One thing you’ve likely noticed after visiting many microbreweries around the United States is that no two are alike. The uniqueness of each one is not only in the beer or the décor—it’s the people, the vibe, the overall atmosphere that somehow contribute to the enjoyment, too. Sometimes the atmosphere alone is enough to entice you to check out the brews, so it’s only natural that if you’re visiting a new city from out of town, you’d want to go check out the local breweries and craft-beer bars.
But why stick to the ordinary? Vacations are all about adventure, after all. And that is why we’ve compiled a list of out-of-the-ordinary breweries you won’t want to miss.
Holy Grale (Louisville, Kentucky)
Holy Grale (pictured at top) is a former Unitarian Church that’s now a beer bar. Home to twenty-six taps and sixty-five bottles, it’s split into seven distinct areas. The most notable room is the exclusive Choir Loft, which pours six rare and specialty beers—we recommend a reservation for this room. There’s also a beer garden out back that’s a great place to sip beer. Looking for a bite to eat? Holy Grale’s menu features haute comfort food, and Food & Wine hailed their sliders as the best in the United States in 2011.
Concordia Brewery (Portland, Oregon)
McMenamins’ Concordia Brewery is housed in what used to be a girls’ dormitory at the old Kennedy School in Portland. While the only lessons taught at the school these days take place during the tastings and tours, it still pays homage to the brewery’s original inhabitants, with beautifully painted murals on the tanks. The historic school also houses a hotel, restaurant, and pub, and regular concerts take place in the old auditorium. Want a more relaxing activity to go with your beer? Check out the stunning outdoor soaking pool.
Moon River Brewing (Savannah, Georgia)
Savannah, Georgia, is rich in history, so it might come as no surprise that the Moon River Brewing Company is reportedly haunted. The show Ghost Hunters featured the brewery on one of its episodes, and it is notably the most haunted place in Savannah. The brewery features an eclectic diverse menu for lunch and dinner to go with its large list of year-round and seasonal beer. Their beer garden hosts regular concerts, and if Fido is traveling with you, he can come, too!
Mission Brewery (San Diego, California)
Mission Brewery is located in what was once a Wonder Bread factory. Built in 1894, the building still has several of the same architectural features, such as bow trusses, that came with the original building. The brewery features a 2,500-square-foot tasting room, food trucks that visit almost every day, and beers that have won numerous national and international awards. And if you decide to take a tour, kids and dogs are welcome.
Vault Brewing Company (Yardley, Pennsylvania)
Vault Brewing Company, as you might guess from the name, is a former bank. Built in 1889 for the Yardley National Bank, the building was repurposed into a brewery in 2012. The original vault is now a beer cellar, and a massive safe is now a wine display. They’ve created a speakeasy-like atmosphere, skipping the TVs and loud music, instead opting for a conversation-friendly atmosphere. Come for the friendship, beer, and food, but stay for their rather large rotation of beers on tap.
Church Brew Works (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Amid stained glass windows and underneath the cathedral ceiling and holy chandeliers, you’ll find brew tanks, tables, and taps. Church Brew Works was once St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, and after Sean Casey bought it and put it through a massive renovation, it opened as Church Brew Works in 1996. Pull up a seat and order one of their many award-winning ales, and sing your praises to the beer gods. You’re not quite going to church, but close enough. Church Brew Works features a full menu for lunch and dinner and even has gluten-free options and a kids’ menu. But don’t forget to save room for their incredible dessert menu!
We’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite out-of-the-ordinary breweries?
Podcast Episode 26: Sierra Nevada Founder Ken Grossman: The Latest Trends
Grossman talked about his early homebrewing days and his hope for the future of his family owned brewing. He also shared his thoughts on the the latest trends and reminds brewers to embrace science, not just art when it comes to making beer.