American Craft Beer Week 2017 kicks off today, and whether you call yourself a lager lover, a hophead, or a member of the barley literati, the fact of the matter is you’re obsessed with beer (so are we, FYI). When you choose where to go for dinner, you look at the beer list before you look at the menu (Ed. note: Same!). Here are 8 of the best restaurants for craft beer lovers that are ideal for marking one of the ‘hoppiest’ weeks of the year.
Forbidden Root, Chicago, Illinois
On tap: The botanically inclined brewery showcases its singular creations – from a Belgian wit enriched with juniper and grapefruit peel to a pale ale that practically blooms in the mug thanks to the use of marigold, elderflower, and sweet osmanthus blossoms – plus a few guest kegs.
Bottles and cans: Nah.
Make a reservation at Forbidden Root.
City Tap House, Washington, D.C.
On tap: Forty choices, including plenty of local kegs from the likes of Atlas Brew Works, Devil’s Backbone, Three Stars, Right Proper, and more.
Bottles and cans: Roughly 100 options, including a little something for everyone.
Make a reservation at City Tap House.
Happy Gnome, St. Paul, Minnesota
On tap: A supremely impressive 89 draft choices, which change frequently. Keep an eye on the restaurant’s events page or social media accounts to stay apprised of what’s available.
Bottles and cans: A small list that includes half a dozen gluten-free beers, a quartet of ciders, and a pair of macro offerings – Pabst Blue Ribbon and Michelob Golden Light.
Make a reservation at the Happy Gnome.
Howells & Hood, Chicago, Illinois
On tap: Three bars are decked out with 360 taps, which serve 119 craft beers (and one non-alcoholic root beer). If you want to get a taste of Chicago, a full twenty percent are locally brewed. Though on online menu is kept up-to-date, there are usually half a dozen kegs not listed, because they’re so limited edition they will only be available for a day.
Bottles and cans: None, but who needs to go through the trouble of popping off a cap when there are so many drafts?
Make a reservation at Howells & Hood.
Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles, California
On tap: Seventy choices, helpfully cataloged by their dominant flavor profile – from lighter and nuttier to sourer and Belgianer. Lots of tough-to-find beers and unconventional options.
Bottles and cans: Nope, but you won’t care.
Make a reservation at Mohawk Bend.
Freret Beer Room, New Orleans, Louisiana
On tap: Sixteen ever-rotating drafts await your perusing pleasure.
Bottles and cans: A dozen and a half, including lesser-known brews, such as Blackberry Farms’ roasted cherry stout and Oskar Blues Hotbox Coffee IPA.
Make a reservation at Freret Beer Room.
Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
On tap: Encompassing both domestic and foreign options, the draft list is 30 selections long and includes Eulogy’s Busty Blonde, a Belgian pale ale brewed specially for the restaurant.
Bottles and cans: More than 400 (!!!) options, ranging from the well known to the rarely seen.
Make a reservation at Eulogy Belgian Tavern.
Pratt Street Ale House, Baltimore, Maryland
On tap: A bunch of brews made on-site by Oliver Brewing Co., including seasonal specialties and cask conditioned ales. Plus, there are guest drafts from around the country and the region, potentially including choices from DC Brau in Washington, DC and Manor Hill Brewing, a farmhouse brewery in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Bottles and cans: A dozen or so mainstream favorites.
Make a reservation at Pratt Steet Ale House.
What are your picks for the best restaurants for craft beer lovers? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: City Tap-Penn Quarter (City Tap).