Cheers! The cold weather might have you feeling chilly and bored AF. When we see snowflakes on the forecast, we cringe a little bit. This time of the year, it seems like summer will never come. You probably long for the days when you could bring a cooler and speakers to the beach and have a day with your besties. Cracking a cold one was oh-so-satisfying when you were soaking up the sun. But, bundling up in blanket scarves and boots doesn't have to be so bad. Thanks to some of our favorite brews, we can survive the snow and feel a different kind of draft. We all have our favorite flavors, and I'm no expert, but some of the best breweries in the world are worth a visit this winter.
You've heard of the mainstream places, but you might be looking for a new stout. You're a self-proclaimed connoisseur now. And it just wouldn't seem right to take a flight to the face without studying the flavors a bit first.
Like wine, there are beer capitals all over the world. Germany is often credited for the big beer festivals like Oktoberfest (looking at you, study abroad students). However, countries such as Belgium, the United States, and Ireland aren't far behind.
Finding a lager you really love can be hard, and the key is to stay open-minded. There are millions of beers to try, and you never know which one will raise the bar. Here are eight breweries worth adding to your bucket list — if nothing else, just to warm you up a bit this winter.
1. Tree House Brewing Company In Charlton, Massachusetts
This draft-only brewery should be at the top of your list for places to taste. There's no limit on imagination or new brews at Tree House Brewing Company. It is constantly mixing up new recipes, which means no two visits will ever be the same.
The visiting hours at this beer innovation hub are limited, so you'll want to plan your trip a bit in advance. Expect to stand in some lines, but enjoy some super good snacks while you wait. Every minute spent waiting will be worth the unreal sips to follow.
2. Stony Creek Brewery In Branford, Connecticut
Sitting right along the Connecticut shoreline is a sweet spot to spend the day with friends. My roommates and I love going to this brewery, no matter what time of the year it is. The tap room is small, but consistently offers tours of the building so you can get a behind-the-scenes look at Stony Creek's above-average ales. Grab a flight at the bar, and always ask for a recommendation. (My personal favorite is Ruffled Feathers or the New England IPA that tastes something like a hard cider.)
To really upgrade your day, bring some board games or play a solid round or two of Cards Against Humanity. When you inevitably get hungry, various food trucks sit just outside the front doors so you can fill up on pulled pork sandwiches, creamy mac and cheese, or a Greek gyro.
3. Delirium Cafe In Brussels, Belgium
When I studied abroad, we spent just an afternoon in Brussels, Belgium. We had woken up in Amsterdam and were on our way to spend a couple of days in Paris. We only had a few hours to explore this culture-filled city, and squeezed in as many waffles, Belgian chocolates, and fry cones money could buy. We were told that Delirium was a must-do, if even just for one beer, during our super-short stay. Located just a couple streets away from the main square, it was hoppin' with locals and study abroad students.
When you walk into the bar, the first thing you'll notice is the beer trays that line the ceilings. Every single tray is different, and it's truly a sight to see. The next thing you'll notice is the extensive beer list. Delirium currently holds the world record for the most beers served at a bar, with 3,162 items on the menu. Choose wisely.
4. Trillium Brewing Company In Boston, Massachusetts
Built on beauty, strength, simplicity, and balance, Trillium Brewing Company is one of the best, not just in Boston, but beyond in the beer world. Founded by a young couple, this place has a hole-in-the-wall feel, friendly service, and creates a family-like community. (After all, drinking beer is better when you're surrounded by not just stouts, but some rad people, too.)
If you want to spend some time sampling, you'll want to check out the brewery's location in Canton. Full pours aren't available at Fort Point, although a wide variety of its pale ales can be purchased on site.
5. Bissell Brothers Brewing Company In Portland, Maine
At Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, there's no shortage of beer or creative passion. Take a couple of steps into the tap room and you'll feel the electricity from the brightly colored cans to the eccentric names of the beers you're being served. Try a taste of The Substance Ale, Baby Genius, or Lux — are we in an exclusive night club or a brewery? Let me know.
Sitting in South Portland, Maine, this spot is youthful and vibrant with somewhat of a strict schedule (so you'll want to do some prior planning.) It'll be an afternoon well spent. Be sure to get some fried chicken from the eatery next door.
6. Franciscan Well Brewery And Brewpub In Cork, Ireland
"Crafted the Cork way." That's the motto at the Franciscan Well Brewery and Brewpub in Cork, Ireland. With a great team of brewers, this international spot has received a lot of recognition in its country and globally for its craft beer — picking up awards at various festivals and competitions.
Chill in the beer garden and order one of the pizzas (because what pairs better with a beer than a pie?). Just a short walk from the city center and the University College Cork, this will be the ideal trip for study abroad students in search of flavor.
7. Russian River Brewing Company In Santa Rosa, California
Russian River Brewing Company sits right in the middle of wine country but brews a decent and heavily hopped beer. Pliny the Elder (and coming soon, Pliny the Younger) is one of the brewery's year-round beers, and a double IPA.
All of its ales are California style, and best balanced with one of the munchies on the menu. Spend some time sampling Russian Rivers' flavors with a massive flight, and be sure to check out the bottle cap that comes with it.
8. Speight's In Dunedin, New Zealand
When you think beers and breweries, New Zealand is probably not the first place that comes to mind. But, if you're studying abroad in Australia or just find yourself in the land down under, it's worth hopping over to Speight's — especially on a rainy or chilly day.
Take a tour of the brewery to learn a little about its process or Dunedin itself. End your trip with a tasting and a light lunch. You won't be bored or cold this winter while you're drinking beer with some buds and getting a little bit of a warm buzz.