As we reach the end of 2018, I want to highlight the 10 breweries that scored the highest in the past year. As I said last year, this is not an attempt to rank the 10 best breweries in the country simply because I haven’t been to them all (yet). Instead, these are my favorites that I have personally visited this year. They run the gamut from national level breweries to true independent craft breweries. Regardless of their stature, if you are near one of these breweries I highly recommend stopping in for a pint. Now, without further ado, here is my top 10 list for 2018!
- Cypress and Grove – Gainesville, Florida
I found this brewery when I went back home earlier this year and fell in love with their beer and the historical significance of their location and how they incorporate it into the beer making process. Being only the fourth stand-alone brewery in Gainesville, a city that could easily support twice that many, they have the room to grow and stand their ground against the more established places such as Swamphead. Cypress and Grove is a unique brewery that should be on the list to visit for anyone swinging through Gainesville.
- Mazama Brewing Company – Corvallis, Oregon
Sticking closer to my current home, Mazama was the only other brewery to score a 21/25. A solid line-up of beers combined with a lovely tasting room make this a neat brewery to visit with friends and family when looking for something low-key to do. I recommend checking them out if you ever find yourself in the Corvallis area.
- Crafty Bastards – Knoxville, Tennessee
Crafty Bastards has some of the most creative and delicious brews I have ever come across and tie it in to a hip spot in an area of the country you would not come to mind when thinking of craft beer. I strongly encourage you to stop in if you are in Knoxville, just be sure to wear an ironic t-shirt and wax your mustache appropriately before you go.
- GoodLife Brewing Company – Bend, Oregon
All around one of my favorite breweries in Bend, a city that has a strong craft beer scene. They combine great beers with a spacious brewery to make a place you could spend all day in, which makes this a must visit when you venture to central Oregon.
- 7 Devils Brewing Company – Coos Bay, Oregon
An unexpected and wonderful find in a small town on the Oregon coast, 7 Devils was an absolute delight to visit. With great live music, high quality beer, and a neat tasting room, I highly recommend stopping in anytime you are close to Coos Bay.
- Pelican Brewing – Pacific City, Oregon
Having visited several times and drinking many of their beers at home, I feel confident in saying you will always have a great visit and taste high quality beer anytime you stop in at Pelican Brewing. Those accolades do not even factor in the great location right on the beach in Pacific City. Be sure to stop in this picturesque town and spend a day at the beach enjoying excellent food and beer.
- Pretentious Beer Company – Knoxville, Tennessee
I would say you should visit Pretentious Beer Company if for nothing else than to see the hand-crafted blown glass tap handles, however, you would do yourself a disservice if you did not try the beer. This brewery was a delightful find on a business trip to Knoxville, with wonderful beer and a truly creative twist to a business idea with the glass blowing. I absolutely recommend stopping by this funky place if you are in town.
- Main and Six Brewing Company – Jacksonville, Florida
While I may never be quite as much of a hipster as this place attracts, it was nonetheless a pleasant experience with good beer and a sleek tap room! One of the better breweries in a city that is rapidly growing the craft beer scene, give them a try next time you are in Jacksonville, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
- Stormbreaker Brewing – Portland, Oregon
Great beers, delicious food, and a perfect location in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Portland earn Stormbreaker a spot on this list. It takes a lot to stand out in the competitive beer scene in that city, so making it to this list speaks volumes. I highly recommend stopping in next time you are in the Rose City.
- Hop Valley – Eugene, Oregon
One of my favorite stops in Eugene, Oregon, I highly recommend visiting Hop Valley Brewing if you are in town. From the delicious food to the expansive tap list, they manage to check most of the boxes of what you want to see in a brewery and tap room. Even if you can’t stop in, go look for their beer in the store. Your palate will thank you.
And there you have it: the top 10 list of 2018! While these are my highest rated breweries from the past year, be sure to check out my reviews throughout the year and stop in to any you may be close to. Happy Holidays and cheers!