The Top 25 Breweries to Visit in the Mid-Atlantic: 11-15
Now that I am back from enjoying some cervezas in Mexico, lets resume the countdown.
In case you missed it, here are the first two entries: 21-25 and 16-20
If you would like to discuss this article, please do so here, but please remember to keep in mind that if you have a problem with the rankings, just assume I was two sheets to the wind when evaluating the breweries you disagree with me on, or have yet to visit your favorite watering hole
15. Brewery ARS Philadelphia, PA
This garage brewery in South Philly has some of the best beer art anywhere, but more importantly, the actual beer is really good too. Typically serving up about 8 beers, this small and relatively new brewery has a consistently changing tap list with a lot of style diversity. That said they specialize in saisons and hoppy beers. Brewery ARS also features a cool space where you can check out the artwork, play board games, and look out on Passyunk Ave through the window or while sitting outside on a nice day. While I was there, they also had seating literally in the midst of the brewing equipment, which is cool and unusual. In addition, there is often pizza or BBQ available to enjoy while drinking some good beer that most of us don’t come across too often.
14. Flying Dog Frederick, MD
One of the most iconic Maryland breweries, Flying Dog actually originated in Colorado before moving to Frederick, which is worth a visit even if you aren’t going for beer. You should absolutely visit for beer, though. There’s some other breweries in and around Frederick, but Flying Dog is easily the biggest beer geek destination due to the popularity of the beer, the great free brewery tours (reserve online), and the tremendous Hunter S. Thompson inspired artwork on both the beer labels and the walls. Furthermore, while Flying Dog beer is readily available at stores and bars, along with legendary brews such as Raging Bitch and Gonzo Imperial Porter, brewhouse rarities and exclusives are commonly found in the taproom. There’s also a food truck and a nice outdoor space to enjoy on nicer days.
13. Strangeways Richmond, VA
Strangeways is a peculiar spot to visit, and I mean that in the best way possible. There’s a lot of weird stuff to check out on the walls and such while in one of the two tasting rooms in the brewery, and some of those oddities may be even more fun to observe and discuss after having a few of their absurd 36+ beers on tap! As its name would suggest, Strangeways pushes the boundaries of brewing by producing all sorts of styles including some rather unusual offerings. Just go to their website and click on beers to see what I mean. They also have a biergarten where you can play cornhole and eat some food from one of the rotating food trucks. As a bonus, Strangeways has an even larger space in Fredericksburg, which I have not been to, but have heard good things about.
Bonus: Of Love and Regret Baltimore, MD
Although not a brewery, this gastro pub serves up a large selection of Stillwater Artisanal beer, brewed by Baltimore native Brian Strumke. The former gypsy brewer is setting up shop in Brooklyn and no longer has a stake in the bar and restaurant, but Of Love and Regret still offers a wide selection of his beer that is comparable to the selection of what many of the actual breweries on this list offer. If you are not familiar with Stillwater Artisanal, Strumke brews a lot of highly regarded beers, often featuring herbs and spices. In addition, they always have a compelling list of non-Stillwater beer on tap, much of which is not commonly found in these parts. Finally, this is a really good restaurant with a diverse menu in a hip space.
12. Troegs Independent Brewing Hershey, PA
For many, Troegs represents a destination brewery as they’ve been enjoying beers such as Mad Elf, Troegenator Double Bock, JavaHead Stout, Perpetual IPA, Nugget Nectar, Sunshine Pils, and DreamWeaver Wheat for years. For others, this is a great addition to a visit to Hershey Park. Either way, Troegs is a great place to visit with its large taproom, better than perhaps expected food, and cool self-guided or guided behind the scenes brewery tours. Beyond that though, this brewery separates itself from many others that have a widely available collection of beers because it has a whopping 28 beers on tap at last check, many of which are hard to come by otherwise, including their experimental Scratch Series. This is a brewery with beer to please almost any palate.
11. Burley Oak Berlin, MD
This is a great laid back space to enjoy some beer (and occasionally music). Burley Oak is flat out one of the best breweries in the region, especially for their broad and beloved collection of IPAs and sours. Even if you’re not a big fan of arguable the two biggest trendy beer styles in recent years, Burley Oak typically offers porters, stouts, barleywines, and pale ales among other styles on their ever changing tap list of nearly 20 beers. But if you’re a hophead, you will probably encounter multiple IPAs rated a 4 or better on Untapped, with standouts including Secret Sauce, Found, and Scooby Snacks. For the sour lovers, this is arguably the best brewery in the region as they have their amazing J.R.E.A.M. series, which stands for Juice Rules Everything Around Me and includes a plethora of combinations such as Boysenberry Black Currant, Apricot Rasberry, Tangerine Cherry, and Blueberry Cobbler. Burley Oak makes for an excellent diversion to the typical Ocean City beach weekend!
Michael grew up in Owings Mills, MD, but also lived in Southern California for 12 years. He is a lifelong Orioles fan, a lover of travel, the outdoors, craft beer, and the NBA. Michael is a high school social studies teacher in Baltimore, where he also resides.