Class of 2015: 33 of the Best New Breweries in the US

Feature by | Jan 2016 | Issue #108
Culmination Brewing

4,144. According to the Brewers Association, that’s the current number of breweries in the US. This time last year, that number was 3,464. Plus, 15 states now have more than 100 breweries within their borders. Keeping up with the newcomers has never been more challenging, but in our fifth annual feature, we profile 33 breweries that opened for business in 2015.

Culmination Brewing
Portland, Oregon
Opened: January 2015
Culmination Brewing was a long time coming for Tomas Sluiter. After a decade-long career at Old Market Pub in suburban Portland, he trained with the Master Brewers Association, worked at a local sake producer, and opened a brewery consultancy while on an up-and-down journey to open Culmination that lasted the better part of six years. Finally, in January, Sluiter and his wife, April, opened their taproom in Northeast Portland, known for its combination of great music, unique food—like chef Carter Owen’s candied bacon and pickled veggies—and beers like the top-selling EuPhoric IPA. “It’s the culmination of my life’s work and experiences,” he says. What’s next? Sluiter plans to add sake production and sake-beer hybrids to the lineup this year. [Rebecca Kirkman]

Photo by Will Foster

Photo by Will Foster

Holy Mountain Brewing
Seattle, Washington
Opened: January 2015
When it seems that every brewery aims for shelf space across the country and consistency is a virtue, Holy Mountain’s Adam Paysse says, “We don’t have a flagship beer.” Every drop of barrel-aged, barrel-fermented, hoppy, and yeast-driven beer made by Seattle’s newest cult favorite becomes limited edition the minute it leaves the brewery, whether in a bottle or in your belly. Paysse and co-founders and co-owners Colin Lenfesty and Mike Murphy constantly tinker with recipe elements. And not even the house Pale Ale, Kiln & Cone, is sacrosanct. It changes its hop profile with every batch. It’s not always on tap, either. While this could be considered novelty for novelty’s sake, the brewers’ commitment to their craft makes each batch a uniquely gratifying, sought-after prize. [Adrienne So]

Photo by Suni Sidhu

Photo by Suni Sidhu

Fieldwork Brewing Co.
Berkeley, California
Opened: February 2015
Brewer Alex Tweet learned the pro game at Ballast Point, where he created Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, but it didn’t take him long to become disenchanted with the idea of brewing a core lineup over and over again. He was part of the founding team at Modern Times Beer before heading north to join his business partner Barry Braden, who handles the non-brewing side of Fieldwork, to form a new establishment with no core beers, a 110-barrel sour program and loads of freedom. “I just wanted to make brewing fun again,” Tweet says. “We have our own spot and no core lineup. I tell everyone we have the biggest pilot system around. I call it a 25-barrel pilot system.” [Sean Lewis]


Photo by Danielle Webster

Ratio Beerworks
Denver, Colorado
Opened: February 2015
Opened by three pals with links to the music industry (the guys either played in punk rock bands or worked at labels), Ratio Beerworks has a cheerful vibe and a playlist of beers to satisfy all. The brewery and taproom is a destination in Denver’s hip River North neighborhood, which has essentially become the city’s brewing district. The can’t-miss is Dear You, an accessible yet complex Saison with French yeast and dry-hopped with Citra hops. Head brewer Jason zumBrunnen brings deep experience to the 20-barrel brewhouse, having brewed previously at landmark Denver brewpub Wynkoop Brewing and MillerCoors craft beer incubator AC Golden. In homage to their past lives, the owners name their beers after some of their favorite tunes. [Eric Gorski]


WeldWerks Brewing
Greeley, Colorado
Opened: February 2015
When award-winning homebrewer Neil Fisher was choosing recipes for his first foray into commercial brewing, he knew a house wheat ale was a must. He wanted a strong gateway beer for WeldWerks, which resides not in one of Colorado’s beer hotbeds but in Greeley, a mid-sized northern Colorado town best known for smelling like manure (thank the cattle industry). Fisher’s top-selling Hefeweizen—which captured a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival—embodies the brewery’s ethos of putting innovative twists on classic styles. Starting with a traditional German recipe, Fisher relies on an American-German hybrid yeast strain and a generous helping of whirlpool hops. With a mantra of quality and consistency—and a bourgeoning barrel program—WeldWerks put itself on the state’s beer map. [Eric Gorski]


Braxton Brewing Co.
Covington, Kentucky
Opened: March 2015
Greg Rouse, along with sons Evan and Jake, plus long-time brewer and Siebel Institute instructor Richard Dubé, opened up Braxton Brewing with the aid of a record-setting Kickstarter campaign in March. That was just the beginning of good things to come. Growth can only be described as explosive, with two 80-barrel fermenters added just months after opening and a new canning line added in November. With 35 years of brewing experience at Molson, Labatt, Boston Beer Co. and Christian Moerlein, Dubé designed the brewing system for “flexibility, decoction and future growth. We want to nail the details to produce quality and consistency.” One of Braxton’s best efforts is Dark Charge Imperial Stout, which was featured in a December bottle release party in four barrel-aged versions. [Bill Babbitt]


Kent Falls Brewing Co.
Kent, Connecticut
Opened: March 2015
The only farmhouse brewery in the state is also one of the most ambitious. The owners of Kent Falls Brewing have converted a 48-acre former dairy farm, where they’re growing six varieties of hops, maintaining an apple orchard, and raising poultry, sheep and pigs. At the moment, they’re only making and bottling their beer on premises, but plan to open a tasting room this spring. Bottles of their beer—which include a variety of farmhouse ales and a coffee IPA by brewmaster Derek Dellinger—are available locally on draft, in stores and at farmers markets. “Working through all of the obstacles we’ve faced has allowed us to make beer in a manner and place that has meaning to us, as we intended,” says co-owner Barry Labendz. [Will Siss]


Paducah Beer Werks
Paducah, Kentucky
Opened: March 2015
Longtime homebrewer Todd Blume opened his western Kentucky brewery in a former Greyhound bus station. Now Paducah locals flock here to listen to live music or comedy over a pint and a panini. Elements of the prior space remain, like a retro blue-and-white lighted sign that reads “Tickets – Baggage – Information.” And that classic character flows into the brewery’s lineup. “I started with an Irish Red to serve as a gateway beer,” says Blume of the sweet and malty flagship he used to introduce himself to the community. And just months after opening, PBW’s English-style Pale Ale took home bronze at last year’s GABF. Now that locals are warming up to Blume’s more flavorful creations, he’s working on a peach cherry sour to serve on nitro. [Bill Babbitt]

Photo by Terrence White

Photo by Terrence White

Phantom Carriage Brewery
Carson, California
Opened: March 2015
Martin Svab’s affinity for horror movies started at an early age and only grew as his 9-year career in the Los Angeles film industry progressed. He always knew that when he opened a brewery or a beer bar, it would have a horror movie vibe. That’s exactly the way it is at Phantom Carriage, where Svab and head blender Simon Ford, whom Svab met during their days as homebrewers, produce Belgian-style, barrel-aged and wild ales with apt names like Lugosi and Bergman. “I’ve always envisioned it like you’re literally dining or drinking in Dracula’s barrel cellar,” Svab says of the Carson location, which has the skylights blackened for extra darkness and a built-in movie theater that plays classic horror films. [Sean Lewis]


Flying Heart Brewing
Bossier City, Louisiana
Opened: April 2015
When Ben Hart and his partners started planning what would become Bossier City’s Flying Heart Brewing, there were no breweries at all in Northwest Louisiana. Fast forward to the present, and the brewery is the third to open in two years. Flying Heart is known for its darker beers like Plantation Mud Milk Stout and its bourbon barrel-aged Porter, Barrel 52. Located in a converted firehouse, the interior is spacious and bright, with board games and the occasional visitor from a neighboring casino. “One of the casinos actually sends a shuttle bus, and drops off their customers,” Hart says. Patrons near and far enjoy the laid-back vibe. “They come in here and can’t believe they’re in Bossier City.” [Nora McGunnigle]

Photo by Ryan Benyi Photography

Photo by Ryan Benyi Photography

Lineage Brewing
Columbus, Ohio
Opened: April 2015
Lineage Brewing in the Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville entices with bright colors, whitewashed chairs and sunlight streaming through the garage door-style windows. Local couples Mike and Jessica Byrne and Carey Hall and Jessica Page converted an old car wash into this neighborhood gem. The lager-colored concrete floors and bar tops made from an old bowling alley add warmth and character. “The locals know craft beer, so there are high expectations here, but we’ve been accepted with open arms,” Mike Byrne says. That probably has something to do with a lineup of beers including a black Saison and a fresh firkin every Thursday. Add an interesting menu that features made-to-order hand pies, and it’s no wonder the locals hang here. [Bill Babbitt]


Outer Light Brewing Co.
Groton, Connecticut
Opened: April 2015
Matt Ferrucci and Tom Drejer of Outer Light Brewing are making waves on Connecticut’s shoreline. Despite more than 15 years of homebrewing experience, the friends partnered with head brewer Tyler Cox, who has worked with a number of North Carolina breweries, like the Foothills brewpub and Gizmo Beer Works. Groton’s proximity to the state’s Naval Submarine Base inspired beer names like Subduction IPA and Lonesome Boatman Ale—Outer Light’s beers can even be found at the Chief Petty Officer’s Club. “We looked around the state, and the demographics were appealing with the sub base,” Ferrucci says, stressing that he hopes to appeal to drinkers with an active lifestyle. “There are people with income here, and summer crowds.” [Will Siss]

Photo by Kelly Brady

Photo by Kelly Brady

Pale Fire Brewing Co.
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Opened: April 2015
Co-founders Tim Brady and Jamie Long opened this 20-barrel brewery in Central Virginia specializing in classic styles executed with precision. “As old-school brewers, we excel at attention to detail rather than experimenting with crazy ingredients,” says Brady, who previously helmed a local brewpub before working as a beer rep. Prior to Pale Fire, his partner Long was Flying Dog’s lead brewer. The duo’s flagship is a 4.8 percent dry-hopped Pale Ale called Deadly Rhythm, a beer that trendier establishments would peddle as a Session IPA, “but when Jamie and I began our careers, that term didn’t really exist,” Brady concedes. Other beers include Salad Days, a floral Saison that netted bronze in the 2015 GABF American-Belgo category, and Major Tom, a 100 percent Galaxy-hopped IPA. [Justin Kennedy]


Taft’s Ale House
Cincinnati, Ohio
Opened: April 2015
St. Paul’s Evangelical Church, built in 1850 in Cincinnati’s historic German brewing neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine, was condemned and on the verge of being torn down when Kevin Moreland, Dave Kassling and Dave Williams stepped in. Their $9 million renovation produced Taft’s Ale House, named in honor of the city’s prodigal son and the 27th president of the US. The three-story brewery, taproom and restaurant renovation includes a dramatic main space with 43-foot ceilings, arched windows and lots of dark wood. The building’s character also lends the place something special “that can never be replicated,” Moreland says. Taft’s brews “beers that people want to drink,” like Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale, and a limited release holiday beer, Liquid Advent Chocolate Brown Porter. [Bill Babbitt]


Copperpoint Brewing Co.
Boynton Beach, Florida
Opened: May 2015
Copperpoint Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach, Fla., has already earned some accolades. Not yet a year old, two of its beers—a Belgian Wit and a Pilsner— won regional honors at the 21st annual US Beer Tasting Championship. The seemingly sudden success for brewmaster and owner Matt Cox does have precedent though. Cox’s brewing career put him behind the kettles at Big Bear Brewing Co. in nearby Coral Springs for 13 years, highlighted by a slew of awards, including a gold medal at the 2002 GABF for his Belgian Dubbel. He and business partner Al Lettera plan growth beyond Copperpoint’s current footprint, but there’s no rush. “We’ll let the beer take as long as it needs to take,” Cox says. “We’re focused on making really good beer.” [Gerard Walen]

Photo by Will Foster

Photo by Will Foster

Lucky Envelope Brewing
Seattle, Washington
Opened: May 2015
Less than five months after opening, Lucky Envelope’s bronze medal at the 2015 GABF for its Helles Lager testifies to brewmaster Barry Chan’s ambition and steep learning curve—and, possibly, the good fortune imparted by the Chinese tradition of giving lucky red envelopes full of cash to mark important life events. Like opening a brewery, or having a baby girl—both of which Chan did in the past year. In fact, on the brewery’s opening day, one of the first gestures co-founder Raymond Kwan’s family made was to give him a red envelope. In addition to its lagering program, Lucky Envelope serves easy-drinking ales and the occasional Asian-inspired beer, such as Peanut Butter Stout and Thaiger Mom Tripel, in a family-friendly space in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. [Adrienne So]


Magnify Brewing Co.
Fairfield, New Jersey
Opened: May 2015
Inspired by the local beer community while attending Bates College and working at Baxter Brewing in Maine, Bergen County native Eric Ruta returned home to New Jersey to open a community-focused brewery of his own at the young age of 23. “New Jersey, compared to other states, isn’t recognized for its beer,” Ruta explains. “I wanted to help change that.” Magnify offers four year-round beers—a Pale Ale, a Saison, an IPA and a black wheat ale—as well as a rotating limited releases every few weeks. For the head brewer position, Ruta tapped Philly native Erich Carrle whose resume includes Greenpoint Beer Works in Brooklyn, Hermitage Brewing Co. in San Jose and Speakeasy Ales & Lagers in San Francisco. [Justin Kennedy]


Mikerphone Brewing
Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Opened: May 2015
Mikerphone has had a transient lifestyle in the few months it’s existed: when owner Mike Pallen brewed the first batch in late February, his four fermentors were sharing space with SlapShot Brewing; they’re now temporarily at Une Annee Brewery while Pallen builds out his own 4,000-square-foot warehouse in Elk Grove Village. A longtime homebrewer, Pallen has been taking “baby steps” toward launching the brewery for six years and has over 100 recipes (he’s brewed about 20 of them so far as Mikerphone). He focuses on hoppy beers, sours, Stouts and Saisons, packaging them in “big-ass” 24-ounce cans and 750-milliliter bottles. After he moves his equipment to its permanent home, Pallen hopes to build a tasting room where he can do “some fun one-off stuff,” he says. [Julia Thiel]


Southern Brewing Co.
Athens, Georgia
Opened: May 2015
According to Southern Brewing co-owner/head brewer Brian Roth, Athens, Ga.’s newest brewery was 11 years in the making. In those years, he traveled the world visiting breweries and asking questions. Lots of questions. “We’re standing on the shoulders of some really big giants,” Roth says. The brewery currently distributes its products in the immediate Athens area including two beers fermented with yeast propagated from a local wild azalea at different temperatures. With a new 60-barrel foeder, more than 70 barrels, and a team of doctoral students and scientists from local universities (“They’re a lot smarter than I am”), Roth is serious about his wild fermentation program. “We spend a couple of weeks a month just focusing on the sour program,” Roth says. [Nora McGunnigle]


Wren House Brewing Co.
Phoenix, Arizona
Opened: June 2015
Between the weather and the culture, Portland, Ore., and Phoenix don’t have much in common. Drew Pool couldn’t do anything about the weather, but he wanted to try and do something about the beer. Pool, who had worked for Intel in Oregon, took over an old bakery in the center of Phoenix and got to work turning out a strong lineup of year-round beers under the guidance of former Big Sky brewer Preston Thoeny. “I think that kind of set us apart here in Phoenix,” Pool says of his focus on core beers. “Our IPA right now—we’ve been sold out for a week or so because we can’t keep up with demand even though we came into a super-saturated IPA market.” [Sean Lewis]

Photo courtesy of Pulp Detroit

Photo courtesy of Pulp Detroit

Roak Brewing Co.
Royal Oak, Michigan
Opened: June 2015
“Roak” comes from the Dutch and German words for smoke. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire. For Roak Brewing, the word evokes its fiery passion for beer and pays homage to its hometown, Royal Oak. Roak Brewing expresses its mission in three words: quality, creativity and community. The four partners aim for quality in their beers, a collection of mostly brewpub standards that they describe as “bright, clean and crisp.” Creativity shows most clearly in the artist-designed taproom that resembles something between feudal palace and imperial battle cruiser. Sleek metallic columns emphasize soaring height. Sharply angled mirrors in the altarpiece-like sculpture behind the bar reflect the crystal chandelier that centers the space. And Roak gives back to the community by donating a portion of the profits from its Devil Dog Oatmeal Stout to the local veteran’s hospital. [Michael Agnew]


Veracious Brewing Co.
Monroe, Connecticut
Opened: June 2015
Few breweries are opening these days with owners as experienced as Mark and Tess Szamatulski. This husband-and-wife team unleashed Veracious Brewing after more than 20 years running a homebrew supply store. They still manage Maltose Express, but now it’s next to their 7-barrel brewhouse and tasting room that features wall coverings, a bar and tables made from church pews. “What helped us move forward with our brewery was our knowledge of beer and beer styles,” says Tess. The couple, who have authored several homebrewing books, benefit from Mark’s approach to tweaking recipes. After years of soliciting feedback from tasters at brew fests, the couple was ready to bring the drinkers to their beer instead of the other way around. [Will Siss]


Photo by Dustin Hall of the Brewtography Project

Call to Arms Brewing Co.
Denver, Colorado
Opened: July 2015
What began as a conversation over burritos among three co-workers at venerable Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo., became a true call to arms last year when Chris Bell, Jesse Brookstein and Jon Cross opened their own brewery under a sign emblazoned with their families’ crests. The beers at Call to Arms’ cozy English pub-like taproom celebrate the full spectrum of brewing—from a sessionable Pale Ale to barrel-aged projects, sours and obscure German lagers and ales. How obscure? Try a 14th century smoked German Luntbier. The brewery doesn’t have a permanent IPA handle, inviting experimentation. Beers that don’t measure up go down the drain. As the three Avery vets make their own mark in craft brewing, their motto is simple: “quality, community, camaraderie.” [Eric Gorski]


Wooden Robot
Charlotte, North Carolina
Opened: July 2015
Childhood friends Josh Patton and Dan Wade opened Wooden Robot in the south end of Charlotte in July, after Patton’s business acumen and Wade’s brewing degree finally came together on a project they’d talked about for years. Combining traditional Belgian farmhouse styles with a constantly-evolving, innovative approach to brewing, the brewery debuts a beer every week, “so if someone comes and doesn’t see anything they like, they can check back in a couple weeks, because there will be a lot of changes,” Patton says. Some are surprising successes, like Good Morning Vietnam, a coffee-vanilla Blonde Ale. “We only meant to brew one batch and move on, but we just finished our third. People get upset when it’s not on tap.” [Nora McGunnigle]



Deciduous Brewing Co.
Newmarket, New Hampshire
Opened: August 2015
Newmarket’s Deciduous Brewing Co. bills itself as a “constantly striving, owner-operated boutique brewery.” And within its four walls, the trio of Frank Zagami, his wife Maryann, and David Sakolsky pump out elegantly-crafted and esoterically-named beers like Epiphyte, a Double IPA; Renascence, a 8.1 percent ABV multi-grain Porter and a series of low alcohol styles like Berliner Weisse and Gose. Deciduous follows its own script with regard to the style of beer served in its cozy, den-like tap room. In late 2015, the brewery released a bottle-conditioned Russian Imperial Stout and a Grisette, both fermented with Brett. A line of winter Porters and a “mixed culture” Saison are also forthcoming. “We’re trying our damnedest every single day,” says Sakolsky. [Matt Osgood]


Deviate Brewing
Indianapolis, Indiana
Opened: August 2015
On August 27, homebrewers Greg Ortwein and Mike Orkay opened up a brewery that was not about to follow in anyone else’s footsteps. Their guiding principle is to “deviate from the norm,” and so far that is what they’ve done. Ortwein knows that “the palates in the city are starting to mature,” and says Indianapolis is ready for something new, different and fun. But it has to be “all about the beer.” A self-described “foodie at heart” with a goal of “putting fun flavor combinations into liquid form,” he says Deviate’s beers are designed to deliver on aroma, mouthfeel and flavor. With a lineup that includes Strudel Cake Barrel Aged Scottish Ale and a Chocolate Orange Imperial Stout, Ortwein and Orkay are clearly hitting the mark. [Bill Babbitt]

Photo by Kate Thompson

Pen Druid Brewing
Sperryville, Virginia
Opened: August 2015
Prior to establishing Pen Druid in rural Rappahannock County, Va., brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney churned out psychedelic riffage in their psych rock band Pontiak. Now, along with squawking feedback and distortion, the trio dabbles in mixed fermentation and barrel blending. “We let the beer tell us what it wants to be,” says Van, the middle brother, who approaches brewing like wine making. “We do a lot of barrel fermentation and blending. Above all, we’re aiming for beers that are balanced and drinkable.” That means everything from Diamond Jim, a farmhouse ale fermented in Hungarian oak with wild Virginia Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, to Mild Child, an English-style dark mild. Other beers include Wheels of Confusion (a “Pilsner Pale Ale”) and Paranoia (a dark sour fermented in red wine barrels). [Justin Kennedy]


Building 8 Brewing Co.
Northampton, Massachusetts
Opened: September 2015
For 10 years O’Brian Tomalin has been serving Northampton, Mass., the best beers available at his craft-centric Sierra Grille. Then, in September, he and his wife Meghan opened Building 8 Brewing Co., hired brewers Mike Yates and Dave Dumas, and focused on one thing: making a world-class IPA in the vein of their neighbors to the north. They called it The IPA, a 6.5 percent, 70 IBU hop bomb to be consumed fresh and directly from its 16-ounce tallboy. Brewed with a plethora of hops (Mosaic, Simcoe, Citra, Cascade, Columbus and Chinook), Dumas calls it “a Northeast style of beer” and it’s quickly found an audience. In 2016, Building 8 hopes to add a session IPA and Double IPA as seasonals. [Matt Osgood]


Great North Aleworks
Manchester, New Hampshire
Opened: September 2015
At Manchester’s Great North Aleworks, Rob and Lisa North are aiming for quality and accessibility throughout the Granite State. Despite just opening their doors in September, their lineup of three flagship brews already appears in cans and on draft lines from Nashua to the North Country. The pleasant surprise in this small range is Smokin’ Rauchbier, a version of which won the Samuel Adams Patriots Homebrew contest and appeared on taps at Gillette Stadium in 2010. Also available is a balanced West Coast-Style IPA and Robust Vanilla Porter, as well as seasonal offerings like Cranberry Wit in the fall and an upcoming Chocolate Stout for the winter. Better yet? Great North’s spacious taproom serves full pints and offers a limited food menu. [Matt Osgood]


Corridor Brewery & Provisions
Chicago, Illinois
Opened: October 2015
Farmhouse-style beers are a natural pairing with farmhouse-style food—or at least that’s how Corridor brewpub owner Greg Shuff figures it. Head brewer Brant Dubovick was happy to carry out that vision, making traditional Belgian and French styles with an American spin; a Saison, for example, might have lime or cherry in it. Like its menu, Corridor is rustic, with exposed brick walls and wooden rafters. Behind the bar is a row of shiny bright tanks and fermentors; what’s in them rotates seasonally, depending on the availability of fresh ingredients like cranberries, ginger root and peaches. The one exception is Wizard Fight, a lactose IPA. “We decided on a year-round IPA as it’s a style that many craft beer drinkers enjoy,” says Dubovick. “Plus we like the style, too!” [Julia Thiel]

Photo by Brandon Werth

Photo by Brandon Werth

Able Seedhouse & Brewery
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opened: November 2015
“Be able” is how Casey Holley sums up the ethos of Able Seedhouse. It’s an expression of empowerment; an attitude of active exploration. Holley forged this principle while living in California’s Central Valley. He saw communities come together around the act of growing grapes and making wine, from farmers and wine makers to chefs and consumers. Back in the Twin Cities, he sought to build similar connections through beer. A partnership with the University of Minnesota garnered seed for new barley strains developed for flavor over yield. Small, local farmers were courted to grow it. Holley plans to malt in house, letting the terroir influence the kind of beers they brew. Up first, an American-style Red, a Stout, a wheat and an IPA. [Michael Agnew]


Marker 48 Brewing
Brooksville, Florida
Opened: November 2015
Situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, about 3 miles from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, where for nearly 60 years “live mermaid shows” have enthralled visitors at one of the state’s most unusual roadside attractions, Marker 48 Brewing opened to a packed house on November 7. The crowds did not subside, leading owners Maurice and Tina Ryman to change their plans to stay open five days a week, instead of just on weekends. “We were turning away 100 to 150 people between 12 and 3[p.m., when we used to open on Fridays],” Tina Ryman says. Among the offerings: Mermaid’s Milk Stout and Pine Island IPA. And down the road, expect brews aged in barrels in Florida’s only commercial underground beer cellar, fashioned from the former auto-repair shop’s oil-change pit. [Gerard Walen]


Zebulon Artisan Ales
Weaverville, North Carolina
Opened: December 2015
Former Green Man specialty brewer Mike Karnowski opened his new 7-barrel brewery in December inside an old firehouse in Weaverville, about 10 miles north of downtown Asheville. As the guy responsible for Green Man’s sour and specialty beers, Karnowski earned a reputation for experimentation. He continues that streak at Zebulon where he doesn’t brew flagships or draft beers but rather an ever-rotating selection of mixed fermentation, bottle-conditioned ales. “We don’t really do ‘clean’ beers,” Karnowski says, favoring farmhouse and historic styles that are packaged exclusively in 750-milliliter corked-and-caged bottles, most with Brettanomyces and other feral microflora. Karnowski also works with local producers at Rayburn Farms to source esoteric ingredients like purple sweet potatoes and Thai holy basil for his beers. [Justin Kennedy]