Food & Drink

The Best Small Breweries You Don't Know About, but Should

Published On 04/04/2016 Published On 04/04/2016
Spiteful Brewing
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Bissell Brothers
Forthy Beard Brewing
Blue Canoe Brewing Co.
Sisyphus Brewing
Courtesy of Amplified Ale Works
Foggy Noggin Brewing
One Barrel Brewing Company
Prohibition Pig
Abide Brewing Co.
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1. Spiteful Brewing 1815 W Berteau Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Founded in January 2010 by Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein, the name of this small brewing operation was taken from the owners' childhood friendship that started instantly following a spiteful incident during a game of pond hockey. Spiteful brews a nice variety of ales, from the standbys to the more experimental brews, including a solid British-American hybrid beer, and a chocolate banana porter.

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2. Prohibition Pig 23 S Main St, Waterbury, VT 05676

A quaint brewery and taproom in Waterbury, Vermont, Prohibition Pig also offers supper to go with your ale. Start your meal off right with pork cracklings and Prohibition Pig Vanilla Bean Porter; charcuterie, barbecue style sandwiches, and burgers also make appearances on the menu, not to mention beer. Sample Prohibition Pig's house brews and other local beers from an extensive draft list.

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3. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing 402 Ingalls St Ste 27, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

This NorCal brewery specializes in sunny ales and lagers. All of Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing's libations (which are comprised of brown, pale, and amber ales, and kombucha) are certified organic and brewed in-house. Their taproom and beer garden hosts happy hour deals every day of the week and serves food from a local favorite, Kelly's French Bakery.

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4. Bissell Brothers Brewing 1 Industrial Way, Portland, ME 04103

Rounding out Portland, Maine's already great craft beer scene is Bissell Brothers Brewing, a family owned and operated outfit cranking out great, unique brews. Chief among them is the immensely drinkable Baby Genius Session Ale brewed with citra hops, a brew we can bet you'll be sipping all summer long. The artsy taproom is a great place to hang out and pass some time.

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5. Frothy Beard Brewing Company 7358 Peppermill Pkwy Ste B, North Charleston, SC 29418 (North Charleston)

This quirky North Charleston brewery and taproom doles out unique brews (they've got cucumber thyme and jalapeno beer on tap) in mustachioed mugs and pitchers. Owned and operated by a trio of childhood friends, a spirit of inclusivity and playful fun is apparent once you step inside the ramshackle wood-paneled taproom. Stop in and sample a variety of brews while you enjoy a local comedy night.

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6. Blue Canoe Brewing Co. 425 E 3rd St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Born from a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 by husband-and-wife Patrick and Ida Cowan and their friend Laura Berryhill, Blue Canoe Brewing ranks as one of the favorites among seasoned, Little Rock beer nerds. This brewery keeps locals satiated with both seasonal and year round ales, such as the Lazy River, a crispy 3.5% ABV table beer brewed with lemony Belgian yeast.

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7. Sisyphus Brewing 712 Ontario Ave W, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Downtown)

Sisyphus, a Minneapolis brewery and taproom aims for diversity with a range of wheat beers. Try taking the Double Rye of Imperial Brown Ale for a spin in their large, industrial style taproom in Lowry Hill. Stop by and sample the goods or enjoy a local comedy show or trivia night while you sip your brew.

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8. Amplified Ale Works 4150 Mission Blvd #208, San Diego, CA 92109

The team at Amplified Ale Works focuses on super-fresh West Coast-style hop-bombs piped straight from the holding tanks to your pint. In true SoCal fashion, no style is safe from the bitter hop beast. Take Amplified's beachy Citravesa, a 5.8% ABV American pale lager dosed with a heap of tangy, grapefruit-like Citra hops. The twist? All the beers are brewed with Clarity Ferm, an enzyme that breaks up protein during fermentation, rendering the entire fleet totally gluten-free. So put down that cider, Mr. Celiac, and treat yourself to a God’s honest brewski -- you deserve it.

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9. Foggy Noggin Brewing 22329 53rd Ave SE, Bothell, WA 98021

To say that Bothell's Foggy Noggin is a homegrown operation would be a vast understatement. In 2008, homebrewer Jim Jamison and his son Matthew acquired a .5bbl pilot system and began tinkering with recipes in a shed behind their suburban home, dreaming about starting a proper brewery. Now, Foggy Noggin dishes out samples and growler fills out of the Jamisons' makeshift garage taproom. The father-son duo's award-winning fleet revolves around traditional English styles, with the year-round Christmas Duck porter leading the charge in flavor and popularity. The deep-brown ale is brewed using both Pacific Northwest and traditional British hops, Foggy Noggin's dual regional influences harmonizing to create a dry, earthy bitterness that balances the malt's chocolatey sweetness.

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10. One Barrel Brewing Company 2001 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704

Although the output of this brewery may be small (one barrel at a time, as the name suggests), a tiny system does have its benefits: namely the ability to work with unfamiliar styles without risking huge losses. Known for its unique brews -- such as a hoppy pale ale fermented with lactobacillus and aged in local whiskey barrels with fresh blackberries -- this company's commitment to quality control and experimentation have made it one of a kind.

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11. Abide Brewing Company 130 Werz Industrial Blvd, Newnan, GA 30265 (North Georgia)

The first brewery in Newnan, Georgia, Abide's ongoing mission is to convince metro Atlanta to "accept without objection" locally brewed craft ales. And with distribution covering six counties, it's clear that this nano-brewery is finding success. The Local Pale especially has made quite a name for itself -- 6% ABV dry-hopped American pale is a magical melting pot of East and West Coast styles, where bright citrus and dry, earthy bitterness slice through sweet caramel malt with each crisp, clean, and deeply satisfying sip.