Best Spots for Craft Beer During Oktoberfest

Oct 3, 2014

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To take advantage of Chase Sapphire Preferred’s lucrative 3x points on dining offer on the first Friday of the month, we’re rounding up the best in dining. For October, we’re celebrating Oktoberfest. Our team scoured the country to find the best breweries, brewpubs and restaurants with amazing craft selections. 

If you’re not thirsty yet, you soon will be. We’ve found some of the most creative, thirst-inducing brews  across the country. From ingredients like glacier-fed water in Alaska to tropical fruit in Florida, each brewery has its own unique personality and flavor profile.

While many of  the spots on our list offer food in addition to brews, some are strictly breweries where you can tour the facilities and sample their creations in the taproom. Take home a package or a growler of handcrafted beer and use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. We tested out a few breweries on the list and they coded as dining, so you can even earn points on your beer supply for the month.

Pro Tip: If you’re a true beer connoisseur, download the Untapped app to discover and share your favorite brews.

A tour of the barrels at Brooklyn Brewery
A tour of the barrels at Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
The Brews: 10 draughts on offer every weekend as well as lots of “Big Bottles.” Besides their signature brew, Brooklyn Lager, seasonal beers are available like Brooklyn Okertoberfest and Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale.
The Spot: The influence of this brewery looms large nearly 30 years after opening and giving rise to a new age of New York City microbreweries–and Brooklyn cool. The Williamsburg brewery is open to the public Friday to Sunday where you can sit at a picnic table in the no-frills tasting room, play cards and taste away. A limited selection of snacks are available, but you can order in from one of the many neighborhood restaurants. Tours of the brewery are offered Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m. for $10 (reserve online one month in advance) or go for free on the weekends (arrive early). Beer tokens are $5 each, or five for $20. –Adee Braun

A colorful selection of beers at Golden Road
A colorful flight of beers at Golden Road

Golden Road Brewing, Los Angeles, CA
The Brews: The main focus at Golden Road Brewing is IPAs and limited edition brews with star attractions in the strong, nutty Wolf Among Weeds IPA and a funky brown ale named Get Up Offa That Brown. In the fall, sample seasonal pours like I’ll Have Another Stout and Batch 1000 Black Lager.
The Spot: Opened in 2011 by a beer-loving local couple, this hip, sprawling indoor/outdoor space inhabits part of a historic train depot out near Glendale. You’ll find dog-, kid- and party-friendly patio spaces and plenty of free parking, as well as horseshoe-tossing and a menu stocked with delicious burgers and sandwiches ($8-12) and bar bites like beer-battered fried artichokes ($7) and beer-braised short rib tacos ($9). –Melanie Wynne

Revolution Brewery Beers
A few of the artfully styled labels at Revolution Brewery

Revolution Brewery, Chicago, IL 
The Brews: Revolution Brewery produces about 50 different beers per year, including a specialty Rose Hibiscus Ale and a “Deep Wood” series of barrel-aged beer. Try their “4th Year Beer”, a Belgian ale celebrating four years in business.
The Spot: Located in Chicago’s hip Logan Square neighborhood, this brewery isn’t just about beer. Chef Charlie Eure makes sure Revolution produces delectable eats to match their unique selection of beers. Choose from a selection of vegetarian dishes (like the country friend tofu, $16), burgers and salads, with only the best ingredients from local farms. Enjoy brunch with your beer on the weekends (entrees around $10-12) from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. –Lori Zaino

We'll drink to that! Brews at Lucky Labrador
We’ll drink to that! Brews at Lucky Labrador

Lucky Labrador Public House, Portland, OR
The Brews: At Lucky Labrador Public House, you’ll find a massive array of house-brewed craft beers from Dog Day IPA to Chocolate Stout. Try their flagship Super Dog IPA and the seasonal Bavarian Crystal Weisen–and get the kids some top notch homemade root beer.
The Spot: Lucky Labrador has four locations around Portland (featured here is the one in Multnomah Village). Aside from great beer, they serve hand-tossed pizzas (slices or whole) and salads at reasonable prices. For rainy weather, there’s ample seating and a warm glow inside this former Masonic Temple. For sunny days, there’s a beer garden out front. The service is a bit slow, but friendly. Pints are around $5, with growlers, pitchers, and samplers also available. Unsurprisingly, dogs are welcome. –Peter Rothbart

Michael's Genuine Home Brew is a collaboration between the chef and Back Forty Brewing Co.
Michael’s Genuine Home Brew is a collaboration between the chef and Back Forty Brew Co.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, FL
The Brews: At the vanguard of Miami’s farm-to-table movement, Chef Michael Schwartz has never rested on his laurels. It seemed a natural progression, then, when he created Michael’s Genuine Home Brew, a food-friendly ale made from sem-chi brown rice and sugar cane, in collaboration with Gadsden, Alabama’s Back Forty Brew Co.
The Spot: Whether dining at the original Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink or at one of its sister restaurants in Miami, Harry’s Pizzeria, Cypress Room or Restaurant Michael Schwartz, guests can expect pared down, high quality food made from seasonal, locally foraged ingredients. With a fresh cocktail menu created by mixologist Ryan Goodspeed and an impressive wine selection, Michael’s Genuine Home Brew provides a great, well-balanced microbrew to pair with Schwart’z fresh cuisine.  –Shayne Benowitz

The Icy Bay IPA label depicts local surfer Scott Dickerson hitting the Alaskan surf
The Icy Bay IPA label depicts local surfer Scott Dickerson hitting the Alaskan surf

Alaskan Brewing Co. Juneau, AK
The Brews: With six year-round brews and a variety of seasonal, limited edition and “rough drafts,” Alaskan Brewing Co. is distributed widely throughout—and is inspired by—Alaska’s beautiful and rugged terrain. The secret ingredient to their award-winning brews? Glacier-fed water.
The Spot: While their beers are on tap at most bars and restaurants throughout Alaska, you can visit their taproom and brewery in Juneau for complimentary tastings and to view their original 10-barrel brewing system, as well as the 100-barrel brewing system. Sample the Amber, White, Stout, Ice Bay IPA, Freerider APA and Hopothermia brews and chat up their Brew Crew to learn more about the art and science of brewing. There’s a story behind each beer’s label, from fishing vessels to polar bears to intrepid Alaskan surfers. Alaskan Brewing Co. is also widely distributed throughout the western states of the Lower 48. –SB

Communal tables at Alewife make kicking back with a cold one more fun
Communal tables at Alewife make kicking back with a cold one more fun

Alewife NYC, Queens, NY
The Brews: A staggering 29 draughts and many more bottles with an emphasis on IPAs and seasonal brews. Truly a carefully curated sampling from across the country and Europe.
The Spot: The sister site of the original Baltimore location, this Long Island City gastropub is a destination for the seasoned drinker and the simply curious. The patient bartenders will navigate you through the dozens of draughts (the beer descriptions on the menu are surprisingly accurate). There’s a $30 all you can drink weekend brunch, lots of seasonal events and regularly scheduled live music in the beergarden-like space. The food menu is full of seasonal and hearty dishes done well, but nothing fancy or too unexpected. Draughts $8-10, bottles $8-45, food $5-14. –AB

Cheddar ale soup and a flight of beer, anyone?
Cheddar ale soup and a flight of beer, anyone?

Grizzly Peak Brewing Company, Ann Arbor, MI
The Brews: While the premises aren’t large, Grizzly Peak does brew its own beer on site, and keeps eight of its finest on tap daily. Try the Bear Paw Porter or Steelhead Red, or for something lighter, the Michigan Saissoniere.
The Spot: Though situated apart from the University of Michigan campus on the more upscale west end of downtown, you’ll still find a good mix of students and locals dining, carousing, and cheering on whatever game is on TV. The space is smartly divided into two separate bars and a large dining area with an exposed kitchen. Outdoor seating is also available during the summer. The full service menu is tasty and inexpensive. Try the cheddar ale soup, the artichoke ravioli, or any of their burgers. Pints are around $4-6, pitchers are $14-17. –PR

The inviting outdoor space at Mohawk Bend
The inviting outdoor space at Mohawk Bend

Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles, CA 
The Brews: With a choice of 72 California-made beers on tap, you’ll (probably) want to hone in on just a few. Local standouts include Solidarity Nitro, an English-style dark mild ale from L.A.’s Eagle Rock Brewery, 4th Anniversary, an especially malty, cranberry-spiked Doppelbock from Orange County’s Cismontane, and the citrusy California Saison from King Harbor Brewing in the South Bay’s Redondo Beach.
The Spot: Set in a remodeled former vaudeville theater in L.A.’s funky Echo Park, this fun, casually romantic restaurant has three distinct sections: a firepit on the dimly-lit front patio beside Sunset Boulevard, a wood-burning fireplace on the bright atrium-ceiling back patio, and a bustling bar scene in between. The huge, creative lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus highlight wood-fired pizzas ($11-14) and burgers ($12-15), with both meat-lovers’ and vegan offerings. For those who like beer more than they like the taste of beer, there is a large selection of strong-pour cocktails and California wines by the glass. –MW

What ABV level can you handle? Decide with the Cat 3, 4, & 5 brews at Due South
What ABV level can you handle? Decide with the Cat 3, 4, & 5 brews at Due South

Due South Brewing Co., Boynton Beach, FL
The Brews: With craft brews named for hurricane warnings (Category 3, 4, and 5 IPAs), Due South Brewing Co. is deeply entrenched in South Florida culture and produces some of the most creative beers in town.
The Spot: For founder and head brewer Mike Halker, craft beer is a labor of love. His home brewing habit grew out of a desire to make wine for his wife Jodi, and along the way he developed a passion for beer instead. His top seller, Caramel Cream Ale, dry-hopped with fresh, whole vanilla beans, came to be because he wanted to create a beer that she would drink. After two years of perfecting the recipe, he hit the jackpot, and the demand consistently outweighs the thousands of gallons he produces every month. The taproom is located in a corner of his warehouse-style brewery and tours are available. The weekend brings food truck and live music for a festive atmosphere. Pours from $2-$5, growlers from $7-$23. –SB

The warm atmosphere at Jimmy's
The warm atmosphere at Jimmy’s

Jimmy’s No. 43, New York, NY
The Brews: Fourteen beers on tap and a bottle collection that’s pages long of mostly German, Belgian and New York brews. Right now, you’ll find Founder’s Oatmeal Stout and Barrier Gosilla Gose to welcome in the fall.
The Spot: With the shell of a dive bar and the heart of a gastropub, this East Village spot is a temple of beer and grown-up bar food (shishito peppers, anyone?). The small, but select food menu includes lots of locally sourced ingredients. The vibe is casual with a Bavarian flair. The full calendar of events will get you a decent beer education to boot (look out for Cider Week in late October). Draft beers $8-10, bottles $10-$45 (seriously, there’s one very pricey Lambic), food $6-15. –AB

Midwesterners journey far and wide for the brew at 3 Floyds
Midwesterners journey far and wide for the brew at 3 Floyds

3 Floyds Brewery, Munster, IN
The Brews: 3 Floyds offers several creative year-round brews such as Zombie Dust and Arctic Panzer Wolf, but don’t forget about their seasonal brews, like the current Rabid Rabbit, a farmhouse ale with a light body and color or their barrel-aged barley wine.
The Spot: This Indiana brewery attracts all sorts of Midwestern beer enthusiasts, and many make the 30 mile drive out of Chicago to sample these specialties (prepare for crowds). The brewpub offers not only beer, but food prepared with local fresh farm ingredients. Pair your brews with some of their small plates, like Monkey Bread ($6) or the Masa Dumpling ($8), a root beer infused brisket. For a look around the place, tours of the brewery are offered on Saturdays. Each year, 3 Floyds Brewery puts on a the Dark Lord Festival, which is the only day of the year you can purchase Dark Lord Beer. –LZ

Where "good people" come for a drink
Where “good people” come for a cold one

Good People Brewing Company, Birmingham, AL
The Brews: With five staples, four seasonals and one wild card brew, this Birmingham brewery knows how to mix things up, adding a Southern spin to its beers, like the popular Double IPA dubbed Snake Handler, a hoppy mix of floral aromas matched with a biscuit and caramel background, containing 10.2 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
The Spot: Chatting with people in the South, you’ll constantly hear the phrase “good people,” referring to anyone from a close friend to people around town and Good People Brewing takes this community aspect a step further. Located near Railroad Park, the industrial-style brewery and taproom was started by two friends eight years ago and the brews were doled out at tailgating parties. Now, the downtown brewery brings in locals and visitors to sample its brews with BeerAdvocate declaring four of Good People’s beers the highest rated in the South. Patrons can stop in for a sample and bring their own food or grab a bite when a local food truck is nearby. –Lane Nieset

The Stags Head is a classic New York City beer joint
The Stags Head is a classic New York City beer joint

The Stag’s Head, New York, NY
The Brews: This brewpub specializes in American craft beers, with 16 carefully chosen microbrews on tap at any given time. Seasonal selections are highlighted, such as Ithaca Beer Company’s Ground Break Saison and Greenpoint Beerwork’s Kelso Nut Brown Lager.
The Spot: A standout amongst the sea of Irish and sports bars in Midtown East. The bi-level bar has a cozy, lodge-like atmosphere encouraging long visits. Though the brews are stellar, the food is merely serviceable, but welcomed when settling into hour three. The knowledgeable staff will gladly point you in the right direction should you find yourself, understandably, overwhelmed by the long beer menu. The happy hour crowd can be daunting, but there’s usually a vacant corner upstairs or out on the patio in warmer weather. $4-5 weekday happy hour on select craft beers, most beers $6-9. –AB

The lush, colonial entrance to Schnebly Redlands Winery & Miami Brewing Co.
The lush, colonial entrance to Schnebly Redlands Winery & Miami Brewing Co.

Miami Brewing Co., Miami, FL
The Brews: Only in South Florida’s Redlands countryside would you find a craft brewery inside a winery that produces wines made from tropical fruit like mangos, lychees and even avocado. Miami Brewing Co. is inspired by Florida’s lush, tropical terrain creating unique brews with locally grown fruits, spices and herbs.
The Spot: About an hour south of Miami, you’ll find Schnebly Redlands Winery and Miami Brewing Co. on a stretch of green farmland inside a Napa Valley-meets-Florida Keys manse with a grand colonial entrance and palm thatch roof. The winery was founded in 2004 by Peter Schnebly and the brewery came along in 2011 with brews such as Big Rod Coconut Ale (a light, crisp beer with caramel and coconut notes), Shark Bait Wheat Ale (a medium-bodied ale with a smooth mango finish) and Vice IPA (a hoppy IPA balanced with caramel and citrus notes). A courtyard reveals a tropical waterfall, and live music draws a crowd to picnic tables under the stars on Friday and Saturday nights. $14 gets you a commemorative pint glass and a tasting flight, growlers also $14. –SB

Tasty brews come standard here
Tasty brews come standard here

Standard Brewing, Seattle, WA
The Brews: This low key, far off the beaten path brewery offers a few standards and a rotating cast of seasonal beers. If you fancy pale ales, try the earthy, aromatic, and almost fluorescent Beet-Ale-Juice.
The Spot: This is more of a retail outlet than a gathering place. They’re only open in the late afternoon and early evening, and there’s not much seating indoors, though they do have a nice, shaded patio ripe for idling away the middle of a summer day. Despite the short hours and small space, it’s a great neighborhood joint: you can bring your own food and your dog, but leave your stress at the door. Pints go for $5, growlers for $12. You can also get 5 oz. samplers for $2. –PR

The Bridgeporter label is an homage to the Chicago neighborhood

Marz Community Brewing, Chicago, IL 
The Brews: Marz is all about South Side Chicago love, and it shines in one of their most popular beers, The Bridgeporter, an homage to the neighborhood where it all started. You can also indulge in the aptly named Smoke Wheat Every Day wheat beer.
The Spot: Marz began as an eclectic group of beer lovers and both home and professional brewers got together while drinking craft beer at Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar. Marz Community Brewing dedicates itself to creating beer in a socially responsible manner in order to better their community. Stop in, try some brews, and embark on some insightful conversations with the locals that founded this collective. –LZ

Tasty cold ones on tap at Saint Arnold Brewery
Tasty cold ones, like the ICON, on tap at Saint Arnold Brewery

Saint Arnold Brewery, Houston, TX
The Brews: For year round offerings, try the Saint Arnold Endeavour double IPA or the unusual Santo Black Kölsch. For seasonal options, try the Saint Arnold Pumpkinator Stout and the Christmas Ale.
The Spot: Producing over 50,000 barrels annually, Saint Arnold doesn’t really qualify as a micro-brewery, but their beers have heart, nonetheless. The brewery is in a small industrial area by the freeway just north of downtown, so it’s not walkable, but their tours and occasional live events are worth checking out. If you can’t make it there, you can find their beer in grocery and liquor stores across Texas. –PR

Beers at church? In Pittsburgh? We're in!
Beers at church? In Pittsburgh? We’re in!

Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh, PA
The Brews: You’ll find four beers on draft, two in bottles, and a revolving selection of specialty brews, some with ecclesiastic names like Pious Monk Dunkel and Pipe Organ Pale Ale. During the fall, keep an eye out for Oktoberfest, an amber and slightly bitter Märzen lager, and remember that any draft you desire can be served in a 22 oz. mug.
The Spot: Inhabiting the former St. John the Baptist Church, originally built in 1878 in once-scruffy and now happening Lawrenceville, this huge pub/restaurant features most of the church’s original architectural details – stained glass windows and all – and offers a rare opportunity to worship beer and a higher power at the same time. Open daily for lunch and dinner, the kitchen turns out a full menu of salads, soups and pastas – including vegetarian and gluten-free options – but is especially renowned for its rich, handmade Polish pierogies stuffed with mashed potatoes and cheese, and tossed with sautéed onions ($7). –MW

Beers full of character on tap at Avondale
Beers full of character on tap at Avondale

Avondale Brewing Co., Birmingham
The Brews: Each brew is named after a colorful character from Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood’s history and Miss Fancy’s Tripel is named after the Queen of Avondale herself, Miss Fancy the Elephant, who became the city’s spokesperson after a circus owner lost a game of cards. Miss Fancy had her own potion during prohibition to ease stomach pains, but the modern-day version of Miss Fancy’s brew is a Belgian golden ale crafted with traditional hops that’s on the stronger side of the spectrum.
The Spot: Once a city, the up-and-coming Avondale neighborhood was home to everyone from Miss Fancy to Native Americans and Union soldiers, and the building housing the brewery was no different, changing throughout the years from a post office to a bank, firehouse and saloon with a secret bordello—said to be haunted by the lady of the brothel. Schedule a tour of the historic brick building’s brewery and taproom—a favorite among locals—and sample the Birmingham spin on traditional Belgian brews. –LN

Tongue-in-cheek playfulness is a hallmark of Shmaltz Brewing Co.

Shmaltz Brewing Co., Clifton Park, NY
The Brews: Home to the cleverly-named He’Brew, keep an eye out for two particular bottles: the wildly popular Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale and Funky Jewbelation, a seven-ale blend aged in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels.
The Spot: Opened in 2013 in upstate New York’s Northway, about 10 minutes north of downtown Albany, this nearly 20,000-square-foot tasting room is topped with a soaring ceiling and features a 50-barrel brewhouse. Wednesday through Sunday, you can try any of their 13 brews on tap or cart home bottle-packs and firkins, but while you won’t find any food on-site, you can take a guided tour of the enormous, gleaming facility and learn how beer is made. –MW

Barrels line the wall at the cozy bar at Singlecut

SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens, NY
The Brews: Five year-round beers offered, including signature brews 19-33 Lagrrr! and Bob Sunburst Finish Lagrrr, and a wider seasonal selection.
The Spot: Proudly holding the distinction of being Queen’s first microbrewery since prohibition, SingleCut no doubt hopes to also become the Brooklyn Brewery of the north. And they have a good shot at it. This small, newish (opened in 2012) Astoria brewery has a loft-like taproom room which lends itself to casual tastings of their sophisticated beers (flights are a nice way to get your feet wet). Jam sessions on the modest stage also add to the feeling that you’re hanging in your cool neighbor’s garage. Savory pies and cheese plates are gobbled down to fortify the stomach for yet more beer. Pints $4, growlers $8, food $6-13. –AB

We know we’ve only skimmed the surface of amazing craft beer around the country. What’s your favorite brewery, brewpub or restaurant with a great microbrew selection?

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