WeldWerks Named Best New Brewery!

Rhinegeist, Stoneface, Moody Tongue and Bottle Logic also winners

The number of craft breweries in America hit an all time high in 2015, topping out at over 4,100. USA TODAY 10Best set out to find the best new breweries – breweries that have opened in the past three years – with the help of a panel of beer experts. Then we turned things over to you, and for the past four weeks, readers have been voting daily for their favorites. The results are in!

  • Green Bench Brewing Co.
    St. Petersburg, Fla.

    St. Petersburg’s first craft brewery, Green Bench was a labor of love for its founders, a pair of St. Pete natives. The 6,000 square-foot facility in the downtown Edge District includes a comfy tasting room with a large observation window that provides views into the brewery. An adjoining beer garden provides ample space for visitors to work their way through the lengthy beer list - from the flagship Green Bench IPA to a Middle Eastern brown ale (made with Yemeni spices, dates and raisins) while catching some rays.
    Photo courtesy of Green Bench Brewing Co.

  • Right Proper Brewing Company
    Washington

    Right Proper Brewing Company makes beer in two DC neighborhoods: there’s a welcoming brewpub and kitchen in historic Shaw, and a bustling production house and tasting room in Brookland. The neighborhood-minded company has come up with dozens of recipes, running the gamut from classic styles to unique, experimental concoctions. DC-area beer nerds can track down Right Proper’s latest pours at the brewpub, tasting room and at a host of local restaurants and bars.
    Photo courtesy of Leah Cheston

  • Bissell Brothers
    Portland, Maine

    The beer scene is booming in Maine’s largest city, and Bissell Brothers stands out from the competition thanks to the brewery’s commitment to challenging the perceptions of what different styles of beers can be. Noah and Peter Bissell took over a space vacated by the Maine Beer Co., and beer lovers patiently wait in line to purchase flagship offerings such as The Substance Ale, an American-style India Pale Ale. Filled with colorful art and lively music, the tasting room invites customers to sample “pilot betas” of what will become the brewery’s next production offerings.
    Photo courtesy of Bissell Brothers

  • Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
    Athens, Ga.

    Tracing its roots back to a home brewing setup, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. has some of Georgia’s most accomplished brewers behind it. The brewery is housed in a 3,000 square-foot historic building - originally a Chevrolet dealership - in downtown Athens, Ga. Reclaimed wood was used to create bar tops, tables and ceilings; the handsome tasting room is a comfy spot for sampling a variety of year-round, seasonal and limited-edition releases. Several beers feature local ingredients such as blueberries, peaches and honey.
    Photo courtesy of Broad Collective

  • Orpheus Brewing
    Atlanta

    With its focus on sour beers, Orpheus Brewing separates itself from Atlanta’s competitive beer scene. The brewery, which traces its roots back to home brewing, overlooks Piedmont Park and the Beltline. Such is the Orpheus’ commitment to sour beers that it maintains a sour barrel room with open fermenters in which the open air bacteria assists spontaneous fermentations. Beer lovers come for tours and tastings - beyond sours, the brewery producers saisons, barrel-aged brews and more - and there’s a monthly comedy night.
    Photo courtesy of Orpheus Brewing

  • Bottle Logic Brewing
    Anaheim, Calif.

    From its humble industrial space off the freeway, Anaheim’s Bottle Logic has burst on to the SoCal beer scene thanks to its state-of-the-art facility and approach to creating experimental brews. Fans flock to the inviting tasting room - which resembles a science laboratory - to sample an ever-changing variety of beers. The brewery separates its offerings into two categories: The Constants and The Variables. Additional visitor components include a dog-friendly outdoor patio and some of Orange County’s top food trucks.
    Photo courtesy of Bottle Logic Brewing

  • Moody Tongue Brewing Company
    Chicago

    Chicago is one of the world’s most forward-looking dining cities, so it stands to figure that the Windy City is home to the “culinary beer” trail blazers at Moody Tongue. Brewmaster Jared Rouben has a culinary background, and many of his self-billed “liquid dishes” are made using culinary techniques such as brewing coffee, steeping tea, baking chocolate, and brandying fruit. Popular varieties include sliced nectarine IPA, caramelized chocolate churro Baltic porter and a steeped lemon saison.
    Photo courtesy of Moody Tongue Brewing Company

  • Stoneface Brewing Co.
    Newington, N.H.

    Stoneface Brewing Co. is proud of its New Hampshire roots - the state’s symbolic “Old Man in the Mountain” is hidden within the hop flower on the brewery’s logo. Located just a few miles outside Portsmouth, N.H., Stoneface has had to ramp-up production to meet demand. Some customers stop by the brewery to buy growlers to go, others track down the signature “Hopulization” double IPA and Stoneface Red Rye at select local restaurants and bars.
    Photo courtesy of Stoneface Brewing Co.

  • Rhinegeist
    Cincinnati

    Cincinnati beer hounds head to the historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District, where Rhinegeist ("Ghost of the Rhine" in German) set up shop the old Moerlein bottling plant. The 25,000 square-foot facility, which dates back to 1895, oozes character, and the lively taproom is frequently packed with festive groups playing ping pong and cornhole while watching big games on TVs. In addition to a wide variety of beers, Rhinegeist also churns out dry ciders made with juices from the Pacific Northwest.
    Photo courtesy of Rhinegeist

  • WeldWerks Brewing Company
    Greeley, Colo.

    In historic downtown Greeley, WeldWerks has tossed its hat into the crowded Colorado beer scene. Neil Fisher, the man behind WeldWerks, started as an award-winning home brewer, and beer fans come from far and wide to fill the large, neo-industrial space. The taproom offers daily specials ranging from live music and food trucks to discounts for teachers. Offerings run the gamut from a raspberry hefeweizen and a blackberry Berliner to an imperial stout made with chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne.
    Photo courtesy of WeldWerks Brewing Company

It was a close and hard-fought battle for the title between the top two finishers, but in the end, it was WeldWerks Brewing Company out of Greeley, Colo. that came out on top.

The top 10 winners in the category Best New Brewery are as follows:

  1. WeldWerks Brewing Company - Greeley, Colo.
  2. Rhinegeist - Cincinnati
  3. Stoneface Brewing Co. - Newington, N.H.
  4. Moody Tongue Brewing Company - Chicago
  5. Bottle Logic Brewing - Anaheim, Calif.
  6. Orpheus Brewing - Atlanta
  7. Creature Comforts Brewing Co. - Athens, Ga.
  8. Bissell Brothers - Portland, Maine
  9. Right Proper Brewing Company - Washington
  10. Green Bench Brewing Co. - St. Petersburg, Fla.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jim Dykstra & Chris Guest (The Beer Connoisseur), Julia Herz (Brewers Association), Jack Muldowney (The Hop Review) and Ale Sharpton (AleSharpton.com) were chosen based on their extensive beer knowledge and experience.

Additional nominees for the title of Best New Brewery included Bluejacket in Washington, de Garde Brewing in Tillamook, Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton, Grimm Artisanal Ales in Brooklyn, Marz Community Brewing Co. in Chicago, Other Half Brewing Company in Brooklyn, The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, Side Project Brewing in St. Louis and Trillium Brewing Company in Boston.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winning breweries.

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Alert The Experts

Jim Dykstra & Chris Guest

Julia Herz

Jack Muldowney

Ale Sharpton

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