Monday, September 15, 2014

Here they are -- the 'Best' Beer Bars in America for 2014 -- as you voted for them.

"I don't mean to interrupt," one says, just before one does just that.

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. For the past few years, the BA has organized a nation-wide vote for the 'best' beer bars in the United States, by region, and overall. And, the results for 2014 are in.

I don't usually go in for these popularity-contest shenanigans, but, today, why not, I will.

Congratulations to the twenty-five bars who won 'Best in America,' but in particular to those three in the home territory of this blog: Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The first two of those jurisdictions didn't place, but the last one certainly did. Virginia had three winners: Blue 5 Restaurant, in Roanoke, The Birch Bar, in Norfolk, and Mekong, in Richmond. In fact, Mekong, now a three-time winner, could be considered one of the five best beer bars ... in the nation, for 2014. It's a question of organizing your base; as in politics, of getting out the voters. And these folk did.

And, of the three Virginia bars, I've been to Mekong several times, which is located just outside the city limits of Richmond. So, I'll concur with, and applaud, the vote. An Bui, a Vietnamese restaurateur, several years ago recognized the compatibility of good beer with his native food, and its value for his bottom line. He tells visitors that "beer is the answer." And apparently, it has been. He's just opened a brewpub, called The Answer, next door to Mekong. Opened, but not yet brewing.

The Battle of the Bars’s 2014 Great American Beer Bars 

Boulder, CO • September 15, 2014—Now more than ever, bars across the U.S. showcase the wide array of offerings from the more than 3,000 breweries in operation throughout the country today. To help navigate the nation for some of the best places to imbibe, —the Brewers Association (BA) website for beer lovers— surveyed its audience for its annual Great American Beer Bars competition.

More than 19,000 craft beer fans cast over 3,400 nominations for better beer bars this year. Once nominations were collected, the field was then narrowed to the 10 most-nominated bars in each of the five regions of the country. The top five craft beer establishments from each region, as well as the overall winners from each, have been recognized.

Methodology: asked readers to help choose the winners for the annual Great American Beer Bars competition. Readers were asked to nominate their favorite craft beer bars in the country; one bar from each of the five designated regions. Craft beer fans cast more than 3,400 nominations, which were narrowed down to the 10 most-nominated bars in each of these five regions. Over 19,000 votes were cast in total. Voting was conducted from August 15 to September 5.

Regional Winners (listed in alphabetical order)

Mountain West

·         Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe*, Denver, CO
·         Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO
·         Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids, Longmont, CO
·         The Attic*, Phoenix, AZ
·         The Mayor of Old Town, Fort Collins, CO

·         Bulls Head Public House*, Lititz, PA
·         Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ
·         Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe*,  Nanuet, NY
·         The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT
·         The Ruck, Troy, NY

North Central
·         Ashley's, Ann Arbor, MI
·         HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
·         Lizardville Beer Store & Whiskey Bar*, Bedford Heights, OH
·         The Bavarian Lodge, Lisle, IL
·         The Cellar Peanut Pub*, Oskaloosa, IA

·         38 Degrees Ale House & Bar*, Alhambra, CA
·         APEX Bar, Portland, OR
·         Beer Stein Bottle Shop & Pub, Eugene, OR
·         Prospectors Pizzeria & Alehouse, Denali National Park, AK
·         The Pine Box, Seattle, WA

·         Blue 5 Restaurant*, Roanoke, VA
·         Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
·         The Birch Bar, Norfolk, VA
·         The Porter Beer Bar*, Atlanta, GA
·         The Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

*Represents newcomer to Great American Beer Bars competition finals

2014 Great American Beer Bars (Overall)
(receiving the most votes out of each respective region and listed in alphabetical order)

·         Beer Stein Bottle Shop & Pub, Eugene, OR
·         Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ
·         Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO
·         HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
·         Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA

  • Read the full press release from the BA: here.
  • I'd also like to mention The Bulls Head Public House, in Lititz, Pennsylvania. A first-time winner, it's owned and operated by Paul Pendyck, who, as the long-time owner of UK Brewing Supplies, has been, and continues to be, a tireless promoter of good and proper cask-conditioned ale in the United States. A visit to his Bulls Head Public House would be a delicious demonstration of that.


  1. Apologies if this appears twice - everything vanished when I hit "publish"... It's great to see the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle get recognition -- its beer list is the equal of or better than more celebrated Chicago institutions. Good food, fun atmosphere, staff that stay for years.

  2. Oh, and the Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington rocks, too!


Comment here ...