It’s here. One of the busiest and most grueling travel weeks of the year. If you’re lucky, you’ll skate through airports with the greatest of ease, effortlessly making your way through security, to your gate, and onto the plane, where you’ll enjoy a comfortable flight to your holiday destination of choice. But let’s be real—the chances of that happening are pretty slim—which is why we put together this guide to help you track down craft beer in some of the most common airports in the U.S. for layovers, overnighters, and delays during the holiday season.
Fingers crossed you won’t actually need this guide this week, but just in case…
Denver International Airport
Root Down DIA (Concourse C)
When members of the craft beer industry pass through the Denver International Airport, this is most likely where you’ll find them. Root Down DIA has 20+ tap handles dedicated to Colorado craft beers—with a couple of gluten-free beers and ciders mixed in to boot. And the brunch and dinner menus are pretty killer, too. If weather strands you in Denver this holiday season—don’t panic. Just head to Root Down DIA and take your own tour of Colorado craft breweries without ever leaving your barstool.
Lounge 5280 (Concourse B)
If you’re traveling with a crew of (gasp!) non-beer drinkers this week, then suggest grabbing a drink at Lounge 5280 located in Concourse B. Along with an admirable selection of Colorado craft beers, this airport gem is also serving up a huge menu of spirits, including several delicious Colorado-inspired craft cocktails. A little something boozy for everyone.
Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs (Concourse B)
If you get delayed in Concourse B of DIA, head straight to Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs. This beloved Denver establishment is also serving up it’s popular menu at the city’s airport. Along with a handful of craft beers on tap, Steve’s also has a large selection of speciality hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches—all for under $10 each.
The Boulder Beer Taphouse at DIA (Main Terminal)
Colorado’s first craft brewery is technically located in the city of Boulder, but if your time in the state is limited to the interior of the airport, then head to The Boulder Beer Taphouse. Here you’ll find a selection of this trailblazing brewery’s craft beer staples, like the The Buff Gold Golden Ale and Mojo IPA, along with a selection of limited release brews and rotating “Brewer’s Choice” speciality beers.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Carolina Beer Company (Terminal D)
I don’t know about you, but a good chunk of my airline layovers occur at the Charlotte Douglas Airport, and unlike some of the other airports on this list—good, locally-made craft beers are a little harder to track down in this busy travel hub. Charlotte Douglas is pretty easy to maneuver around in, so it don’t worry about venturing away from your gate to find yourself some craft beer. Head to Terminal D where you’ll find The Carolina Beer Company. Though the airport location doesn’t come with a huge amount of beer options, the brews that are available are pretty decent, and will definitely suffice for fans of craft beer with a few hours of time on their hands to kill.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Goose Island Brewing Co. (Terminals 1 & 3)
Yep, Goose Island still rules the roost in the Windy City, which is why it’s the most accessible option for craft beer fans looking for a brew between flights. You’ll find Goose Island hubs in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3—both locations featuring a handful of the brewery’s well-known selection of draft and bottled beers. Both airport locations are also serving up standard pub fare, but if you can’t fathom a visit to the Chicago area without enjoying a sinfully good Chicago dog, then take advantage of O’Hare’s awesome liquor laws, order a beer to go, and head over to Terminal 1 where you can order a Chicago Dog done up right at America’s Dog.
Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap (Terminal 2)
A staple in Chicago’s dining scene, Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap lives up to it’s name—even in the confines of the O’Hare airport. You’ll find a respectable selection of Chicago-area craft brews along with traditional pub fare with a Chicago twist.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
SweetWater Draft House & Grill (Concourse B)
A visit to the ATL should always include a crisp, refreshing pint of 420 Extra Pale Ale, but if you’re visit to Georgia’s capital stops at the airport, then you’re still in luck. SweetWater Brewing Company has a draft house and grill in Concourse B. This gem in the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport always includes a handful of SweetWater beers on tap, with several more of the brewery’s beers available in bottle form. Good beer and good burgers pair nicely together, and this is a great spot in the airport to find both.
San Francisco Intercontinental Airport
Firewood Cafe (International Terminal – Near Gate A1/Domestic Terminal – Terminal 3)
If your holiday travels leave you stranded in the San Francisco Airport, be grateful—there are worse places for craft beer drinkers to be stranded. If you’re layover is a long one, head over to one of the Firewood Cafe locations in SFO. Both cafe’s have a full-service bar with a decently-large selection of affordable beers on tap. You’ll also find delicious pizza and lighter airport fare on the menu.
Perry’s (Terminal 1 – Boarding Area C near Gate 42)
Sit down and take a load off at Perry’s in SFO. A popular San Francisco dining joint, Perry’s has a respectable selection of beers on tap, and boasts a comfortable vibe that will make you forget you’re stuck at the airport. Beer pairs nicely with juicy burgers and sandwiches, which is what you’ll find on the menu at Perry’s.