The 10 Most Underrated Craft Beer Cities

As beer drinkers continue to jump on the craft brew bandwagon, cities like Asheville, Denver, and both Portlands have come to prominence as some of the best beer towns in the United States. However, several lesser-known cities are also appearing on the craft beer scene, many of which produce beer just as delicious as the big name breweries. If you're wondering where to go on your next beercation, the towns on our list below are sure to keep your beer mugs overflowing with tasty brews. Keep reading to learn more about the most underrated craft beer cities in America!

Frederick, Maryland

While Frederick may not be Maryland's largest city, it offers plenty of things to do for locals and tourists alike. If you're a history buff or have an interest in learning more about the Civil War, Frederick is jam-packed with historic landmarks, African American heritage sites, and museums. One of Frederick's other great assets is its craft beer scene, which continues to blossom. Two of its finest breweries are listed below:

Flying Dog Brewery

flying dog blood orange ale

Flying Dog Brewery was founded as a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado by George Stranahan in 1990. In 1994, Stranahan and partner Richard McIntyre constructed a full-fledged brewery in Denver. The pair then purchased Frederick Brewing Company in 2006, moved across the country, and the rest, as they say, is history. Their signature beers include:

  • Raging Bitch, a Belgian IPA (8.3%)
  • Gonzo, a Baltic imperial porter (9.2%)
  • Bloodline Blood Orange IPA, an American IPA with blood orange (7%)

Monocacy Brewing Company

Monocacy Brewing Company was founded in 2012 as the off-site expansion facility for Brewer's Alley brewpub. In addition to producing all of Brewer's Alley beers, Monocacy also makes their own brews. Their goal is to embody the rich history of Frederick, which is evidenced by their name referencing the historic Monocacy Aqueduct on the C&O Canal. Their signature brews include:

  • Riot Rye, a rye pale ale (6.2%)
  • Brewtus, a coffee imperial stout (8.6%)
  • H.L. Rex, an American session pale ale (3.7%)

Louisville, Kentucky

Whether you're visiting the Kentucky Derby Museum, catching a University of Louisville football game, or traveling the Louisville Urban Bourbon Trail, you'll love all that this town has to offer. While the city's brewing scene may not be as well known as some of its regional neighbors, Louisville still has plenty to offer beer lovers. To learn more, check out the list below:

Great Flood Brewing Company

great flood brewing company

Founded by Vince Cain, Zach Barnes, and Matt Fuller in 2014, Great Flood Brewing Company is one of Louisville's most popular beer spots. Dissatisfied with their day jobs, the three learned the art of craft brewing in 2012 and moved into a historic building on Bardstown Road, which is a hub of culture and great food. A few of their signature beers include:

  • Tomahawk IPA, an American imperial IPA (9%)
  • '37 Porter, a Baltic porter (6.8%)
  • Juniper Wheat, a light wheat ale (5%)

Cumberland Brewery

Cumberland Brewery was founded in 2000 by entrepreneur Mark Allgeier. Along with brewers Cameron Finnis and Evan Blanford, Allgeier only served beer in-house for many years, but the trio has recently begun bottling their unique craft beers for distribution around the country. A few of their must-try brews include:

  • Nitro Porter (5.8%)
  • Matt's Red, an American amber ale (5.5%)
  • Pale Ale (5.9%)

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Declared one of The New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2016, Grand Rapids is renowned as one of the country's favorite travel destinations. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families of all shapes and sizes, Grand Rapids is a smart choice for your next vacation or long weekend. The city's 40+ breweries, hotel brew packages, and ale trail also make it an ideal spot for any beer aficionado. To learn more, check out the list below:

Founders Brewing Company

Founders all day ipa

The road to opening Founders wasn't an easy one, but owners Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers opened what is now one of the top breweries in the country in 1996. Their goal is to create beers for those in search of complex brews bursting with aromatics, flavor, and body. A few of their signature beers include:

  • All Day IPA, an American session IPA (4.7%)
  • Porter (6.5%)
  • ReDANKulous, an American imperial red IPA (9.5%)

Grand Rapids Brewing Company

Grand Rapids Brewing Company was originally created in 1893, when six local breweries joined forces in what is now the site of a state office building. Today's brewpub opened in 2012 and is owned by Mark Sellers, who founded BarFly Ventures and also runs three other Grand Rapids bars. Grand Rapids Brewing Company's signature brews include:

  • Silver Foam, an American lager (4.5%)
  • Pannell's Flanders Red (8%)
  • Downtown Dank, an American imperial IPA (9.3%)

Temecula, California

The warm climate of Temecula makes it the perfect tourist destination for golfers, wine lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and just about everyone else. The Old Town district also features a number of historic buildings and plenty of antique shops, making Temecula a great choice for history buffs, too. While California is primarily known for its vineyards and wineries, Temecula is full of unique craft breweries that deserve a visit. Two of the best are listed below:

Black Market Brewing Company

black market brewing company

Founded by Kevin Dyer in 2007, Black Market Brewing Company was originally housed in a small warehouse the size of a large garage. Black Market is dedicated to using only the best yeast, malt, and hops, and is known for their creative, experimental, and innovative brews. Their signature beers include:

  • Invasion Imperial Red Ale (6.5%)
  • 1945 Berliner Weisse, a sour wheat ale (3.8%)
  • Holiday Triple Black Rye IPA, an American black ale (7.5%)

Relentless Brewing

Relentless Brewing is a family-owned craft brewery that was founded in 2013 by brewmaster James Hess. They are best known for their sours and barrel aged brews, but you'll also find saisons, IPAs, and dark beers. Nestled between two other popular breweries, this spot is definitely a must-try. Their signature brews include:

  • Ride or Die, a golden sour (4.5%)
  • Tripel (6.7%)
  • Eta a la Ferme, a French farmhouse ale (6.7%)

Bend, Oregon

Bend is one of the country's up-and-coming destinations for leisure, but you'll also find plenty of skiing, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor activities to keep you busy. If you like to bring your furry friends along when you travel, you'll love Bend's status as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. Bend is also drinker-friendly and is home to the Bend Ale Trail, the largest brew trail in the West. To learn more, check out the list below:

Deschutes Brewery

deschutes black butte porter

Deschutes Brewery was founded by Gary Fish in 1988 as a small pub in downtown Bend. The brewery is family- and employee-owned and dedicated to improving their processes for maximum energy efficiency. With pubs in both Bend and Portland, Deschutes is one of the most well-known breweries in the country. A few of their signature beers include:

  • Black Butte Porter (5.2%)
  • Fresh Squeezed IPA (6.4%)
  • Mirror Pond Pale Ale (5%)

Bend Brewing Company

This brewery was founded in 1995 by Dave Hill and Jerry Fox, who were originally planning on opening a downtown brewing company called Brooks Street Brewery. The pair ended up changing the name to more closely associate it with the city, as it was only the town's second craft brewing company upon its inception. Their signature brews include:

  • Ching Ching, a Berliner Weisse (4.5%)
  • Hophead Imperial IPA (9.2%)
  • Outback X, an old ale (9.5%)

St. Petersburg, Florida

Located between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg is famous for its warm weather, sparkling water, and beautiful beaches. The city is also a cultural hub and is home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum and the Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center. If you're a fan of the great outdoors, you'll love St. Pete's state parks, bike and walking trails, and fishing spots. The city is also home to a host of breweries, two of which are listed below:

Green Bench Brewing Company

green bench brewing company

This brewery was founded in 2013 by Steven Duffy, Nathan Stonecipher, and Khris Johnson. In the early 1900s, St. Petersburg was known as the "City of Green Benches," as some 2,500 benches once lined the downtown sidewalks. These seats represented hospitality and brought people together, which is how this brewery came to be named. Their signature brews include:

  • Skyway Wheat, an American pale wheat ale (4.5%)
  • Maximo Milk Stout (5%)
  • Green Bench IPA (6.8%)

St. Pete Brewing Company

St. Pete Brewing Company was founded by Tom Williams and Jon McCracken. The latter was a former chef who enjoyed homebrewing and graduated from the American Brewers Guild, but never intended to become a commercial brewer. When he and Williams joined forces in 2014, though, St. Pete Brewing Company was born. Their signature brews include:

  • Orange Wheat, an American wheat ale (4.7%)
  • Evacuation Route ESB, an extra special bitter (5.3%)
  • Scottish Ale (5.9%)

Ithaca, New York

If you love the outdoors, Ithaca is the perfect place for your next adventure. With over 150 waterfalls in 10 square miles, an expansive network of hiking trails, and countless fishing spots on the shores of Cayuga Lake, you'll enjoy all of Ithaca's natural wonders. While the Finger Lakes region is usually known for its wineries, Ithaca is also a mecca for craft beer lovers and boasts a number of taprooms, brewpubs, and brewing companies to suit any palate. To learn more about Ithaca's flourishing beer scene, keep reading:

Ithaca Beer Company

ithaca happy pils

This brewery was founded by Dan Mitchell in 1998 with the goal of exemplifying the unique spirit of the Finger Lakes. The brewery opened a new facility in 2012 that features a state-of-the art brewing area in addition to a taproom and beer garden that offer the perfect environment to enjoy Ithaca's award-winning and creative brews. Their signature beers include:

  • Flower Power, an American IPA (7.5%)
  • Nut Brown, an English brown ale (5.4%)
  • Happy Pils, a German pilsener (5%)

Bacchus Brewing Company

Conveniently located on the historic Finger Lakes Beer Trail, this brewery is an innovative addition to Ithaca's blossoming craft beer scene. Founded in 2012 by David McCune, the company's master brewer is Richie Shallcross, who was originally hired to help with a variety of tasks. Their signature brews include:

  • Blonde Ale (5.5%)
  • Bacchus IPA (6.5%)
  • Beerded Brown, a brown ale (5.2%)

Omaha, Nebraska

From casinos and golf courses to day spas and shopping, Omaha is the perfect tourist destination. Whether you're hanging out in Benson, Dundee, Old Market, or North Downtown, the city is bursting with culture, nightlife, and a rich culinary scene. Omaha is also one of the country's up-and-coming craft beer cities, and if you're interested in visiting them, the Omaha Craft Brewery Tour is sure to quench your thirst. Two of the city's finest breweries are listed below:

Infusion Brewing Company

infusion brewing company

Infusion Brewing Company is located in a historic building that operated as a market and butcher shop in the first half of the twentieth century. This brewery was founded in 2012 by Bill Baburek, who also owns Crescent Moon, a local alehouse. With another location in West Omaha, you're sure to find Infusion beer wherever you go. Their signature brews include:

  • Mango Habanero Wit, a spicy witbier (5%)
  • Keg Stand Session IPA (4.8%)
  • Splish Splash Tart Cherry Wheat Ale (5.4%)

Farnam House Brewing Company

Farnam House Brewing Company was founded by brewmasters Phil Doerr and Tony Thomas in 2014. They specialize in Belgian, French, and German beers, and began their brewing journey by crafting unique saisons. Additionally, they always have a rotating sour or brett ale on tap, along with spontaneously fermented ciders. Their signature beers include:

  • Oud Bruin, a Flanders oud bruin (7%)
  • Farnam House IPA, a Belgian IPA (7.7%)
  • Farnam House Gratzer, a smoked beer (3.5%)

San Diego, California

From the beaches of La Jolla to the famous Torrey Pines golf course and a world-famous zoo, San Diego is a sunny paradise that has something for everyone. California's second largest city, San Diego is also home to over 70 miles of scenic coastline, making it the perfect spot for whale watching and other aquatic attractions. While San Diego isn't one of the country's well-known beer cities, it is packed with innovative craft breweries. To learn more, check out the list below:

Green Flash Brewing Company

green flash west coast ipa

Green Flash Brewing Company was founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife team Mike and Lisa Hinkley. Since the brewery's inception, they have focused on producing aggressive, hoppy, and high IBU IPAs, which has gained them recognition around the country. They also own Cellar 3, which specializes in barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned ales. Their signature beers include:

  • West Coast IPA, a American double IPA (8.1%)
  • Passion Fruit Kicker, an American pale wheat ale with passion fruit (5.5%)
  • Sea to Sea Lager, a zwickel lager (4.0%)

Ballast Point Brewing Company

This "back room" brewery grew from founder Jack White's Home Brew Mart, which he opened in 1992. Along with his friends, Pete A'Hearn and Yuseff Cherney, White officially opened Ballast Point Brewing Company in 1996. Dedicated to blending science and art, this company has reinterpreted brewing while also reinvigorating the industry. Their signature brews include:

  • Pineapple Sculpin, an American IPA (7%)
  • California Kolsch (5.2%)
  • Fathom, an India pale lager (7%)

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman is an outdoor lover's paradise, and you'll find plenty of biking and hiking trails, campgrounds, fishing spots, and even ranches where you can go horseback riding. Bozeman is also located a mere 90 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, making it a perfect vacation destination. You'll also find a number of unique craft breweries that are sure to please any beer enthusiast. To learn more about what Bozeman has to offer, check out the list below:

Bozeman Brewing Company

bozeman brewing company

Bozeman Brewing Company was founded by husband-and-wife team Todd and Lisa Danzl Scott. A homebrewer for many years, Todd worked at Napa Valley Brewing Company and Spanish Peaks before starting the Bozeman Brewing Company in 2001. Their signature beers include:

  • Hopzone IPA (7%)
  • Bozone Select Amber Ale (5.4%)
  • Berliner Weisse (3.2%)

Bridger Brewing

This brewery was founded by David Breck and David Singler in 2011. The pair met in 2007 and formed an engineering consulting company, but soon decided their mutual dream was to open a brewery. After building their company from the ground up, they brought on head chef Jim Eberhard and opened for business. Their signature brews include:

  • Bobcat Brown, an American brown ale (5.2%)
  • Ghost Town Coffee Stout (5.8%)
  • Vigilante IPA (6.7%)

From Frederick to Grand Rapids and Bend to San Diego, the craft beer scene continues to maintain its popularity in small towns and big cities around the country. While the U.S.'s major beer cities are certainly worth visiting, there is also a host of lesser well-known brew towns that are focused on sustainability, fresh ingredients, and unique craft creations. Whether you're a seasoned beer drinker or a craft brew newbie, our list of the 10 most underrated craft beer cities is sure to help you expand your palate and nurture your love of beer.

Posted in: Bars & Breweries|By Nora Fulmer
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