In part two of our USA Road Trip, we're heading east through Colorado, Michigan, Maryland and on to New York to meet some craft beer pioneers

Left Hand Brewing Co.

FOUNDED: 1994 BY DICK DOORE AND ERIC WALLACE We move east of California to another US craft beer hotspot: Colorado, and one of the most interesting American breweries right now. Left Hand Brewing are the pioneers of the present day. Their Milk Stout Nitro was the first brewery to master bottling nitro-conditioned beer without a widget. The nitro makes the beer super-silky and it’s something we’ll see a lot more of in the coming years. Left Hand have also nailed the milk stout market (if there is one), with their version often cited as one of the best in the world. A milk stout is a sweeter, richer and more luscious version of the dark beer. Their directions of ‘pour hard’ for the nitro beers have become a bit of a catchphrase. TRY: MILK STOUT / 6% The modern classic that is Left Hand's Milk Stout. TRY: BLACK JACK PORTER / 6.8% Earthiness, coffee, caramel and burnt sugar.

Odell Brewing

FOUNDED: 1989 BY DOUG ODELL Odell Brewing Company’s eye-catching artwork perfectly sums up the brewery’s ethos: artistic, laid-back and nature-loving. They describe themselves as ‘Righteously Independent’, and they’ve been this way since they started in 1989. The beers are described as rooted in British styles (there aren’t many breweries making a warming amber Scottish 90 Shilling Ale, for example – especially in their core range). Their beautifully golden IPA, using nine hop varieties, is a fabulous example. These Denver guys and gals certainly know how to make great beer, and their new barrel- ageing sour beer programme is looking like a really exciting project. TRY: IPA / 7% A classic American-style IPA.

Goose Island Brewing Co.

FOUNDED: 1988 BY JOHN HALL Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery is a US stalwart, the grandmasters of the US craft beer scene, and have grown rapidly since John Hall produced his first brew in a brewpub. They are also one of the pioneers of barrel-aging beers, particularly in bourbon casks. As a result, their limited release Bourbon County Stout is one of the world’s most sought after beers (keep an eye out for it at Beer Hawk). Readily available is the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, a special example of the style, and the IPA is very drinkable and balanced – like all their beers really. Chicago is one of craft beer’s hotspots, and Goose Island was there from the start. TRY: 312 URBAN WHEAT ALE / 5.9% A full-bodied wheat beer with flavours of lemon and citrus. TRY: HONKERS ALE / 4.3% An English Bitter by way of Chicago.

Founders Brewing Co.

FOUNDED: 1997 BY MIKE STEVENS AND DAVE ENGBERS Their tagline – Brewed For Us – says it all. Founders offer an uncompromising range of beers that we love. A lot. These guys started a brewery for one reason: they adore beer. After an initial period of making balanced but unremarkable beers, they took a good look at themselves and started making the beers they set out to be “complex, in-your-face ales with huge aromatics, bigger body and tons of flavour.” They duly became massive. The range of beers is a wide one, from the taste-packed Session IPA to Dirty Bastard, a huge Scotch ale, but it’s their Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) that gets beer geeks around the world excited every April. TRY: ALL DAY IPA / 4.7% A brilliant session IPA. The session IPA maybe. TRY: BREAKFAST STOUT / 8.3% A double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout.

Flying Dog Brewery

p13.6 FOUNDED: 1990 BY GEORGE STRANAHAN AND RICHARD MCINTYRE You just have to look at the Ralph Steadman- illustrated beer bottles to know that this is a brewery that does things very differently. It was founded in Colorado (it’s now in Maryland) by George Stranahan and Richard McIntyre. George happened to live down the road from legendary gonzo journalist and raconteur Hunter S Thompson, and became friends with him. Thompson wrote at the launch of their first beer: “There is an ancient Celtic axiom that says ‘Good People Drink Good Beer’. Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom and you will quickly see: Bad People Drink Bad Beer. Think about it.” Now the legend continues with their great beer. TRY: SNAKE DOG / 7.1% Grapefruit, resinous pine and caramel flavours. TRY: GONZO IMPERIAL PORTER / 9.2% Dark chocolate, roasted malts and coffee.  

Blooklyn Brewery

p13.7 FOUNDED: 1987 BY STEVE HINDY AND TOM POTTER Brooklyn Brewery’s story has become almost legendary over the years. The two founders, Steve Hindy and Tom Potter, were keen home-brewers who were looking for a move away from successful careers in journalism and banking, and decided to open the first new brewery in Brooklyn since prohibition. They asked designer Milton Glaser (the man responsible for creating the famous ‘I Love NY’ design) to create their logo, then employed Garrett Oliver to be the brewmaster. They made a lager based on an old Brooklyn recipe and it took off in a huge way. Still under Garrett Oliver’s watchful eye, they make a wide range of fascinating and well-balanced beers. TRY: BROOKLYN LAGER / 5.2% An absolutely flawless craft lager. TRY: EIPA / 6.9% English malts and US hops.