The Best U.S. Airport for Beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by nhuphuong422, May 17, 2018.

  1. nhuphuong422

    nhuphuong422 Initiate (0) May 15, 2018

    I know this topic has come up previously but I haven't seen it in a while and things seemed to have changed for the better at airports as they have at bars and restaurants. Previously, I would have said the Philly airport was the best but my dinner in Minneapolis-St. Paul last night I don't think could have been beat.

    I ate at Mimosa (in Concourse G) in the MSP airport last night and had a Bell's Two Hearted and a Surly Furious while I sat and read --- then had a Rodenbach Grand Cru with my bacon cheeseburger. Those beers are hard to beat in a restaurant, let alone an airport. I could have had a Summit Oatmeal Stout if I had wanted dessert.

    Other opinions?
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  2. AllHopsMatter

    AllHopsMatter Defender (622) Jul 16, 2016 California
    Premium Trader

    I wouldn't say best, since I haven't been to that many airports, but there are a couple restaurant-bars in SFO that carry Fieldwork taps on top of the more common Californian craft brews. I thought that was pretty cool.
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  3. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Disciple (320) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont

    Denver has some nice beer options. So does Portland OR.

    I love my local though: Burlington VT. 10 minutes from drop off to gate and a can of Focal Banger ftw.
  4. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,248) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Not sure about "best" but DIA is definitely a good one. With Great Divide moving in soon, it'll be getting even better.
  5. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,589) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    PDX is still the champ. Airside, you can buy bottles and get growler fills. Not even mentioning the bars/restaurants. Plus, they have a law that anything sold in the airport must have "Street Pricing", so the cost isn't jacked up just because they've got a captive audience.
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  6. Captstrapper

    Captstrapper Initiate (88) Nov 19, 2011 Vermont

    A lot of good airports for beer. Great Lakes is in Cincinnati, Goose Island in Chicago (Sofie on draft). Tampa has Cigar City. Burlington VT is super small regional airport but carries great local selections, Heady, Focal, Sip, Second Fiddle..etc.
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  7. Daveshek28

    Daveshek28 Initiate (185) Nov 10, 2015 New York

    Baltimore is pretty cool with Flying Dog and Duclaw. Not the most amazing selections, but having two brew pubs is pretty cool. San Diego has a Stone brew pub which usually is a pretty sweet lineup.
    AaronB77 likes this.
  8. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Initiate (50) Jan 11, 2015 Louisiana

    Denver's is definitely the best I've been to, and it's been a few years since I've been there. I think there's a rough correlation between the quality of the local beer scene and the quality at the airport. Not sure about all airports but at least at Houston Hobby and New Orleans you can walk around the airport with your beer, and that's a nice perk.
  9. AaronB77

    AaronB77 Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2018 Maryland

    I will second BWI, and throw an almost-honorable mention to Schlafly’s at St-Louis Lambert.
  10. ChelseaNJ

    ChelseaNJ Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2010 New Jersey

    I'd have to say PDX is the best. But I'm very excited to fly into Burlington next month and check out their offerings.
  11. johnbloy

    johnbloy Initiate (73) Sep 30, 2009 New Jersey

    Asheville, not even close.
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  12. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,214) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon

    This is the primary reason PDX gets my nod as well.

    I travel a fair amount, and it's nice to see that good beer options are becoming increasingly the norm in most airports. I was in Dulles recently, and was impressed by the selection I saw there, and I had an OK time at DIA recently (spent some time in the New Belgium HUB). The biggest problem I have with beer at SFO, is the pricing there tends to be really high (though I also was very pleased to see stuff from Fieldworks last time I was there).

    In terms of determining best airport in the US, it probably depends on what criteria you're using. The options you mentioned at PDX, I really haven't seen that sort of thing any place else, which is why it continues to get my nod as the best. A lot of airports increasingly have brewpubs and restaurants with a solid beer selection. However, at most airport watering holes you'll pay through the nose for a glass of craft, and I don't think I've seen a place that allows growler and crowler sales (other than PDX of course).
  13. CwTeng

    CwTeng Initiate (63) Feb 12, 2014 Colorado

    Hometown DEN is very good. Check out Root Down in Term C, Etai’s, Elway’s and New Belgium in Term B and Boulder Beer in Main! Stone Taproom in SAN is great and PDX rocks!
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  14. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,589) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    You and couple others have mentioned "Brewpubs". Are there places actually brewing on-site in airports? Seems like the logistics would be a headache.
  15. duckfisney

    duckfisney Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2010 Connecticut

    I'm on board with MSP as a good airport, lots of options for truly good local MN beers, I'm partial to alot of Summit brews. PDX is also a great beer airport and I'm happy to see that the tired old Rouge outlet on the D concourse had given way to a nice new Deschutes location! Also love the fact that you can buy great Portland beer and spirits to take with you! One place that I don't see mentioned here is BDL, the Hartford/Springfield local airport has several good bars for such a small airport! I'm particularly fond of the Two Roads Tap Room , about a dozen good Two Roads and other local CT brews and lots of bottles and cans ad well as decent food! I always love airport bars that highlight the local brewery scene!
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  16. Jhorton44

    Jhorton44 Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2015 Vermont

    BTV..Burlington, VT serves Heady Topper.
  17. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,214) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon

    As far as I know, no. I think the term is used loosely by most folks to refer to brewery themed restaurants, where only that brewery's beers are sold. As you probably know, in PDX there's Laurelwood and Rogue themed outposts, and a Deschutes version is in the process of joining the crowd. The Anchor spot in SFO is a similar animal, as is the New Belgium outpost in Denver, DuClaw in BWI, and GI in Chicago (for example). I think there are a number of Rock Bottom restaurants in various airports as well. I'm virtually certain that none of these places actually brew beer on the premises.
    #17 John_M, May 17, 2018
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  18. edward_boumil

    edward_boumil Zealot (565) Jun 28, 2015 New York

    IDK if its Atlanta specific or Delta (as its based in Atlanta) but they have that Sweetwater IPA and I quite like the stuff. Its pretty crushable and all around has a nice hoppiness.

    Otherwise I've never really been blown away by a beer selection on a flight.
  19. PolhillS

    PolhillS Initiate (91) May 25, 2013 Maryland

    I have to second the emotion w/MSP. Surly Furious on tap sealed the deal.
  20. Meckanic

    Meckanic Initiate (0) May 13, 2018

    Years back I had a great Oatmeal Stout in STL but don't know if they are still there or what the name was. :slight_frown:
  21. chrisjws

    chrisjws Champion (803) Dec 3, 2014 California

    PDX's beer game has always been strong. Denver is second. MSP has stepped up, it was mediocre a few years ago and it's gotten progressively better especially with that taproom that opened in the main concourse a year or so ago. San Diego is good but I think could be much better. Seattle is good too.

    Mediocre: DFW, ATL, O'Hare

    Garbage airports for beer: LAX, SFO, YYZ
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  22. mdtommyd

    mdtommyd Initiate (26) Jun 3, 2016 Maryland

    BWI. Has a DuClaw restaurant/brewpub and you don't have to go through security. Of course, that's probably bad for people making connections.
  23. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,214) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon

    I used to fly in and out of BWI for years and always hated the fact DuClaw was outside security. If I'm leaving the airport, it's not a place I'd ever want to stop (why pay airport prices when you can drive 10 or 15 minutes to a much better and cheaper venue), and I don't think very many people want to go through security an extra time just so they can drink DuClaw stuff. As it's often difficult to know just how long it's going to take to go through TSA, or if there will be any problems going through security, I have no interest in stopping off to drink a beer before I actually have made it by TSA.

    In all the years I flew in and out of BWI, I don't think I ever stopped off at DuClaw prior to my flight.
    #23 John_M, May 17, 2018
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  24. vurt

    vurt Savant (961) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon

    Interesting. I don't see much of anything related to beer on their terminal map, except for one place called "Blue Ridge Trading & Tavern." What kind of beer offerings do they have at Asheville airport?
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  25. goingbrokeonbeer

    goingbrokeonbeer Meyvn (1,329) Dec 4, 2013 South Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Ones I like that I've been through in no particular order, Denver Philadelphia Chicago O'Hare Charlotte. I've been through a lot, but most times I'm not able to drink so I don't look for what they have.
  26. thebeervoyage

    thebeervoyage Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2018 California

    Really hoping LAX steps it up. Anyone know of anywhere good in the Tom Bradley international terminal? I’m there a decent amount but have yet to find anything interesting at all.
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  27. mcgarm00

    mcgarm00 Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2015 Colorado

    It was probably Schlafly Oatmeal Stout. I'd put STL on the list too because they have Schlafly tap houses at each end of the airport.
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  28. Uberk

    Uberk Initiate (54) Apr 29, 2013 California

    San Jose CA has some decent local beers on tap, not as good as others above. But it used to offer a $1 shot of any top shelf whisky tequila etc. along with your pint of beer. It’s the ONLY way to fly!
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  29. gr8ful

    gr8ful Initiate (80) Aug 17, 2014 Texas

    same...not sure if the best, but had a few excellent local brews in SFO last time I was there.

    Cleveland-Hopkins not too bad: they have (or used to have anyway) Great Lakes Brewing pub in the airport.
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  30. gr8ful

    gr8ful Initiate (80) Aug 17, 2014 Texas

    never on a flight
  31. MorktOl

    MorktOl Disciple (359) May 29, 2009 Tennessee

    Tampa Bay Airport, Cigar City brews on site at the airport.
  32. Txex06

    Txex06 Initiate (139) Dec 28, 2016 Texas

    I've only been able to find Golden Road stuff the two times a year I fly in or through LAX.
  33. Nolecat34

    Nolecat34 Initiate (51) Jul 25, 2017 Connecticut

    I think you mean Cleveland for Great Lakes. Cincy could do with one - Rhinegeist, Mad Tree, Morelein's....any/all would be a nice addition to CVG.
  34. TonyLema1

    TonyLema1 Poo-Bah (1,686) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina

    Charlotte had a bar that served Old Meck and there’s always super fresh Hop Drop and Roll, at least when I’ve been stuck there
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  35. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (2,302) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    Stone Arch at MSP has an excellent selection, lots of local beers (at least a couple dozen good to phenomenal beers, mostly local).

    Cat Cora at DTW has uber fresh M-43.

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  36. rjwintl

    rjwintl Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2016 Virginia

    lotta good "airport" beer , but local craft IPA at Ft. Worth , Texas and a really good steak made my trip to the West Coast memorable !!! ... Seattle can't do steak worth a damn , but their local craft beers sure are great too !!!
  37. laketang

    laketang Savant (970) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    Sure as hell ain't Chicago. Maybe SFO. I`'ll check lax out again next week.
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  38. williestile

    williestile Initiate (86) Aug 6, 2008 Virginia

    DuClaw is right next to the Southwest baggage check. If traffic and the baggage line go well, DuClaw is the pre-security reward for local passengers with a little extra time. Their beers aren't particularly impressive (decent variety though). Flying Dog is superior in my Maryland based opinion and is after security.
  39. boogerisu

    boogerisu Devotee (466) Aug 19, 2014 Iowa

    Burlington VT. When I came through they had Sip of Sunshine, Heady and Focal.
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  40. williestile

    williestile Initiate (86) Aug 6, 2008 Virginia

    Nashville airport also has the 'drink anywhere past security but before the jet bridge' policy. Local brewery Yazoo has a kiosk in the food court and local packaged beer is available for purchase throughout the airport. There are several restaurants featuring decent beers.