Cavernous industrial warehouses and candlelit taprooms are all very well and good for the winter months, but when the days start getting longer, all we really want to do is soak in the sunshine. Bonus points if there is a body of water nearby and a beer in our hand. While there’s nothing wrong with hauling a cooler to the beach, the following taprooms and breweries want to help you keep the sand out of your shoes—and your beers—by offering icy-cold drafts a stone’s throw from the water’s edge.
The Pelican Pub and Brewery, Pacific City, Oregon
Beers on the beach? Yes, please. Back in 1996, three ambitious craft beer nerds transformed a derelict building by the ocean into the Pelican Pub and Brewery. Not only was the brewery wildly successful, but it also helped lead to full-scale waterfront revival. Join a brewery tour or sit back and watch surfers ride the waves while sipping on a Father of All Tsunamis, a rye whiskey barrel-aged imperial stout, or a Kiwanda, a golden-hued pre-Prohibition-style cream ale.
The Waterfront Brewery, Key West, Florida
The name says it all. If Jimmy Buffet ever decided to ditch Margaritaville for, say, a key lime gose, you can bet he’d go straight to this sunshine-soaked spot. Happy hour at the Waterfront Brewery is every damn day and means that every one of the house-brewed beers is half off. It’s all the more incentive to pull up a chair and spend a lazy afternoon watching the boats bobbing in the harbor.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company,
From brut IPAs to farmhouse ales and kölsches, this Californian classic has been brewing up an exceptional range of beers since 2000. On a summer evening, their outdoor beer garden is one of the most atmospheric places to take in a view of the harbor. Over the years, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s flagship site has become a gathering point for influential locals. The regular Brews & Views Speaker Series features everyone from environmentalists discussing how to save the oceans to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Fremont Brewing Company, Seattle, Washington
Founded in 2009 by Matt Lincecum, Fremont Brewing Company scores major points in our books for its genuine commitment to the environment. From donating their spent grain to local farms for livestock feed to partnering with multiple eco-conscious organizations, it consistently goes the extra mile to be a responsible member of its local community.
Eppig Brewing, San Diego, California
Situated right by the water at Point Loma, the Waterfront Biergarten at Eppig Brewing has ambiance and aquatic views for days. The brewery itself can trace its roots back more than a century to when a pair of Bavarian brothers, Joseph and Leonhard Eppig, made a name for themselves in Brooklyn, New York. In 2016, one of their descendants would revive the family tradition and begin brewing Baltic porters, inky-black German Schwarzbier, and ruby-red Berliner weisse.
Naukabout Beer Company, Mashpee, Massachusetts
Few places embody the laid-back vibe of Cape Cod better than this brewery founded by Peter Murner, a lifelong local of the area. The taproom, which overlooks both Lake Mashpee and the Mashpee River, specializes in small batch-brewed New England-style IPAs. Teetotallers and younger visitors should check out their artisanally brewed root beers, made onsite with raisins, vanilla and juniper berries.