American craft beer isn’t as niche as it was just 15 years ago. New breweries are popping up everywhere, and not just in craft-beer-city stalwarts like San Diego, Grand Rapids, and Burlington. New cities are on the rise with breweries that know how to get noticed in the crowded craft beer scene.
Make 2017 the year you escape the usual and plan a trip to see beer culture on the rise (or just plan a trip in general). Here are the five best upcoming beer cities to visit in 2017:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico is coming into its own as a beer state, and Albuquerque will soon be one of the next hot beer cities to travel to (no pun intended). There are now 21 breweries in the city, and while not all are worth traveling to, most of them are conveniently located along I-25. Must-see breweries: La Cumbre Brewing Company, Bosque Brewing, Tractor Brewing Company, and Marble Brewery.
Charlotte, North Carolina
The craft beer scene in Charlotte has been expanding at a rapid clip since 2009, and there’s been some buzz about it for a couple years. Between standouts like NoDa Brewing Company’s Hop, Drop ’n Roll and offbeat new breweries that offer organic beers and kombucha like Lenny Boy Brewing Co., there’s something for just about everyone in Charlotte. If you haven’t done it yet, make 2017 the year to finally visit. Must-see breweries: NoDa Brewing Company, Birdsong Brewing Company, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, and Triple C Brewing Company.
Des Moines, Iowa
Until 2010, breweries in Iowa weren’t permitted to make beer more than 6 percent alcohol by weight. As you can imagine, that really put a damper on craft beer in the Hawkeye State. But in the seven years since the law was lifted, the number of breweries in the state has tripled. Head over to Des Moines and its nearby suburbs to see the best of what Iowa has to offer. Must-see breweries: 515 Brewing Company, Confluence Brewing Company, Firetrucker Brewery, and, if you’re into a good sour, Exile Brewing Company.
Tampa gets most of the attention when it comes to Florida beer, leaving southern Florida without a lot of love. That’s understandable: It’s so hot and humid that it’s easy to just fall back on a Corona or a beach cocktail and call it a day. Not so fast. The trendy Wynwood district is becoming a destination, and more and more breweries are popping up that offer beers compatible with the hot weather. Must-see breweries: Wynwood Brewing Company, Abbey Brewing, J. Wakefield Brewing, and M.I.A. Brewing.
The capital of Indiana isn’t exactly new to the craft beer scene — Broad Ripple Brewpub has been around for more than 20 years — but it’s really coming into its own and escaping the shadow of nearby Chicago. There are 23 craft breweries in Indianapolis now, with a range of sours, IPAs, pale ales, and every other style you could hope for. Most of the places are small and on the newer side, making exploring the Indianapolis beer scene all the more enticing. Must-see breweries: Sun King Brewing Company, Indiana City Brewing Company, Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company, and Redemption Alewerks.
The South isn’t known for its craft beer scene. In Birmingham, however, craft beer is growing, and fast. It’s the fastest growing craft-beer-drinking city in the country by volume, and local breweries are popping up to fill the gap. Must-see breweries: Avondale Brewing Company, Good People Brewing Company, Cahaba Brewing Company, and Red Hills Brewing Company.