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14 best new beer restaurants

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CATEGORIES: Feature   Food  

Beer has rapidly graduated from the gastropub to mainstream dining, and these 14 new, wildly diverse restaurants definitively prove there’s a 12-ounce pour for every plate (from lamb vindaloo to Carolina ‘cue). Some brew their own, others carefully curate their selection, but all of these spots have a superior beer-and-food sensibility that translates to mealtime magic.

SMOKESTACK // San Francisco
2505 3rd Street, magnoliasmokestack.com

Dave McLean has been an icon in the San Fran beer scene since opening Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery in 1997; nearly two decades later, he’s rolled out his next project: A line-up counter, communal-table, casual-cool barbecue spot in the city’s hip-industrial Dogpatch neighborhood. McLean’s sequel will hook you as quickly as his debut did, thanks to a full line of Magnolia beers (and a few guests) alongside perfect brisket, ribs and classic sides like mac ‘n’ cheese.
ORDER: Brisket and a super-crisp Kalifornia Kölsch

SE 28th Place & Division Street, facebook.com/tidbitfoodfarmandgarden

Combining two Portland fundamentals—beer and food carts— this buzzy new cart pod on Division Street’s increasingly trendy restau- rant row draws a steady crowd to what feels like an ongoing block party. Nearly 20 varied food wagons peddling everything from tonkotsu ramen to Norwegian meatball wraps circle the light bulb-draped, firepit-heated corral of picnic tables anchored by Scout Beer Garden, a cheery vintage trailer turned tap- house. Plot a grazing dinner while exploring the ever-changing chalkboard tap list, which pours house beers from co-owner (and Breakside brewer) Joe St. Martin— you might even catch Breakside’s GABF-gold-winning IPA.
ORDER: Pyro Pizza’s wood-fired sausage pizza and Scout’s grapefruit-forward Pretty in Pink IPA, both to-go
—Joshua Bernstein 

HAYSEED // Hampton, N.H.
105 Towle Farm Road, smuttynose.com/restaurant

Smuttynose’s newly minted Hayseed restaurant sits a mere Tom Brady pass across the parking lot from the (also new) production brewery at Towle Farm. Housed in a converted Victorian-era farmhouse, the eatery sets sights on coastal comfort food, with Executive Chef Kevin Hahn mixing classic pub grub—think pickled eggs, beer-dredged onion rings and schnitzel—with a menu full of meatless options like a delectable lentil pate and roasted root vegetable pot pie. And with more than 20 beers to choose from, including Smutty classics like Old Brown Dog and experimental options from the Smutlab, you’ll find the perfect pint to wash down the regular menu as well as daily specials like the Moroccan Meatball Sub.
ORDER: Braised beef and onion stew with boiled potatoes cooked with the Gravitation quad and a Baltic Porter
—Will McCulloch

1517 30th St., southparkbrewing.com

Before long, every neighborhood in San Diego will have a brewpub to call its own. One of the brightest is from the proprietor of landmark beer bar Hamilton’s Tavern, who annexed a next-door space for a five-barrel brewery and counter-service seafood restaurant. The kitchen creates pescatarian riffs on traditionally meat-based Mexican favorites like chorizo and birria, and bastes locally-sourced, grilled fish with salty-sticky housemade kabayaki sauce before tucking the filets into tacos and sandwiches. The draft board is stacked with food-friendly house beers, from a pale ale to a saison, plus award-winning brews from sibling Monkey Paw Brewing.
ORDER: Shellfish steamed in a beer broth flavored with garlic, butter and hop sausage; and a subtly briny house Scripps Pier oyster stout, made with bivalve shells and a touch of local seawater
—Candice Woo

Arrogant Swine, photographed by Clay Williams

Arrogant Swine, photographed by Clay Williams

123 12th Ave N., chauhannashville.com

When chef and “Chopped” judge Maneet Chauhan couldn’t find the precise beer flavors to jive with her shaken-up Indian food (think Southern meat-and-threes with lamb vindaloo in place of fried chicken), she commissioned her own. So while pork belly and kebabs all smartly show off her house-ground masalas, the best delivery is a pint of garam masala kölsch, a collaboration with nearby Cool Spring Brewery.
ORDER: Guava-glazed BBQ ribs and the house saffron-cardamom IPA

2ND STORY BREWING // Philadelphia
117 Chestnut St., 2ndstorybrewing.com

The “second story” here isn’t just an allusion to the brewhouse located upstairs; it references owner Debbie Grady’s switch from stay-at-home mother of six to local farmer. Now, she plants hops and barley to supply the brewpub’s wide range of ales and lagers, which are already drawing raves from Philly’s discerning beer crowd. (Look for favorites like a full-bodied Munich dunkel and sour one-offs.) Located on one of the oldest blocks in the city’s late-night restaurant district, the brewpub holds its own with a beer-friendly comfort food menu. Get started with a plate of local cheese, pickles and house-cured charcuterie, then fill up with a melt-in-your-mouth Mexicali braised pork shoulder over hominy and string cheese.
ORDER: The Fried Things assortment (tempura veggies, seafood and chicken) and a smooth, sessionable Five Mile mild ale
—Don Russell

BEAST & ALE // Philadelphia
4161 Main St., beastandale.com

The owners made their mark around Philly with a trio of modern Mexican restaurants, but this spot in the city’s Manayunk section charts a new course with its retro, greasy-spoon vibe—think fried baloney sandwiches, gravy-soaked fries and a wall of furry taxidermy. Tell the open kitchen to grill up a Beast Burger, a double-patty on a soft bun, just like that one you used to order at that 24-hour diner by the highway; it’s simple, sublime and only a little bit sloppy. If the place looks crowded, don’t worry; there always seems to be space on the deck upstairs, where it’s easy to kick back with one of the craft beer menu’s plentiful cans.
ORDER: The beef-bacon-pork belly Bacon Belly Beast sandwich and Neshaminy Creek J.A.W.N., which stands for Juicy Ale with Nugget (hops); Jawn is also Philly-speak for “that thing.”
—Don Russell

PANAMA 66 // San Diego
1450 El Prado, panama66.blogspot.com

For their third venture, the owners of Tiger!Tiger! and Blind Lady Ale House took over a cafe adjacent to the San Diego Museum of Art, providing a craft beer gateway to the millions of visitors that pass yearly through iconic Balboa Park. The entirely outdoor space is already beloved by locals, who spend afternoons sipping beers from house brewery Automatic Brewing Co. on picnic blankets in the sculpture garden and nights swaying to concerts from area bands. This new venue tacks on cocktails crafted with San Diego-sourced spirits and housemade charcuterie plus sandwiches and salads made with local ingredients. The best side dish? Tan lines.
ORDER: A stout-soaked twist on tiramisu, Beerimisu, with Modern Times’ Black House coffee-infused oatmeal stout
—Candice Woo

1035 E. 17th Ave., argylldenver.com

Make no mistake: Denver’s Argyll Whiskey Beer is whiskey-first. More than 250 two-ounce pours grace the menu, including 10 from Japan. But you can also globe-trot via the eclectic beer list (20 on draft), some of which may end up in your dinner. (Chefs might, for example, steal of pitcher of Ommegang Glimmerglass to pour into a pan of littleneck clams.) Tucking into a plate of housemade sausages feels just right in this noisy, casual gastropub trimmed with appropriately rustic plaid curtains.
ORDER: The Scotch egg with fennel-apple salad and mustard orange aioli, and a classic Trumer pils
—Eric Gorski

BTU Brasserie, photographed by Mercy McNabb

BTU Brasserie, photographed by Mercy McNabb

BTU BRASSERIE // Portland, Ore.
5846 NE Sandy Boulevard, btupdx.com

Chef Chris Bogart and brewer Nate Yovu raised more than a few eyebrows last summer when they announced their unlikely union: a laidback Chinese “brasserie” with adjoining seven-barrel brewery, buried in a homely strip mall midway between downtown and PDX airport. But Portlanders quickly embraced the Kickstarter-funded concept, and come mealtime, tables and barstools are scarce as energetic young families and hipster couples flood the gastropub’s minimalist, modern art- and meat cleaver-adorned dining room, chasing savory smoked duck wontons and wok-tossed lamb and leeks with BTU’s light, crisp flagship rice lager and fresh ginger-laced Beer of the Bock.
ORDER: Spicy, smoked chile sauce-doused Sichuan chicken and a citrusy Light Speed lager
—Jen Stevenson

ARROGANT SWINE // Brooklyn, N.Y.
173 Morgan Ave., arrogantswine.com

To find Brooklyn’s finest beer and barbecue, head into industrial Bushwick, where graffiti is legion and large trucks rumble, and track the smoky perfume to Arrogant Swine—that pig mural means you’ve arrived. Pitmaster Tyson Ho’s hip “church of pork” specializes in hardwood-smoked, North Carolina- style whole-hog ’cue, hacked itty-bitty and served by the pound alongside house-cranked sausages and Frisbees of waffle-ironed mac ’n’ cheese. Ho’s also devoutly committed to whiskey (you’ll want WhistlePig rye) and craft beer: The dynamic 20-tap list pours local heroes Finback and Grimm and heavyweights like Founders and Evil Twin, which are best enjoyed in the 3,000-sq.-ft. beer garden.
ORDER: Whole-hog BBQ and a pint of Founders Porter
—Joshua Bernstein 

BERG’N // Brooklyn, N.Y.
899 Bergen St., bergn.com 

You want a ramen burger, your friend wants a Thai-style hot dog, his friend wants a slice of truffle oil-drizzled pizza, and everyone wants good beer. So you head to Berg’n. This slick Crown Heights beer hall (from the food trendspotters of the Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea markets) has style to burn: minimalist communal tables, exposed-pipe ceilings, chalkboard menus, clientele with perfectly disheveled man-buns. But it’s got substance to back it up, too. Order food from four vendors’ windows, including Asia Dog and Pizza Moto Slice Shop, then wash it down with rotating drafts from heavy-hitters that might include Carton and Cigar City.
ORDER: Mighty Quinn’s BBQ Brisket sandwich and Other Half’s West Coast IPA
—Kate Bernot

GOODKIND // Milwaukee
2457 S. Wentworth Ave., goodkindbayview.com

Stepping into Goodkind feels like walking into a funky, remodeled home. The gastropub lives in a cozy Bay View space that formerly housed a pizza joint, a blacksmith and—appropriately—a neighborhood bar; today, you’ll find craft beer on draft (taps reach as far as Sweden’s avant garde Omnipollo brewery), barrel-aged cocktails and artisanal cuisine with a focus on pairings of rotisserie meats and local produce. Five owners that include bartenders and chefs committed to local vendors bring their own viewpoints to the table.
ORDER: Crispy Brussels sprout salad with Ballast Point Sculpin Grapefruit IPA
—Tim Cigelski

B SIDE // Washinton, D.C.
8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax, Va., bsidecuts.com

Neighborhood Restaurant Group put D.C. on the beer-forward dining map with vanguards Rustico, Bluejacket, Birch & Barley and the inimitable ChurchKey. Its latest spot makes the capitol a meat mecca with creative charcuterie and cuts of thoughtfully sourced protein from chef/butcher Nathan Anda. A short but smart draft lineup and a giant bottle menu that leans heavy on sours is everything you’d expect from the group with the Midas touch.
ORDER: Pork belly pupusas and a spendy bottle of 2014 Allagash Interlude off the vintage list

Keep an eye on these three heavy hitters:

1. The duo behind Charlottesville, Virginia’s beer bar and shop Beer Run plan to open Kardinal Beer Hall—a modern, 24-tap beer hall and garden with a full kitchen—this fall.

2. It’s too early to say whether Chicago’s Pub Royale, the 24-draft tavern with a Brit-Indian menu, will steal the city’s beer crown. But with The Publican’s former beer director, Michael McAvena, presiding over the taps (two of which are nitro-only lines, plus three dedicated to farmhouse ciders), expectations are high.

3. You’ll have to wait until late in the year for Aurora, Colo.’s Stanley Beer Hall, but let these details tide you over: Expect the high-quality ingredients that have become Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group’s calling card, but in a dialed-down, beer-friendly setting. Following the sustainable and locally-sourced ethos, expect plenty of Colorado brews on tap.




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