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Home Beer Hot tables: 15 of the best seats in beer right now

Hot tables: 15 of the best seats in beer right now

Why choose between great food and great beer? There's no compromise at these buzzy spots.
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Torched Hop Brewing Co.

torchedhopbrewing.com

Torched Hop Brewing Co.
Atlanta, Georgia
This new brewpub in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood is gorgeous, from the exposed brick with cool-as-hell murals and the second-floor dining area with unobstructed views of the shiny brewhouse to the dark woodwork surrounding the indoor bocce court. Beauty isn’t just skin-deep: House beers like the citrusy and slightly dank Hops-de-Leon IPA or Yammit, Bobby!, a saison brewed with sweet potatoes, are as interesting as they are clean, and the burger- and pizza-focused menu offers intriguing surprises like the Okonomiyaki Fries, topped with Bonito flakes, Kewpie mayo and eel sauce. If you’re not feeling so adventurous, head in on Monday and you can get the pub’s smoked mayo-topped Classic Double burger, fries and a pint of house beer for just $10.

The Craftsman
Edwards, Colorado
Skiers and snowboarders, rejoice! Edwards, Colorado—just outside the snowy destination of Vail—has a new spot that should be base camp for any beer-lover. Here’s why: Owners and industry vets Chris and Janelle Schmidt are so dedicated to ensuring their 16-handle taplist is unlike any other in the area that they regularly drive down to Denver to grab kegs from breweries that are sought-after but may not distribute. (Popular CO breweries WeldWerks, Odd13, Cerebral and Casey have all made appearances in the weeks since the restaurant’s opening.) The food menu’s equally thoughtful, with gourmet sandwiches like the fried chicken banh mi with chicken liver pate and the BLT with smoked pork belly and avocado aioli making up its bulk; a selection of elevated eats like cornmeal fried oysters and sweet pea toast is available for skiers not in the mood for sammies.

Brother Barrel
Seattle, Washington
The newest brewpub from of 20-year-old Seattle institution Elliott Bay Brewing Co. is nothing like the other three; Brother Barrel, as the name suggests, is all about sour and barrel-aged beers. Nearly all 18 taps feature funky and spirit-spiked house and guest brews—including, usually, some barrel-aged ciders—available in two-, four-, eight- and 16-ounce pours, though there are usually a few options that haven’t touched oak. Clever beer cocktails like the Mash Paddle (made with black rum, St. George Raspberry, lemon and EBCC’s Berliner weisse) headline a well-curated spirits list, and the menu filled with small plates, house-made bread and charcuterie platters offers endless pairing opportunities.

Bowls & Tacos
Dallas, Texas
You want a poke bowl, she wants tacos, and you both could use a beer; there’s a place for that. The brains behind Dallas’ Braindead Brewing opened this eclectic taco-stand-slash-poke-emporium inside an old gas station down the street from their Deep Ellum brewery in May, providing a bevy of bowls topped with ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp and SPAM, titillating tacos from classic al pastor and barbacoa to nopal (pickled cactus) and lengua (cow tongue), and of course plenty of BrainDead beer to wash it all down.

Port Orleans Brewing Co. / Stokehold
New Orleans, Louisiana
A stokehold, for the non-nautical, is the name for a furnace of a ship—an appropriate moniker for the fuel-providing restaurant inside months-old NOLA brewery Port Orleans. Beer-pairing is a focus here, and the printed menu makes that clear: Each dish is strategically placed right next to its recommended partner brew. Interested in the roasted bone marrow with fig vinaigrette? Get he caramel-laced, fruity Session Ale. Want the Wagyu beef taco? Set your sights on the clean, gently hoppy Zwickelbier. And don’t worry about the beer supply running low; a big 30-barrel system, helmed by former Mother’s Brewing Co. brewer Brian Allen, keeps the ales and lagers coming.

La Barbecue at Quickie Pickie
Austin, Texas
Though beloved by Austinites, La Barbecue and its selection of spectacular sausage, ribs and brisket couldn’t stay put; the meat trailer’s bounced between four different locations since opening in 2012. Its newest home, inside the Cesar Chavez Street location of iconic beer bar-slash-corner market Quickie Pickie, makes five, but we’re not complaining: With the two businesses sharing a kitchen and outdoor seating, we’ll be able to pair La Barbecue’s world-class smoked meats with anything from Quickie Pickie’s 24 draft lines and extensive bottle and can selection.

Hitachino Beer & Wagyu
San Francisco, California
Now that the opening hype has died down somewhat, you might finally be able to get a reservation for the intimate dining room at this beer- and beef-focused spot from Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery. If you do get in, an eight-course tasting menu, for which chef Noriyuki Sugie molds wagyu into forms from ramen to tongue skewers to sushi, awaits. If not, no worries; the industrial-chic kappobar in the front affords easy access to 10 draft lines pouring Hitachino beer and sake as well as a menu of bar snacks—served in sake cups, of course.

Brewery Bhavana | Photo by Julia Wade

Brewery Bhavana | Photo by Julia Wade

Brewery Bhavana
Raleigh, North Carolina
Co-owners Vansana Nolintha and Patrick Woodson admit that their combination brewery, dim sum restaurant, flower shop and bookstore was a slightly risky concept, but since opening in March, it’s been embraced by both locals and the national food media. “It’s exciting that we don’t have to stick with the traditional equation, that beer lovers and beer drinkers are ready to be inspired and challenged,” says Nolintha. If that means green cardamom saison with a basket of shumai, count us in.

Franklin Hall
Washington, D.C.
This 5,600-square-foot newcomer isn’t your Opa’s beer hall, though tenets of the classic setup remain: namely, good food and big beers. A list of nationally representative beers is available mostly by the pint or liter (except for the high-octane stuff), which can be properly paired with grilled sausages such as spicy chorizo, Thai pork and kielbasa, available “naked” or “dressed.” Pro tip: The weekend breakfast tacos are worth getting out of bed for.

Continental Beer Garden
Washington, D.C.
Virginia and Germany are well represented on the draft and can list at this new beer garden from the team behind the Continental Pool Lounge, so take your pick of a Blue Mountain Kolsch 151, Blue Mountain Full Nelson or Weihenstephaner Original, to name a few. Ample picnic tables and a something-for-everyone menu of salads, sandwiches and shareable snacks make this the spot to collect all your friends (and friends’ friends) for an afternoon of sessionable sipping.

Smokin Q’s BBQ and Beer House
Mayfield, Ohio
Restaurants are upping the ante on smoked meats—and the beers to wash them down. Smokin’ Q’s puts a spin on tradition, serving meats the old-fashioned way, or “El Jefe style” on a tortilla with hot salsa and guacamole. The beer list offers a solid overview of the fresh crop of Cleveland-area breweries, including Sibling Revelry, Market Garden and Platform. Keep the local theme going with Ohio-raised beef short ribs … until they’re sold out.

Circa Brewing | Photo by Alex Welsh

Circa Brewing | Photo by Alex Welsh

Circa Brewing Co.
Brooklyn, New York
Custom Mugnaini wood-burning ovens are the powerhouses behind the brand-new brewery’s Neapolitan-style pizza, which are made with grain imported from Lombardi, Italy, and undergo a two-day fermentation process before baking. Serious stuff. Twelve beer taps come courtesy of Sixpoint Brewery veteran Danny Bruckert, but we’re also intrigued by the Spent Grain Old Fashioned, featuring rye whiskey, spent grain tincture, bitters and citrus zest.

Centennial Crafted Beer + Eatery
Chicago, Illinois
Good beer is slowly seeping into more Chicago neighborhoods, including relatively beer-dry and tourist trap-y River North. Centennial’s a godsend for thirsty office workers and shoppers in that area, resisting the urge to pour a thousand mediocre drafts and instead highlighting what’s new and local, including recent special tappings from Whiner and Off Color. A new weekend brunch makes it a worthy contender even on days you’re not drawn there by your 9-to-5.

BeerStyles Taproom & Gastropub
Des Moines, Iowa
Generic name aside (the tavern is owned by the folks behind the WineStyles chain), there’s plenty to love at this new spot inside a West Glen shopping district, primarily the 100-plus draft list and intriguing pub food including a raw bar, housemade boursin cheese and nine types of poutine. If there’s another shopping center where Iowans can wash down snow crab legs with Gueuze Tilquin or Prairie Barrel-Aged Bomb!, please alert us to its existence.

Cafe du Pays
Boston, Massachusetts
This new Cambridge bistro may seem French on first glance, but it’s actually French-Canadian, meaning you’ll find both a foie gras torchon and poutine (it’s on the menu as “Yes, we have poutine”). While you could be sipping a fine cognac or eau de vie with your meal, the beer list is an exuberantly weird mix of high-brow—Thiriez Extra, Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel, Cantillion Gueuze, Eden Imperial 11° Rosé Cider—and charmingly low-brow bottles of Molson Canadian and Moosehead radler.

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