The golden age of craft beer shows no signs of winding down in the United States. From creative brews that use foraged ingredients and wild fermentation to unique flavor combinations to new hop varieties, there’s no shortage of inventive craft beer.
With the proliferation of new breweries pushing the envelope—or simply honoring the careful craft behind traditional brewing—shopping for microbrews can be an overwhelming experience. Add to that the long-list of established spots that remain tried-and-true, and that’s a whole lot of beer.
But not all breweries are created equal. As far as newcomers go, a few standouts have risen above the pack. Here’s a look at five breweries to check out—all of which opened in the last year or so.
Wild East Brewing Company
Wild East is proof that homebrewers don’t have to stay hobbyists. This brewery was founded by homebrewers Lindsay Steen, Tyler March, and Brett Taylor in Brooklyn early last year, with a focus on farmhouse styles, European techniques, and mixed fermentation beers that rely partially on ambient or wild yeasts. That results in a line-up that ranges from unfiltered hazy IPAs and pilsners to barrel-aged sours and saisons—all of which are unique and interesting. The brewery’s taproom, in a former restaurant supply warehouse, is open for visitors.
Crowns and Hops
This new Inglewood, California brewery stands out for many reasons. The beer is fantastic—with top brews that include a hazy IPA with El Dorado, Citra, and Moteuka hops, and a Pecan Pie Stout. Owners Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter are building out a brick-and-mortar brewery now, so they can eventually show off their full range of some 20 beer recipes. Crowns and Hops also stands out for being one of the few Black-owned and woman-led breweries in an industry that is overwhelmingly white and male. Another feather in this brewery’s cap is its mission to give back, and work toward closing the gender and race gap in the brewing industry. In a partnership with BrewDog, Crowns and Hops released the 8 Trill Pils Initiative, which involved a $100,000 grant for Black-owned breweries.
Young Blood Beer Co.
This newcomer to Madison, Wisconsin is entertaining taste buds with big flavors, like hop-heavy Dad Mode Activated IPA and the Everyone Looks Like Guy Fieri farmhouse ale. Other options include the boldly flavored sour with strawberry, passion fruit, orange, and guava; a cream ale with pink guava, coconut, vanilla, and lactose; and a blueberry “fruit punch” sour with passion fruit, orange, and guava. But there are some more mellow options, too, that prove this brewery has also mastered more standard beers like lagers, IPAs, and saisons. There’s a taproom open, with plans to add a cocktail tasting room on the second level in the future.
The Seed: A Living Beer Project
With its unusual name, The Seed sounds more like a science experiment than brewery. And that’s not far off. Sean Towers and Amanda Cardinali have focused their Atlantic City, New Jersey brewery on telling “the entire pathway and story of that particular biological moment in time” when their beer was made. That obsession with the minutiae of fermentation also includes using local grain, foraged ingredients, and wild yeast and bacteria. The beer styles themselves aren’t wild—IPAs, a Kolsch, and a coffee stout are among the standouts—but they’re perfectly executed. And each one comes with its own unique inception story.
Boss Rambler Beer Club
The beer scene in Bend, Oregon is no slouch, so Boss Rambler certainly has a high bar to ascend to. And so far, that’s been no problem: the brewery nabbed “Best New Brewery” at last year’s Oregon Beer Awards. The company has perfected the classic American light beer—reclaiming a style that’s often ignored by craft beer makers. The brewery makes a range of hazy IPAs, perfecting a style that’s popular on both coasts, plus a refreshingly tart tropical fruited sour. The beer is available in beautifully designed cans, or at the inviting Bend taproom.