Legend says early European settlers came to the Northwest because craft beer flowed in the rivers and fresh hops and barley fell from the sky like rain.

Okay, not really — but when many people think of the best breweries, they do often think about Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.

Best Northwest BreweriesIt is true that great hops and barley grow in the cool and temperate climate of the Northwest, and some of the best water on the planet flows in the region’s abundant rivers.

In fact, Washington State produces as much as 75 percent of the entire U.S. hop yield, and Oregon accounts for up to another 17 percent. Washington State also ranks fourth in the nation for barley production.

This combination, plus the independent nature of the people in this area, makes the Northwest a kind of holy land for craft beer fans and microbreweries. Beerlandia, if you will.

In 1978, President Carter legalized homebrewing. But Northwesterners were making their own beer long before that. As early as 1888, Henry Weinhard, an early pioneer of microbrewing, helped build the Northwest’s beer-loving culture.

In Seattle, Charles Finkel founded beer importer Merchant du Vin in 1978. He helped build a market for local brewers like Paul Shipman, who founded Redhook Brewery in 1981, and Bert Grant, who founded Yakima Brewing in 1982.

Since then, things have only gotten better for Northwest breweries, with the craft beer industry spreading into Idaho and up into Alaska.

So, if you’re a fan of great beer — each one as unique as the personalities you’ll encounter traveling the Northwest edge of our continent — read on.

And if you find yourself at any of these breweries, be sure to raise a toast to us.

Methodology

In this list, we feature the craft and microbreweries of the American Northwest, where some of the most successful and earliest ventures into artisanal brewing can be found — some well-known, some fresh newcomers to the scene, and some best-kept-secrets.

This list was composed based on triangulated data from recent national lists — BeervanaBlog.com, CultureTrip.com, Thrillist.com, and PasteMagazine.com — plus qualitative details from homesites and Wikipedia. We used the following criteria, based on a 20-point Likert scale:

1) Nostalgia factor, based on tradition and history in relation to the local region and culture

2) Popularity factor, based on scale of production and sales

3) Scarcity factor, based on demand for small batch runs

4) Cult factor, based on niche following and identity

5) Destination factor, based on the brewery location’s quality of tours, festivals, and restaurants

The final score will be reflected in a RAVE Meter.

Whether you are an experienced craft beer drinker or new to the scene, the Northwest will give you ample opportunity to taste the nuances and particular styles that each brewer brings to their craft.

Hop in the car, plan the trip, and take this list with you as you explore all that Northwest craft beer has to offer.

The Best Breweries in the PNW

  1. Bellevue Brewing Company | Bellevue, WA

    Bellevue Brewing Company believes Washington State’s unparalleled geography, geology, abundant natural resources, and stunning beauty make it an ideal place to brew beer.

    They use only the best ingredients, combining traditional and innovative brewing techniques to create small-batch beers. Styles and flavors range from an ESB to a Scotch Ale.

    Bellevue’s beers are characterized by clean, nuanced flavors and excellent balance.

    When you visit, don’t miss the Bohemian Pilsner, Oatmeal South, or Black India Pale Ale.

    There’s also a flagship series, a brewer’s series (red ales, blonde ales, etc.), and a seasonal series.

    The brewpub menu features house-smoked meats, stone-fired pizzas, chili, and a locally renowned lamb burger.

    In 2013, Bellevue medaled in the first-ever Washington Beer Awards. Bellevue has been featured on BeerAdvocate.com, and the brewery placed in Seattle Magazine’s inaugural Beer Awards competition.

    Nostalgia: 18
    Popularity: 19
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 97

  2. Highlands Hollow Brewhouse | Boise, ID

    Boise’s oldest brewhouse, Highlands Hollow is home to constantly rotating taps that are always serving up something new.

    Under the rafters of the old BSU stadium (worked into the structure of Highland’s building), sip on the Fiegwild. Copper-orange in color with a floral hop aroma, Fieg is an English-style pale ale, hopped aggressively using Willamette, Cascade, and Zeus hops.

    There’s also the Thunder Monkey, an ESB with multi-layered aromas, intense hop flavor, and hearty malt undertones. Thunder Monkey packs a hefty 7.5 percent ABV.

    Most Highlands Hollow beers are British in origin.

    VacationIdea.com lists Highlands Hollow Brewhouse among Idaho’s 25 best breweries. And in September, Highlands Hollow participates in the B’Arc & Brew Craft Beer Festival. Attendees at the festival sample great local and regional brews while enjoying dog-related vendors and activities.

    Nostalgia: 20
    Popularity: 19
    Scarcity: 18
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 18

    RAVE Meter: 95

  3. pFriem Family Brewers | Hood River, OR

    Widely considered Oregon’s best brewery, pFriem Family Brewers is known for consistent quality across all their beers.

    With about 50 bottled products released annually — ranging from classic German lagers to experimental IPAs and vibrant ales — there’s plenty of variety.

    And with dishes like mussels and house bratwurst, pFriem features a full menu of grub to sop up all the brew.

    In 2018, pFriem won Brewery of the Year — Large, as well as Best Brewpub Experience at the Oregon Beer Awards.

    pFriem also ranked among the top 25 small breweries in the 2016 Craft Beer & Brewing Reader’s Choice awards, and that same year pFriem’s pilsner was named a Craft Beer & Brewing Critic’s Choice.

    In 2017, pFriem’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Dank IPA, and Flanders Blonde all ranked in the Top 100 rated beers at the Beer Connoisseur Club.

    Nostalgia: 16
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 18
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 94

  4. Fremont Brewing Company | Seattle, WA

    Located in what’s arguably the center of Seattle’s brewing universe — the Fremont District — Fremont Brewing Company makes sustainable, small-batch artisan beers with local ingredients, including a weekly “world famous” Cask Ale.

    Fremont also serves the Universale Pale Ale, a pale ale with a Northwest twist, and the Interurban Pale, named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture.

    They also brew seasonal beers, including the occasional “wonderbeer” that is only sold at the Urban Beer Garden, or UBG.

    While at Fremont, be sure to try the Darkstar, an Imperial Oatmeal Stout, or the seasonal Parkland Pils. Fremont also offers barrel-aged beers like Unicorn Tears and the Rusty Nail. With names like that, who wouldn’t want to sample some?

    Fremont has won a whole host of accolades, ranging from Seattle Magazine’s 2018 Best Local Brewery/Taproom to Ratebeer’s 2014 Top 100 Brewers in the World.

    Nostalgia: 19
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 17
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 94

  5. Black Raven Brewing Co. | Redmond, WA

    Black Raven Brewing Co. releases special brews every year. If you’re interested in trying some, you’d better act fast — they sell out quickly.

    Using a 15-barrel brewhouse, Black Raven brews beers with some unusual flavors, like the award-winning Corvus Frambiscus Raspberry Sour and a Corvus Kriekus American Cherry Sour.

    Black Raven’s monthly cask ale program allows brewers to experiment with unique ingredients on a small scale. On the first Wednesday of each month, Black Raven taps a special cask on the bar. The program is designed to highlight their brewers’ creativity.

    Black Raven’s quality has been widely recognized in the craft beer industry. In 2011, Black Raven’s Festivus Holiday Ale won People’s Choice at the Washington Winter Beer Festival, and the Grandfather Raven Imperial Stout won silver and gold from the Washington Brewers Association and the North American Brewers Association.

    Nostalgia: 16
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 16

    RAVE Meter: 92

  6. Alaskan Brewing Co. | Juneau, AK

    Perhaps Alaska’s most well-respected brewery, and certainly one of the state’s first, Alaskan Brewing Co. boasts an impressive 47,000 square foot space where they make signature suds like the Smoked Porter (now a limited-edition beer).

    There’s also the Freeride APA, a classic American pale brewed with 3 types of hops and the glacial-fed waters of Juneau.

    Known for using such local ingredients as alder-smoked malts and sitka spruce tips, Alaskan seeks historical authenticity in its beer, drawing from traditional recipes for brews like the well-known Alaskan Amber.

    In 2018, Alaskan brought home gold from the World Beer Cup for their Spruce IPA. Spruce tips provide the fresh, berry flavor unique to this beer.

    Nostalgia: 20
    Popularity: 19
    Scarcity: 15
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 19

    RAVE Meter: 91

  7. Heater Allen | McMinnville, OR

    There was a time when German lagers were considered a little lightweight for craft beer drinkers. Heater Allen, in business for over a decade, is showing that there’s a lot of room in the microbrew scene for this crisp, flavorful, and refreshing style of beer.

    Heater Allen uses only the best possible ingredients, from German malt and German, Czech, and Oregon hops to McMinnville’s naturally soft water.

    Using a German-style step-mashing process, Heater Allen reduces the beer’s protein content. This, combined with long, low temperature lagering, results in malty and naturally clear beers, all without filtering. The final result is beer with a finer bead (smaller bubbles), a smooth texture, and a little bit of yeast left in the bottle. Heater Allen also makes schwarzbiers, bocks, and kölsches.

    In 2018, Heater Allen won gold in the Willamette Week’s Oregon Beer Awards Rare and Historical Category for their Block House Beer. And Draft.com listed Heater Allen as one of America’s 8 best lager-only breweries.

    Nostalgia: 18
    Popularity: 15
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 20

    Rave Meter: 91

  8. Maritime Pacific Brewery | Seattle, WA

    Located in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Maritime Pacific Brewery has a pirate-inspired taproom that honors Seattle’s seafaring history. The brewery draws from traditional recipes to produce unique, Northwest-style beers.

    Be sure to try the Islander Pale Ale, made with Yakima/Czech Republic hops, and the malty Salmon Bay ESB. The subtly roasted flavor of Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale is not to be missed.

    There are also plenty of rare, seasonal brews at the family-owned brewery, like the Navigator and the Jolly Roger Christmas Ale.

    Every April, don’t miss Maritime’s Annual Dock Sale and Hawaiian Barbecue. Also in April, Maritime participates in the Ballard Beer Awards, a friendly competition among the high concentration of microbreweries in the Ballard district.

    Nostalgia:16
    Popularity: 17
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 91

  9. Fort George Brewery | Astoria, OR

    Charming and scenic, Astoria, Oregon — the West Coast’s oldest permanent European settlement — is located at the mouth of the Columbia River. And Fort George Brewery aspires to capture this sense of history in their beers. They even serve a beer called From Astoria With Love, a pitch- black Russian Imperial that features a rich, nutty aroma and distinctive chocolate flavors.

    Initially, Fort George tended toward dark ales. Even still, every February, Fort George hosts the Festival of Dark Arts, a celebration of stouts. But founder Chris Nemlowill is a fan of hops, so Fort George’s first flagship was an IPA.

    Now the brewery is known as one of the state’s premier hop houses, and the brewpub is popular among tourists and locals alike.

    In 2016, Fort George’s Hellcat Chili Beer won silver in the World Beer Cup. In June of 2018, BeervanaBlog.com listed Fort George as one of Oregon’s best breweries.

    Nostalgia: 18
    Popularity: 19
    Scarcity: 13
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 20

    Rave Meter: 90

  10. Reuben’s Brews | Seattle, WA

    Founded by the winner of the 2012 National Homebrew Competition and the 2013 US Open Beer Championship, Reuben’s Brews is a Kickstarter-funded taproom serving small-batch brews.

    Like most places serving serious beer geeks, Reuben’s lists its beers on a stat board that includes details like price, ABV, IBU, and OG.

    When at Reuben’s, don’t miss the Crikey IPA, the Robust Porter, or the seasonal Roaste Rye IPA. Reuben’s tries to have something malty, hoppy, dark, and light on tap at all times. And each beer is distinctive, with no house yeast strain, base malts, or single hop supplier.

    Since opening in 2012, Reuben’s has won more awards for its beer than any other brewery in the state. In 2014, their Roggenbier won gold at the US Open, and their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout recently won gold at the World Beer Championships.

    Nostalgia: 18
    Popularity: 16
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 17
    Destination: 19

    RAVE Meter: 90

  11. Holy Mountain Brewing | Seattle, WA

    Holy Mountain Brewing is for beer fans who love variety. There are no year-round beers, so the tap lineup is always changing.

    What stays constant is Holy Mountain’s commitment to using some of the world’s best hops (sourced from the nearby Yakima Valley) to explore the relationship between hops, oak, and mixed fermentation.

    The constantly rotating lineup makes recommending Holy Mountain beers a bit of a moving target. But at any given time, you can find brews like Fire of the World, a London-style lager; Planetary Metal, an oak-fermented mixed culture pale ale; or Second Death, a Helles lager.

    In 2015, Holy Mountain Brewing took home gold at the WABA awards, and in 2016, they scored gold again at the 6th Annual Fresh Hop Throwdown. Holy Mountain is frequently listed as one of Seattle’s best breweries by publications like Seattle Magazine and The Stranger.

    Nostalgia: 16
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 14

    RAVE Meter: 90

  12. Georgetown Brewing Company | Seattle, WA

    Located in the industrial area of Seattle, this popular brewery doesn’t have a brewpub yet. Nevertheless, Georgetown Brewing has built a loyal following with the delicious Manny’s IPA. In fact, that beer makes up 70 percent of Georgetown’s production.

    All Georgetown ales use a proprietary yeast, and the brewery never filters its beer. As of May 2017, Georgetown was draft-only, which made it the largest draft-only brewery in the US at the time.

    Today, Georgetown cans its Bodhizafa IPA, Lucille IPA, and Roger’s Pilsner. Specialty beers are occasionally available to hand-bottle at the brewery only.

    In 2016, Georgetown won two gold medals at the GABF.

    Nostalgia: 16
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 14

    RAVE Meter: 90

  13. Grand Teton Brewing | Victor, ID

    Located at the base of the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains, Grand Teton Brewing is the perfect place to warm up after a long day on the slopes.

    The water in Grand Teton’s brews comes from glacial runoff, natural filtered for up to 500 years by Teton limestone and granite.

    At Grand Teton, be sure to try the appropriately named Teton Range India Pale Ale, with aromas of tropical fruits like mango and papaya as well as hints of pine.

    There’s also the Teton Amber, which features a rich copper color thanks to the roasted Crystal and Munich malts.

    Grand Teton’s brews have received many of the industry’s major awards. In 2012, Grand Teton’s Bitch Creek ESB won gold at the US Open Beer Championship, and Pursuit of Hoppiness, an imperial red, won gold in 2012 from NABA.

    Nostalgia: 19
    Popularity: 17
    Scarcity: 14
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 90

  14. Woodland Empire Ale Craft | Boise, ID

    Woodland Empire offers an impressive 107 different beer varieties. Try the Melorado IPA or In the Morning Coffee Mild, an English-style dark mild brewed with organic, fair trade coffee.

    Woodland’s brewers love to collaborate, putting a little taste of Idaho in every beer. Don’t miss the Acme Boisener-Weisse, a bottle-aged sour with sourdough starter from local Boise baker Acme Bakeshop.

    Also be sure to try the Electric Warrior Oatmeal Stout, Big Sticky Red IPA, or the City of Trees Idaho Pale Ale.

    This brewery is also perfect for fans of sour beers, like the Set ’em Wild, Set ’em Free Berliner Weiss series and the delightfully named Upschitt Kriek.

    Woodland Empire rotates their taps seasonally, so there’s always something new to try.

    In 2018, Vinepair.com listed Woodland Empire in their Top 10 Beer Destinations, calling Boise’s beer scene in general “revitalized.” And Thrillist.com calls Woodland Empire Idaho’s most underrated brewery.

    Nostalgia: 12
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 19
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 19

    RAVE Meter: 90

  15. Denali Brewing Company | Talkeetna, AK

    Denali Brewing Company seeks to balance environmental stewardship with quality beers. The company includes associated distilleries, a ciderworks, and a meadery.

    In the brewpub, sample the Imperial Twin Red and the Denali Gold Kolsch. And while you’re at it, don’t miss your chance to try a taste of the Louisville Sour and the Slow Down Brown.

    Thrillist.com listed Denali Brewing Company as one of Alaska’s best craft breweries in 2017. That same year, Frontiersman.com awarded the brewery the title of Small Business of the Year.

    Nostalgia: 17
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 16
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 19

    RAVE Meter: 90

  16. Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen | Bellingham, WA

    Brewmaster Will Kemper brings his experience operating his own breweries in Mexico and Istanbul to Chuckanut, one of the first craft breweries in the Northwest.

    Chuckanut is a European-style brewery serving a luscious Doppelbock as well as pilsners, helles lagers, and much more.

    Drawing on this world-class experience, Kemper uses the engineering considerations and controls that are standard to big breweries but uncommon for smaller operations.

    With locations in Burlington and Bellingham, Chuckanut’s food takes advantage of Washington State’s best seasonal products, sourcing the menu from as many local and regional producers as possible.

    Chuckanut has won honors such as the GABF National Small Brewpub & Brewer 2009 title and the Washington Beer Awards Large Brewery of the Year 2017. Chuckanut has also been recognized by the World Beer Cup, the North American Beer Awards, and the Washington Beer Awards.

    Nostalgia: 20
    Popularity: 17
    Scarcity: 14
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 18

    RAVE Meter: 89

  17. 49th State Brewing Company | Denali and Anchorage, AK

    At 49th State Brewing Company, be sure to try the Baked Blonde, an unfiltered golden ale with fruit, floral, and honey notes and backed with malt as well as 2-Row, Cascade, and Zythos hops. You can enjoy this and other signature brews with burgers made from reindeer, elk, and even yak.

    There’s the McCarthy Stout, a dry Irish stout, with roasted barley and dark chocolate flavors and a smooth finish. McCarthy is served on nitro, with Maris Otter malt, flaked and roasted barley, and Magnum and Fuggle hops.

    Don’t miss the light and refreshing White Peach Wheat. 49th State adds peach puree during the conditioning of the White Peach, making a beer bellini of sorts. The brew also has 2-Row and wheat malts and Warrior Hops.

    In 2018, 49th State won gold at the World Beer Cup with their Smoked Marzen, a lager with the aroma of campfires and hickory.

    Nostalgia: 16
    Popularity: 17
    Scarcity: 18
    Cult: 19
    Destination: 19

    RAVE Meter: 89

  18. Payette Brewing | Boise, ID

    Payette Brewing, located in downtown Boise and capable of producing a whopping 100,000 barrels of brew, is known for suds like the Twelve Gauge Imperial Stout. Aged in bourbon barrels for 12 months, the Twelve Gauge has notes of vanilla, oak, and coffee.

    While at Payette, be sure to try their Blood Orange Rustler, an India Pale Ale; Aura, a guava and hibiscus sour ale; or the seasonal Wet ‘n’ Wilder, a chinook wet hop. Their barrel-aged perennial series offers Salted Caramel Twelve Gauge, a barrel-aged imperial stout, as well as the Mexican Chocolate Twelve Gauge, another imperial stout.

    In 2018, Payette’s High Side American Wheat Ale, an American-style hefeweizen, won silver at the NABA awards. The previous year, Payette’s Schwarzbier, a dark lager, took home gold at the San Diego Beer Festival, and the High Side Wheat took home silver.

    Nostalgia: 15
    Popularity: 19
    Scarcity: 16
    Cult: 20
    Destination: 18

    RAVE Meter: 88

  19. Wolves and People | Newberg, OR

    Many of us dream of successful careers in writing or in brewing, but Wolves and People founder Christian DeBenedetti has done both. Wolves and People is a destination brewery on DeBenedetti’s family farm, with terroir — the taste of the place — in the beers.

    The brewery is known for year-round and occasional cellar reserve beers that are brewed, aged, and blended on site. Wolves and People uses local ingredients and fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the farm, as well as harvested local yeasts. The beers are steeped in the traditions of Europe with plenty of Northwest twists.

    Wolves and People serves several highly rated beers, including a barrel-aged saison and Belgian pale. The brewery has earned national accolades, including “America’s Best New Breweries” from Tasting Table and “One of America’s Best New Farmhouse Breweries” from PUNCH.

    Nostalgia: 15
    Popularity: 16
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 18

    Rave Meter: 87

  20. Haines Brewing Company | Haines, AK

    From humble beginnings in one of Alaska’s smallest towns, Haines Brewing Company is a local fixture that attracts beer lovers from all over the state.

    With a well-balanced high alcohol content, Haines Brewing Company’s Big Hammer is a bold barleywine with a heavy caramel malt body.

    There’s also the Eldred Rock Red, an American red brewed with caramel malts, balanced smoothly with Cascade hops. Another favorite is the Captain Cook’s Spruce Tip Ale, a seasonal draft made with local spruce tips gathered around the mountain.

    Fresh seasonal and flagship brews are always on tap, and during some seasons, Haines offers vintage ales to savor in snifter glasses.

    In 2016, Paste Magazine and Thrillist listed Haines Brewing as one of Alaska’s best craft breweries.

    Nostalgia: 17
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 16
    Cult: 19
    Destination: 17

    RAVE Meter: 87

  21. Alesong Brewing and Blending | Eugene, OR

    In 2016, Matt Van Wyk departed acclaimed Eugene brewery Oakshire to start Alesong, focused on wild ales and wood-aged beer.

    Located on the scenic Territorial Highway in Lorane, just outside Eugene, Alesong uses winemaking as a point of inspiration in their brewing process. Alesong uses special yeast and other microbes, maturing their beers in oak barrels for up to 3 years.

    Be sure to try the Apricot Sky, an oak-aged sour ale with apricots; Vanilla Rhino Suit, an Imperial Milk Stout with vanilla and cocoa nibs; and non-barrel-aged Dubbel-Belgian Style Dubbel.

    In 2018, BeervanaBlog.com ranked Alesong among Oregon’s best breweries. Alesong was named Oregon’s “Best New Brewer” and #6 “Best New Brewer” worldwide for 2017 in RateBeer.com’s annual RateBeer Best awards.

    Nostalgia: 13
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 19
    Cult: 17
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 87

  22. Sunriver Brewing Company | Sunriver, OR

    Among Oregon breweries, Sunriver Brewing Company is a relative newcomer, just making its name in the world of craft beer. A win for Best Small Brewery in 2017 at the Great American Beer Festival helped propel Sunriver into the spotlight.

    With a host of seasonals and one-offs, Sunriver is perhaps most known for a strong pale ale. You won’t find anything too adventurous at this brewery (besides Cocoa Cow, a chocolate milk stout), but each beer is consistent with bold, well-balanced flavor. That suits most folks fine — when you’re on vacation at a place like Sunriver, you want to drink something familiar and comforting.

    Sunriver’s original location even offers a play area for the kiddos.

    In addition to winning Best Small Brewery at the 2017 GABF, Sunriver’s Resin Nation Double IPA won silver at the 2018 Craft Beer Awards. The brewery also took home bronze, silver, and gold awards for a variety of brews at the 2018 North American Beer Awards.

    Nostalgia: 12
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 16
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 86

  23. Sockeye Brewing | Boise, ID

    In business since `96, Sockeye is Idaho’s original microbrewery. Sockeye has been nationally recognized for making excellent beers, with over 130 medals from the North American Brewers Association. Sockeye’s 12,000-square-foot brewing and canning facility can churn out beers at the rate of 40 cans per minute.

    When at Sockeye, sample the flagship Dagger Falls IPA. Dagger Falls has strong notes of citrus and pine hop coming from five different kinds of hops.

    There’s also the High Lakes Session IPA or the Angel’s Perch Amber. Among the seasonals, check out Velvet Falls Cream Ale, Sour Puss American Sour, or the Huggy Bear Dark Sour.

    In 2018 alone, Sockeye nabbed silver for their Sockeye Maibock and bronze for their Old Devil’s Tooth, an American-style barleywine.

    Nostalgia: 20
    Popularity: 17
    Scarcity: 12
    Cult: 19
    Destination: 18

    RAVE Meter: 86

  24. King Street Brewing Company | Anchorage, AK

    A popular hangout among locals, King Street Brewing Company offers an ever-evolving collection of beers, while not neglecting popular staples like the Golden Lager. With authentic German malts, the Golden Lager is a sweet, light-drinking Helles Lager.

    There’s also the King Street Amber, a rich, complex beer with refreshing citrus notes. And, inspired by the kinds of beer served in old English pubs, there’s the Oatmeal Brown Ale, with crystal malts and toasted nut, caramel, and toffee flavors on the finish.

    BeerAdvocate.com lists Nobility Barley Wine as one of Alaska’s top-rated beers.

    Nostalgia: 16
    Popularity: 19
    Scarcity: 17
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 16

    RAVE Meter: 86

  25. Selkirk Abbey | Post Fall, ID

    Selkirk Abbey is the only Belgian brewery in Idaho. The brewery is home to 9 15-barrel fermenters and 2 15-barrel brite tanks (which are for carbonation).

    Belgian beers take longer to ferment than other beers as the malt and yeast create complex and unique flavors. This is why Selkirk has only 11 beers listed on their site. What Selkirk lacks in variety, however, they make up for in big fruity, spicy, and sometimes sour flavors.

    Try the Infidel Belgian IPA and get a burst of sweet fruit and citrus rind flavors. Be sure to check out Selkirk’s signature spicy Saisons and malty Trappists. There’s also Chapel, a Belgian witbier, and Guilt, an imperial Belgian coffee porter. And don’t miss the Afterlife, a session IPA.

    In 2018, Selkirk was honored with a silver medal from NABA for their 12°, a Belgian-style dark strong ale.

    Nostalgia: 15
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 20
    Cult: 17
    Destination: 16

    RAVE Meter: 86

  26. Pelican Brewing Company | Pacific City, OR

    Pelican Brewing Company’s original pub is located on the beach at Pacific City, where it overlooks Haystack Rock. It just might be the brewery with the best view in Oregon. (Pelican’s other location is in Cannon Beach, home to the other Haystack Rock — visit both locations and see them all!)

    The beers at Pelican range in style from the summery Kiwanda Cream ale to the Mother of All Storms barleywine. The flavors are as varied and unpredictable as the Oregon coast itself.

    Pelican also offers Five Fin, a west coast pilsner; Tsunami, an export stout; and Sea ‘n’ Red, an Irish-style red ale.

    For lodging, consider the Pelican-owned Inn at Cape Kiwanda, located just across the street from the Pacific City location.

    In 2018 alone, Pelican brews have earned gold and silver medals from the North American Beer Awards, Best of Craft Beer Awards, the Australian International Beer Awards, and more.

    Nostalgia: 17
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 10
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 20

    Rave Meter: 85

  27. Anchorage Brewing Company | Anchorage, AK

    Anchorage has an ever-expanding craft brewery scene, and Anchorage Brewing Company is at the center of it.

    While you’re there, be sure to check out Tide and its Takers. A malty triple, Tide and its Takers is high in alcohol content with a blend of vanilla notes and woody aftertaste, thanks to a multi-phase fermentation process.

    There’s also the Belgian Style IPA and the Saisons, both inspired by Belgian practices and customized with Alaska’s bounty of natural ingredients.

    BeerAdvocate.com ranks Anchorage’s Deal with the Devil, an American-style barleywine aged in cognac barrels, as Alaska’s best beer.

    Nostalgia: 15
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 16
    Cult: 17
    Destination: 19

    RAVE Meter: 85

  28. Block 15 | Corvallis, OR

    There’s a good case for Block 15 as the most underrated brewery in the state of Oregon. Located in beautiful downtown Corvallis, which is frequently cited as one of America’s best college towns, Block 15 is for beer lovers who appreciate variety.

    Known for their saturated IPA, Sticky Hands, Block 15 also offers pilsners, lagers, barrel-aged stouts, strong ales, classic English ales, and wild ales.

    Block 15 believes in proper glassware and proper pours: Your beer will be served in a glass designed to maximize flavor, aroma, and drinkability. Most importantly, a full pour includes space for the creamy head on top.

    There’s also delicious food at the brewpub, with seasonal menus featuring fresh ingredients grown by neighboring Willamette Valley farmers.

    In 2016, Block 15 ranked in OregonLive.com’s Top 10 Best Breweries. The previous year, Block 15’s Wandlepad ranked among Oregon’s Best Belgian Style Beers at the Oregon Beer Awards.

    Nostalgia: 11
    Popularity: 16
    Scarcity: 18
    Cult: 19
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 84

  29. Salmon River Brewery | McCall, ID

    Salmon River Brewery, which overlooks picturesque Payette Lake, is known for live music and events, such as Hot Wax Night every first Thursday during the winter.

    Salmon River makes the light-bodied Udaho Gold, a crisp Session Ale infused with grapefruit and citrus, and the hoppy P.F.D. Pale Ale. Also try the Face Shot IPA or the Buzz Buzz Coffee Porter.

    The menu at Salmon River is perfect for big eaters, with a locally sourced Black-N-Blue Elk Burger. (Try it with the P.F.D. Pale!)

    Salmon River brews its beers with premium Pacific Northwest 2-row malt barley, Willamette Valley hops, and brewing yeast from Wyeast Laboratories in Hood River, Oregon.

    In 2017, Salmon River brought home gold from NABA for their Dark Villain and silver for the Udaho Gold.

    Nostalgia: 17
    Popularity: 18
    Scarcity: 11
    Cult: 18
    Destination: 20

    RAVE Meter: 84

  30. Crooked Fence | Eagle, ID

    Looking at Crooked Fence labels is almost as much fun as drinking the beer.

    Brews like the Trainwreck Red Ale or the Rusty Nail Pale Ale are accompanied by inventive artwork acting as a visual companion to the flavor of the beer.

    Fan-favorite Crooked Fence balances malt with aggressive hopping. The brewery serves Sins of Our Fathers, an oatmeal stout, and Tiger Spit, a blood orange pale ale.

    Livability.com lists Crooked Fence as one of Idaho’s best breweries, and CultureTrip.com also ranks Crooked Fence among Idaho’s top 10 breweries.

    Nostalgia: 17
    Popularity: 20
    Scarcity: 13
    Cult: 16
    Destination: 14

    RAVE Meter: 80

About The Author

William Kennedy is a freelance writer based in Eugene, Oregon. He lives in an 8th floor condo near downtown with his wife, daughter, and 2 cats, who all politely accommodate his obsession with Doctor Who and The Smiths.

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