The anniversaries have started to come fast and furious. It’s been 40 years since Fritz Maytag tasted Anchor Steam for the first time. The Cartwright Brewery began its short life 25 years ago in Portland, OR, and it will be 20 years come April since the considerably more successful Widmer Brothers sold their first keg of beer.
“We didn’t know we were making history- nobody does at the time- or we would have written these things down.”
This year—just for starters—we can celebrate the 10th anniversaries of the opening of Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, the arrival of specialty Belgian beers on tap, the birth of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, and the legal return of Oklahoma’s Choc beer.
When thousands of breweries open (and close) over a period of 25 years, new beers styles are invented, festivals spring to life, and something like a million (OK, that’s a wild guess) tap handles bearing names such as Fancy Lawnmower Beer and DUIPA are created, then it must be time to start sticking push pins in a map and planning to visit spots where modern brewing history began.
Because All About Beer Magazine has been around for 25 years now, we’re celebrating with a beer tour that has 25 noteworthy stops. The goal was to pick places you can visit, so rather than send you to the address where Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan started New Belgium Brewing Co. (a house in which they no longer live), the choice is the brewery (where the original brew house is on display).
The stops on our tour aren’t necessarily the historically most significant destinations, but they are worthy representatives of what’s happened since a 15-year-old Yorkshire high school student first…but that’s getting ahead of the story.
If you want to visit these places in one road trip, you might rearrange the order. This list goes from Houston to California and back to Austin because it is presented approximately in the chronological order in which the featured events occurred.
Years, rather than months and days, are listed. While it would be possible to attach exact dates to some of these events, other things didn’t happen on a single day. More important, and honest, details are often a bit hazy. As Don Younger of the Horse Brass Pub pointed out, “We didn’t know we were making history—nobody does at the time—or we would have written these things down.”
Let’s hit the road or, to reach the first site, jump in an airplane.