Beer. It’s been a popular drink for thousands of years. The popularity of craft beer, at-home brewing, and breweries has risen exponentially in the past half a decade. Sawyer Avery, a bartender at El Bait Shop in Des Moines says, “Craft beer isn’t just for hipsters anymore. People young and old can enjoy the different flavors any time of year.” El Bait Shop has 222 beers on tap from all around the Midwest, focusing primarily on local brews. The Midwest does beer best—here are some of the greats to try the next time you want to crack open a cold one.
Brewery: Big Muddy Brewing
Beer to try: Saluki Dunkeldog
Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro has a small-town feel with big-time flavor. With nine original brews and an annual Backyard Beer-B-Que Cookoff (in a town known for its barbecue), what’s not to love?
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
Beer to try: Pachanga Mexican-Style Lager
The Sun King Brewing Company is the second largest brewery in Indiana and one of the most awarded breweries in the state. Famous for its seasonal beers and its quick turnaround production, Sun King’s beer is sold at over 1,000 locations in Indiana, and its reach continues to grow every year.
Brewery: Peace Tree Brewing
Beer to try: Blonde Fatale
Avery says that a personal favorite and one of their most popular beers at El Bait Shop is Peace Tree’s Blonde Fatale. It has a smooth taste with a hint of fruity flavor that will immediately spark a love affair with this brew.
Brewery: Hopping Gnome Brewery
Beer to try: Steampunk Saison
The Hopping Gnome Brewery is all about buying local and harnessing Wichita’s energy. The brewery sells six standard beers and has one to two rotating seasonal beers each month. It also sells growlers and kegs for special occasions.
Brewery: Arcadia Ales
Beer to try: Sky High Rye
Michigan is filled to the brim with breweries. Arcadia Ales has been around for over 20 years in Kalamazoo, and its beers are British-inspired but American-brewed. The brewery’s pet-friendly beer garden is right next to the Kalamazoo River where kayaks, canoes, and bikes can always be found.
Brewery: Dangerous Man Brewing Company
Beer to try: Chocolate Milk Stout
Minneapolis is home to a whopping 20 breweries. One of the most popular is the Dangerous Man Brewing Company, which is famous for selling its own growlers right next to the taproom. Customers can bring in their own to refill or buy a new one filled with any of the beers on tap.
Brewery: Bur Oak Brewing Company
Beer to try: Big Tree IPA
The Bur Oak Brewing Company in Columbia boasts an environment that brings people together. It may only have two beers year-round, but its limited-release beers add variety to satisfy everyone.
Brewery: Infusion Brewery
Beer to try: Blueberry Kettle Sour
Looking for a kick-ass brewery tour in Omaha? Located in the historic Benson neighborhood in a building from 1917, Infusion Brewery is the perfect place to go. The Blueberry Kettle Sour’s deep purple coloring sets it apart from other brews on the market.
Brewery: Fargo Brewing Company
Beer to try: Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale
The Fargo Brewing Company started in a garage and, after just five years, is one of the leading breweries in North Dakota. Its beers are sold all over the state and range from the palest ale to a darker than night stout. The Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale is a combination of caramel, honey, and cocoa, making it great for those who are new to the craft beer game.
Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Beer to try: Holy Moses White Ale
Great Lakes Brewing Company serves up cold brews in historic Cleveland. The Holy Moses White Ale is flavored with chamomile, orange peel, and coriander. The craft brewery was the first of its kind to open in Ohio in the 1980s.
Brewery: WoodGrain Brewing Company
Beer to try: India Pale Ale
The WoodGrain Brewing Company uses multiple kinds of hops in its beers to create new, fresh brews. Its India Pale Ale is a new take on a traditional IPA. This brewery uses five different kinds of hop to give the ale an explosion of flavor with every sip.
Brewery: Wisconsin Brewing Company
Beer to try: Badger Club Amber Ale
Wisconsin is home to some of the drunkest cities in the country, so, obviously, its residents like to drink. The Wisconsin Brewing Company opened in 2013 and has since created fresh, flavorful beers for all of Wisconsin to enjoy.