What we’d order on tap: Birrificio Le Baladin “Al-Iksir”
The pour: Asheville is the hidden gem of the South, and The Thirsty Monk’s upstairs pinthouse is the hidden gem of Asheville. But the Belgian beer bar in the basement is the hidden gem of The Thirsty Monk. We’ll leave it to you to discover the treasures of the basement’s 14 extra taps, but our money is on the Italians.
What we’d order on tap: The “Oklahoma” flight of five local beers
The pour: There are admittedly some terrible beers found at McNellies in Tulsa, but you don’t have drink all 350. Skip the Stella Artois on the Belgian list and enjoy the ambiance of a true public house. Plus we hear the sweet potato fries are amazing.
What we’d order on tap: Mt. Hood Hogs Back Stout cask-conditioned
The pour: This English pub keeps its taps mostly local. Fortunately, there are some great breweries nearby. But with soccer on the telly and a choice selection of imports, it could make a nice home away from home for any limey soul.
What we’d order on tap: Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 2005
The pour: Monk’s Cafe prides itself on being “The soul of Belgium in the heart of Philadelphia.” And between its front and back bars, it has most of Belgium on tap. You can also order mussels cooked in a half dozen different Belgian ales.
What we’d order on tap: St. Bernardus Abt 12
The pour: With additional bars in Dallas, Austin and New York, Houston’s Gingerman proves that sometimes a franchise can seem like a series of originals. Opened in 1985 near the Rice University campus, The Gingerman was a beer connoisseur’s dream before there was a culture of beer connoisseurs in America.
What we’d order: A bottle of La Fin Du Monde
The pour: The draft list is a little limited, but the bottle selection is deep and reasonably priced. And some fried calamari or steamed mussels make it worth the trip.
What we’d order on tap: Gulden Draak
The pour: With 46 draught lines plus two cask-conditioned ales, downtown Richmond’s Capital Ale House has been serving Virginians since 2002. Today, the pub boasts four locations and a music hall, making where to drink as tough a decision as what to drink. There’s also a leather-bound vintage/aged beers list that is offered to those who know to ask for it, but you didn’t hear that from me.
What we’d order on tap: iQhilika African Birds Eye Chili Mead (‘cause… what the hell?)
The pour: I get a little jealous of anyone who lives in a state where growlers are legal. I get a lot jealous when they also live near Über Tavern, where you can fill up your growler with Affligem Noël, Stone Ruination or Gordon’s Gubna. You can even special order kegs of more than 100 different beers for your own events.