All posts by bestbreweries

The Berghoff Restaurant and Brewery

The Berghoff Restaurant and Brewery has been a Chicaco landmark since 1898, when Herman Joseph Berghoff opened the restaurant. The German-born Berghoff was an Indiana brewer during the late Nineteenth Century who sold his wares at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893 and saw a growth opportunity in the Windy City.

Berghoff’s orignal Dortmund style beer sold for a nickel. Today The Berghoff Restaurant is mostly catering and a popular lunch spot for busy corporate Chicago folks in the downtown Loop area. Try the Wiener Schniztel and any of the German style favorites: Berghoff’s Lager, Berghoff Hefe Weizen, Berghoff Pale Ale, Berghoff Dark or one of their seasonal beers (Winter Ale, Summer Solstice Wit, and Oktoberfest) when you’re in town – those five penny beers are going to run you back six bucks though. Cheers!

Hop ‘n Moose Brewing Company

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What would a trip to Rutland, Vermont be without a stop at Hop ‘n Moose Brewing Company?! While the Green Mountain State has more breweries per capita than any other, you probably still have to drive a ways to find one depending on location. This is idyllic New England after all!

Hop ‘n Moose is like a beer oasis in Rutland, a.k.a., Rut Vegas, a city of nearly 20,000 with but one little brewing company that could. And they certainly can! Since opening in 2014, Hop ‘n Moose has built a loyal following (including ourselves) and a reputation for brewing a wide variety of Vermont fresh Ales and Lagers.

Brewmaster and owner Dale Patterson got his start home brewing before opening the brewpub, which is Rutland’s very first! Patterson, essentially a one-man-brewing-show, seems able to harness super-brewing strength and keeps a dozen taps of Vermont fresh house beers flowing at all times! We highly recommend the Rutland City Red and Swamp Jack (Jack Daniels bourbon barrel aged Stout)!

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Last but not yeast: Marsh Monster!

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The Brewery at the Norwich Inn

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The Norwich Inn has a long and storied history, going back to 1797. President James Monroe dined at the Inn in 1817 during the first year of his presidency while exploring what was at that time America’s Northern Frontier by horse.

Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse came to the Norwich Inn much later, in 1993, and remains true to it’s Vermont small batch roots, producing only enough beer for the Inn’s Restaurant and Pub guests  (including 22 oz, cases and 5-gallon kegs to go). They are known for finely crafted English Style Ales and Lagers and using only the freshest ingredients, including hops from their on site hops garden, making this a shining example of Vermont farm-to-bottle goodness.

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The Victorian style Inn as it stands dates back to 1890.

Today’s selection includes a Bohemian Pilsner, Old Pewt Pale Ale, Whistling Pig Red Ale, Private Stock ’15, and Second Wind Oatmeal Stout. Out favorite in the Belgian Strong Ale! CHEERS!

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Brewmaster Jeremy Hebert pipes the finished beer straight from the brewery into Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse in a nearby building on the expansive Norwich property.

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Nowich is one of the few towns in America with an interstate public school system. Local students study alongside those from Hanover, New Hampshire, across the Connecticut River. Indeed, the two towns are intertwined culturally and economically by proximity to Ivy League educator Dartmouth College. The Brewery at Norwich Inn is a great place to stop when you are visiting Dartmouth as it is only a mile and change down the road from campus. Check them out at 325 Main Street when you’re looking for a fresh beer and a taste of Vermont!

Idletyme Brewing Company

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Idletyme Brewing Company is an 8.5 barrel, 3 vessel brewhouse located in Stowe, the second largest town in the Green Mountain State and among the most mountainous, scenic and beautiful.

Foster’s Cider Mill operated out of this location in the heart of town in the early 20th century, paving the way for contemporary fermentation a century later. From 1965 to 2011 it was the Shed Restaurant, which served hungry skiers in between days on the mountain. Shed Restaurant opened a brewery on site in 1995. Pretty soon Shed’s Mountain Ale was quenching Après-ski thirst across the state of Vermont and beyond, finally outgrowing its original Stowe brewhouse and decamping for Middlebury in 2011. Fast forward to 2012 and husband and wife restaurant team Michael and Laura Kloeti take over Crop Bistro & Brewery to create Idletyme Brewing Company. 

Brewmaster Will Gilson oversaw the transformation from The Shed to Crop Brewery including the installation of Idletyme’s German built, 8,000 lb. copper brew kettles. Gilson continues to manage brewing operations and maintains Idletyme’s on site vegetable garden, making this a true Vermont farm-to-table  experience! We recommend starting with the 6-sample “Brew-ski” beer flight. CHEERS!

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Idletyme Double IPA, Doubletyme Double IPA, Bavarian Weissen, Vermont Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Porter, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel Lager and Maerzen (German fest beer)!

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In addition to Idletyme’s many well crafted house brews (which would be more than enough to satisfy local tastes in most places), there are some fine local guest appearances, including this American IPA from The Alchemist: Focal Banger!

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Idletyme Brewing Company is located at 1859 Mountain Road in snowy Stowe, Vermont – check them out!

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Von Trapp Brewing

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What is there not to love about Vermont? The Green Mountain State is home to more breweries per capita than any other including, as of 2010, Von Trapp Brewing.

Johannes Von Trapp dreamt of opening a brewery at his family’s eponymous Lodge in Stowe over a decade ago. The Lodge, 2500 acres in all, was founded by the family after touring America as the Von Trapp Singers in the 1940s. Stowe reminded the Von Trapps of their native Austria.

You really have to see the Lodge and Brewery for yourself to believe it. It’s one of those places time forgot. But this is no mom-and-pop operation. Von Trapp built a brand new 50,000 barrel per year brewhouse in 2015 and they are cranking out farm fresh craft beer for the Vermont market as fast as they can!

Beer flight on deck: Bohemian Pilsner, Golden Helles, Oktoberfest and Trosten Lager. CHEERS!

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$20 case of Von Trapp Oktoberfest on clearance? Yes, please. Only in Vermont!

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Diving Dog Brewhouse

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Right around the corner from Uber’s newly purchased Uptown Station building (Sears, once upon a time) in Oakland, California, is a veritable treasure trove of craft beer and a bustling brewery scene. A must stop when in the neighborhood is the Diving Dog Brewhouse, a post industrial shrine to beer set amongst the ever changing landscape outside.

Diving Dog sets itself apart by offering something other brewpubs don’t – the ability to brew your own beer on premises using their professional grade brewing equipment!

Among the 29 all-American guest taps is but a single house brew. It’s a Kolsch, and it’s delicious! CHEERS!

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Santa Clara Valley Brewing

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Steve Donahue and Tom Clark founded Santa Clara Valley Brewing in 2013 with the goal of “providing our friends and neighbors with a selection of fine handcrafted beers created with the highest quality ingredients.” We’d say they’re doing a pretty bang up job on that, which makes SCVB the first stop on our San Jose brewery tour!

SCVB’s Electric Tower IPA pays homage to the neighborhood’s historic San Jose Electric Light Tower of 1881, one of many so called ‘moontowers’ that illuminated nighttime cityscapes across Europe and the U.S. in the late 1800’s. It packs a heavy wallop of West Coast IPA+ness to remind you not only where you came from but where you’re going…for another beer!

Two other flagships – Peralta Porter and New Almaden Red -compliment a wide selection of experimental  and one off brewskis. Check them out at 101 E. Alma St. in San Jose! CHEERS!

Goose Island Clybourn

Goose Island Clybourn brewpub is where the Goose Island Beer Co. story begins, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood in 1988. The brewery is named after Goose Island, a.k.a. Silicon Island, a 160-acre artificial island in the middle of the Chicago River.

After partnering with Craft Brew Alliance’s Widmer Brothers Brewing in 2006, founder John Hall sold his controlling stake in Goose Island to AB InBev in 2011. While Goose Island can no longer market their wares as craft beer (since brewing major ABI owns more than 25%), the brewpubs (there’s a second one in Wriglyville) were not part of the deal and remain independent. Either way they make pretty darn good beer, craft or otherwise.

On deck we have an excellent seasonal pumpkin beer – enjoy it while it lasts! CHEERS!

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Rock Bottom Brewery Chicago

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Rock Bottom Brewery is but one esteemed brand in the stable of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries – a brewing behemoth formed by the acquisition of Rock Bottom Brewery and Gordon Biersch by private equity investors Centerbridge Partners in 2010. Together they run more brewpubs than any other company in America – 70 in all around the country!

Rock Bottom is known historically for granting on site brewers independence and discretion to brew the beers they want to brew for local tastes. But the times, they are ‘a changin’! RB’s corporate overlords mandates half a dozen or so standard house beers that each location must produce in addition to honoring the long standing tradition of experimentation and localization.

So why are they called Rock Bottom? It has nothing to do with that feeling Monday morning after a weekend of willful liver augmentation. Rather, the brewery’s first location opened in the Denver, Colorado, Prudential Building (Prudential, a.k.a., “The Rock”) in 1991. The rest is beer history!

Beer flight ready for takeoff! On deck we have Lake Shore Drive Lager, Chicago Gold Ale (brewed with Cascade and Centennial hops), Red Line Express Red Ale, Liquid X Hefe, Autumn-atic IPA (Equinox hops), and Happy Camper Porter. CHEERS!

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