The beer world is studded with many overused buzzwords that have migrated from the restaurant world: “juicy” and “double dry-hopped” to name two. At this point, “field-to-pint” is almost as hackneyed as “farm-to-table.” Here, though, are 20 incredible breweries that brew what they preach. We dare not call them artisan, but with homegrown hops and a focus on seasonal ingredients from their own backyards, we call them pretty damn admirable.
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Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont, New York
Indian Ladder Farms is a 100-year-old family farm and orchard in Altamont, NY, purchased by Peter Gansevoort Ten Eyck in 1916. They specialize in apples, pumpkins, berries, and other U-pick crops, but as the craft beverage trend grew, the Ten Eyck family saw an opportunity to return to this region’s “roots” as a brewing hotbed and built the Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery and Cidery, using the ingredients they grew right on the farm — hops, malting barley, apples, pears, berries, and pumpkins. Last year, they added a tasting room, which is open to the public year-round for beer and hard cider by the glass or growler. The 320-acre farm is protected farmland, part of the Open Space Institute’s efforts to secure agricultural lands that are eaten up by development. In May, you can stop in to see new baby animals in the barn.
Credit: Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery
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Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, Virginia
This popular brewery has been growing its own hops since 2007, when the first two fields were planted in Afton, Virginia. From there, Blue Mountain Brewery became the first (and largest) commercial hop yard in Virginia. Later, the brewery would become a founding member and test hops field for the now prospering Old Dominion Hops Cooperative. The hops grown here have changed over the years, from the original Cascade grapefruit citrus character to more of a lime zest aroma and flavor. Beers made from hops at this brewery have gone on to medal at the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. The Blue Reserve brew is the only beer brewed with all-Virginia-grown hops that has ever placed at either one of these competitions.
Credit: Blue Mountain Brewery
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Climbing Bines Hop Farm and Brewery, Penn Yan, New York
Climbing Bines is a seven-year-old farm on the shores of the scenic Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes. Dedicated to sustainable agriculture, the farm grows premium New York State hops for the local brewing industry and was one of the first to do so! The house ales include an IPA, Amber, Pale, Blonde and Hefeweizen, which you can enjoy on their outdoor covered patio along with live music, cornhole, and front-row views of the rows and rows of fresh hops.
Credit: Climbing Bines Hop Farm and Brewery
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Manor Hill Brewing in Ellicott City, Maryland
Located on a scenic, family-owned farm with cornhole and various games outside the tasting room, they grow 2+ acres of hops (Cascade, Nugget, Chinook, Centennial) and feature 15 unique beers on tap. Hop-forward highlights include Coffee Brown, made with locally roasted coffee, and the Bizarre Universe, which pays homage to A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Credit: Manor Hill Brewing
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Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, Newberg, Oregon
Set on the historic 1850 Springbrook Farm, they brew American interpretations of European-style beers. They use pure well water, wild yeast hailing from their own fruit trees, homegrown hops, and house sour cultures, to create, age, blend, and bottle their small-batch beers “exhibiting the beautiful wilderness of Oregon terroir,” which is fed by Springbrook Creek on its way to the Willamette River. (An interesting side note: Founding brewer Christian DeBenedetti got his start writing about beer for Men's Journal.)
Credit: Carly Diaz
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Empire Farm Brewery, Cazenovia, New York
With a beloved sister brewery in the heart of downtown Syracuse, Empire Brewery’s owners recently unveiled a 40,000-square-foot building on 22 acres of farmland. With the objective of expanding the existing facilities’ agricultural component, the farm is being cultivated for barley, lavender, vegetables, herbs, fruits, and hops. The new farm brewery is motorcycle-, bike-, and dog-friendly (a triple threat for MJ readers).
Credit: Empire Farm Brewery
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West Sixth Brewing, Lexington, Kentucky
With 120 rolling acres in Franklin County, West Sixth Farm is also a small-scale production of brewing ingredients including raspberries, sour cherries, blackberries, and squash that they use to brew many of their specialty batches. West Sixth’s taproom has 17+ unique beers on tap including Magic Beans Coffee Stout, featuring classic coffee characteristics of roast and chocolate, and Sixfold II: Tart Cherry Sour, with 300 pounds of cherries added to fermentation.
Credit: West Sixth Brewing
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Farmery Estate Brewery, Neepawa, Manitoba
Brothers Lawrence and Chris Warwaruk are two brothers with a passion for brewing beer with five ingredients: three strains of hops, prairie grown barley, yeast, water and wheat protein. After scoring a deal on the Season 8 finale of CNC’s Dragon’s Den, Farmery became the first estate brewery in Canada. Visitors are able to sample their brew and schedule brewery tours and see where the barley and hops are grown on the site.
Credit: Farmery Estate Brewery
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Roscoe Beer Co. in Roscoe, New York
In the Sullivan Catskills, they grow cascade and centennial hops at this former firehouse turned brewing facility. They’ve got a 1,600-square-foot tasting room, with its flagship brew, Trout Town American Amber ale being a real standout. They'll feature plenty of events this summer like "Wild Ramp Fest" on May 6, a BBQ & Brews Fest on June 10, and Summer Fest on July 29.
Credit: Roscoe Beer Co.
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Lickinghole Creek, Goochland, Virginia
A water-conscious, biologically-friendly farm brewery situated on a 290-acre farm. They grow hops, barley, herbs, and spices for use in their Estate Series of beers. Lickinghole Creek also brews with wastewater purified on site and returned to the Lickinghole Creek watershed.
Credit: Lickinghole Creek
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Watertown Brewing Company, Watertown, South Dakota
Growing their own hops just north of Watertown, this brewery gains inspiration from the region's German roots. With their signature gemütlichkeit for guests, the tap room also regularly hosts live music in addition to a wide range of house-brewed beers, with standout selections including the Codington Cream Ale, Das Tasty Altbier, and the Jinxed IPA. For the gastropub flatbread pizzas, the residue from making the hops that is normally discarded gets folded into the dough.
Credit: Watertown Brewing Company
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Big Rock Brewery, Calgary, Alberta
While Alberta does not have ideal conditions for growing hops (early snowfall!), it has not stopped Big Rock Brewery. The owner has used Rhizomes, which are root cuttings from the hop vine, to help encourage faster growth and is using their crop of hops for a special seasonal beer each year. The brewery also has its own bee apiary, which it uses for limited-release beers. This year, they also joined forces with Northern Girl Hops to make a wet hop beer.
Credit: Big Rock Brewery
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Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay, Michigan
Owned by two brothers, the brewery opened in 2015 and has already won numerous local and regional awards. The brewery has an on-site quarter-acre beer garden where they grow their own hops and offer 10-14 beers on tap throughout the year. This summer, Hop Lot is hosting several artists to perform at the brewery, and also offers popular recurring bingo nights.
Credit: Hop Lot Brewing Company
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Kent Falls Brewing Company, Kent, Connecticut
Brewers Gold, Chinook, Cascade, Michigan Copper, and Bitter Gold are the five hops varieties that contribute to the magic of this Litchfield County brewery. With a strong devotion to the land (the farm has been in continuous operations for over 250 years), this brewery cares deeply about sustainability and brewery-supported agriculture, which you can see in their spent-grain recycling and solar hot water system, among other things. Come hop harvest time (and a simultaneous wet hop brew and pig roast), volunteers pick through all 1.5 acres of hops in a day to give back to this community stronghold. Their tasting room and farm store opened this spring.
Credit: Kent Falls Brewing
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Dirt Farm Brewing, Loudoun, Virginia
This Blue Ridge Mountains farm brewery has its own hop yard, 10 acres of grain, and plenty of produce. The brewhouse delivers traditional brewing style ales and many farm fresh seasonals (Som Peach, Pumpkin Ale). A special seasonal hit is the Fluster Cluck with apricots, peaches, strawberries, and nectarines included in the ale from the farm’s bounty.
Credit: Dirt Farm Brewing
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Screamin’ Hill Brewery, Cream Ridge, New Jersey
They consider themselves “field to glass,” and in addition to growing their own hops, they also use the barley (last July they harvested30,000 pounds of malting barley), wheat, and rye that they grow on the farm to make their base malt. And their Pumpkin Ale is made with the pumpkins they’ve grown on their farm for 20 years. The brewery offers regular tours and is located in a restored barn on the property. There are also Yoga & Beer classes once a month through October (here’smore).
Credit: Screamin’ Hill
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Tilted Barn Brewery, Exeter, Rhode Island
Nicknamed “Rhode Island’s Hill Farmstead,” this charming brewery is in a quiet slice of Little Rhody and gets its name from its early 1900s tilted barn. With a true communal spirit, the farm not only grows hops for its own collection, but also sells them to homebrewers and other local breweries. Start by wandering the fields to touch and smell the ingredients firsthand before enjoying a hoppy brew. The husband and wife team, Kara and Matt Richardson, are careful alchemists when it comes to innovative beers, but you can’t go wrong with any of their IPAs.
Credit: Amy Soucy
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Agrarian Ales, Eugene, Oregon
Agrarian Ales is a Willamette Valley hop farm brewery that's run by farmers Ben and Nate Tilley, who, alongside their parents, grow their own organic hops and chili peppers on this 25-acre property. Their ales are made with the hops, chili peppers, produce, and herbs grown on-site, as well as organic grains and fruit direct from their neighboring farmer friends.
Credit: Katie McGuigan
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Taos Mesa Brewing, Taos, New Mexico
In addition to growing their hops locally, this brewer uses local water and boasts The Mothership, an environmentally friendly headquarters that uses a solar greenhouse to heat the whole building and a rainwater-catching system. Come visit for live music, games, and plenty of seating.
Credit: Taos Mesa Brewing
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Waredaca Brewing, Laytonsville, Maryland
The farm is one of 20 horse farms to receive agricultural awards by the Maryland Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP). They use best brewing/operating practices to limit water usage throughout the brewery and tasting room. In addition to their hops, the horse farm is pretty picturesque, and they’ve got outdoor fire pits, giant Jenga, and cornhole for visitors to enjoy.