Driving across the Country. What breweries/bottle shops should I visit?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Zach_Grinnell, Mar 4, 2016.

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  1. Zach_Grinnell

    Zach_Grinnell Initiate (50) Jan 14, 2015 California

    I'll be moving to San Jose, CA next week and will be driving across the country from Massachusetts. Below is a map with all of my stops for the night. I'd like to visit a few breweries along the way (preferably towards the end of the driving day). What are some of the better bottle shops along my route? The northeast will primarily be on I-90 and most of the remainder of the drive will be on I-80 so I'd like to visit bottle shops and breweries not too far off that path.


    Any "must-have" beers along the way that aren't distributed in Northern CA or New England? They don't need to be whales or limited releases just fantastic beers that I might not have heard of or are staples in your fridge.

    The stop for the night list is as follows:

    Montpelier, VT
    Buffalo, NY
    Munster, IN
    Lincoln, NE
    Fort Collins, CO
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Reno, NV

    then off to San Jose via Russian River Brewing.

    Thanks in advance for the info.
    Premo88 likes this.
  2. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (6,197) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    You will have to some driving either side of your path, in Iowa look up 515 Brewing and TG.
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  3. DSWeller

    DSWeller Initiate (0) Aug 8, 2015 Iowa

    Along I-80 in the Midwest area:

    1. I would hit Fat Heads in Cleveland
    2. Must stop: Three Floyds in Munster, IN (right outside of Chicago). Also, a great place to eat!!
    3. Stop at Binny's in the Chicago area and grab locals: Pipeporks, Revolution, etc.
    4. In Iowa: Stop in either Iowa City or Des Moines. Easiest place to find TGB beers is at the chain grocery store called HyVee. You also have access to Surly in Iowa.
    5. Let someone else drive while in Nebraska and sleep through it.

    Enjoy it! Stopping to grab locals is one of favorite things to do while traveling.
    #3 DSWeller, Mar 4, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
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  4. lester619

    lester619 Devotee (470) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin

    How far out of your way are you willing to go? I'm sure it could be a phenomenal trip, buy you'd definitely have to allow yourself some extra time and miles. If you're going through Chicago, it's well worth the extra couple hours to check out New Glarus. It really is a world class operation and a great tour. Cheers and good luck with everything.
    BeerNDoggerel likes this.
  5. Jeffrey84

    Jeffrey84 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2015 Michigan

    If you have the time head up to Grand Rapids,MI. Tons of great breweries in the area. Stop by Rishis International Beverage on 28th street. The absolute best bottle shop In the 6 states I've lived in.
  6. do_ob

    do_ob Crusader (745) Feb 12, 2015 Kentucky

    Fat Head's in North Olmstead (Cleveland area) is a must if you're in the area.
  7. PuckIt

    PuckIt Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2014 Pennsylvania

  8. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (12,200) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    Don't miss Funkwerks in Fort Collins. And the Mayor of Old Town.
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  9. Vitamin_Hop

    Vitamin_Hop Initiate (145) Mar 26, 2015 Illinois

    In Chicago: skip Binnys if you can and go to west lake view Liquors and/or beer temple
  10. Angerhaus

    Angerhaus Crusader (746) Oct 1, 2015 Rhode Island

    Go to Beer Temple in Chicago. Binnys has quantity, but the Temple has a pride of ownership and quality that will make you grateful that you stopped. Then, if you like, you can take the 15 minute drive to the Binnys across from the Goose Island pub.
    Premo88 likes this.
  11. SailIntoTheStout

    SailIntoTheStout Initiate (129) Aug 29, 2015 Michigan

    If you can make a quickish detour to Kalamazoo, do it. Bell's is there among a handful of other smaller breweries.
  12. Chcshammonde

    Chcshammonde Devotee (499) Sep 20, 2014 California

    Welcome to the Bay! You could stop at Cellarmaker in San Francisco on the way down from Santa Rosa. They always have a ton of great stuff on tap, so you could get a growler fill of some local goodness on the last leg of your journey
  13. jeffgott

    jeffgott Zealot (541) Feb 15, 2015 New Jersey

    If ur going to Fort Collins, CO I wud spend a night in the mountains in Breckenridge, CO. Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge is weak as it was the 1st attempt and it has been surpassed in Denver and littleton but Broken Compass has fantastic beer and will be bottling their coconut porter in the next week or so but the tap room is great w/excellent beer choices. I was there last week and can't wait to get back. Cheers and good luck.
  14. Jbagel1

    Jbagel1 Initiate (117) May 25, 2015 Oregon

    please find some melvin brewing while on the trip! SO worth it. Wy or CO will probably have some if you stopped at a store.
    zeff80 likes this.
  15. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,939) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    +1 for The Beer Temple

    I've never been, but I've watched at least 50 of the podcasts, and I'd go just to meet Chris Quinn the owner, shake his hand and say thank you for all your good work. He seems to genuinely enjoy sharing good beer, and his shop appears to be a good place to run into some new beer.

    Post some of your findings if you get the chance.
  16. MFMB

    MFMB Meyvn (1,051) Jan 23, 2015 Idaho

    While in Wyoming pick up anything from Snake River, preferably Zonkers Stout. If your staying in Downtown Salt Lake Epic, Red Rocks and Squatters are in close proximity. Uinta is a 15 minute drive west of downtown. The Bayou and Beerhive have the largest selection of beer(mostly bottle pours givin the archaic laws here) both bars located in downtown. I would suggest Avenues Proper a nano brew pub located in the avenues above downtown SLC.
    Harrison8 likes this.
  17. elucas730

    elucas730 Initiate (146) Feb 5, 2010 New York

    B. Montpelier, VT
    Three Penny Taproom for drinking and Hunger Mountain Co-op for bottles. Or better yet, drive to Waterbury and go to Prohibition Pig, Blackback Pub, and The Reservoir for drinking and Craft Beer Cellar across the street from Pro Pig for bottles.

    Prison City brewpub in Auburn, NY for lunch

    C. Buffalo, NY
    Unfortunately, Buffalo is a bit of a beer desert at the moment. You could try the Pearl Street Brewpub or the iconic Anchor Bar or Duff's, but I'd recommend the Blue Monk. The Village Beer Merchant is a stop for bottles.

    Fat Head's in North Olmstead, OH for lunch.

    D. Munster, IN
    Three Floyd's, of course. I assume this is why Munster is your stop for this leg.

    Can't help much after that, but hopefully you can find a place in IA that has Toppling Goliath.
    Zach_Grinnell likes this.
  18. fredmugs

    fredmugs Meyvn (1,484) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana

    18th Street has their new place open in Hammond so make sure you hit that place up in addition to 3 Floyds.

    If you are only stopping at one place in the Cleveland area I would go to Brew Kettle.
    tylerstravis likes this.
  19. Zach_Grinnell

    Zach_Grinnell Initiate (50) Jan 14, 2015 California

    I'll definitely post some of the goodies I get. I will have three cases (maybe more) when I start so I'll have to keep my buying in check. Hopefully I'll still have some money when I'm done with this trip. haha. Beer journeys tend to get pricey for me.

    Thanks for the info so far everyone!
    Premo88 likes this.
  20. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,533) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    I might be wrong, but I don't think Melvin is packaging anything. Not sure if OP is willing to go into Jackson for it, not sure how much stuff of theirs gets out.
  21. FEUO

    FEUO Disciple (360) Jul 24, 2012 Canada

    Along the I-94 corrider from east to west in Michigan stop ins at Dark Horse, Bell's, and Greenbush are relatively easy (with Greenbush being a literal stone's throw from the highway).
  22. Vason

    Vason Initiate (123) Feb 19, 2008 Ohio

    In Ohio, a few spots not too far off I-80 would be:

    Akron - Hoppin Frog, Thirsty Dog, R. Shea - To get here, I'd recommend splitting off on I-76 after Youngstown, as I-80 would take you a touch north. Hoppin Frog is a top-tier must, Thirsty Dog is an Akron staple, and R.Shea is a brand new microbrewery. You could also visit the local Giant Eagle store for one of the largest selections of 6-packs in the area, or the Market District for your higher-end needs. Depending on how you'd be driving out of there, the Lizardville off of I-77 in Fairlawn is probably the best bottle shop in the area.

    Strongsville/Middleberg Heights - Brew Kettle, Fat Heads Production brewery - Both excellent places, having won many awards the past few years.

    West of this, the only other spot I can think of would be Maumee Bay in Toledo, they've got some solid product, but would be another spot a little out of the way.
  23. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,779) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    You can exit off of I-80 in NW Indiana and drive north about 8-10 miles to New Buffalo, MI. There you can stop at Bud & Elsie's (gas station/C-store) or Barney's New Buffalo Pharmacy and pick up stuff (any choices will be good) from Short's or Odd Side Ales (or other Michigan breweries not available to you). Then hop on I-94 westbound and rejoin I-80 in 20 or so miles.
  24. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (351) Apr 29, 2012 California

    Having driven that route...(I live back in the Bay Area now)...here are some thoughts.

    STOCK UP: At most you could trade it out west. Just PM me, I'd buy some from you.
    Mass: Trillium, Tree House, etc.
    Vermont: Heady and Lawson's.
    New York: Stock up on Sixpoint and keep driving.

    Then follow DSWeller's advice from Cleveland to Nebraska....after that.....yeah keep driving.
    Lots of good stuff in Colorado....and Snake River Beers from Wyoming.

    Here is what you could do after leaving Reno:

    Slight detour off of I-80 you could catch Fifty Fifty Brewing in Truckee. Pretty good. Then back on 80 head down to Knee Deep Brewing in Auburn. You can get a lot of Knee Deep out here in the bay, but it would be nice to get at the source. Down the road in Sac, check out the Capital Taproom for a great selection (they sell bottles too). Past Davis you could stop at Berryessa in Winters. I can get most of the Berryessa stuff at the Hop Grenade in the East Bay, but would be difficult in San Jose. Some of their beers are really good!

    If RR is your goal from Reno and I had to pick one....Capital Taproom for some pints and bottles, plus there is a Total Wine not far from there too where you can get more bottles. Depending on how early you leave Sac you could be at RR around 3ish which should be good so you don't have to wait to long. They have the largest sampling flight I have ever seen. Take it easy there. Most people go for Pliny at RR, but try Row 2 Hill 56....currently my favorite Pale.

    #24 TriggerFingers, Mar 4, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
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  25. Jbagel1

    Jbagel1 Initiate (117) May 25, 2015 Oregon

    Depending on where you are you can get 22oz bottles. From what I've seen it hasn't made it past idaho. I know colorado is getting 600,000 cans of it.
    beertunes likes this.
  26. Zach_Grinnell

    Zach_Grinnell Initiate (50) Jan 14, 2015 California

    The days got messed up so I ended up leaving a day late. I had to forgo the Vermont leg of this trip and head straight to Buffalo. I did pickup a couple of cases of Trillium since I won't be seeing that in my neck of the woods ever again. I went to a place called Consumer Beverage in West Seneca and they didn't have a great selection. Not bad though. I did pick up a six pack of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. I've only had one other beer from Great Lakes and I've really enjoyed both so far. Tomorrow is 3 Floyds. Very excited for that one.
  27. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,779) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Check out this link for 3 Floyds to help you decide whether you need to get into the beer purchase line before you go into the pub. If Zombie Dust is available, there will probably be a line.
  28. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (3,212) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    If you don't swing north after Chicago and hit Surly in Minneapolis, you'll kick yourself later.
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  29. WillemHC

    WillemHC Initiate (142) Jun 21, 2013 Utah

    Just skip everything, drive as fast as you can, and get to SF. Once there, stop at Cellarmaker. Make up for lost booze by camping in Delores park with a 30 rack of 64oz growlers of their beautiful IPAs. You will then be satisfied.
    Brolo75 likes this.
  30. raynmoon

    raynmoon Champion (804) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    That is SOO out of the way.
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  31. ThomasMetal75

    ThomasMetal75 Initiate (0) Jun 15, 2009 Massachusetts

    Trillium and Tree House are no where near each other. From Triullium in both Canton and Boston, MA Monson where Tree House is must be around 2.5/almost 3 hours away.
  32. raynmoon

    raynmoon Champion (804) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Fort Collins:

    1. Odell - arguably best hoppy stuff in Colorado + great patio and taproom
    2. Horse & Dragon
    3. Funkwerks - if you like the funk.

    1. Choice City - you only really need to go here
    2. Tap n Handle - 30 second walk away from ^^^

    1. Craft Beer Cellar - right in downtown by Choice City and Tap n Handle
    2. Wilbur's - big liquor store, big selection.
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  33. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (351) Apr 29, 2012 California

    I was just saying...depends on how close you are and which route you take. Out here in California you can start driving north from San Diego, spend 9 hours on the road, and not yet reach Oregon. My old drive from Philly north on 87 to Albany to get to Boston was cake.
  34. deford

    deford Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 California

  35. tylerstravis

    tylerstravis Meyvn (1,051) Feb 14, 2014 Colorado

    Bottles are/were in Idaho. Colorado gets cans in April. You guys soon after!

    I'm writing from (poor) memory, but you should check out the Melvin thread in the mountain forum!
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  36. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,779) May 30, 2005 Michigan

  37. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,533) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    We've been getting it draft in my town for a few years. It's nice beer, but, personally, I don't think it meets the hype. Which isn't the beer or breweries fault.
  38. tylerstravis

    tylerstravis Meyvn (1,051) Feb 14, 2014 Colorado

    You'll soon be getting cans of a wide variety of their beers. They make more than 2x4 :slight_smile:
  39. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,074) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Seconded. I missed this place when I went to Fort Collins. I spent all week in different breweries and drinking good beer, but that place is just incredible. 100+ taps with a fantastic rotating selection. If you go on a busy night, the beers on the menu when you order your first beer will flip when you get to your second.
  40. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,778) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Take time to stop at el bait shop in des moines. Best beer bar I've ever seen. 180 beers on tap.
    hopfenunmaltz and PapaGoose03 like this.
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