Downing a pint in your local dive is all very well and good, but some breweries have gone above and beyond to create extraordinary spaces in which to enjoy their beer. From panoramic views to greenery-strewn sanctuaries where you could curl up all day, these taprooms reward travelers willing to make a small journey.
Brewery Bhavana, North Carolina
In case the Sanskrit name—meaning “cultivating”—didn’t tip you off, this spot isn’t your run-of-the-mill brewery. With a flower shop, a dim sum restaurant, a bookstore, and enough foliage to keep even the most plant-obsessed Millennial happy, it’s one of the most serene spaces in Raleigh. Yet while the whole interior may be serious Instagram-bait, the 40-tap bar pouring everything from chocolate rye stouts to farmhouse ales and double IPAs means there’s more to this place than mere eye-candy.
Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., New Mexico
When Shyla Sheppard, who is part of the Three Affiliated Tribes, and Missy Begay, who is a member of the Diné Nation, decided to open their own brewery in Albuquerque, they immediately envisioned a place that would pay homage to their Native heritage. The resulting 10,000-square-foot taproom housed in a converted warehouse is truly stunning. Rather than lean on the lazy Native American tropes found in kitschy gift shops, the couple incorporated subtler references into the design, from the abstract sculpture of a buffalo head that adorns the wall to a Pendleton blanket that hangs over a photograph of Monument Valley, a sacred space for the region’s tribes.
The Church Brew Works, Pennsylvania
People may joke about their borderline religious fervor for craft beer, but the team behind this Pittsburg brewpub housed in a converted Roman Catholic church took matters a step further. First opened in 1902, St. John the Baptist Church was a house of worship for nearly a century. In 1996, after it had already been vacant for several years and officially deconsecrated by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the building once again opened to the public—this time to serve Belgian tripels and stouts rather than wine and wafers. Not only is it officially recognized as a historic landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, but it’s also a former winner of the Great American Beer Festival's Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year Award.
Grimm Artisan Ales, New York
Lauren and Joe Grimm spent a full five years as nomadic brewers before they opened up their permanent location in Brooklyn. The 7,500-square-foot East Williamsburg taproom and brewery turned out to be more than worth the wait. Huge windows allow natural light to flood the plant-filled space, which features more than 10 draft lines, plus a respectable selection of locally produced ciders from around the Hudson Valley. You could grab a growler to go, but it’s far more enjoyable to pull up a stool and enjoy one of their oak-aged, bottle-conditioned sours and a pulled lamb quesadilla.
Tree House Brewing Co., Massachusetts
“If you build it, they will come” might as well be the motto of this iconic brewery. It may be miles from, well, just about everything, but pull into the parking lot on a Saturday and you’ll find swarms of devotees from all over the region. Most come to stock up on the maximum number of cans they can purchase, then stick around for the food trucks, live music, and a dizzying selection of draft beers in an unbeatable location. The picnic benches outdoors are just right for summer afternoons, while the interior is both cozy and convivial in the winter time.
Old Stove Brewing Co., Washington
Pike Place Market has been a part of the social fabric of Seattle for more than a century and Old Stove’s MarketFront Brewery and Restaurant has been a welcome addition. Sixteen draft beers, local ciders, and a solid menu of chef-driven pub grub would be reason enough to visit. The real draw though may be the heart-stopping view of Eliot Bay through the 80-foot-long window. As the day winds down, expect to see plenty of locals swinging through to watch the sunset behind the Olympic Mountains.