This is the another installment highlighting the craft beer scene of Florida State's
opponent bye. Normally we feature a brewery from the area and a beer from another brewery in the area, but this week Juan and yours truly will share some of our favorite, lesser known breweries, beer bars and suds from around the country and outside the ACC footprint. Without further delay we present to you craft beer outside of ACC country.
Our first brewery stop is in God’s country...Portland, Oregon. Located 15 minutes from PDX, Breakside Brewery is en route towards downtown and the mecca of craft beer. This is a must stop if you visit Portland. I love the IPAs, particularly the Wanderlust and their namesake’s IPA. They do have other fantastic styles as they were recently awarded three medals at the Great American Beer Festival, one for a Rye Ale and another for their ESB. The tavern fare at Breakside is fantastic too as well as being kid friendly.
The next stop is to one of the most crime ridden cities in America...Gary, Indiana. In all honesty your safety shouldn’t be a concern here as the brewery is located right off the interstate outside of the city plus they opened another taproom in neighboring Hammond right next to the police department. Created by a Kickstarter campaign and the help of neighboring breweries 18th Street Brewery is growing quickly and making some fantastic beers under their name and side project Sour Note Brewing. If you are a big fan of IPAs then this is your honey hole, that is what they do and they do it extremely well.
Lastly we get put on our boots and head to Houston, Texas. I originally wanted to tell you about Brash Brewing but they are primarily IPAs and I realize there are many other styles out there. With that being said 8th Wonder Brewery appeased the beer lover and baseball fan in me with the nostalgic Astro Dome homage. The wide variety of beers is sure to appease whatever your palate prefers and the spacious venue is friendly for everyone. While none of the beers stood out as fantastic they were all quality, I enjoyed the Astroturf Cream Ale and Vietnamese Coffee Porter.
While bigger than all the above mentioned breweries the beer I love to pick up at my local bottle shop recently received the Steve Harvey treatment. I don’t think I have ever regretted drinking any beer produced by Fat Head’s Brewery out of Ohio. Although they did get jobbed by the a technicality they did manage to win six medals at the GABF. Dependent on the level of drunk you want to get the Hop JuJu Imperial IPA, Head Hunter IPA or Sunshine Daydream Session IPA are all excellent choices. It is still hot enough to start your day with their Jack Straw Pilsner and finish the night with the Shakedown Stout or Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale.
Falling Rock Tap House - Denver, CO
Denver is a fabulous beer town, one of the best in the country. There's no shortage of breweries, tap houses, or gastropubs to fill your gullet full of great craft beer from around the country. Even among this craft beer mecca, Falling Rock stands out.
Each time I visit Denver I make a pilgramage to Falling Rock Tap House. They're the only bar I've ever been to with Pliny the Elder on tap - and Pliny lives up to its reputation. They also have all sorts of stuff this East Coaster doesn't ever get to see in even the best tap houses east of the Mississippi.
Northern Bell - Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Located right on Metropolitan Avenue in the heart of Williamsburg, Northern Bell is a little gem of a beer bar/gastropub. The beer selection is pretty solid - right now they have Cigar City's Hornswoggle on Nitro. In Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to be there in the mid afternoon when a distributor rep was working with the bar manager. Got to taste some funky stuff. Also has some good food. Check it out.
Ever been to one of the above breweries or beer bars? Tell us about your experience or what your favorite “under the radar” spot is. Also let us know what you will be enjoying in a weekend where Florida State can’t lose.