Beer lover’s airport guide

Which airports have the best beer offerings?

The airport terminal might not be the first place travelers consider when toasting to their travels, but, with an increasing number of airports offering passengers exemplary bars and pubs, that may be changing. And, if you found your flight on, you can spend some of that savings on a cold one.

From craft beer to beer cocktails, there are dozens of airport bars pouring passengers the perfect brew. Our beer lover’s airport guide includes bars where the beverage menu is predominantly beers (we’ve eliminated wine bars, cocktail bars and specialty liquor establishments). So, pull up a stool and get ready to enjoy the perfect pre-flight pint.

Saxon Pub, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas

Saxon Pub, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Listen to live music over beers at Saxon Pub. (Image: Saxon Pub)

In Austin, Texas, live music venue has an outpost at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Since 1990, the award-winning listening room Saxon Pub has hosted 22,000 musical performances and launched the careers of several prominent entertainers. Saxon Pub offers four draft beers, 10 beers by the bottle and five can beers. The selection has everything from familiar domestics and Texas selections to fresh-made down the road beers like Live Oak Heffeweisen. The signature beer is Oasis Tx Brewing Company’s London Homesick ale, an English-style bitter named after legendary Texas musician Gary P. Nunn’s song that shares the same name.

DuClaw Brewing Company, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Maryland

Located pre-security in the Southwest terminal, pre-game before the TSA line at DuClaw Brewing Company. Founder Dave Benfield began home brewing during college and turned his obsession into a brewpub in Bel Air. Today, the brewery has expanded to four locations. The airport location is a licensed bar that serves some of DuClaw Brewing Company’s 35 beers on tap and by the bottle.

The Green Turtle, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Maryland

The Green Turtle, Baltimore-Washington International Airport

Join the club and the family at The Greene Turtle (Image: The Greene Turtle).

First opened in Ocean City, Md., in 1976, The Greene Turtle now has 43 locations across Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Long Island, New York. Combining comfort food, a casual atmosphere and a sports bar theme, marked by big screen televisions broadcasting local and national events, “The Turtle” beverage menu includes more than 30 craft beers from local breweries, including AleWerks Brewing Company, Blue Point Brewery, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Flying Dog Brewery, Full Tilt Brewing, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Heavy Seas Beer, Jailbreak Brewing Company, St. George Brewing Company and Union Craft Brewing. Try the signature beer, Shell Raiser, an English-style pale ale brewed by Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore, Md., specifically for The Greene Turtle.

Good People Brewing, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth international Airport, Alabama

Get a taste of southern hospitality at Good People Brewing at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The entire staff at the craft beer bar are Cicerone-certified beer servers. Opened in 2008, Good People Brewing crafts five year-round brews called “Ales from the Heart of Dixie,” four seasonal beers and the occasional one-off concoction. Try the most popular beer, Snake Handler. The double IPA brew includes biscuit and caramel undertones with aromas of pine, citrus, flowers, spice, pineapple and grass.

Boston Beer Works, Boston Logan International Airport, Massachusetts

Boston Beer Works, Boston Logan International Airport

Raise a glass at one of Boston’s most beloved watering holes (Image: Beer Works).

Beer Works, the well-known Boston chain of bars, offers travelers the chance to sample a taste of Boston from several airport locations. There are 10 beers on tap, six ranging from light to dark, and four rotating taps that change with the season. Try the signature Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale, a sweet, very light golden ale made with all natural blueberry extract that produces a huge blueberry aroma and is served with blueberries.

Harpoon Tap Room, Boston Logan International Airport, Massachusetts

Only 1.3 miles from the source, Harpoon Brewery, Harpoon Tap Room pours eight draft Harpoon and UFO beers. Try the unfiltered UFO beers and Harpoon IPA, introduced more than 20 years ago as a summer seasonal. The floral and citrus hop notes yield a crisp, clean finish.

A Taste of Carolina, Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, North Carolina

If you need a quick drink, grab a pint at A Taste of Carolina. With a couple of beers on tap and a decent size beer list that includes the likes of NoDa Brewing Company’s Hop, Drop ‘n Roll and Coco Loco. The food served here is actually that of the neighboring California Pizza Kitchen.

Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub, Chicago Midway International Airport, Illinois

Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub, Chicago Midway International Airport

Grab a pint at Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub (Image: Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub)

The family-owned Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub has been serving thirsty travelers since 2001. It’s the sister bar to Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub, which was found by James “Boz” O’Brien in 1976 in the Southside Chicago suburb of Beverly/Oak Lawn. Unlike other airport bars, travelers will actually sit elbow to elbow with regulars, frequent travelers who stop in before every flight, at a bar that was constructed in pieces in Ireland and then shipped over. There is Guinness, Smithwick’s and Harp Lager on tap and 30 bottled beers. The bar actually sells more Guinness than any other bar in the U.S.

Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland International Airport, Ohio

Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland International Airport

Have a cold one or two at Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Image: Great Lakes Brewing Co.)

Cleveland, Ohio’s original craft brewery, Great Lakes Brewing Company serves tall and short pours of its year-round craft beers, rotating seasonal beers and the occasional “pub exclusive” beer on draft served at the brewpub’s wraparound bar. There are eight beers on tap, including the flagship Dortmunder Gold Lager, Eliot Ness Amber Lager and bold, roast-y Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. The food menu includes the Ohio City brewpub’s signature dishes like spent grain Brewer’s Barley Pretzels, Dortmunder Gold Stilton cheddar soup and longtime favorite Pretzel Chicken. Travelers can also buy six-packs of beer to carry onto their flight.

New Belgium Hub, Denver International Airport, Colorado

New Belgium Hub, Denver International Airport

Get a taste of Belgium at DIA (Image: New Belgium Hub).

The first brewery dedicated to American crafted Belgian beers, New Belgium Hub‘s airport location features all of New Belgium’s core sour and hoppy beers, specialty beers and seasonal beers, plus a fine food menu that pairs perfectly with the beers. Options include 12 beers on draft, eight to 10 bottle offerings and brews beyond New Belgium Hub’s portfolio. Try the signature Fat Tire Amber Ale at the bar, which is decked in a beer-and-bike theme punctuated by locally crafted art.

BRKLYN Beer Garden, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

Inspired by traditional beer gardens, BRKLYN Beer Garden in Terminal 2 offers more than 20 beers on tap, including Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Kelso Nut Brown Lager. There are a variety of beer cocktails on offer, too, like the Beast of Bourbon (bourbon, amaro averno, orgeat, lemon and black lager), Beer Bloody (mezcal, housemade bloody mary mix and stout), Michelada (black lager, lime, hot sauce and umami) and Shandy (lager, mint and lemonade). Chef Laurent Tourondel’s menu offers options that pair perfectly with the beer like shepherd’s pie with beer braised brisket, peas and carrots topped with mashed potatoes au gratin; and a variety of sausages, like beer sausage (spicy pork and beef); and knockwurst served with sauerkraut and salted caraway roll. 

Schlafly Beer Bar & Grill, Lambert-St. Louis International, Missouri

Schlafly Beer Bar & Grill, Lambert-St. Louis International

Escape the hustle and bustle of the terminal at Schlafly Beer Bar & Grill (Image: Matthew Hurst, Schlafly Tap Room? via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0).

Entering Schlafly Beer Bar & Grill, passengers feel a world away in the cozy brewpub with dark wood interior and steel accents. The folks at Schlafly use 102 hop varietals, 77 malts and grains, 59 different spices and fruits, and 10 difference yeast strains to make its beers in 2016. The beers poured here offer a taste of St. Louis, including Kölsch, Grapefruit IPA, Expo IPA and seasonal offerings like pumpkin ale, coffee stout and the signature House Brown. The friendly bartenders offer free tasters. Order the sample paddle to try a flight of beers or go for the flagship Pale Ale made with English hops and yeast. The bar even offers six packs and 750ml bottles to take on the plane.

Rock & Brews, Los Angeles International Airport, California

With two locations at LAX, one in Terminal 1 and one in Terminal 5, passengers are never far from Rock & Brews, the bar-restaurant franchise that’s the result of a collaboration between rock band KISS, concert tour promoter Dave Furano, merchandizer Dell Furano and restaurateur/hotelier Michael Zislis. The full bar serves international and craft beers and American comfort food with a side of rock ‘n’ roll. Options include Santa Monica XPA, Dogtown Duck IPA, Strand Rotator, Hoegaarden and Shock Top.

Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill, McCarran International Airport, Nevada

Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill, McCarran International Airport

Beach, beer and fun await at Sammy Hagar Beach Bar (Image: Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill).

Rocker Sammy Hagar’s eponymous Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill is surf, rock ‘n’ roll, brews and food in one spot. Wash down beachy menu items like beer battered fish tacos and island burgers with one of eight beers on tap or one of a dozen bottled or canned beers like Sam Adams Boston Lager, Alaskan Seasonal, Blue Moon and Omission Pale Ale. Tuck into food and drink while listening to Sammy Hagar tunes and delight in the fact that profits from the restaurant are donated to local children’s charities. Aside from the Las Vegas location, you can also raise a glass at Maui‘s Kahului Airport, Cleveland‘s Hopkins International and New York‘s JFK.

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Nashville International Airport, Tennessee

The storied Nashville, Tenn., institution that is Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge has landed at Nashville International Airport. The honky-tonk has been popular with singers and celebrities since the 1960s and passengers traveling through Concourse C can get a taste of Tootsie’s without leaving the terminal. Passengers who time their visits right can enjoy free live music too.

Pyramid Brewery Taproom, Oakland International Airport, California

Pyramid Brewery Taproom, Oakland International Airport

Enjoy a freshly poured ale at Pyramid Brewery Taproom. (Image: Pyramid Breweries)

Pyramid Brewery Taproom is a pioneer in the craft beer movement with more than 30 years handcrafting Northwest craft beer and food. Pyramid Brewery Taproom’s bright, open brewpub interior offers views of the runways and destinations ahead. There are six rotating beers on tap (at the time of writing, Pyramid is pouring brews like the mild Pyramid Hefeweizen and bright, fruity Pyramid Apricot). Don’t miss the signature, award-winning Pyramid Hefeweizen, a smooth, unfiltered wheat ale that is a unique take on the traditional Bavarian classic.

Laurelwood Brewing Co., Portland International Airport, Oregon

Laurelwood Brewing Co., Portland International Airport

Try the IPAs at Laurelwood Brewing Co. (Image: Laurelwood Brewing Co.)

The airport version of Laurelwood Brewing Co. is the same as the Portland, Ore. locations. Laurelwood Brewing Co. brews just about every style, from traditional ales to German-style lagers. There are eight beers on tap plus a selection of beers by the bottle. Don’t leave without trying the flagship Workhorse IPA and Free Range Red.

Stone Brewing Company, San Diego International Airport, California

Located in Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is a scaled down version of its sister restaurant in San Diego County. There are a dozen taps pouring 10 Stone Brewing Company beers and two rotating beers from craft breweries, plus a farm-to-table food menu. An extensive bottle list of craft beers rounds out the offerings.

Uncork’d, San Francisco International Airport, California

Uncork’d, San Francisco International Airport

Try The DIY at Uncork’d (Image: Uncork’d).

Don’t let the name fool you, Uncork’d is a wine bar that actually has an equally impressive list of craft beers. Most of the craft beers on offer are locally sourced from California, like 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die! IPA, Lagunitas Seasonal on tap, as well as Speakeasy Prohibition Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by the bottle. There are hard ciders too, like Ace Joker Hard Cider and Almanac Farmers Reserve Raspberry. Can’t decide? Go for The “DIY,” a trio of four-ounce draft pours for $8. Whether patrons sit at the contemporary bar or grab chilled beers to go from the retail section, Uncork’d has beer (and wine) lovers covered.

Cigar City Brewing Company, Tampa International Airport, Florida

The nation’s first airport brewery, Cigar City Brewing Company is a must-see. Indulge in Tampa-style Cuban food washed down with Cigar City Brewing Company beers. This location also serves brews that are exclusive to the airport location. The beers are quintessentially Floridian and the menu is Floridian-infused Cuban fare. Try the Jai Alai, an Indian pale ale, paired with beef empanadas; Lager, a Tampa-style lager inspired by traditional German-style Helles; and Florida Cracker, a white ale with unmalted wheat, orange peel and coriander.

Did your favorite airport bar make the list? Let us know in the comments and start planning your next getaway with Cheapflights. Cheers…

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Main image: iStockPhoto/ izusek

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