’s gangster. -- AS

Rhinegeist Brewery

Cincinnati, Ohio

Distribution: Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Pennsylvania
Rhinegeist is the not-so-little brewery that could. When it opened in 2013 in Cinci’s hipsterfying Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, few could have foreseen the growth that would follow: In 2017, Rhinegeist was the fastest-growing brewery among America’s top 50 largest, posting 53% growth that year to reach more than 80,000 barrels. It’s also expanded into ciders with a line called, what else, Cidergeist; launched 12-packs of Cheetah premium lager in July; and will debut its first-ever four-packs of 16-ounce cans (of rotating hazy IPAs) later this summer. -- KB

Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Bissell Bros

Portland, Maine

Distribution: Maine
Forget all those comments about Portland being the new “hot food and brewing” town: New Englanders have known this to be true for the better part of two decades by now. And it’s thanks in part to white-hot breweries like Bissell Bros that it’s reputation continues to grow with every can release that rolls out of their fermenters. Seeing that it’s peak tourist season in Vacationland, their taproom is in full swing with fresh can drops of crowd favorites like the Substance, a super juicy NEIPA, and Precept, a crisp German-style pilsner. Most of all, it’s easiest to revel in the fact that the hype around this place isn’t just relegated to haze-craze fanatics looking for a juicy one-off release. -- ZM

Sand City Brewing Co.

Northport, New York

Distribution: New York
Sand City is far from the first brewery to be forced to temporarily shutter their public tasting room (hi, Trillium!), but the panic caused by their brief absence served only to stoke the flames under this fledgling property. The Long Island brewery, which adopted the local nickname as the source of the sand mines that fueled the construction of nearby Manhattan, is locally adored and beginning to garner national attention for their delicious beers. Expect memorably bombastic DIPAs like Even Mo Mofo’ and bright sours like the rotating Enough Already gose series. -- ZM

Holy Mountain Brewing

Seattle, Washington

Distribution: Washington and California
There may have been sour and farmhouse beers in Seattle before Holy Mountain Brewing, but these guys made them cool. Perhaps it has a little to do with their minimalist heavy metal, psychedelic, Jodorowsky-inspired brand and extremely limited bottle releases. But it also has a hell of a lot to do with the quality. Striking a balance between sourness and funk, constantly experimenting with new ingredients, and keeping a dry, crisp, drinkable beers in the lineup without extreme flavors has earned Holy Mountain respect. They also make spicy hopped lagers, hazy IPAs, and rich stouts and lead their disciples across the land seeking their dark source of immortal wisdom. -- EJG

Corridor Brewery & Provisions

Chicago, Illinois

Distribution: Brewery only
This brewpub was founded in October 2015 to specialize in Belgian-inspired styles, which it’s still undeniably good at (see: a Great American Beer Festival silver medal for Rapunzel tripel last year). But Corridor unexpectedly struck gold with its hazy IPAs, especially Squeeze It and Cosmic Juicebox. Can release days see the entire supply of 100 four-packs gone in as little as 42 minutes, but thankfully those beers are available on draft and in crowlers more frequently. -- KB

Tilted Barn Brewery

Exeter, Rhode Island

Distribution: Brewery only
It seems as though there’s no shortage of things for Rhode Island beer lovers to be proud of these days: Tilted Barn, it turns out, is a place that can give them more than one. Ambitiously starting as a hop-growing operation on a cofounder’s family farm, Matt and Kara Richardson have since taken to brewing beer for themselves with some unquestionably great results. After all, having access to home-grown hops is bound to produce beers by the likes of The Other One DIPA and Milo’s Phoenix IPA (although after all when visiting a barn, you shouldn’t sleep on the spectacular farmhouse ales they pump out either). -- ZM

Barrel Theory

St. Paul, Minnesota

Distribution: Minnesota
Barrel Theory’s three co-founders represent different facets of a brewery gemstone: tech, beer-brewing, and finance. All three worked together at Minnesota legend Surly before banding together to open Barrel Theory in summer 2017. Though “barrel” is in the name, that word means more than barrel-aging for the team: “Barrel theory” is the principle that a barrel’s capacity is only as much as its shortest stave. In brewery terms, you’re only as good as your “worst” beer. But there’s hardly a worst beer here, with IPAs of all types, pilsners, stouts, Berliner weisses and more keeping regulars coming back for more. -- KB

Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Brewery Bhavana

Raleigh, North Carolina

Distribution: North Carolina
Raleigh’s beer scene is quickly blossoming as a standout destination city for both craft brew fanatics and gourmands; the stunning Brewery Bhavana is a major reason why. But don’t shortchange it as solely a spot to imbibe phenomenal brews like the Glean Mango Peppercorn Saison crafted by the very talented head brewer and co-founder Patrick Woodson. Its lavish-meets-rustic environs in historic Moore Square Park host a flower shop, community bookstore, and authentic dim sum selections reflective of Laos, the homeland of to the two other founders, siblings Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha, whose lauded Laotian restaurant Bida Manda is adjacent. I mean, how many breweries have a “storyteller” on staff (Roxanne Bellamy)? Come see what the hell that means while your palate gets blissed out. -- AS

Anchorage Brewing

Anchorage, Alaska

Distribution: Nationwide -- see their beer locator tool here
Anchorage Brewing was founded by Gabe Fletcher, a tatted up, semi-crusty punk who used to brew at the well-known and widely available Midnight Sun Brewing. At Anchorage Brewing, they focus on brettanomyces wild saisons and throw in an IPA or two. And now, they've gone with something wild, implementing an oak-fermented, foeder-conditioned beer program utilizing wild yeasts and bacteria living in the state's most popular beer geek haven. Their annual Culmination Festival of farmhouse ales attracts beer geeks from world wide. Bonus: It’s unlikely a Palin will ever set foot here. -- EJG

Speciation Artisan Ales

Comstock Park, Michigan

Distribution: Michigan
If you’re a fan of wild, fruited, spontaneously fermented, or sour beers, you probably know Denver’s Black Project. One of its earliest employees, Mitch Ermatinger, now has his own (non-Denver) brewery at which he’s turning out beers in the same vein to similarly rave reviews. Speciation’s ales range from tart and acidic to saison-yeast-and-Brett-forward, and about half of them spend some time in the brewery’s foeder. A new, upgraded coolship is set to arrive this summer, allowing even more experimentation with wild microbes, and plans for a taproom are gaining momentum. -- KB

Casey Brewing and Blending

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Distribution: Colorado
Troy Casey used to be an innovation brewer at Coors Brewing before he split off to open his own brewery, trading thousand-barrel stainless steel tanks for 55 gallon oak barrels. Nearly all of Casey Brewing and Blending’s beers spend time in wood and focus on farmhouse and sour styles of beer, often with fruit or other fun spices and herbs. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get these highly sought after beers outside of Colorado unless you run in the online beer trading black market. If you're not, the beers coming out of Glenwood Springs might be enough to turn you to the beer nerd equivalent of the dark web. -- EJG

Trillium Brewing

Boston and Canton, Massachusetts

Distribution: Massachusetts
Warm weather usually hand-in-hand with great beer. This is especially true when you live in Massachusetts, where higher temperatures are something to be revered and coveted. It makes sense, then, that a super popular brewery like Trillium would have the good sense to open up a fine outdoor beer garden to take advantage of the fleeting summer season. This has the added benefit of increasing the likelihood for fans (and casual admirers alike) to get their hands on some of their more coveted beers all while taking in the views from the Greenway. (And if you’re lucky, maybe you can score yourself a can of Keytar Bear while you’re at it.) -- ZM

Moonraker Brewing

Auburn, California

Distribution: California
The historical town of Auburn, California hasn’t had a gold rush the likes of Moonraker Brewing since the 1850s. After just a couple years in business Moonraker was named Best new brewery in California in 2016 by RateBeer.com, which is pretty much the epitome of hype and in the highly competitive state of California. It was an early adopter of the hazy NE-style IPA, and the Yojo IPA was named the best new beer in the same RateBeer.com best of the year awards. With a recent expansion into a second facility and sightings in Oregon, it seems Moonraker will have a bright future ahead of them. -- EJG

Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

New Realm

Atlanta, Georgia

Distribution: Georgia
New Realm founders Bob Powers and Carey Falcone spent 10 years traveling the world for inspiration before opening Georgia’s largest-ever start-up brewery. In January, New Realm’s 40,000-square-foot, multi-tiered complex opened along ATL’s developing phenomenon -- the Beltline. Add co-founder and legendary brewmaster Mitch Steele (formerly of Stone Brewing), renowned executive chef Julio Delgado’s gourmet fare, a stunning skyline view from the rooftop, and a beer garden under construction set to rival any other in the world, and you have one gangster brewery. Besides Steele’s claim to fame -- IPAs -- on tap along with Realm’s 20-plus tap selections, be sure to score anything brewed on their pilot system, which constantly rotates. -- AS

Edmund's Oast

Charleston, South Carolina

Distribution: South Carolina
Edmund's Oast might have replaced Charleston's best beer store, Charleston Beer Exchange, but it replaced it in style. Edmund’s Oast “Restaurant” is a posh combo of mixology, gourmet dining, and taphouse with 48 taps ciders, wines, and a wide range of inventive ales and lagers brewed from a five-barrel capacity on site coupled with respected craft breweries nationwide. (Their Peanut Butter & Jelly ale is a local favorite that frequents their casks as well.) Outside this 6,000-square-foot warehouse-turned-fancy-fortress, they provide lovers of al fresco a lavish pavilion in the spacious courtyard shared with other businesses. The Oast empire has since flexed serious muscle in 2017 erecting two more operations: the reawakened, two-story Edmund’s Past “Exchange” bottle shop adjacent to the restaurant and a 20,000-square foot brewery filling glasses with solely house brews from their 30-barrel system, plus sake and spirits. And word is they have something cooking for NYC too. These cats are no joke. -- AS


Atlanta, Georgia

Distribution: Georgia
In this day and time, it has become increasingly challenging to find a brewery that has an innovative concept to keep things fresh in the craft beer scene. Well, how about a brewpub pairing beers like the “Rice and Shine” lager concocted with jasmine rice with fresh-made sushi, skewered octopus on Robata grills, steaming Ramen, inventive Poke bowls, and other fare requiring chopsticks as the proper dinnerware? Owner and brewmaster Andy Tan brilliantly introduces Chamblee, Georgia to the lip-smackin’ street food reflective of his native Indonesia paired with solid ales and lagers brewed on site along with other local brewery selections from time to time. Now how fitting is that clever “Hopstix” name, now? Landed it! -- AS

Highland Park Brewing

Los Angeles, California

Distribution: Brewery only
Los Angeles is home to many things, but until recently great craft beer was not one of them. Highland Park Brewing is one of the breweries leading the charge for the city into craft beer relevance. Since starting in the back of a bar to recently opening a new Chinatown neighborhood production space and taproom in just a few years, they are the buzziest brewery in town. The lineup of award-winning beers shows an enviable range of mastery from the now ubiquitous west coast and NE-style hazy IPA to refined pilsners and barrel-aged fruited sours. -- EJG

Great Notion Brewing

Portland, Oregon

Distribution: Brewery only
When three homebrewing neighbors purchased a small failing brewpub in NE Portland that no one knew existed, there was no one knocking down the doors for their beers. Just a year later lines were forming around the block for Great Notion’s crowler fills, and the online beer trading and reselling market can’t get enough of them. Perhaps more than any other brewery in Oregon, Great Notion has become an internet darling for their trendsetting hazy and milkshake IPAs like Juice Jr. and Ripe, and are getting increasing attention for their "pastry stouts" like Blueberry Muffin sour ale or their recent World Beer Cup gold medal-winning Double Stack Imperial Maple syrup stout. Their upcoming expansion and second location has allowed Great Notion to can more beer, and the beer geeks now line up hours ahead of time to swoop up those cans and ship them all over the world. It’s like a free distribution network for Great Notion who doesn’t even regularly distribute their beers in the Portland-area. -- EJG

Foam Brewers

Burlington, Vermont

Distribution: Vermont
It’s not easy to become one of the hottest breweries in arguably the hottest state in the country for great beer. But with not quite two full years of operation under their belt, Foam Brewers have managed to whip up enough praise and interest to solidly place them in the upper echelons of Vermont breweries. With a tight, seasonal rotation that includes juicy DIPAs like Pavement, crisp pilsners like Compact Disc, and even the occasional Sahti thrown in for good measure, it’s clear the hype around them is well earned. -- ZM

Common Roots Brewing Company

South Glen Falls, New York

Distribution: New York and Massachusetts 
Having the occasional beer with your dad is a time-honored American tradition, if a little cliche. Christian and Bert Weber took it to the next level: by opening a brewery together.  Since opening the doors at Common Roots Brewing at the very tail end of 2014, it’s been all uphill for the father/son co-founders who have put the Adirondack region on the map for beer lovers. Impressive flagship offerings like Daylight DIPA, Modern American APA, and Good Fortune IPA fly out the door by the case, while rotating and collab beers like their Haus Sour series show the versatility that have made them more than just a destination for haze fiends. With distribution expanding through New York State and into Massachusetts, they’re poised to become an even bigger name in the Northeast’s beer scene. -- ZM

Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Grimm Ales

Brooklyn, New York

Distribution: New York and Massachusetts
Lauren and Joe Grimm are strangers to practically nothing in the beer world, whether it’s raking in awards or dropping highly sought-after IPAs. There is one thing they’ve yet to experience for themselves, though: Having a place to call their own. That all changed on a sweltering hot day this past June when they opened the doors on their brand spanking new brewery in Brooklyn, making them the talk of the town in a city where being the literal Talk of the Town is already a thing. In any case, you should go and say hi. They’re super nice! -- ZM

More Brewing

Villa Park, Illinois

Distribution: Brewery only
Even with Chicago and its myriad breweries a mere 30-minute train ride away, something big is happening in the western suburb of Villa Park. Well, not technically big -- More brews on a 10-barrel system -- but it's drawing big attention. Fans are lining up for the year-old brewery’s can releases, which always seem to sell out. Recent fan favorites include Double Dry-Hopped Double Dusty DIPA (say that double fast) and the Frooted series of nearly smoothie-like berry and fruit sour ales. -- KB

Boxing Bear Brewing Co.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Distribution: New Mexico
Thiss brewery on the banks of the Rio Grande is staunchly standing up for the New Mexico craft brewing scene, like some sort of beer-drenched John Ford western. Boxing Bear brought the cavalry out for a recent run of gold medal-winning beers, including their Featherweight Session IPA at the 2018 North American Beer Awards and another gold earlier in the year for their Chocolate Milk Stout at the prestigious World Beer Cup. I hear a sequel to Rio Grande is in the works where a digitally resurrected (but still past his prime) John Wayne will take on a Boxing Bear voiced by Kevin Hart and played by Glenn Ennis, reprising his role as the bear from The Revenant. Well, probably not. But at least the beer will continue to be great. -- EJG

Weldwerks Brewing

Greeley, Colorado

Distribution: Colorado
Weldwerks makes one of the most popular new-wave New England-style hazy IPAs called Juicy Bits, a beer fans have long been lining up for, but even that might have been surpassed in beer-geek buzz by the GABF gold-medal winning Medianoche barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Weldwerks has gained the sort of hype that actually makes beer geeks mad if they have trouble tracking down bottle releases because so many beer fans of perceived less cred are lining up to get it. Yet if those people weren’t lining up making it harder to get, would the beer fans still love it? Given the ongoing demand, we're going with "yes." -- EJG

Side Project Brewing

St. Louis, Missouri

Distribution: Brewery only
Though owner/brewer Cory King says he’s an old man in brewing terms, demand for his barrel-aged creations is as strong as it was when the brewery became its own self-contained business -- a side project no longer -- two and half years ago. The brewery plans to produce more barrel-aged stouts this year, with a return of the vaunted Beer:Barrel:Time, an adjunct-free bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, this Thanksgiving. Side Project has even spawned its own offshoot called Shared, an outlet for its brewers to develop new recipes for non-barrel-aged beers. -- KB

Separatist Beer Project

Easton, Pennsylvania

Distribution: Pennsylvania and New York
In Pennsylvania, it’s one thing to open a white hot brewery. It’s an entirely other thing to settle roots for your gypsy operation and open doors on a highly anticipated taproom. And it’s an entirely other thing to change the name of your operation three years into the game. Erstwhile known as Sole Artisan Ales, the brewery has been reborn as Separatist Beer Project and has taken on a renewed sense of vigor for innovation. In their own words, “Rustic brewing, foraged ingredients, and local partnerships with producers are expressed through methods incorporating a koelschip, foudre and barrel program, and lots of really cool old-timey shit!” If you can’t make your way to Easton, you can check one of their Philly pop-ups… Or be one of the first in line at their South Philly satellite location when it opens in the coming months. -- ZM

Bearded Iris

Nashville, Tennessee

Distribution: Tennessee and Kentucky
Sure, there is the world-renowned music scene, but pouring craft beer is starting to make its way into Cashvillie’s boasting as well. Yazoo Brewing has surely helped spark the movement, Smith & Lentz is starting to make noise, and Tennessee Brew Works holds its own, but Iris reigns supreme when it comes to their plethora of IPAs -- especially the trending New England-style sippers -- that the team crafts habitually. Card games, a pool table, an eclectic music playlist, and vintage-inspired furnishings entice patrons to chillax while beer geeks by the waves line up to score Iris’ freshest selections to go, including the most popular, the Homestyle IPA. Don’t get it twisted, extraordinary imperial stouts, pilsners, and fruit-infused concoctions on the menu boards also have folks fiendin’ for more. Trust, it’s a must-visit when discovering Music City. -- AS