Fremont Brewing (address and info)
Named for the famously progressive 'hood where it's located, Fremont's quickly (it only opened six yeas ago!), captured suds-heavy Seattle's attention by being really, really... conservative. Just kidding! It's totally liberal: about the environment (it uses organic hops, green energy, mostly cans instead of bottles, etc.); about the amount of alcohol it squeezes into its Abominable Winter Ale (11%), and hops it puts in its signature IPA; and even about the materials used to build its "Urban Beer Garden" -- the red leather banquettes came from a famed shuttered bar down the street -- which just so happens to be one of Seattle's best outdoor drinking destinations.
3 Stars Brewing Co. (address and info)
Just a few years old, 3 Stars is doing some of the most creative work in our nation's capital (which is more than can be said for Congress, heyo!). Seriously though, from flagship offerings like its Peppercorn Saison to local collabs where it goes to the trouble of aging coffee beans in whiskey barrels before roasting them in order to craft delicious dry-hopped imperial porter deep with whiskey and coffee notes called Desolation, something Congress would know a thing or two about, right? Right?! Whatever, keep drinking and it will be funny.
Bridge Brew Works (address and info)
It’s pretty amazing that a tiny West Virginia brewery is flooding the land with great Belgian- and Euro-style beers, fantastic tripels, kolsch, Baltic porters, and black lagers among them. What’s even more impressive is that West Virginia’s best brewery is run by two dudes. You’ll forgive them for not offering tours. They’re too busy making the state proud.
New Glarus Brewing (address and info)
The extent to which New Glarus completely dominates the Wisconsin craft scene gets overstated a bit -- breweries like Central Waters and Ale Asylum are doing some legitimately outstanding work. All, that said... well, New Glarus has grown into one of the biggest craft breweries in the country, without even sending its beer to anywhere else in the country! Spotted Cow may be essentially the state beer of Wisconsin, but it's New Glarus' funky and fruity offerings that really set it apart, like its peerless Raspberry Tart. Of course, when it decided to get into the hop bomb game with its Thumbprint Double IPA, that came out amazing, too.
Melvin Brewing/Thai Me Up Brewery (address and info)
If there’s one thing you don’t see a whole lot of in Wyoming, it’s people. And also Thai restaurants. Or Thai restaurants that are also breweries. And yet, here we have the state’s best brewery -- which scored an IIPA gold at the World Beer Cup -- serving up its wares with drunken noodles. It sounds like something you’d get out in Portland, not the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. It tastes like it, too.
Deputy editor Matt Lynch needs all the beer he can stockpile now that the Cubs are playing meaningful games again. Offer him some @MLynchChi.
Andy Kryza is a senior editor at Thrillist, a Portland resident, and a Michigan native who lost an embarrassingly large amount of sleep while debating between Bell’s and Founders... while drinking Jolly Pumpkin. Follow him to confused allegiances @apkryza.
Ben Robinson (@benjorobinson) and Liz Childers (@LizChilders1) also contributed to this report, so direct your anger at them as well.