Author: Austin L. Ray

Austin L. Ray has been published in Rolling Stone, Creative Loafing, The Onion A.V. Club and Oxford American. He loves Twitter (@austinlouisray), IPAs and pit bulls.

La Cumbre Brewing’s Taproom Barkeep by

Albuquerque brewery La Cumbre’s taproom has become a popular hangout for local beer lovers, and its taproom sales (especially the top-selling Elevated IPA) are what made the company viable.

Big Orange in Little Rock, Arkansas Barkeep by

In Little Rock, a market still largely ruled by mass-produced beer, Big Orange stands out by highlighting independently brewed beer alongside all-American grub.

TapRoot in Anchorage, Alaska Barkeep by

Over the years, TapRoot has hosted everything from burlesque shows to Scotch tastings, plus ongoing events like karaoke nights and a trivia series. They’re doing their damnedest to keep Anchorage weird, and it seems to be paying off.

The Dram Shop in Missoula, Montana Barkeep by

When it opened in April 2015, The Dram Shop became Montana’s first standalone growler retailer. Today, its 40 taps pour brews from across the country, plus wine, cider, and kombucha.

Thai Me Up in Jackson, Wyoming Barkeep by

Wyoming brewpub Thai Me Up has garnered attention for its boundary-pushing beers with names referencing Wu-Tang Clan songs it cranks out from a tiny 3-barrel system.

Oak & Ore in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Barkeep by

In addition to hosting the state premiere of breweries like Drie Fonteinen, Oklahoma City watering hole Oak & Ore supports and effects positive change in the region.

Of Love & Regret in Baltimore, Maryland Barkeep by

Since opening in 2012, Of Love & Regret, Stillwater’s gallery and tasting room, has evolved into an acclaimed bar, restaurant and bottle shop.

Public at the Brickyard in Wichita, Kansas Barkeep by

Knowing that there was a need in Wichita for a craft beer bar that focused on serving local ingredients, business partners Brooke and Travis Russell and Drew Thompson opened Public at the Brickyard in 2012.

Krug Park in Omaha, Nebraska Barkeep by

In 2011 Jonathan Tvrdik opened Nebraska’s Krug Park, named after an amusement park and beer garden built in 1895 by Frederick Krug, an Omaha legend who operated Krug Brewing Company.

Clipped Wings: Eager to Soar, Georgia Breweries Face Setbacks, Opposition Feature by

In one of only two states that still doesn’t allow breweries to sell directly to consumers, Georgia brewers rally together against restrictive policies.

The Old Fashioned in Madison, Wisconsin Barkeep by

With reclaimed wood, vintage beer signs and photos from the Wisconsin Historical Society adorning the walls, The Old Fashioned is a cozy and inviting place. But what makes the spot special, is its steadfast dedication to local beer.

The Outer Space in Hamden, Connecticut Barkeep by

Made up of a cozy wooden bar area with some adjacent tables, a small back patio, a swanky retro lounge, and a ballroom area for the music, The Outer Space hosts acts most days of the week.

Iron Horse Tavern in Morgantown, West Virginia Barkeep by

Iron Horse Tavern was opened by the owners of Mountain State Brewing. As West Virginia’s young craft beer scene continues to grow, Iron Horse grows right along with it.

Cask & Vine in Derry, New Hampshire Barkeep by

Cask & Vine is a popular spot for locals in Derry, N.H. They come for the ambiance (soft lighting, no televisions, an oldies and jazz soundtrack) and the refreshing take on seasonal small plates. Oh, and there’s also 12 constantly rotating draft lines with plenty of local and regional beers.

Würst Bier Hall in Fargo, North Dakota Barkeep by

To complement a list that mixes German imports (think Schwaben Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr and Hofbräu) with North Dakota staples like Fargo Brewing and Drekker Brewing, Würst serves up loads of hearty German fare.

Creature Comforts Brewing Company: Supplying Georgia’s Growing Demand From the Source by

In 2011, David Stein boldly proclaimed that he would make the best beer Atlanta had to offer. When Creature Comforts opened in Athens, the prophecy came true, in a way. The brewery is one of the most raved about in Georgia.

Mahogany Bar in Hattiesburg, Mississippi Barkeep by

The Mahogany Bar’s lineup of 42 taps includes a wide mix of styles with more than 15 local beers like Crooked Letter Mystery Romp mocha Porter and Southern Prohibition Crowd Control, alongside plenty of bigger regional, national and international brands.

Bodega in Columbus, Ohio Barkeep by

Thanks to places like Bodega, Columbus, Ohio’s Short North is a revitalized district today. Outside, the 50-seat patio offers superb people watching on North High Street. Inside a long bank of windows, Bodega serves up 47 beers from sleek, stained wood tap handles at a rustic wooden bar.

Bittercreek Alehouse in Boise, Idaho Barkeep by

With its basement-dark, modest interior, worn-wood furniture, a handful of televisions, and a charming, vine-covered porch, Bittercreek has seen some things in its 20 years.

Julian’s in Providence, Rhode Island Barkeep by

A Providence, R.I., native, Julian Forgue started down a new career path when his father was diagnosed with cancer so he could stay close to home during his treatment. It was around this time that he opened Julian’s, a humble 20-tap eatery tucked away in the city’s Federal Hill neighborhood.

Craft Brewed in Nashville, Tennessee Barkeep by

This 4,500-square-foot bottle shop and bar serves up a well curated mix of the best stuff available in The Volunteer State. Regulars pair their pints with wings from Thunderbird, a smoked chicken food truck, on the 50-seat front porch.

Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle, Washington Barkeep by

This pub, which has 64 beers on draft and more than 300 in bottles (not to mention over 60 varieties of Scotch), often devotes most of its taps to special events, like Bigwood, a celebration of barrel-aged beers from Stouts to sours, and Hardliver Barleywine Fest.

The J. Clyde in Birmingham, Alabama Barkeep by

Tucked down a narrow, cobbled street in Birmingham, Ala., The J. Clyde’s diamond-paned windows, stone walls and beamed ceiling give it the vibe of an English pub.

El Bait Shop in Des Moines, Iowa Barkeep by

El Bait Shop opened in 2006 with 105 draft handles, 100 bottles and a roadhouse vibe to pay tribute to the burgeoning beer movement in the US.