Top 25 Mid-Atlantic Breweries to Visit: 16-20
In case you missed the first entry in this series covering breweries 21-25, check that out here.
If you would like to discuss this article, please do so here, but please remember to keep in mind that if you have a problem with the rankings, just assume I was two sheets to the wind when evaluating the breweries you disagree with me on, or have yet to visit your favorite watering hole.
Without further ado, breweries 16-20.
20. Argilla Brewing Co. at Pietro’s Pizza Newark, DE
For a couple years, my now wife and I were regulars at this nano brewery and restaurant before we moved to Baltimore. We still try to visit as much as possible, partly for the ever evolving tap list of about 7 beers brewed on site, but also for the excellent pizza! That’s what really sets apart Argilla from most of the other places on this list; while many of them serve food or have food trucks regularly, this one of the few that even without the beer, would be a well worth a visit just for the food. Besides having some of the best pizza in the region, Argilla often has live music on weekends and some other cool events such as Brewer’s Pizza Nights where local breweries compete with each to see who can create the best pizza and beer pairing. Back to the beer, Argilla does brew a diverse variety of beers and gets bonus points for consistently producing different beers rather than having roughly the same beers on tap on every visit. Some of their standouts are Flute Luplin (Double IPA), Abre Los Ojos (Russian Imperial Stout), and the Patent Porter.
19. Union Craft Brewing Baltimore, MD
One of the largest and most well-known breweries in the Baltimore area, Union brews a strong assortment of beers, including the iconic and readily available Duckpin Pale Ale. While you can of course drink a Duckpin at Union, which for now is conveniently located next to the Woodberry light rail stop and super close to the aforementioned Waverly Brewing Company, the beers to focus on are some of their less common standouts such as the fantastic Double Duckpin, other strong double IPAs like Cosmic Giggle, the Snow and Pajama Pants oatmeal stouts, and the assortment of Old Pro gose beers (sours). Union has a cool space featuring some games including corn hole outside, and they often have food trucks and events to add to the experience. Check out their current spot soon because they are on the verge of moving slightly further north into the promising Union Collective in Hamden, where they will increase the size of the brewery as well as share the space with some other local independent businesses.
18. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant Wilmington, DE
Iron Hill is basically a chain of restaurant breweries in the Philadelphia area, but for this purpose, I will focus on the one I have most frequented, which is located on the Wilmington Riverfront, a nice spot to bring a date or the family. First off, this is a good restaurant with a varied menu ranging from bar food to pizza to fish and steak entrees. You can sit at the bar, at a booth, or outside overlooking the Christina River and enjoy some food and any of their dozen or so beers on tap. As for the beer, I know it may be easy to dismiss a place that has several locations and attracts plenty of families and people that aren’t all that into beer, but that would be a mistake with Iron Hill as the beer is legitimately quite good. They offer their signature series, that includes their more approachable beers like the Iron Hill Light Lager, Vienna Red Lager, White Iron Wit, Witberry, Ore House IPA, and Pig Iron Porter. While those beers are solid representations of their style and will please those in your party that are not as into craft beer, for the beer snobs like myself, they consistently put out a strong and varied collection of beer including some of my favorites: Riverfront IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Coffee Porter, and Santa’s Little Helper (witbier).
Bonus: Blue Jacket Washington DC
In the prior installment of this series, my bonus brewery was Baltimore’s newest, Suspended, which is located near Camden Yards and has an Opening Day event later this week. So with baseball season almost upon us, another great pre-game brewery spot is Blue Jacket, which is practically a Bryce Harper moon shot from Nationals Park. This brewery / restaurant has two baseball lineups worth of beer on tap featuring regulars and their fair share of pinch hitters. Like many other breweries on this list, they specialize in hoppy beers and stouts, but also put out some solid Belgian style beers and the occasional sour, along with some blondes and lagers. The food is good as well. The one downfall of this place is it tends to get quite crowded, especially on game days, so arrive early if you can.
17. Collusion Tap Works York, PA
Yet another brewery that also has a good restaurant, Collusion Tap Works has an ambitious tap list, both in quantity (over 20) and in style as they are not afraid to push the brewing boundaries. This is reflected by beers like Screamer, an imperial ice cream stout, a chocolate milk stout called Double Fudge, a cream ale title Cinnamon Toast Brunch, as well as fruit forward and New England style IPAs, and some interesting sours. I have only been to Collusion once so far, but was very impressed with their beers, and so it seems are most of their visitors as their beers tend to approach or surpass a 4 on Untapped, which is quite good with you are unaware.
16. Victory Brewing Company Dowingtown, PA
One of the best known breweries in Southeast Pennsylvania, Victory now has a few taprooms, but this list will focus on the original location in Downingtown. This is another brewery where you can drink some classics straight from the source, beers like HopDevil, Golden Monkey, Prima Pils, and Storm King, but as you know by now, something that makes a brewery visit more desirable for me is if there is a good selection of less common beers, and Victory does well in that regard as well. While most of their beers are available in bottles, many are seasonal or special release beers that I don’t come by too often. Along with the now pretty common, but excellent DirtWolf Double IPA, you can currently sample beers such as Victorious IPA Release #1, Sour Monkey, Java Cask (coffee bourbon stout), Kirsch Gose, and Wisdom’s Hour (barrel-aged American sour ale). Victory also has a cool and large space to hang out in along with some good pub food including one of the best food items to pair with beer, hand twisted German pretzels served with some beer cheese sauce and mustard.