Starting a barrel-aging, sour beer-only brewery is a daunting task in itself. But to open to the kind of immediate acclaim and support that The Rare Barrel has is a truly rare success story. That may have something to do with the fact that their brewmaster Jay Goodwin was one of the earliest hires at The Bruery (yes, that brewery), cutting his teeth at one of the top-rated breweries in the world before setting out on his own. Everything they produce is aged for a minimum of six months in oak barrels before being released, and their wares have quickly become some of the most buzzed about in the Bay Area.
Tennessee isn’t the first market that springs to mind when craft beer advancement comes up (thanks mostly to the local ABV cap on beers), but Memphis’ Wiseacre Brewing is going to change that. Cofounding brothers Davin and Kellan Bartosch spent years traveling the country (and globe) honing their craft before opening their doors in late 2013, spending time at some of the top breweries around the world. Their list straddles most of the international styles while still maintaining a consistently solid understanding of recipes, from IPA to Berliner Weisse and all the way back to a solid pilsner.
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Zach Mack is Thrillist's contributing beer writer, the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in NYC, and absolutely nothing else. Follow him: @zmack.