On the 2,000-mile journey from Los Angeles to Chicago, you’re bound to get a little thirsty: Here are 11 great beer stops along the Mainstreet of America.
by Kristen Kuchar
LOS ANGELES | SUNSET BEER CO.
One of the engines behind L.A.’s cool brew ’hood Echo Park, Sunset Beer’s a sleek beer store/tasting room stocking the best of California beer (plus Belgian standouts, too). Pair a Lightning Thunderweizen with chow from whatever food truck’s parked outside. 1498 Sunset Blvd., 213.481.2337
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. | BARNEY’S BEANERY
One end of Route 66 is now Santa Monica Boulevard, and the original location of this eclectic, 1920s-born beer bastion makes for a smart, historic start to Route 66. 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., barneysbeanery.com
PASADENA, CALIF. | LUCKY BALDWIN’S PUB
Here, beer nerds talk shop over famous fish-n-chips and debate whether St. Amand French Country Ale is more nuanced than Cali’s own Craftsman Poppyfields Pale Ale. 17 S. Raymond Ave., luckybaldwins.com
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. | FLAGSTAFF BREWING CO.
Sip a summery Golden Ale on the patio and stay awhile, or order a Sasquatch Stout on nitro and give the driving duties to your DD. 16 E. Route 66, flagbrew.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. | SADIE’S OF NEW MEXICO
Sadie’s has served authentic New Mexican cuisine to Route 66 drivers for more than 50 years. Smother enchiladas, tamales and sopaipillas with fiery green chile, and cool the burn with Rio Grande’s caramelly Outlaw Lager. 6230 4th Street NW, sadiesofnewmexico.com
AMARILLO, TEXAS | BIG TEXAN
This “steak ranch” and motel proves everything’s bigger in Texas: Test your mettle with a 72-ounce steak—finish the whole thing, and it’s free. An onsite brewery makes a slew of beers; take a growler of the nutty, maple-sweet Pecan Porter to go.
7701 I-40 East, bigtexan.com
TULSA, OKLA. | FASSLER HALL
A German dining hall’s the last place you’d expect to see in America’s heartland, but here one is, serving up jagerwurst, bratwurst and more than 25 German beers. Wash down your homemade sausage and duck-fat fries with a big, bready Schneider Aventius wheat eisbock. 304 S. Elgin Ave., fasslerhall.com
SPRINGFIELD, MO. | FARMERS GASTROPUB
Just a few short blocks from the historic route, this cozy, local-minded gastropub serves up bread, meat and produce from nearby farmers—even the Mac and Artisan Cheese is served with locally grown greens. Keep the meal farm-fresh with Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, a peppery saison. 431 S. Jefferson Ave., Suite 160, farmersgastropub.com
ST. LOUIS | SCHLAFLY TAP ROOM
Stretch your legs with a tour of the brewery and visit to the Brewseum, an ode to St. Louis brewing. Then, relax with the summer-only Raspberry Hefeweizen. 2100 Locust St., schlafly.com
WILLOWBROOK, ILL. | DELL RHEA’S CHICKEN BASKET
This joint’s famous for its award-winning deep-fried chicken, but Dell Rhea’s has a small but smart beer list as good as its birds, with fine American and Belgian picks: A made-nearby Two Brother’s Cane and Ebel cuts all the grease with its rye zing and serious hops. 645 Joliet Rd., chickenbasket.com
CHICAGO | PARK GRILL
Chicago’s beautiful Millennium Park is the ideal end point for the route. Located within the scenic landmark, the Park Plaza serves up both imports and Chicago locals like Metropolitan’s crisp Flywheel Bright Lager. 11 N. Michigan Ave., parkgrillchicago.com