American Flatbread Burlington Hearth
RateBeer ranked Vermont brewer The Alchemist's brewpub ahead of this Burlington favorite, but Hurricane Irene destroyed that spot last year by flooding Alchemist's unfortunately named home of Waterbury, Vt., with tap-high water. American Flatbread is a worthy, if far-flung, substitute that offers 22 taps including two casks and more than a dozen homebrews. Combine those with a two-page menu of namesake flatbread pizzas loaded with locally produced and organically grown toppings and you have the brewpub embodiment of Burlington's laid-back, hyperlocal culture.
Blue Mountain Brewery
Tucked away in Virginia's Brew Ridge Trail of breweries that includes heavy hitters such as Devils Backbone Brewing and Starr Hill Brewery, Blue Mountain Brewery uses strong brews and gorgeous views to take the top spot. Its back porch is shaded in arbor, features mountain and farm views in almost every direction and shelters drinkers enjoying its Full Nelson Pale Ale, Wee Heavy, Imperial Pumpkin and barrel-aged Chocolate Cherry Bourbon Stout. Plates of crab dip, pulled pork, local chicken gyros and local sausage and brats are nice accents while taking in views of Blue Mountain's hop fields, but the brewery's Full Nelson Pale Ale and Dark Hollow double imperial stout are the best ways to taste those hops in action.
Mountain State Brewing
It looks like a cozy cabin from the outside, isn't much bigger inside and has only four beers on tap, yet half the brewpubs in America would love to do this much with this little. The brews alone are worth the trip, with the heavily hopped Seneca IPA, smooth-drinking blonde Cold Trail Ale and creamy coffee-and-chocolate Miner's Daughter oatmeal stout all making great first impressions, but beckoning another at less than 5.5% ABV apiece. The masterpiece of the regular rotation, however, is the Almost Heaven nut brown amber ale with just enough Willamette hops to add depth, but a smooth finish and subtle 5.2% ABV that makes it a great session brew. A chocolate porter works its way in as a cold-weather seasonal and goes quite well with the timber lodge's brick-oven pizza. There are locations in Morgantown and Maryland, but Mountain State's location in Thomas is as pure a brewpub experience as America offers.
Walking Man Brewing & Public House
No website, no fancypants online menu, no worries. In the state that birthed brewpubs and has plenty within its borders, this joint on the Columbia River is beloved by river walkers, Multnomah Falls hikers and other ecotourists in Washington and Oregon alike. The pub's pulled pork nachos, Cuban sandwiches and pizza sit perfectly after hiking the Columbia River Gorge, but steelhead salmon tacos and salads shouldn't be missed if you're serious about your Pacific Northwest tourism. The brewpub's IPA and various American pale ales are worthy choices from the 10-tap rotation, but the big draws are the hop-packed Homo Erectus imperial IPA and the Black Cherry Stout. At 9% and 7.2% ABV, respectively, they're perhaps best enjoyed as part of a sampler.
If you want to see the remnants of old brewing empires, go to Milwaukee. If you want lots of upstart craft brewers in a little space, head to Madison. If you want 160 years of brewing tradition and great post-1990s craft beer offerings, Potosi's your best stop. It's home to the American Breweries Association's National Breweries Museum, which contains hundred of pieces of brewing memorabilia from American breweries dating to the 1800s, and the Potosi Brewing Transportation Museum with displays featuring beer carts and trucks from Potosi's founding through present. The brewpub still serves beer-battered fried cheese curd, hot pretzels, bratwurst burgers and hot ham and cheese on pretzel rolls, and the flagship beer is still a lager-tasting ale called Good Old Potosi, but its potent Snake Hollow IPA, burnt-coffee-flavored Gandy Dancer Porter and spicy pumpkin ale keep the brewing tradition moving forward. Wyoming
Snake River Brewing
Nestled among the tetons, Snake River brewing has been at the end of just enough hiking trails, bike paths and ski runs since 1994 to make itself a Jackson Hole fixture. The brews have a little something to do with that, as the brewpubs taps are filled with medal winners such as Guido's Kolnerbrau Kolsch (gold at the Great American Beer Festival), Snake River Pale Ale (gold at the World Beer Cup and North American Brewers Fest), Zonker Stout (gold at the GABF, World Beer Cup and NABF) and OB-1 Organic Ale (gold at GABF). The menu isn't bad, either, with barbecue elk burgers, Zonker stout Buffalo brats and steak tacos made with local beef leading the charge. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.