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If you’re of legal drinking age, summer is the perfect time to beat the heat and unwind with a cold drink. While some people might be content to crack open something mass produced and standard, it’s time to leave those with the college crowd (I miss you, $1 drink specials). Microbreweries focus on producing smaller amounts of high-quality craft beer, giving you a handcrafted taste of local flavor. We’ve gathered up our favorite spots where you can enjoy the atmosphere with a great drink coast-to-coast: cheers to summer!
Eagle Rock Brewery
Although relatively fresh onto the craft beer scene, LA’s Eagle Rock Brewery has made a solid impact. After opening in 2009, this family operation became the first Los Angeles-based microbrewery in over 60 years, so they definitely had some hype to live up to. Producing small-batch beers that have been described by locals as “simple, clean and approachable,” Eagle Rock only distributes within Los Angeles and San Diego.
Although they don’t serve food at the brewery, you’re welcome to either bring your own or enjoy the local food trucks they have there daily. Still want something a little more filling with their beers? Their recently opened Eagle Rock Public House is quickly becoming a hot spot for good drinks and delicious food. Sit back and take your time sampling their seasonal brews, and pair them with the best sustainable-menu item options of the day.
Anchor Brewing Company
The granddaddy of the craft beer movement, San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company is the oldest craft brewery in the entire country. Since 1896, their beers have been handmade with an old-school natural approach that has only been altered with the careful introduction of modern quality-control methods.
Be sure to make a reservation for a daily tour, which ends with a complimentary tasting in their tap room. They have a great selection of beers ranging from intense IPAs to light wheats, sure to satisfy all palates. If you can’t manage to swing by, don’t worry: though they’re still 100% San Francisco made, Anchor Brewing ships all over.
While New Yorkers have probably experienced mainstays like the Brooklyn Brewery, this Astoria newcomer with guitar-neck tap handles is bringing the fun to Queens. Since starting out a few years back, SingleCut Beersmiths is a music-loving brewery with an intent to be different. They offer six year-round staples, and unique seasonal specials like their “Shine On Summer Sour Lagrrr.”
If you’re not sure where to start, their sampling menu gives you 5 drinks for $10, and a full menu of good pub food to pair with it. After drinks, take in a free tour of the facilities or just enjoy the live music in the open warehouse style room. This summer they’re also offering a “SingleCut Running Tour” where the beer experts take guests on a walking tour to see the best of Queens’ culture, from Astoria Park to the Steinway Mansion. It ends at the brewery with some drinks, making it a great choice for exploring the city (and really unwinding).
Voted by locals as the Best Brewery and Best Brewpub for 2015, Revolution Brewing‘s product speaks for itself. Since 2010, this microbrewery has crafted inventive and high-quality drinks for the people of Chicago. Though they’re a smaller-scale business, they still do things big: Revolution consistently produces 5o different types of beer each year!
After a public tour, swing by their taproom to enjoy year-round favorites like the Anti-Hero IPA, or unexpected seasonal flavors like the Rosa-Hibiscus Ale. For serious eats, head to their brewpub a little over a mile away where you can enjoy handmade food with a nice selection of their brews. From pizzas to some hearty hamburgers, the filling food is a great excuse to do some solid drink sampling. You’re probably good to trust the quality of a place who’s philosophy is to “put forth food you’d want to eat with our beer.”
DC Brau Brewing Company
After wanting a locally-made beer that D.C. could call their own, owners Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock stepped up to fill the void that had been missing since the 1950s. Started in 2009, DC Brau offers a select range of ales, pilsners, and lagers in their boldly-designed cans, and have won titles at national and international contests. Their standards for quality extend to how they dispose of factory waste: everything is brought to a family farm in Virginia, where it’s made into animal feed and compost.
Your best bet for visiting the brewery is on Saturdays, since it’s the only day free public tours are offered. Lucky for you, that’s also the day you can get your growler filled, and enjoy the food trucks they bring out front. What better way to spend a summer weekend in the city?
Aeronaut Brewing Co.
Although we’ve previously sung the praises of Bully Boy Distillers, there’s a new kid on the Boston block that’s worth checking out. Although only running since 2014, Aeronaut has made waves as the first craft brewery in Somerville in over 100 years. They only sell their beers on-site, but when your warehouse is gaining a reputation as a fun event spot, there’s nothing wrong with that!
From movie screenings and trivia to “Shakespeare in the Pub,” Aeronaut’s focus on engaging with locals is impressive. If you’re looking for a unique way to spend a summer evening, check out their packed event calendar for a variety of fun activities. Sip their beers on draft in the taproom, enjoy some live music, and possibly make some new drinking buddies. This is one lucky community!
Doesn’t checking out some local microbreweries sound better than the standard stuff? I’m getting pretty thirsty myself… If you have another favorite brewery in your city, share it with us in the comments!