Weekend “It” List: Our Cross-Country Beer List

There’s no better way to savor the last days of August than with a cold pint in hand. We found some of the best craft breweries in the country, so no matter where you are, you can enjoy the season’s final hours with a delicious microbrew.

Boston – Wachusett Brewing Co.
Boston might be better known for Sam Adams and Harpoon, but Wachusett doesn’t get nearly enough credit. If you do only one thing after reading this, try their blueberry beer – my favorite of their 15 drafts. There’s nothing like a pint with a few in-season blueberries at the bottom.

Chicago – Goose Island
While their Summertime Ale is a trusty standby, I love to get adventurous with their Bourbon County Coffee Stout – each year it’s brewed with a different roast from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea. You could justify drinking it with breakfast (if you really wanted to), but it might put you right back to sleep. It boasts a thundering 14% ABV.

Denver – Wynkoop Brewing Company
I couldn’t write about beer without mentioning Denver – No. 2 on Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s Best Beer Cities. Colorado is home to Coors and 92 different craft breweries, but Wynkoop was Denver’s first, and their Patty’s Chile Beer is unmatched. Brewed with Anaheim chiles and smoked Ancho peppers, it’ll make you sweat.

Los Angeles – Eagle Rock Brewery
They make only four beers, but two of them – the Manifesto Wit Beir and Populist IPA – strike the perfect pitch of citrus, freshly cut grass, and rose petals (yes, rose petals) to help stretch those last days of summer. You won’t find their beers outside SoCal, but a trip to their pub is well worth it – with beer so good, they don’t even serve food. You bring your own.

New York City – Shmaltz Brewing Company
The New York-brewed-and-bottled Coney Island Craft Lagers from Shmaltz are ridiculous. These Freak Beers, as they’re known, run the gamut of flavors, but if you’re looking for something summery, try their Mermaid Pilsner or Albino Python White Lager. They both have puzzling and delicious combinations of spice that you won’t mind taking some time to figure out.

Philadelphia – Dock Street Brewing Co.
It’s hard to find a beer that wouldn’t pair well with a cheesesteak, but that shouldn’t keep you from searching for the perfect Brotherly Love brew. Philadelphia has dozens of great local brews, but most locals will recommend Dock Street, the city’s original microbrewery. Draw a pint of their Summer Session. It has hints of Lemon grass and ginger.

San Francisco – Anchor Brewing & 21st Amendment Brewery
Founded in 1896, Anchor was America’s first craft brewery. You can do no wrong with any of their 10 beers. But if you’re craving something a bit more fun, try 21st Amendment ­– they’re making waves with canned beer. (Canned!) And if those cans aren’t enough to pull you in, their flavors will. Their Hell Or High Watermelon wheat beer is a summer treat.

Seattle – Georgetown Brewing Company
For more than a decade, Georgetown Brewing Company has been winning over drinkers with its draft-only approach to brewing. (Note: Don’t tackle a keg solo, we recommend throwing an end-of-summer party.) Some area restaurants carry Georgetown, but if you’re not a local? Well, Seattle is lovely this time of year. Book a flight and try their Lucille IPA.

Washington D.C. – Capitol City Brewing Company
Capitol City has been serving up unique beers since the Clinton administration, which might not seem like very long, but The District doesn’t have much else to brag about in terms of craft brews. Still, being the only show in town hasn’t kept Capitol from pumping out quality product. Try their Peche Belge – it’s a peach in a glass.

By Marcus Miller, Staff Writer 

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August 24, 2012