Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

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. -- Ale Sharpton

Moksa Brewing

Rocklin, California

Distribution: California
Former Karl Strauss Brewing and Abnormal Beer Co. head brewer Derek Gallanosa was among the most talked about San Diego brewers before he followed his wife to the Sacramento area and started Moksa Brewing. The brewery opened in early 2018 and in no time flat has became the hottest brewery in town, laying claim to trendy pastry stouts and top-notch Northeast-style flavors. Combining with the talents of former New Glory brewer Corey Meyer, Moksa has become known for their double hazy IPAs as well as collaborations with established white hot-breweries across the country like J. Wakefield, Little Beast Brewing, and Alvarado Street. Rather than just brewing what’s trendy, Moksa’s entire brewing philosophy revolves around new-school styles and not being held back by what came before. The name “Moksa” refers to a Hindu philosophy relating to emancipation, liberation, and release. Moksa Brewing philosophizes their entire existence is based on striving to create “art within beer that separates itself from the constraints of classic beer styles.” Though Moksa is still small (just 10bbls), their outsized concepts and reputation earned them the #6 spot on Rate Beer’s 2018 hottest new breweries in the world list. -- Ezra Johnson-Greenough

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. -- Kate Bernot

Variant Brewing Company

Roswell, Georgia

Distribution: Georgia
Atlanta’s brew scene is garnering a lot more well-deserved attention, but don’t sleep on what’s going on beyond its Interstate 285 perimeter; Variant is one of the reasons why. Nestled in the burgeoning city of Roswell just north of ATL, this brewery sparked things off in late 2017, showcasing owner and brewmaster Matthew Curling’s grasp for IPAs -- especially the New England-style Cashmere -- opportunely during the national emergence of the style. Now Variant’s industrial-chic taproom boasts a plethora of selections including a Biere de Garde, Pina Colada Blonde, phenomenal barrel-aged stouts like the popular Imperial Mexican PRC, and yes, a gang of gorgeous-hued sours and other self-titled “Variants” such as the Sop, Drop & Roll milkshake gose brewed with soursop. An added bonus: Roswell’s happening historic Canton Street is just steps away to keep the party going. Definitely hit them up. -- AS

Middle Brow Beer Co.

Chicago, Illinois

Distribution: Illinois,  California
Middle Brow bucked conventional “you-must-have-a-taproom” wisdom for years, contract brewing its beers at other breweries around Chicago. Those beers were consistently tasty enough to earn the brewery a solid following, but finally, in January, the team opened the brewpub it had long hoped for. Dubbed Bungalow, the brewpub has a vibe co-owner Pete Terns describes as “post-punk, feminist, neo-Belgian/French/Appalachia hippie-farmer pizza den… meets Pacific Northwest surf shop.” It opens at 7am, kicking out fresh-baked bread in the morning and pizza and salads after 2pm. The best part of Middle Brow’s new space, though, is the freedom to brew their owns beers, sans middle man. A coolship, new foeder program, and more Brett-fermented beers are in the works. -- KB

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. -- Zach Mack

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

Off Color Brewing

Chicago, Illinois

Distribution: 37 states, but primarily Illinois and Missouri
Since its founding in 2013, Off Color has built a national reputation as a fermentation-focused brewery respected by the most discerning beer drinkers. This year, it will focus on making those complex wild ales, barrel-aged beers, and sometimes obscure styles (sahti, kottbusser, 3.5% ABV imperial stout, etc.) more approachable. To that end, the brewery will package high-ABV and experimental beers in 4-packs of 250mL bottles and introduce new labelling that better conveys the flavors in each beer. Co-founder and brewer John Laffler is also at work on the brewery’s second sake release, which should debut in the brewery’s taproom this spring or summer. -- 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

Wayfinder Beer

Portland, Oregon

Distribution: Oregon and Washington 
In a world where sweet milkshake IPAs and pastry stouts rule, Wayfinder Beer is bringing things back in time. to the traditional ales and lagers of Europe. With their gothic, punk-rock sensibilities, the fusion of light lagers and ales with black metal music provides an interesting contrast. Head brewer Kevin Davey has spent time brewing in California and Washington before relocating to Oregon to open Wayfinder with Rose City heavy hitters including Double Mountain Brewing, Podnah’s Pit BBQ, Sizzle Pie Pizza, and alternative music label RX Records. Though it’s just a modestly sized brewpub, Wayfinder’s Beer has been seen everywhere from Firestone Walker’s Pils + Love invitational fest to Decibel Music Fest to the heads of Nappy Roots band members, who have been seen rocking the brewery’s hats. It turns out that going back to our European roots with crisp, old-fashioned (but often still hoppy) lagers is as head banging as it gets in the time of Willy Wonka beers. Wayfinder’s success in Portland has made them one of the most influential lager breweries by showing brewers you can sell clean, crisp beers instead of hop bombs and still be all dark and brooding about it. -- 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

Vitamin Sea Brewing

Weymouth, Massachusetts

Distribution: Massachusetts and New York
The past year has been kind to Vitamin Sea Brewing, one of Massachusetts’ most promising brew upstarts. Until February of this year, getting your hands on some of their stellar IPAs meant finding them pouring at a festival or coming across one of their kegs on draft around the Boston area’s best beer bars. These days, their Weymouth taproom facility is finally open to the public, distributing their wares via weekly can releases and on-site pours for the masses of newly converted fans. Besides lining up for releases of their Elusive or Frame Lines IPAs, you can look forward to an outdoor beer garden opening up by the time summer rolls around. -- 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

Revision Brewing

Sparks, Nevada

Distribution: West and East Coast, Nevada, and Georgia… check out the distribution map here
The hottest thing coming out of Nevada since last years 125F record-breaking heatwave is Revision Brewing's beers.  When they aren’t winning big at the 2018 World Beer Cup (where they picked up gold and silver medals for IPA and DIPA, respectively), their Disco Ninja IPA is dazzling hopheads as one of the Hottest IPAs in America. Revision is less than 2 years old but already has more Vegas cred than Barry Manilow. Founder Jeremy Warren is a bit like a rock star himself: he became beer-famous as brewer/co-founder of California’s Knee Deep Brewing, where he topped world famous IPA Pliny the Elder at The Bistro's Double IPA festival. Having been dubbed “The Pliny Killer,” Warren later started a solo career when he left to found Revision Brewing like a post-Destiny’s Child Beyonce.  -- EJG

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

Hopstix

Chamblee, 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

Green Bench Brewing Co.

St. Petersburg, Florida

Distribution: 21 states, including Florida, Colorado, New York, Illinois, and Alaska
Tampa Bay may be the home base for their heralded Beer Week, but besides Hunahpu's Day, the 2019 Foeder For Thought sour and wild extravaganza was a must-visit during all the festivities -- it was justly hosted at St. Petersburg’s iconic Green Bench in the EDGE District on March 8th. And for good reason. Already kicking ass with their world class Sunshine IPA since their inception in 2013, GB’s brewing genius Khris Johnson was ecstatic to show off the brewery’s new digs adjacent to the spacious courtyard separating the original headquarters, which boasts a state-of-the-art tap room, barrel-aging space, additional foeders, and the ability to increase production three-times the former rate. This swanky addition to the family is christened Webb’s Cellar Room, and its Peach Alice sour was arguably the most enjoyed selection among the sea of puckering sippers during the event. And although Beer Week is over, Green Bench continues to steadily stay ablaze with numerous brewery collaborations and surrounding St. Pete construction to make them even more the shit for years to come. -- AS

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

Hudson Valley Brewing

Beacon, New York

Distribution: New York
The amount of good things to happen to Beacon in the past half decade have practically made it synonymous with “quick weekend day trip out of New York City.” These days, along with a pilgrimage to the Dia:Beacon, stopping by Hudson Valley Brewing stands squarely atop the list of things to visit there once you get off the Metro-North. That’s because this small brewery has become one of the hottest non-Brooklyn can release destinations in the Northeast, pumping out hit after hit from their fermenters. Why? HVB could be considered the flipside to the juicy IPA “haze craze,” instead focusing their efforts on innovative sour IPAs that continually push the envelope for the style. Part of the fun of visiting is getting to sample whatever happens to be rolling out that week, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Ikagi Collection, a series of beers produced in collaboration with the Momofuku Culinary Institute that celebrate the five basic elements of taste. -- 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

Third Space Brewing

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Distribution: Southwest Wisconsin 
In the two-and-a-half years since opening, Third Space has built its reputation on solid ground: well-made, easy-drinking, flavorful beers. Quality is a huge focus for brewmaster Kevin Wright, a graduate of the prestigious University of California-Davis Master Brewing Program, and it’s made consumers confident in Third Space’s beers from day one. Recently, the brewery installed a five-barrel pilot system to produce an even greater range of beers for its taproom. As new equipment has meant the brewery can finally start to keep pace with demand, Third Space will introduce new cans this year, including International Intrigue double IPA; La Cocina dark Mexican lager; and Summer Home hoppy blonde ale. -- KB 

Grimm Ales

Brooklyn, New York

Distribution: New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina 
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

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

Fonta Flora Brewery

Morganton and Nebo, North Carolina

Distribution: California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina
Let’s keep it 100: When there is word of expansion from your favorite local brewery, there is certainly concern things will become, shall we say, compromised? Not the case with North Carolina’s beloved Fonta Flora. Putting Morganton—Asheville’s little brother an hour’s drive away—on the state’s loaded brewery map with their mostly European-inspired creations, they now have a year under the belt of their tranquil Whippoorwill Farm addition in nearby Nebo. Their applauded series of Lake James adjunct-corn lagers, soon-to-be sixth batch from the in-house coolship, aging legion of bourbon barrel-aged stouts set for 2020, and recently purchased canning line within a 12-month span further justify Double F going from Most Underrated Breweries to one of the 32 Hottest. (Addressing the cans, their packaging is consistently captivating thanks to former classmates of brewer and co-owner Todd Boera’s Warren Wilson College alma marter.) While fruit trees, gardens, and a food concept will all blossom by this summer. Fonta’s distribution continues to grow with currently Georgia, the Carolinas, and Cali beer lovers fiending for their latest creations. Now that’s fuego, no?  -- AS

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