Accusations of ‘flyover territory’ get tossed at the Midwest on the double, with the region sorely undervalued for its contributions to American culture. Their prolific craft beers are one such hot item. Microbreweries have been sprouting up for the last three decades to spur on a new generation of beer connoisseurs. IPAs have never been hoppier nor the Belgian ales maltier. Should your thirst need quenching by the best brew around, consider one of these awesome Midwest breweries as the target for your next trip.
Summit Brewery-St. Paul, Minnesota
Pilsner and Oatmeal Stouts aren’t the only things on tap as Summit Brewery offers free tours. Free! As in: Explore their state-of-art technology for bottling several hundred beers in a minute, and wind down with free samples of specialty brews. From humble beginnings in the 80s as a frog town factory selling kegs on University, to its mammoth operation off of Summit Avenue, Summit Brewery continues to dominate sales with its signature Summit Extra Pale Ale.
Front Street Brewery-Davenport, Iowa
The little brick-and-mortar housing this mahogany furnished Iowan Joint dates back to 1865. Businesses were shuffled through for the next twelve decades or so, with failed hat shops, textiles from Polvogt & Co., and even becoming a hot spot for Kuppenheimer suits. It wasn’t until 1995 that Front Street Brewery officially threw open it’s doors. It’s been true love ever since with crowds flooding the shop for microbrews served in German Growlers and an epic selection of the Midwest’s best fried goods.
Boulevard Brewing Co.-Kansas City, Missouri
Boulevard Brewing Company began life in 1989 using pickups to deliver kegs of its now legendary Boulevard Pale Ale to local restaurants. A massive add-on to the original facility in 2006 upped their capacity from 6,000 to 600,000 barrels a year. They now distribute famous brews like their Smokestack series and 80-Hoppy Wheat beer across 31 states. And don’t miss their grapefruit scented Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale; winner of the 2015 Beer Madness contest.
Pipeworks Brewing Co.-Chicago, Illinois
Ultra-stylish, medieval punk, sci-fi cartoons burst forth in explosions of color from the labels of each bottle. The vast number of these psychedelic pictures mirrors the equally hectic amount of brews. This has created a crazed collector scenario for Chicago’s now iconic brewery, as each release sees fevered waves of hobbyists swarming for the freshest samples and ill artwork. So how do you choose? Well, their double IPAs are a fan-favorite, but their One Horned Wonder spouts novelty as a chile beer that’s tangy not spicy.
New Glarus Brewing Co.-New Glarus, Wisconsin
Spotted Cow is a household name throughout the old pine woods of Wisconsin. No surprise given its top spot on draft beer sales charts year after year. Besides their corn sweetened farmhouse ale, New Glarus has received worldwide acclaim for its Wisconsin Belgian Red. This Belgian Ale uses a pound of Montmorency cherries per bottle of brew. The scarlet liquid won awards across America and Europe, coaxing New Glarus owners Dan and Deborah Casey to patent it.
Bell’s Brewery-Kalamazoo, Michigan
Come 1983 nobody outside neighboring townships had ever heard the crazy name of Kalamazoo nor of Bell’s, the local homebrew supply store within it. 23 years on, Bell’s is a juggernaut inspiration among greenhorns with fresh Brewmaster certifications. Every summer sees their seasonal wheat ale Oberon greedily frisked from store shelves en masse. If you’re in town, stop by the Eccentric Café for exclusive beers from Bell’s not found anywhere else.