During a trip this month to Boulder, Colorado, I almost felt guilty about skipping the incredible taproom of Avery Brewing Co. and the many other breweries in the city. I imagine it was today a sign of the incredible panorama of craft beer.
Just a few years ago, I probably would have skied backwards from Pikes Peak if it had been my only chance to get to Avery, but times have changed. Great craft beer is everywhere: in breweries, breweries, bars, restaurants, package shops, airports, museums, botanical gardens and a myriad of places one could not even imagine.
So, in Boulder, I saw the list of beers on the Backcountry Pizza & Tap House website, I noticed his interesting pizza menu, I saw that it was the night of curiosities and I put Avery on the drink list.
At the pizzeria and tip house, I concentrated on the list of drafts and my eyes could not believe the many wonders that were poured. They included Pliny the Elder, once arguably America’s most sought after beer by the Russian River Brewing Company in Windsor, California. And there were so many others from all over the United States and the world.
Beer fanatics basked in choices like Medianoche, an imperial dark beer aged 10 months in bourbon barrels at WeldWerks Brewing in Colorado; Tempus Blend # 9, a blend of fermented beers aged in oak stems, oak barrels and barrels of red and white wine from Connecticut OEC Brewing, and Gouden Carolus Cuvée van de Keizer Imperial Dark, a strong beer with notes of toasted malt , caramel and plums from Het Anker in Mechelen, Belgium.
I never made it to the sensational bottle list. It included rarities like Traquair House Ale from the Scottish Traquair House brewery, a beer I came across, and I was told to drink hot by the locals as I walked through Scotland in search of and writing Fodor Short escapes set of travel guides.
The point of all this beer in search of the soul? Simply, I’m just trying to point out that a restaurant or pub these days can beat other beer venues, including some of the trendiest ones. The country and the world are now full of sensational breweries and we can never look back to the days decades ago, when many bars simply offered a choice between a short glass of Schaefer or a bottle of Bud.
CraftBeer.com – the Brewers Association website for beer lovers – recently interviewed readers for their favorite craft beer bar across the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for an annual Great American Beer Bar competition.
Here are the winners:
Alabama: Loosa Brews (Tuscaloosa)
Alaska: Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse (Denali National Park)
Arizona: Arizona Beer House (Tucson)
Arkansas: Fassler Hall (Little Rock)
California: Taplands (Santa Clara)
Colorado: Romero’s K9 Club & Tap House (Lafayette)
Connecticut: Willimantic Brewing Co. (Willimantic)
Delaware: Rehoboth Ale House (Rehoboth Beach)
District of Columbia: ChurchKey
Florida: Oil Well Craft Beer (Ave Maria)
Georgia: Brick Store Pub (Decatur)
Hawaii: Grace in Growlers (Kailua, Oahu)
Idaho: PreFunk Beer Bar (Nampa)
Illinois: The Brass Tap (Orland Park)
Indiana: Hop Station Craft Bar (Mishawaka)
Iowa: The Cellar Peanut Pub (Pella)
Kansas: The Anchor (Wichita)
Kentucky: Holy Grale (Louisville)
Louisiana: The Avenue Pub (New Orleans)
Maine: Craft Brew Underground (Auburn)
Maryland: Brew Belly Kitchen & Sudhaus (Olney)
Massachusetts: Moe’s Tavern (Lee)
Michigan: Brown Iron Brewhouse (Washington Township)
Minnesota: Republic (Minneapolis)
Mississippi: LD’s BeerRun (Jackson)
Missouri: Bier Station (Kansas City)
Montana: SHINE Beer Sanctuary & Bottle Shop (Bozeman)
Nebraska: Pour Craft Beer & Spirits (Lincoln)
Nevada: Piñon Bottle Company (Reno)
New Hampshire: Liquid Therapy (Nashua)
New Mexico: Rowley Farmhouse Ales (Santa Fe)
New York: Covenhoven (Brooklyn, New York City)
New Jersey: Grant Street Cafe (Dumont)
North Carolina: Fermental (Wilmington)
North Dakota: JL Beers (Fargo)
Ohio: Brewfontaine (Bellefontaine)
Oklahoma: Social Capital (Oklahoma City)
Oregon: The Beer Mongers (Portland)
Pennsylvania: Bulls Head Public House (Lititz)
Puerto Rico: Taberna Boricua (San Juan)
Rhode Island: Norey’s (Newport)
South Carolina: The Craft Stand (Lancaster)
South Dakota: Independent Ale House (Rapid City)
Tennessee: Hops and Hollers (Knoxville)
Texas: The Thistle Draftshop (Spring)
Utah: Angry Goat Pub and Kitchen (Ogden)
Vermont: The Blackback Pub (Waterbury)
Virginia: Harry’s Ale House (Fredericksburg)
Washington: Ben’s Bottle Shop (Vancouver)
West Virginia: Summit Beer Station (Huntington)
Wisconsin: Garth’s Brew Bar (Madison)
Wyoming: Black Tooth Brewing (Sheridan)