From a Chinese restaurant-cum-micobrewery in Portland to a 20,000-square-foot beer playground in central Philly, Charlotte Steinway rounds up the newest sudsy spots worth checking out this fall
With the new 300,000-square-foot Lagunitas brewery and enduring favorite Half Acre’s recent expansion, it’s no secret that chi town’s beer scene is among the best the country. This summer, Kaiser Tiger opened in the West Loop’s former Tasting Room space, bringing with it a 200-seat beer garden, 24 draughts and game changing, porcine-focused menu. We’re talking bacon flights (yes, that’s a thing), sausage sandwiches and a $70 “bacon bomb” — a five-pound slab of bacon-stuffed sausage covered in a brown sugar-crusted bacon weave.
One of the buzziest beer hall openings of the year happened in the heart of Brooklyn — at Berg’n, the 9,000-square-foot behemoth smack dab in the middle of Crown Heights. The cavernous industrial-chic space features long communal tables, Danish-style blond wood chairs and doors that open to create an indoor-outdoor space. With just 12 taps, the rotating list is expertly curated to include rare local drafts (like Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace Saison) alongside a heftier bottle list of perennial favorites (Bell’s Two-Hearted, Southern Tier Pumpking). Libations are complemented by stands from Williamsburg’s foodie festival Smorgasburg’s cult vendors like Asia Dog, Pizza Moto and Ramen Burger.
Independence Beer Garden
In the tourist-ridden stretch near Independence Mall, it’s traditionally been tricky to find a decent place to grab a drink. Enter the sprawling Independence Beer Garden, which opened its doors. With seating areas ranging from a rock garden to a renovated shipping container, the 20,000 square-foot space also has a host of diversions like life-sized Jenga, ping pong and corn hole. And while IBG is heavy on the atmosphere, the drink selection ain’t bad either: They’ve got 20 taps from a host of staple breweries like Ommegang and Victory, plus beer cocktails and refreshing mixed drinks like watermelon sangria.
Part Chinese restaurant, part craft brewery, BTU Brewery is the first of its kind. Expect a solid execution of Chinese staples like Peking duck, dan dan and ma po tofu alongside eight house-brewed drafts from their 7bbl system out back. Stop by for a drink, fill up one of their signature BTU growlers, or settle in for one of their lunchtime tasting menus — there’s plenty of suds to cut the Szechuan spice.
The sister bar to the beloved San Francisco outpost of the same name, Toronado hit Seattle in late August with a serious selection of 40 microbrews, 60 whiskeys and a meat-centric menu of boundary-pushing staples like beef heart tartare and head cheese sandwiches. And while the grub is all well and good, the draughts are the real reason people flock to the Roosevelt space — apparently in its first week, there was a line down the blocks of local beer nerds highly anticipating the bar’s 11:00 a.m. opening.
While it’s not technically open yet, Butchertown Hall deserves a shout out for being the neighborhood’s first biergarten since 1909. Though much of the new Germantown beer paradise is shrouded in mystery, photos from Butchertown’s facebook page reveal construction of a “40-foot tall cathedral dedicated to beer,” as well as inspiration boards from the traditional beer halls and gardens of Munich, Prague and Vienna. Beyond that, we know that the 2,000-plus square foot space will pay homage to Germantown’s historical roots as a German immigrant neighborhood lined with butcher shops.
Los Angeles, CA
Downtown LA, or DTLA as the locals call it, has finally taken the spotlight in recent years as the city’s super cool hotbed of new restaurants, bars, hotels and happenings. Part of the hood’s hype comes from ACME, the group behind local favorites Spring St., Sixth Street Tavern and Library Bar (plus iconic downtown New York beer bar Spitzer’s Corner). The latest addition to their fleet is Beelman’s Pub, a British-style gastropub with a sultry interior, picnic table-flanked patio, signature craft cocktails and a solid foreign beer list.
Atwater in the Park
The most traditional beer hall of the list, Atwater in the Park opened in former Grosse Pointe Park church. Brew barrels now stand where the altar once sat, and long, communal tables have been fashioned out of reclaimed church pews. The menu skews German — think fresh kielbasa, pretzel baskets and smoked knockwurst — but the 40 drafts are from all over. The bulk or them are brewed in house (the bar also has a distillery license in the works), but about 15 of them are secured exclusively for to the Atwater in the Park taps.
New York’s craft brewery scene has exploded well beyond the bounds of Brooklyn Brewery, with Other Half in Carroll Gardens, SingleCut and Finback in Queens, Bronx Brewery and most recently, Threes Brewery in Gowanus. A full-scale production brewery (with a heavy bent toward farmhouse ales) joins a 3,200-square foot outdoor space and main indoor bar area with 20 rotating taps, cocktails, liquor, wine and ciders. Pair your drinks with bites from the rotating kitchen, where different restaurants take over for a few weeks at a time. This summer kicks off with a menu curated by neighboring restaurants Dover and Battersby.
Perhaps the most impressive project of this list, the upcoming Loyal Legion is set to open on the corner of SE 6th street and Alder this July and will feature 99 taps of Oregon-only brews plus an all-local food menu courtesy of Olympia Provisions. Portland’s golden child of the foodie scene, Kurt Huffman (of ChefStable fame) is behind the buzzy endeavor, in which all brews will cost $6 but vary in size.
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten Asbury, NJ
Asbury Park has gone through somewhat of a hipster renaissance in the past few years not unlike Rockaway Beach in Queens. This summer, the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten is the new kid on the block — slinging oversized soft pretzels and more than 60 varieties of beer, including German staples (Reissdorf Kolsch, Franziskaner and Weihenstephaner) plus a strong selection of craft drafts (we’re fans of New Jersey’s own Kane Held High IPA). Enjoy a couple of steins in the massive indoor beer hall or, or upstairs on the roof deck, which looks out onto Wesley Lake.