America’s 100 Best Beer Bars 2014

Ah, another Draft Mag Top 100 list, another reminder to do more traveling outside the East Coast. Didn’t make much headway this year, as some of the bars I’ve hit in past (Bier Markt, Sunset Tap and Grill) are off this year’s list, so while I have hit four new places since last year, I’m only up to nine total.

I’m hoping to add ChurchKey to this list next month, Monk’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week, and surely Torst is in my sights later this year. How many of America’s Best Beer Bars have you been to?

EDIT: For clarity, I just want to reiterate, this is not my top list of bars, this is a personal recollection of the places I’ve visited that were featured on Draft Mag’s America’s Best Beer Bars for 2014. Please click through the link at the top or bottom of this post to see their full list.

Source: Draft Mag

Lunch at Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum

– I had a short 40ish hours to spend in Boston for my Belgian Beer Fest weekend and I wanted to make the most of it. I had a few stops in mind, but volunteering for the set up, night session and cleanup for Night of the Funk meant my time on Friday had to be spent wisely. Deep Ellum was one of the few places on my list that was actually open for lunch on Fridays so after an early check in to my hotel I made my way there.

Daytime street parking was a bitch and a half but the frustration was well worth it. The outside was your typical brick and mortar store front with a fairly nondescript sign overhanging the entrance, but the front door opened up to magnificence.

The first thing you notice (at least in the daytime) is the big beautiful skylight that brings in absolutely perfect natural lighting onto the bar (which I drooled about in my teaser post), topped with some surrounding belt-driven ceiling fans strattled by bar seating on your left and half bench, half chair seating on your right.

I quickly looked over the draft menu to see there was something for every type of beer nerd, for the localvores with plenty of beers from High and Mighty, Pretty Things, and Idle hands, to the hopheads with Green Flash’s West Coast IPA and Stone’s 16th Anniversary (which still hasn’t hit the Capital District yet), to the sour fans all of whom would be in town for that night’s festival.

I’ll admit, I’m used to drinking with friends and splitting various bottles throughout the night, and I’m a bit spoiled lately in being able to get small pours at both The Ruck and The Bier Abbey. So it was a little bit of a let down to be limited to strict glass sizing and not be able to try as many of the beers as I would have liked to from such a great beer menu. That didn’t stop me from having a few before heading to the Cyclorama, though:

  • Strawberry Short Weiss – Smuttynose Brewing Co.
  • Baby Tree – Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
  • Collaboration No. 3: Stingo – Boulevard Brewing Co.

Of course I needed some eats to go with all of that beer and anything that reads “house-made sausage” I’m all over, especially when it claims to be “The Best Wurst Appetizer”. The sausage was phenomenal, with the perfectly paired mustard and great pickled carrots, snap peas, and cauliflower (which given it’s fairly neutral flavor made the pickling brine POP in a way I really loved).

Deep Ellum was absolutely fantastic and will definitely be on my radar the next time I’m in Beantown. I was planning on sticking around sipping on beers the rest of the afternoon until it was time to head to Night of the Funk, but then I saw this message on Lord Hobo’s facebook page:

I immediately got out of my seat and headed over. There was a nice Vermont surprise when I got there, too.

America’s 100 best beer bars: 2012

Only seven for me, plus the World of Beer chain mentioned in the notes for the South. Pretty weak. Gotta step it up in 2013!

  • MCNULTY’S BIER MARKT | Cleveland, Ohio (Went here before I started fuj on tap but I might get around to doing an archive post at some point)
  • THE ARMSBY ABBEY | Worcester, Mass. (StoutFest, Hill Farmstead Dinner)
  • BLIND TIGER | New York (Post-Grad Boozin’)
  • DEEP ELLUM | Allston, Mass. (still need to do full posts on Boston, but here’s the teaser shot)
  • RATTLE N HUM | New York (Post Grad Boozin’)
  • SUNSET GRILL & TAP | Allston, Mass. (Also pre-fuj on tap)
  • REDLIGHT, REDLIGHT | Orlando, Fla. (East Coast Road Trip)

How many have you been to?

Source: Draft Magazine

Beautiful Bar at Deep Ellum

Just got back from my night in Boston, should have a bunch of pictures from the trip up soon. I’m really excited about this shot from Deep Ellum, so much so I had to share it immediately. They have an incredible bar with tons of natural lighting that makes it easy to take beautiful shots like this (not to mention an impeccable tap list and a great lunch menu). This is completely unaltered. No cropping, no adjusting of the colors or white balance, straightening or retouching of any kind. I’m really pleased with this.

Full write up will be coming soon!