Beer has been a cornerstone of American culture since before the first European settlers came over on the Mayflower in 1620. Prior to their arrival, many Native Americans brewed beer from maize, birch sap, and water, and when the colonists found themselves with a beer shortage, these Indigenous groups taught them how to make their own. Soon enough, local breweries appeared throughout the American colonies and operators of these breweries began recruiting brewmasters from London.
In the centuries since, beer has remained Americans’ favorite alcoholic beverage, and the country has become rife with beer brands both large and small. While some brands are nationally available, others are only sold locally and are therefore unlikely to be familiar to beer lovers across the U.S.
Here are some of the most beloved beer brands that celebrate their home states and regions across the United States.
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In terms of beer, the Northeast is most famous for the creation of the New England IPA, which was originally invented in Vermont. While the NEIPA may be the most popular brew hailing from the region, there is a multitude of wonderful beer brands supplying the region and the United States as a whole with plenty of innovative styles.
Allagash, Portland, Maine
Allagash opened its doors in 1995 to fill the gap its owner, Rab Tod, perceived in Belgian beers available in the region. Allagash now produces a number of beer styles and has won a number of awards since its opening. Ii 2021, team Allagash won the Brewer of the Year award at the Great American Beer Festival. Allagash can be purchased at the brewery or shipped nationally, in addition to being found at restaurants and bars in the area.
Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn
While Brooklyn Brewery obviously hails from New York, this beer brand actually ships its brews to over 30 countries. While the Brooklyn-based brewery produced a number of beer styles from the Brooklyn lager to a number of double IPAs, community is still at the heart of the NYC brand. The brewery produces the Stonewall Inn IPA year-round in support of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.
Trillium Brewing, Boston
Originally opened in Boston in 2013, Trillium Brewing became so popular among New Englanders that it now operates out of five facilities across Massachusetts and Connecticut. As stated on the brewery’s website, the culinary philosophy of Trillium brewery truly reflects its New England roots, as its brewers source ingredients locally and collaborate with indigenous and immigrant populations to maintain a connection to the region’s land and history. Trillium’s brews are available at any of its breweries and can be shipped to select states.
The Southeast is home to a sprawling craft brewery scene, especially in areas like Asheville, N.C., a city that’s home to over 30 breweries.
Blackstone Brewing Company, Nashville
Blackstone Brewing Company opened in 1994 and is now Nashville’s oldest and most awarded brewery. To streamline the brewing and bottling facility, Blackstone introduced a fully automated, 30-barrel brewhouse and automated bottling line in 2011. Of their beers, the St. Charles Porter, Nut Brown Ale, and Chaser Pale are the most popular.
Gnarly Barley Brewing Co., Hammond, La.
Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. is one of the fastest-growing breweries in the southeastern United States. Born and raised in Louisiana, owners Zac and Cari Caramonta, according to the brewery’s website, “take great pride in helping the local beer industry grow.” The two started by homebrewing in a garage, and now, Gnarly Barley operates out of a 14,000-square-foot, open-air facility known as the Gnar Bar. Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. now offers over 20 different beers.
Highland Brewing, Asheville, N.C.
Founded in 1994 by Oscar Wong, a retired engineer, Highland Brewing Company was the first legal brewery established in Asheville since the Prohibition era. Today, the brewery is the largest family-owned independent brewery in the Southeast. Community is central to Highland — the brewery donates to over 100 local charities a year. Today, it produces a multitude of beers available for purchase at the brewery and across four states in the Southeast: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
The Midwest is a place where beer lovers have their pick of the litter when it comes to great brews. Read on for some of the best breweries in the Midwestern U.S.
Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Mich.
The history of Bell’s Brewery is rooted in homebrewing, local community, and, of course, excellent beer. Opened by Larry Bell in 1985, the brewery is Michigan’s longest-standing brewery. Since Bell’s beginnings brewing beer in 15-gallon soup pots, the brewery has exploded in size and now produces over 50 distinct beers available for purchase across 31 states.
New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisc.
Take a walk around New Glarus Brewing Company, and you may think you actually are in Germany, as the facility has been created to mimic a Bavarian village. Quality, natural ingredients are of the utmost importance to New Glarus, and the brewery produces 10 beers reflective of this philosophy. New Glarus’s beers are available for purchase exclusively in Wisconsin.
3 Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, Ind.
3 Floyds Brewing Company originated in a garage in Munster, Ind., in 1996 when father and sons Mike, Nick, and Simon Floyd decided to take a spin on homebrewing. Since its humble beginnings, 3 Floyds has grown to produce 60,000 barrels a year. Unlike other breweries, which grow through advertising and marketing, 3 Floyds grew via word-of-mouth marketing alone. In 2017, the brewery crossed over into distilling and now offers whiskey, akvavit, gin, and rum. 3 Floyds beers are currently available for purchase across 19 states and D.C.
Famous for beautiful desert landscapes, the Southwest is home to breweries that source local ingredients and embrace the Native American and Mexican cultures found throughout the area. Here are three great beer brands in the Southwestern United States.
Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Gilbert, Ariz.
Arizona Wilderness Brewing is hyper-connected to its surrounding community, creating all beers through partnerships with Arizonan farmers to focus on locally grown ingredients and sustainable approaches to craft beer. With the motto “Drink Like You Care,” Arizona Wilderness Brewing embodies an overall message that supports the wildlife and landscapes that make Arizona so beautiful. Arizona Wilderness Brewing produces a number of award-winning beers exclusively available for purchase in the state.
Guadalupe Brewing Company, New Braunfels, Texas
Guadalupe Brewing Company opened in 2009, and top-quality ingredients have been of the utmost importance for the brewery since. As a mild sweetening agent, all beers from Guadalupe Brewing Co. are infused with honey sourced from the only Amish farm in Texas. Today, the brewery operates two taprooms. Its beers are available exclusively in Texas.
Santa Fe Brewing Company, Santa Fe, N.M.
Upon opening in 1988, Santa Fe Brewing Co. became the first craft brewery in New Mexico and today remains the best-selling craft beer in the state. What once started as a homebrewing project has now grown to a brewery producing almost 40,000 barrels a year with a state of the art canning line allowing it to can 275 beers every minute.
The Rocky Mountains are world-famous for their ethereal scenery and towering peaks. Here are three beer brands that showcase what the Rocky Mountain region has to offer.
Backslope Brewing, Columbia Falls, Mont.
With the Big 3 hop-growing states — Washington, Oregon, and Idaho — as close neighbors, Montana has a long established history of beer-making. Using locally sourced ingredients, Backslope Brewing has four year-round staples on its menu and 12 brews on rotation for tasting at its taproom.
Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver
Founded in Denver in 1994, Great Divide Brewing Company, like many great craft breweries, was started by a highly enthusiastic homebrewer. Since then, Brain Dunn has expanded the beer brand so much that it is now one of America’s most decorated breweries, with a combined 38 awards and distinctions from the brewing community. Great Divide Brewing brews 25 distinct beers and a variety of hard seltzers.
Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colo.
Odell Brewing Company was founded in 1989 by Doug Odell, his wife Wynne, and his sister Corkie as a means of expressing their passion for hand-crafted, innovative brews. Since opening, working to improve its community and the planet have been of central importance to the beer brand. The brewery today produces 32 different beers and expanded to open a winery in 2019.
This region is famous for producing the West Coast Style IPA, which is more bitter than its New England counterpart. Here are three iconic beer brands that call the West Coast home.
Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, Alaska
Alaska has a long history of brewing that dates back all the way to the Gold Rush. Due to Alaska’s remote location, the only beers available to explorers searching for gold in the state were locally made brews. In 1986, Marcy and Geoff Larson continued the tradition by opening Alaskan Brewing Co., using locally sourced Alaskan Amber, alder-smoked malts, and Sitka spruce tips to stay connected with the history of Alaskan beer. Today, Alaskan Brewing Co. brews 13 distinct beers as well as three flavors of hard seltzer available for purchase at the brewery and across 25 states.
Bellevue Brewing Company, Bellevue, Wash.
Respect for the history and beauty of Washington State is central to the philosophy of Bellevue Brewing Company. As stated on the brewery’s website, all beers produced by Bellevue are crafted with respect for the Earth and its natural resources, as well as reflecting the spirit of adventure of the Pacific Northwest. Using only premium ingredients and natural resources, Bellevue produces over 20 styles of beer.
Stone Brewing Company
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, Stone Brewing Company is now the ninth-largest craft brewer* in the United States, with breweries in San Diego and Richmond, Va. With an ethos that reflects a respect for the planet and the local community, beers brewed by Stone Brewing Co. are made using local organic ingredients all sourced from small suppliers. Stone Brewing currently offers 18 beers that are available for purchase nationwide and internationally.
* Stone was acquired by Sapporo in June of this year.