Craft beer is taking over — here are 8 breweries you need to try now

Craft breweries continue to delight beer drinkers across the country, and the big guys are taking notice. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the south.

Breweries such as Atlanta’s SweetWater have turned into regional powerhouses. But, it’s the many smaller breweries that are turning heads with their delectable concoctions.

These eight breweries are producing some of the south’s best beers. All are worthy of a tour, but if schedules don’t allow, make time to imbibe a beer from one or all of these breweries whenever they grace the menu of the local bar or eatery.

August 23, 2014 Marietta - Andy Tubbs (left), Elizabeth Landt, Abby Lund and Shari Eposito talk as they try different beers at Red Hare Brewery in Marietta during the company's third anniversary party on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Hundreds of people turned out for the celebration which included tastings, tours and live music. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL

1. Red Hare Brewing Co.

Marietta, Georgia

Since hopping onto the beer scene on Labor Day Weekend in 2011, Red Hare has delighted beer drinkers with its approachable offerings. Its Long Day Lager has become a staple in bars and restaurants throughout the metro Atlanta area. While the brewery cans a few core beers year round, it’s the specialty brews such as the Imperial Red IPA that makes visiting the brewery a must. (Photo: Cox Media Group)


2. Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

Lexington, Kentucky

There are only a few combination breweries and distilleries in country. While its distilled spirits make for a fine addition to Kentucky’s famed bourbon offerings, it’s the beer that puts Lexington Brewing on the map. In particular, the brewery’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is one of the finest bourbon barrel-aged beers on the market. But, for anyone looking for a lighter beer, try the Kentucky Kolsch. (Photo:


3. Orlando Brewing

Orlando, Florida

Although Orlando is best known for its theme parks, Orlando Brewing should be considered the hottest attraction in Central Florida since Mickey Mouse relocated to The Sunshine State. First opened in October 2004, the brewery is the only USDA certified organic brewery in Florida. Offering a range of beers from a pale ale to a porter, it’s the easy drinking Right on Red! Ale, one of the brewery’s pasteurized offerings, that really hits the mark. (Photo:


4. Thomas Creek Brewery

Greenville, South Carolina

Since 1998, Thomas Creek has been sinking the “Status Quo,” as its motto suggests, with its easy to drink offerings. One of the most surprising beers is the Up the Creek IPA. Even those most ardently opposed to IPAs are likely to find this beer easy to drink. Be careful, however. This is a high gravity beer with a 12.5 percent ABV. For a lower gravity offering, try the Red River Falls Ale. (Photo: Thomas Creek Brewery)


5. Yazoo Brewing Co.

Nashville, Tennessee

Yazoo Brewing has been helping lead the revitalization of the now trendy Gulch neighborhood southwest of downtown. Named for the Yazoo River in Mississippi, the brewery revived the formerly famous Gerst banner and is credited with brewing Tennessee’s first-ever legal high-gravity ale. But, it’s the Dos Perros, a Mexican style beer made with chocolate malt, that has helped popularize the brand. (Photo: Yazoo Brewing)


6. Highland Brewing Co.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is one of the best beer cities in the South. This makes picking just one of its many breweries a difficult task. But, Highland Brewing’s Gaelic Ale has established itself as one of the more popular ales available in the Southeast. Though the beer resembles a Scottish Ale, this American Ale accounts for about half of the beer Highland brews. (Photo: Highland Brewing)


7. Monday Night Brewing

Atlanta, Georgia

Monday Night traces its origins to 2006 when its founders met in a Bible study and started brewing beers on Monday nights. Despite its higher ABV, the brewery’s Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale has become one of Atlanta’s staple beers. For anyone looking for a lighter offering, try Monday Night’s Nerd Alert Pseudo Pilsner.


8. Chattanooga Brewing Co.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Since launching in 2010, Chattanooga Brewing has been at the forefront a craft beer explosion in Chattanooga. In 2014, the brewery opened its new location overlooking the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football stadium. While its Chickbock Maibock Lager is a fan favorite, it’s the more wild creations like the Chattanooga Habanero Pilsner that make Chattanooga Brewing such a unique destination. (Photo:

Todd DeFeo About the author:
Todd DeFeo is a writer, marketer and wanderer. Follow Todd on Twitter and check out his blog, The Travel Trolley.
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