If you thought last year’s list of best breweries was a banger, just wait until you see our top picks for 2023. We’re going a little old-school, a little new-school, and a little not-too-cool-for-school school if that makes any sense.

The breweries below had us saying Czech please!; had us getting into all the feels and snapping up as many 6-packs of Anchor Steam as we could, and had us thinking Kansas City might be a new secret craft beer mecca. Yup, seriously.

Before you crush the crushers to follow, make sure to sneak a peek at our “Best New Breweries of 2023” and Best Hidden-Gem Places to Drink in 2023.”

And then prepare yourself to lap up the list of breweries around the world that we liked the best this year.

To give you an idea, past winners have included Novel Strand in 2022, Samuel Adams in 2021, Weathered Souls in 2020, Vitamin Sea Brewing in 2019, and Threes Brewing in 2018.

As with past years, to get a representative list, we called on folks across the Next Glass team from different backgrounds and geographies. Together, we shared what we saw as the best breweries of the year.

To that end, we’ve presented the best craft breweries in no particular order except for Anchor Brewing and Belleflower, which we proudly name the best breweries in 2023—see old-school and new-school.

Of course, any “best” list is open to interpretation, so take these picks with a grain of salt. If you passionately feel that we missed one, slide into our DMs (@hopculturemag) and let us know.

Without further ado: Here are our picks for the best breweries of 2023

The Best Breweries of 2023

Anchor Brewing

San Francisco, CA
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

anchor brewing company anchor steam fritz maytag
Fritz Maytag at Anchor Brewing Company | Photography courtesy of Anchor Brewing Company

Look, I just want to pay homage to an icon because some of you may not know the crazy history of this brewery. It has been one of absolute survival, including near bankruptcies, earthquakes, fires, and a little thing called Prohibition.

So to see the brewery’s doors forced to close earlier this year…truly tragic.

I know I, for one, went out multiple times to BevMo! to snap up cases of Anchor Steam. And paid my respects one last time in the Public Taps taproom the last weekend it was open.

To save that 127-year-old brewery, the Bay Area community mobilized.

Former Anchor employees started a GoFundMe page to try and raise money to buy back the brewery, raising $80,000 in the first five days thanks to 1,300 donations, according to reporting from Dave Infante.

One of “Hop Culture’s “Best New Breweries of 2023,” Enterprise Brewing, and one of Hop Culture’s “Best New Breweries of 2022,” Fox Tale Fermentation Project, released their own special beers in August called Solidarity Ale, aimed at raising funds for the aforementioned former Anchor employees.

The community has rallied as best they can to save one of America’s oldest and most iconic breweries. And I’m one hundred percent on board that train.

You are going to find plenty of breweries of the future on our list of Best Breweries to Watch in 2024 (look for that in early January), and some absolute studs of the moment right here, so I just wanted to take this space to give a nod to one of the best of the past, present, and, we cross our fingers, future, too.

Hopefully, it’s not RIP Anchor but rather we’ll see you back here soon.

Wondering how you can help revive Anchor? Check out the GoFundMe page.

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Belleflower Brewing

Portland, ME
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

belleflower brewing best breweries 2023
Photography courtesy of Belleflower Brewing

I’ve spoken pretty highly of Belleflower throughout the year. And for good reason. It all started when our friend Mike Dyer, co-owner of Untold Brewing (a previous winner of our “11 Best Breweries to Watch in 2023”) told us to check out these folks.

“They have a gorgeous taproom, strong ties to the local community, fantastic beer, and are simply great people,” Dyer told us of the woman-owned, family business.

So I connected with co-founders Katie and Nick Bonadies (who previously worked as the VP of brewing operations at Trillium), along with Melissa and Zach Page, who were gracious enough to send me a package of beer (in place of my visiting Portland, ME, this year).

Accordingly, Katie and Nick sent us a compilation of hazies, double IPAs, IPAs, and sours, showcasing ingredients like malt from Blue Ox Malthouse. Oh, and Flashlight Tag – Peanut Butter and Chocolate, an imperial stout with peanut butter and roasted cacao nibs that has been one of the best stouts we’ve tried all year.

On the hoppy side, everything stunned us. Each one of Belleflower’s IPAs surprised and delighted. From Hexology, a 7.3% ABV DIPA with Mosaic, Citra, and BRU-1 expressing candied grapefruit and orange, to Barn Hex (Mosaic, Strata, El Dorado), a New England DIPA with oats that reminded us of an orange creamsicle.

But the hazy Scrugsy blew us away like the Santa Ana winds, making it onto our list of “The 37 Best Beers to Drink in Spring 2023.”

Named after a one-eyed dog that Belleflower Co-Owner Katie’s mother had when she was young, Scrugsy was the first IPA Belleflower ever brewed.

Amazing that a true OG impressed us so much.

Pouring a light lemonade color, Scrugsy hit me first with something I rarely smell on a beer—kiwi and honeydew. My mind immediately traveled to the white-wine-expressive hops of the Southern Hemisphere. Fitting then to find Enigma in Scrugsy along with Citra and BRU-1. “Wow, that is a crazy, crazy beer,” I wrote in my notes. “I’m getting cotton candy, kiwi, and bubblegum.”

So vibrant and fresh, Scrugsy hits me like a neon sign in a sea of billboards. All my taste buds turned on, blinking and flashing as if I’d won a brand-new car on a game show. Ding ding ding!

Mike, you didn’t steer us wrong, which is why we’re naming Belleflower to our list of the best breweries of 2023! Got any more suggestions for us in 2024!?

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Holy Mountain Brewing

Seattle, WA
Submitted by: Magic Muncie, Social Media Manager, Hop Culture and Untappd

holy mountain brewing best breweries 2023
Photography courtesy of Holy Mountain Brewing

What can Holy Mountain not do? Across the board, Holy Mountain exemplifies what quality beer can and should be. From their traditional styles to the barrel-aged offerings to wet-hops beers (one of the best beers we drank this fall), and everything in between, their attention to detail is always apparent. They can do no wrong in my humble opinion.

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Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Capitola, CA
Submitted by: Kyle Roderick, Executive Vice President, Product, Next Glass and Magic Muncie, Social Media Manager, Hop Culture and Untappd

sante adairius taproom best breweries 2023
Photography courtesy of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales


Arguably known as a wild ale brewery, Sante Adairius shouldn’t be put in any boxes (unless it’s one you’re taking home to enjoy). Every beer coming out of this Capitola brewery is dialed in and deserving of high praise with their recent barrel-aged dark beers being some of my favorite beers of the year. – Magic

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BKS Artisan Ales

Kansas City, MO
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

pivo project x bks artisan ales bohemian-style czech pilsner
Photography courtesy of @pivoproject

“Hello! I am with BKS Artisan Ales in Kansas City, Missouri, and we want to send in a few of our hoppy beers for review. What is the best process and how many 16oz cans do you need?”

Mary Rooney, one of the co-founders of BKS Artisan Ales, sent me that email late last year. Little did I know that when a package of beers showed up on my doorstep in February, I would taste some of my favorite beers of the year—both hoppy and malty.

BKS starts with a classic story—a homebrewing hobby turned obsession for the other co-founder Brian Rooney, whose homebrews had earned multiple medals. During a drive to Oklahoma in 2012, Mary started mapping out a potential business plan in the car. Five years later, BKS opened in the Brookside neighborhood (BKS is an acronym for the area).

And since then, Brian has been doing what he does best—winning awards.

Off the top of my head, we named Pivo Project Bohemian-Style Pilsner one of our “Best Beers to Drink in Spring 2023” and Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine named that Bohemian-style pilsner one of its “20 Best Beers in 2023.”

The brewery picked up a silver at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival for its Clouds hazy DIPA (incredibly beating out 194 other beers) and a gold in 2022 for Rockhill & Locust English mild ale (sneak peek: I’m naming this one of my best beers of 2023. Stay tuned for that full list releasing next Monday!).

Honestly, whether a hoppy ale, English mild, or pilsner, every beer I tried killed it. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to visit this brewery in person one day. For now, I’ll just keep remembering the incredible beers I tried from them this year.

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Bissell Brothers Brewing Company

Portland, ME
Submitted by: Aaron Keefner, Sales Solutions Consultant, Next Glass

bissell brothers taproom
Photography courtesy of Bissell Brothers Brewing Company

Bissell Brothers is one of those breweries doing multiple styles extremely well. Their hazy IPAs are full of flavor, while also having a body where one can enjoy multiple rounds. And their stouts are full and rich, without being too overpowering, while their lagers are crisp and clean. For instance, Precept pilsner or Wet Hop Lager (2023).

The space is big and beautiful, with a second bar dedicated to 21+ patrons who want to enjoy some beer in a little quieter ambiance. Have kids in tow? No problem. Bissell Brothers makes for a great lunch spot with a full menu of choices and is conveniently located across from the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

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Jester King Brewery

Austin, TX
Submitted by: Dustin Jeffers, Director of Brewery Implementation, Next Glass

jester king brewery best breweries 2023
Photography courtesy of Jester King Brewery

Jester King holds a special place among my favorite breweries. Whether it’s their meticulously crafted bottle-conditioned beers (many of which I snagged yeast dregs out of for homebrew experiments) or their eye-catching labels and overall branding, they’ve consistently impressed me.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting their farm and brewery just outside of Austin, TX. Arriving right at the opening, we strolled to the back, where we were treated to the sight of goats strolling past us after their afternoon outing.

The entire experience, from the rustic farm atmosphere to the amazing pizza, seamlessly complemented the excellence of Jester King’s outstanding beers.

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Walking Tree Brewery

Vero Beach, FL
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

walking tree brewery best breweries 2023
Photography courtesy of Walking Tree Brewery

When Hop Culture Founder Kenny Gould got married this past month in Vero Beach, I had the opportunity to check out some of the best places to drink in the area. One left quite an impression on me. Walking Tree, started in 2016 by partners Brooke and Mike Malone, dazzled in its size (literally, the brewery posted up in an old Navy hangar that’s 24,000 sq ft), variety of impeccable beers, and sense of community.

I met up with Brooke and Mike around 4 pm on a Friday. Quite a few beers, a shot of barleywine (yes, it’s a thing here. And yes, you can sip on it), and hours of conversation later, I felt like I understood why the residents of this sleepy little coastal town love Walking Tree.

The roots run deep.

By 7 pm, the space was packed. I mean packed. All regulars posted up at the bar while a birthday party crowded into one of the long tables, and friends met up everywhere across the vast space—the place just buzzed with good vibes.

It all goes back to the culture Brooke and Mike created.

“Welcome to the most badass brewery in the state of Florida!” Brooke said to me when I first walked in.

And the beer backs it up. Mike ran a lumber yard for seven years before…turning over a new leaf and opening Walking Tree.

“We really focus on classic styles and quality; we are not a hype brewery,” he said. Instead, you’ll find beers like Babycakes oatmeal stout, which I tried on nitro during my visit and which won gold at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in 2021. This is the beer Brooke’s most proud of. “Hands down, we are crushing Florida with it,” she said.

Or Barnacled Manatee, a barleywine that won multiple Best Florida Beer Championship awards and a silver at GABF in 2019. And is Mike’s favorite. The bartenders at Walking Tree even started their own tradition, serving the barleywine in tall shot glasses: You hold the shot glass like a mug, cheers, tap the bar, and drink.

Somehow, after that 9.2% ABV barleywine, the next time I looked at my watch, three hours had passed. As the beer flowed, my conversation with Brooke and Mike rolled gently into politics, inclusivity, and engendering community in a typically conservative area.

Walking Tree has set the tone for Vero Beach, hosting a banger of a Pride party complete with an eighteen-foot dragon that Brooke built herself.

That’s just the spirit and magic of Walking Tree.

Mike told me the other day he poured his own concrete. And has needed, at times, to be his own electrician and plumber. Brooke and Mike have earned every square inch of this place. So to see it fill up with crowds of people laughing and drinking on a Friday night warms the heart.

As Brooke introduced me to some locals at the bar, while we sipped on nitro Babycakes, a band started strumming. Every so often I’d hear a raucous roar as Barnacled Manatee shots clinked.

Honestly, I didn’t want to leave. Walking Tree is just the kind of place you want to hang around all day and long into the night.

Seriously, if you are ever looking to see the forest through the trees in craft beer, I recommend branching out and stopping by Walking Tree.

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Side Project Brewing

St. Louis, MO
Submitted by: Dustin Jeffers, Director of Brewery Implementation, Next Glass and Magic, Muncie, Social Media Manager, Hop Culture and Untappd

side project cellar
Photography courtesy of Side Project Brewing


Residing in Florida, I seldom have the opportunity to enjoy Side Project’s beers outside of a bottle share or a trade. This often means I overlook the sheer brilliance of this brewery.

However, I was lucky enough to visit Side Project Cellar this year and try almost everything on tap. The diversity, spanning from imperial stouts, barleywines, fruited sours, and delicate saisons, left a lasting impression.

What’s truly remarkable is that Side Project has kept up this unwavering commitment to a high standard of wood-aged beers for the past decade, celebrating their tenth anniversary this year!


While potentially more known for their high-ABV dark beers, Side Project has an extensive wild ale program that stands up to any in the U.S. Their versatility is demonstrated throughout their entire lineup of beers and they just never seem to miss. Quality always seems to be the focus, and because of that I never miss an opportunity to try their beers.

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Goldspot Brewing

Denver, CO
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

goldspot brewing company founder kelissa hieber pouring beer
Photography courtesy of Goldspot Brewing Company

How do you define a “best” brewery? For some, it might be solely based on the liquid. For me, yes, the beer quality is of the utmost importance, but I’m also looking for a place that stretches beyond the liquid.

There is seriously no better example of what I mean than Goldspot Brewing, a one-hundred percent Queer- and woman-owned brewery in Denver. We put this socially minded brewery on the list of “The 11 Best Breweries to Watch in 2023,” so we sure love it when we’re right (self-assuring pat on the back here).

This year, VinePair named Owner and Brewer Kelissa Hieber its Next Wave Awards Brewer of the Year for her dedication to breaking boundaries in the industry.

Goldspot has become a refuge for the Queer and BIPOC community in Colorado.

Walk into the taproom any given day and you’ll find an array of people as colorful as the New Progress Pride flag. In other words, Goldspot has gained recognition as a welcoming, safe taproom for all in the community. People of all ages, races, identities, genders, and more come into Goldspot because they know they’re going to get a damn good beer and they’re going to feel safe drinking it.

At Goldspot, you’ll feel seen, cared for, and golden.

Something Hieber has laid the foundation for, brick by brick, since the very beginning.

Goldspot is “an inclusive space that people can just hang out in … a place to actually have a real community,” she told me

At Goldspot, you share common respect and a common love over one thing: beer.

“I have no idea what their political beliefs are … but at least in our space, it’s pretty gay, obviously, but beer can just be that bridge point,” says Hieber.

Beer speaks as the universal language at Goldspot. Those like Gender Fluid, an Italian pilsner that initially started as a beer to raise money for one of the Goldspot bartender’s gender-affirming surgery. Matching the amount raised from $1 per pint poured, Hieber morphed that beer into a series, donating to a different organization every time, such as Denver Community Fridges or the Transformative Freedom Fund.

Or This Beer F*cks, a collaboration with the food truck The Easy Vegan. The session IPA with passion fruit donated ten percent of all proceeds to LGBTQIA+ organizations fighting for Queer rights in Texas, Tennessee, and Florida.

And weekly events not only engender community but also bring in tens of thousands for local organizations.

Hieber laughs, “My dad always jokes that you’re not an NGO. ”

But that doesn’t matter. And Hieber will never stop developing new ideas to support intersectional rights.

Most recently, Hieber teamed up with Everywhere Is Queer Founder Charlie Sprinkman to start the Out Loud Beer Project, a collaborative beer recipe open to anyone to brew as long as they donate twenty-five percent of all profits to Everywhere Is Queer and a Queer non-profit of the collaborating brewery’s choice.

Proudly Queer- and woman-owned, Goldspot does not tolerate racism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, or any hate in general.

In my humble opinion, we could seriously use thousands more Goldspots in the industry, which is why I’m naming it one of my best breweries of 2023.

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Ghost Town Brewing

Oakland, CA
Submitted by: Giovanni Albanese Jr, Content Writer, Next Glass

ghost town brewing onerous hazy ipa
Photography courtesy of Ghost Town Brewing

I like going to Ghost Town when I am up in Oakland. They make the beers that I want to drink. I’m never disappointed when I go there and pick whatever West Coast IPA they have on tap. I’ll try any of the hazies and hoppies, but I always lean towards the West Coast-style IPA. They nail it every time, in my book.

For those who don’t know, Ghost Town embraces a sort of heavy metal spirit that meets, well, actual ghostly spirits.

Founder Ryan Nosek’s metal rock band started the brewery to cover the costs of renting a rehearsal studio. Turns out the band could rock out with beer, too.

The brewery has a sort of cult-like following in the Bay Area. And for good reason. The beer rocks (and so do both locations’ beer gardens, although we’re slightly more partial to the Laurel one).

Although ever-changing, the tap list leans hop heavy. We currently recommend Avulsion, a hazy IPA with Mosaic and the experimental HBC 630 hops. Or Death Rattle, a double West Coastie that comes screeching in with Mosaic and Simcoe. You’ll also find styles like pale ale, amber ale, West Coast pils, robust porter, and even a cream ale. So there’s a bit for all you gals and ghouls.

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Oak Park Brewing Co.

Sacramento, CA
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

oak park brewing co
Photography courtesy of Oak Park Brewing Co.

The Black-owned brewery in Sacramento takes pride in what it calls the ABCs—(A)rt, (B)eer, and (C)ommunity. Their Code of Conduct clearly states, “We want OPB to be a place where everyone feels welcome and respected. … At OPB, we are about brewing quality craft beer and making a difference.”

So when one of Oak Park’s Co-owners and former NBA player and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson saw the film One Pint at a Time chronicling the journey of Black brewers in America, he asked himself what he could do.

The answer? Help found the National Black Brewers Association (NB2A), the first professional organization whose sole purpose is to uplift and support BIPOC brewers.

“Had the film not gotten to him, I can’t say the NB2A would not have happened, or maybe it would have taken longer,” documentary filmmaker Aaron Hosé told me.

Hosé says when Johnson watched the film, he had a moment of “Oh my god, there is a lot more than I thought happening in this community of brewers,” he recalls, mentioning that Johnson wanted to use his success and influence as a mayor, politician, and business owner to help establish the group. “Before I knew it … everyone was sitting together in a room in Nashville having their first board meeting; it’s crazy.”

At home at Oak Park Brewing, Johnson continues to lead the charge, hosting the Peoples Beer Fest this past October to educate folks about Black brewers and diversity in beer.

Or beer collaborations called Brew Your Story. Launched in September 2021, the project invited both Black-owned breweries and homebrewers to brew a shared recipe and share their own story in craft beer. Overall, the collab celebrated one of the nation’s first Black-owned breweries—Peoples Beer.

Every move and every beer this brewery makes has a purpose. That’s something I’ll certainly toast to in 2023 and for the future of craft beer.

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Alvarado Street Brewery

Monterey, CA
Submitted by: Giovanni Albanese Jr, Content Writer, Next Glass

alvarado street brewery double cone double ipa
Photography courtesy of Alvarado Street Brewery

When I go out, I take the family to Alvarado Street, specifically their Carmel location. They have a great menu of food and their beer is always changing, using the latest and greatest hops, freshest ingredients, and best practices.

The whole Hop Culture team are huge fans of this West Coast brewery that has made a name for itself with some of the best NEIPAS outside of the Northeast combined with crystal clear West Coast IPAs, a few of which have made our lists of the top beers we drank last spring and favorite beers of the week.

But what you may not know is that Co-Founder and Director of Brewery Operations J.C. Hill and his team can also nail lagers. For instance, Monterey Beer, one of Humble Sea Head Brewer Nick Pavila’s favorite all-time beach beers.

Whatever you drink here, just know that’s it’s going to be on hella on point.

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Brasserie de la Senne

Brussels, Belgium
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

brasserie de la senne beers such as taras boulba and zinnebir
Photography courtesy of Katherine Longly ©2021

A new landmark as much a part of the fabric of Brussels as Cantillon, Brasserie de la Senne doubled the number of operating breweries in the city in 2010 when it opened.

But you won’t find gueuze and lambics here.

Instead, brewer and owner Yvan De Baets (about whom Bruz Beers Head Brewer Dave Olson explained to me, “Dude’s a hero in Belgium.”) believes to his core that behind a good beer, there should be good values.

Something Cantillon’s former head brewer, Jean-Pierre van Roy, taught him at nineteen years old. De Baets says in 1989, he met van Roy and, after a five-minute conversation, fell in love with beer.

“At the time, at least, those values were in danger,” says De Baets. “And he told me it’s worth fighting for those values.”

Although it would be another twenty years until De Baets opened his own place, the former social worker started pursuing his hobby on the side, working as a guide at Cantillon’s museum, tasting every beer and reading every brewing book he could, and volunteering at breweries for free.

“I was happy cleaning,” he told me.

All his knowledge culminates in de la Senne, which focuses on making beers that De Baets likes to drink. “It’s as simple as that,” he says. “I like to have a beer that is full of taste. … I like the approach to be simple but not simplistic if that makes sense.”

And while things may appear simple at de la Senne, below the surface, they’re anything but (although the modest De Baets may protest differently).

For instance, De Baets designed his own fermentation vessel because he felt it treated the yeast better. The design mimics historical flat open tanks but in a vertical closed conical system. When I mentioned this seemed genius, something created from scratch, De Baets hedged. “I did nothing revolutionary; I was just inspired by what the old guys did,” he told me, noting that he has an immense respect for mixing ancient and new knowledge.

It’s why you’ll hear De Baets speak about yeast almost like it’s a god.

“We work with one of the most beautiful living beings that exists—yeast,” says De Baets. “And we cherish her. We respect her.”

Over the last ten-plus years, de la Senne’s Zinnebir has become a best-selling flagship in Belgium. Classified as a Belgian pale ale but technically a style De Baets calls Belgian special, Zinnebir is “sort of an English pale, but less hoppy and maltier,” he explains. They love hops at de la Senne, so De Baets made his version hoppier, drier, and bitter. “It’s the most balanced beer, and this is why it has been such a success,” De Baets says.

In Brussels, Zinnebir has reached cult status, with the Flemish media now calling places “where the cool people go Zinnebir cafes,” says De Baets. Everyone in Brussels appreciates this beer.

Meanwhile, everyone in the industry loves Taras Boulba. De Baets calls this Belgian blonde a “brewer’s beer,” he says. “It’s a beer that is simple; it’s bitter; it’s dry; it’s packed with Noble hops; it’s light in alcohol and normally everything a brewer likes.”

It’s no big surprise that De Baets first made this beer for himself and his brewers. But as friends stopped by the brewery and tried it, they went crazy for it. In stark contrast to the heavier, sweeter beer historically found in Belgium, Taras Boulba drinks light, refreshing, and quaffable. What started as a “beer never intended to leave the brewery,” says De Baets, has now become their second best-seller.

At the end of the day, de la Senne may be a more modern brewery, but it also reflects old, cherished values. Or, as De Baets says, “I see beer as a noble product for everyone.”

Brasserie de la Senne is Belgian royalty in our (and many people’s) book.

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Green Cheek Beer Company

Orange, CA
Submitted by: Magic Muncie, Social Media Manager, Hop Culture and Untappd

green cheek beer company firestone walker invitational people's choice award
Photography courtesy of Grace Lee-Weitz | Hop Culture

The team behind Green Cheek leaves no stone unturned. Always seeking out the best and freshest ingredients, Green Cheek should be a household name in every beer enthusiast’s mind. Dating back to their opening in 2017, I don’t recall ever having a beer I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.

We first named Green Cheek to our list of best breweries all the way back in 2017, so it’s a testament to their brewery that our team continues to recognize their excellence year after year, even making it onto our list of the best under-the-radar breweries with the best hazy IPAs, according to the experts.

Seems like the people agree, too. Green Cheek won the prestigious People’s Choice Award during this year’s famed Firestone Walker Invitational.

Green Cheek just crushes it year after year, earning them a new spot our list of the best breweries of 2023.

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Buoy Beer

Astoria, OR
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

buoy beer co pride ipa and pride tee
Photography courtesy of Buoy Beer Co.

A former co-worker first turned us on to Buoy Beer at the beginning of the year. They did not steer us wrong. Every package of beer Buoy sent us has hit the mark.

Perhaps it’s Buoy’s simplistic approach, with beers simply named after their styles—Helles (one of our “37 Best Beers We Drank in Spring 2023”), Baltic Porter, Lager, Vienna Lager, etc.

This brewery has a survivor streak. Last summer, part of the brewery’s roof collapsed, literally falling into the Columbia River.

But the brewery bounced back, kind of like a buoy (sorry not sorry for the nautical puns).

But I’m including Buoy here this year because they lifted up others at a time when some needed it most.

Over the summer, I reached out to Buoy with a last-minute call for help. Hop Culture’s Queer Beer Box partner Meals On Us PDX, a Queer-, BIPOC-owned organization providing free chef-cooked meals to trans folx who recently had gender-affirming surgery, posted a plea on Instagram.

Two brewery partners that previously committed to providing beer to their Gender ReMeal company fundraiser pulled out last minute when they found out the event supported trans folx.

I knew Buoy supported the Queer community for the last six years, so I reached out to see if the brewery could connect with Meals On Us PDX to potentially provide beer.

Incredibly, Buoy Beer Marketing Manager Jessyka Dart-Mclean responded within three minutes (!), writing “Donating beer is my favorite thing to do. Yes please, connect us!”

It’s one thing to post on Instagram on June 1st expressing your support for the Queer community, it’s another to brew a Pride beer that donates proceeds to a Queer organization, but it’s on a whole other level to rise to a call to action without hesitation.

Buoy Beer’s actions speak so much louder than its words. This brewery has earned Hop Culture’s trust as one of the top Queer-supporting breweries] in the country and the best brewery of 2023.

If a rising tide lifts all boats, we’re optimistic that more breweries can follow Buoy’s lead.

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Highland Park Brewery

Los Angeles, CA
Submitted by: Magic Muncie, Social Media Manager, Hop Culture and Untappd

highland park brewery baseball lager american lager
Photography courtesy of @highlandparkbrewery

While not new to the craft beer scene, Highland Park’s notoriety is bigger than ever. Their consistently crushable offerings are constantly getting cycled into my fridge. Located right next to Dodger Stadium, I find myself having to make a stop every time I go to a game.

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Morgan Territory

Tracy, CA
Submitted by: Grace Lee-Weitz, Senior Content Editor, Hop Culture

morgan territory brewing snap shot american lager
Photography courtesy of @morganterritorybrewing

I feel like Morgan Territory is one of the most underrated, under-the-radar breweries in California. I had a chance to visit at the very beginning of the year, and they blew me away with their casual superbness.

Drinking in their Tracy-based taproom is like hanging out in your cousin’s basement, playing Street Fighter on Sega Genesis and drinking Capri Sun, except in this case, it’s not a pouch of fruit punch but a tall boy of American lager called Snap Shot (one of our “37 Best Beers We Drank in Spring 2023”).

And replace your cousin’s Magic the Gathering medals with award-winning beer hardware. At the prestigious Brewers Cup of California hosted by the California Craft Brewers Association, Morgan Territory won gold for Lubricator, Menace to Society, and Old Diablo and a silver for their Baltic porter called Dark Reckoning and imperial pilsner called Tipping Point, to name a few.

Not to mention they brought home the whole kit and kaboodle, winning 2023 Brewery of the Year.

Most recently, at the 2022 GABF, Big Bock Energy won bronze, and so did Metalmark Marzen.

All told, Morgan Territory Brewmaster Craig Cauwels has racked up ten medals from GABF, four at the World Beer Cup (WBC).

This year, the brewery opened up a second location in Downtown Pleasant Hill. You can bet that the taproom is on my must-visit list for 2024.

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