50 Amazing Nanobreweries in 50 States
Alabama: Chattahoochee Brewing Company
If you happen to cross over the Chattahoochee River from Columbus, Georgia, into Phenix City, Alabama, you’ll find a small brewpub that serves up drinks right on the waterfront. Their signature beers are the Big Yuchi IPA and Little Yuchi Pale Ale.
Alaska: Baranof Island Brewing Company
Though technically no longer a nano based on typical definitions (a fewer than three-barrel brewing system), this Sitka brewery certainly earned its nano stripes when it opened back in 2010 with just a 15-gallon system. The owners have since upgraded to a ten-barrel system, allowing them to better churn out brews like their highly regarded Medvejie Stout.
Arizona: Black Bridge Brewery
On the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert, near the spot where Arizona, Nevada and California all converge, this Kingman brewery offers up a wide range of styles just a block away from Historic Route 66. If you don’t plan on doing any driving, consider trying their Wicked Poison, a 14 percent ABV wheat wine.
Arkansas: Blue Canoe Brewing Company
This Little Rock brewery has only been open about a year, but it has already made a name for itself by offering just what you’d expect from a solid nano: a diverse set of beer served up in a cozy setting during a limited set of hours four days a week. Earlier this year, the Arkansas Times raved about the Razorback Rye.
California: Woods Beer Co.
This bay area brewery has rightfully done a bit of growing in the last couple years, opening up locations in Oakland and Russian Hill. But their nano cred is strong as Jim Woods is still brewing on hist 20-gallon system at his Cerveceria in the Mission, the original brick and mortar home of his MateVeza—an IPA brewed with yerba mate.
Colorado: Verboten Brewing
About an hour north of Denver, in Loveland, Colorado, you'll find a small three-barrel brewery that is only just now moving out of its original home in an industrial park. But though Verboten is small in capacity, this brewery made some big friends, producing collaboration beers with well-known names like New Belgium and Cigar City.
Connecticut: Relic Brewing Company
For just ten hours a week, beer lovers can drop into this highly regarded Plainsville nano in Hartford County to try various beers in constant rotation. Recently they’ve been offering up two different types of flavored Gose, one with pineapple and one with lemons and clementines.
Delaware: Argilla Brewing Company
Featuring just a 1.5-barrel brewing system, this Newark nano tucked inside a pizza parlor can boast that it is the smallest brewery in one of America’s smallest states. Though the owners have been slinging pies since 1978, the brewing component is relatively new addition. But hey, it’s all yeast, right?
Florida: Alligator Brewery
Unsurprisingly, Florida has a brewery named “Alligator.” It’s a little tough to find, however. The brand operates a tiny one-barrel brewing system out of Tall Paul’s Brew House in Gainesville. Apparently the place gets pretty rowdy with live bands on the weekends, so if you just want to get your hands on these hard-to-find brews, try dropping in during the week.
Georgia: Burnt Hickory Brewery
One constant when it comes to nanobreweries: The best ones quickly have reason to expand and drop the nano designation. Though this Kennesaw brewery was operating as a two-barrel brewery as recently as last year, the owners have had growth on their minds. However, regardless of its current size, Access Atlanta named two of its beers—the Ezekiel’s Wheel and the Big Shanty—among the 25 best in Georgia in 2015.
Hawaii: Palolo Valley Brewing Company
Jeremyah Wubben began his brewing career in one of the nano brewery capitals of the world, Colorado. But after a move to Hawaii he found that the tropical state offered interesting opportunities to use local ingredients like coffee, taro and lilikoi (passion fruit). And since 2014 Wubben has utilized ingredients like those as well as yeast strains he cultivated himself on the islands in his 3-barrel brew house.
Idaho: Cloud 9 Brewery
Though recently expanding from a miniature 1/3-barrel brewing system to a four-barrel system, this Boise brewery keeps things local by focusing on seasonal ingredients and “sustainable, local, and organic beers.” It’s the only certified organic brewery in the state.
Illinois: Spiteful Brewing
This Chicago-area brand makes a wide range of well-regarded beers, including an Alley Time Pale Ale, apparently brewed for bike messengers looking to duck out of sight for a break.
Indiana: Planetary Brewing Company
Iowa: Worth Brewing Company
This Northwood brewery bills itself as “the smallest licensed brewery in the country, making beer in ten-gallon batches for local consumption.” That’s only about twice as much as the average homebrewer makes. But what brewer Peter Ausenhus has been able to do with that output remains quite impressive.
Kansas: Hank is Wiser Brewery
For ten years, fans of small batch beer have been hitting up this pub/brewery/barbecue joint in Cheney, west of Wichita. Apparently everything is brewed up on a three-barrel system, including its cheekily named Porter Potty Porter, which patrons rate as easy to drink.
Kentucky: Country Boy Brewing
This Lexington brewery opened in 2012, squeaking out about 500 barrels of beer on a tiny system. But how quickly things can change: By next year, the owners are hoping to move into a new 20,000-square-foot facility that will allow them to produce 30,000 barrels. For now, you can still get a taste of their nanobrewery roots at the original location. The Amos Moses Brown Ale and Cliff Jumper IPA are particularly well received.
Louisiana: Courtyard Brewery
Open for only about a year, this new craft beer bar also became New Orleans’ first nanobrewery when it started selling house brews out of a three-barrel system. The bar features 18 taps, covering a mix of its own brews and crafts from all over the country. According to co-owner Scott Wood, they aren’t planning on having flagship beers, allowing them to brew what they like—so expect the unexpected if you decide to drop in.
Maine: Bunker Brewing Company
Maine is known for its great beer culture, and yet this tiny just-over-nano 3.5-barrel brewery in Portland has had no problem making a name for itself since opening in 2011. The flagship Machine Czech Pilz is a remarkably excellent American take on the style, delicate and authentic to its Old World roots. You can drop in and taste it yourself during select hours, Thursday to Sunday.
Maryland: Baying Hound Aleworks
Back in 2013, this Rockville brewery launched a Kickstarter campaign with the big dream of upgrading from a one-barrel to a two-barrel system, so you can tell the founders’ hearts are truly in the nano category. Their tiny taproom, located—where else—in an industrial park, serves up brews that are “unpasteurized, unfiltered and contain no additives or preservatives.”
Massachusetts: Berkley Beer Company
This three-barrel operation brews out on a farm in the small Massachusetts town of Berkley. The brewers primarily focus on four beers: an IPA, a golden ale, a coffee porter and a harvest ale.
Michigan: River Rouge Brewing Company
Film industry types grow accustomed to big productions, so maybe former producer and cinematographer Edward Stencel was looking for something a bit smaller when he switched industries and opened his River Rouge Brewing Company, a 3.5-barrel, just-bigger-than-a-nanobrewery operation, in Royal Oak earlier this year. According to The Detroit News, the Mango Explosion, “an easy-to-drink fruity beer with a bright, sweet tropical flavor,” is a must-try.
Minnesota: Sisyphus Brewing
Part of the fun of being a nano is having the ability to constantly experiment with new batches. Run by a former wedding photographer and a former comedian, this Minneapolis brewery has taken that idea to heart, already rattling off dozens of different beers on their two barrel system since opening last summer. Co-owner Sam Harriman also ties in his comedy background by hosting shows in the taproom, meaning that this might be America’s only nanobrewery/comedy club.
Mississippi: Natchez Brewing Company
This brewery, named after the Mississippi town it calls home, was able to get its three-barrel system up and running in the past year thanks (as we’ve seen with other breweries) to a Kickstarter campaign. As it stands now, Natchez may be the state’s only remaining nanobrewery. Its first beer to market: a Bluff City Blonde.
Missouri: Bat Creek Brewery
Missouri is rife with solid nanobreweries, especially in its major hubs of Kansas City and St. Louis, but if you find yourself about an hour and a half northwest of the latter, why not drop into this tiny brewery in Bowling Green? It’s open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, serving up brews crafted just a barrel or two at a time out of the operation’s “machine shed.”
Montana: Bandit Brewing Company
One of Montana’s smallest breweries is located in a town called Darby, which has a local population of 733 people. A husband and wife team opened the nano last year, brewing beer in 40-gallon batches—probably enough to keep the people of Darby well stocked.
Nebraska: Jaipur Brewing Company
This Omaha Indian restaurant is also a nanobrewery. Not only does The Jaipur feature “fine Indian cuisine and Indian fusion,” it’s also home to a two-barrel brewhouse. It sells its own take on an India Pale Ale, but it also brews a Jalapeño Ale.
Nevada: Imbib Custom Brews
This brand-new Reno nano that opened earlier this summer is working on a system that brews just 1.5 barrels. But it’s a much larger barrel that has attracted everyone’s attention: The centerpiece of Imbib’s facility is Reno’s first foeder—a nearly 15-barrel oak vat that can be used for longer fermentations. The display is fitting, given that one of the founders told This Is Reno that the brewery plans to have “a strong focus on barrel aged brews.”
New Hampshire: Throwback Brewery
The two women behind this North Hampton nano launched in 2010 with what they’ve dubbed a three-barrel “Franken-brewery” cobbled together from tanks they found elsewhere. Building a system from recycled equipment seems to fit with the duo’s brewing ethos, which focus on “beer that is sourced 100% from local ingredients and enjoyed in the local New England area.”
New Jersey: Flounder Brewing Company
Despite having a full-time job as president of a company that markets deer stands for hunters, Jeremy Lees manages to run New Jersey’s smallest brewery on the side, crafting one barrel at a time in an industrial park in Somerset County. If you’re interested in dropping in to try his signature Hill Street Honey American Ale—brewed with New Jersey honey—keep an eye on the brewery’s social media handles: It’s only open about once a month, “on a random basis.”
New Mexico: Blue Heron Brewing Company
Who wouldn’t want to own their own brewery and winery? Scott and Kristin Hennelly decided to follow through on their nano-size dream, brewing up 100-gallon batches at their brewery in Embudo, about an hour north of Santa Fe; they also make wine. The Hennellys have a separate taproom in Espanola, where you can get brews and wine in addition to pizza and other bites.
New York: The Beer Diviner
In the rural town of Stephentown, just across the Massachusetts border, you’ll find the taproom for this two-barrel nano that brews out of a farm about ten minutes down the road. Three days a week, brewer Jonathan Post serves up a mix of eclectic beers to an even more eclectic mix of locals and drivers who happen to notice the trailer-like building while cruising down Route 22.
North Carolina: Trophy Brewing Company
If you’re in the mood for small-batch beer and pizza in downtown Raleigh, this three-barrel nano is probably a good bet. The toppings available on its specialty pies (whipped Brie, ricotta, bourbon figs, caramelized onion, pecans and balsamic reduction, anyone?) are as diverse as the beer styles it offers—from gose to Vienna pale ale to coffee porter.
North Dakota: Laughing Sun Brewing Company
This 65-seat pub features a 3.5-gallon, slightly over nano mash kettle and gets rave reviews from Bismarck residents, not just for its well-liked beers, but also for its support of local artists and musicians. The Sinister Pear Belgian Strong Ale in particular seems to be a popular pick.
Ohio: Bowling Green Beer Works
Bowling Green’s newest and only nanobrewery started whipping up one-barrel batches just a couple months ago, and Oregon-transplant/brewer Justin Marx is already having trouble keeping beers in stock. Marx told the Toledo Blade that his experience with brewing goes all the way back to when he was booted from boarding school for secretly fermenting apple cider in the seventh grade.
Oklahoma: Black Mesa Brewing
Originally launched vias an Oklahoma City brewing co-op, these brewers of stellar coffee stout got wiped out during a tornado in 2013. But they’re back, contract brewing right now with the O’Fallon Brewery in St. Louis. They’re succeeding despite what co-owner Brad Stumph calls Oklahoma’s “archaic” laws that won’t let them sell full strength beer out of a taproom and you can find Black Mesa in bars around Oklahoma and, thanks to their work with O’Fallon, in Missouri as well.