10 American breweries we wish distributed to Texas

From exorbitant fees, to numerous regulatory barriers including a strict label approval process, Texas’ beer laws prevent many small breweries from being able to bring their beer to our state.

So, while most of the posts on Bitch Beer are inspired by what we’re drinking, this list happens to be about what we’re not drinking.

Now, the list below does include some small regional breweries that probably wouldn’t have the manpower to distribute to Texas anyways, but many of the breweries on this list distribute to more than a dozen states all across the country, but Texas laws make us a difficult destination.

Here’s a little taste of what we’re missing out on…

1. Russian River Brewing Co/ Santa Rosa CA: Three words….Pliny the Elder. Three more words if that doesn’t sell you….Pliny the Younger.

2.Firestone Walker/ Paso Robles, CA: With four World Beer Cup champion titles, as well as a slew of other awards from major festivals across the world, it’s easy to see why we’re craving Firestone Walker’s unique, balanced brews here in Texas. The brewery is particularly known for their barrel-aged beers, but they also earn respect for producing some damn fine pale ales, if you don’t believe us, try and get your hands on a Union Jack.

3. Bell’s/ Kalamazoo, Mi: Home to award-winning brews like Two Hearted and Hopslam, Bells currently offers about 20 beers for distribution to 18 states and Washington D.C. But, if you live in Texas, I hope you like road trips, because the closest you’ll find it is Arizona or Alabama.

4. Troegs Brewing/ Hershey, PA: Troegs is a regional brewery with beers currently available in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Virgina, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. Their imperial amber Nugget Nectar is particularly praise-worthy, making this year’s American Homebrewers Association’s  list of the 50 best beers in America.

5.  Terrapin Brewery/ Athens, GA: I was first introduced to Terrapin last year while visiting family up in Athens, GA. Athens is a fun town, and this is a very fun little brewery. Terrapin manufactures three year round brews, their Golden Ale, Rye Pale Ale and the mighty Hopsecutioner IPA. But if the hoppy ferocity of the Hopsecutioner doesn’t sell you, their inventive seasonals surely will. My personal favorite is the Moo-Hoo, brewed with nugget and willamette hops and cocoa nibs from Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company, it’s one of the most chocolatey milk stouts I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. In fact, I was so sold on this beer that after trying it for the first time in the Terrapin tasting room, we stopped at a bottle shop on the way home to pick up a 4-pack. That was last December, and unfortunately it would be my last taste of Moo-Hoo, because they don’t distribute west of Alabama.

6: Founders Brewing/ Grand Rapids, Mi: Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, the “founders,” if you will, of Founders Brewing co, describe the philosophy behind their brewery like this, “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.” Count us in, especially if it involves a pint of Dirty Bastard.

7. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/ Dexter, Mi: Jolly Pumpkin is known for their masterful take on traditional, rustic, country-style beers. They clearly live up to that reputation with their Belgian golden ale Oro De Calabaza. It was rated the best Belgian golden ale in the world by the New York Times, and took home a gold medal at GABF in its category. Texans, keep this beer, and all the other beauties produced by Jolly Pumpkin in mind the next time you’re traveling, because you ain’t gonna find them here.

8.The Alchemist/ Waterbury, VT: The Alchemist started as a little brewpub with a big buzz. They have since expanded to include a 15 barrel production brewery, known for their flagship double IPA, Heady Topper. As The Alchemist’s beer is sold almost exclusively in Vermont (occasionally seen in major northeastern cities like Boston) we’ll admit it’s probably not Texas’ beer laws that’s keeping it off our shelves, but hey, that doesn’t make us yearn for it any less.

9. Three Floyds Brewing Co./ Munster IN: Three Floyds has a pretty stellar lineup of beer, but they are perhaps best known for Dark Lord Day, the one day a year where the brewery sells its prized Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout to the public. The annual event has inspired such a devoted following in recent years, that people now have to purchase $15 tickets just to get on the premises to actually purchase the beer. Obviously, getting some Dark Lord in Texas is a lot to ask, but we can dare to dream for Alpha King, or any of their other year-round brews to be available one day. Oddly, I did see Pride & Joy show up in a friend’s build-your-own-six-pack from an Austin convenience store one time, but seems like a pretty isolated incident.

10. Goose Island/ Chicago, IL.: I’d like to end this post on a somewhat happy note, by mentioning that there are some rumblings of this final brewery’s beers popping up in Texas by the end of 2012. Whether that will actually happen or not, who’s to say, but we’re definitely on the side of optimism if it will bring beers like King Henry to Texas.


8 Comments on 10 American breweries we wish distributed to Texas

  1. Russian River, Bell’s, and Firestone Walker are some dandy’s I’d love to see in TX, but a couple of others are Southern Tier Brewing Co. from Lakewood, NY, Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, FL and Coronado Brewing Company from Coronado, CA. I try to pick up any or all of these when I travel out of state!

  2. Just because a beer is hard to get or is released in a limited amount does not make it good. I recently went on a beer trek from L.A. to Crescent City Calif specifically to taste beers from craft breweries. I was not impressed with Pliny the Elder nor a lot of other offerings. Its all in the taste buds of the taster. I’ve brewed for 25 years and I know a good beer when I taste it and I know swill when I taste it too. A high price tag or limited availability do not necessarily make good beer..

  3. Just because a beer is hard to get or released in limited supply (like a brewery locally does annually) does not make it great or even good. I recently went on a beer trek up the Calif coast from L.A to Crescent City with stops all along the way. I had Pliny the Elder and despite wha people say, I found it only good. I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. I’ve brewed for 20 years and I know a good beer when I taste it and don’t let hype sway my tastebuds. thats for the younger crowd. No pun intended.

  4. Great post, lots of great breweries mentioned here! Jolly Pumpkin and Bell’s would top my personal list.

  5. I would love to add Odell Brewing to that list (but I have heard they are planning to start in 2013) and give a double vote to Russian River!

  6. Founders and Bells are well known and a worthy addition, but I was surprised to see Jolly Pumpkin. Oh, they are worthy of being on this list, but I didn’t think anyone knew about this jem. Excellent choice. And while a “hard to get beer doesn’t taste better”, you could put them in every convenient store or on top of a mountain and they taste great. Pints to Jeavon for showing respect to Odell!

  7. Hi there, after reading this remarkable post i
    am also happy to share my experience here with friends.

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