Best Down South Craft Brewery? is at it again!  We want to know from you, the loyal beer drinkers and loyal readers what the Best Down South Craft Brewery is!  While a few of these breweries reside in a state that borders the Atlantic Ocean, we wanted to lump them in with the Southern Region, rather than the East Coast.  Don’t be too upset, this is just for fun!

With all that said, pick your Favorite Down South Craft Brewery. If it is not on the list, you can comment on it. Rather than adding breweries due to excessive requesting (begging and pleading), we will tally up a brewery listed that wasn’t put in the poll. Have fun, spread the word, and don’t cheat!


Best Down South Craft Brewery?

  • Rahr & Sons (36%, 2,098 Votes)
  • Sweetwater Brewing (33%, 1,925 Votes)
  • Saint Arnold (17%, 1,012 Votes)
  • Terrapin Beer Co. (7%, 389 Votes)
  • Yazoo Brewing (4%, 233 Votes)
  • Abita Brewing (2%, 106 Votes)
  • Lazy Magnolia (1%, 47 Votes)
  • Atlanta Brewing (1%, 34 Votes)
  • Cigar City Brewing (0%, 13 Votes)
  • Dixie Brewing (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Diamond Bear Brewing (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Florida Beer Co. (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Dunedin Brewing (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,883

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  1. says

    I’m a little surprised that Rahr and Sons finished first, but I am equally surprised that Southern Star Brewing isn’t even on the list. It is a small company, yes, but it is on the rise and produces some very fine brew.

  2. Nacho Tinkerton says

    This list is a joke. Only 2 breweries from tx, and Rahr is one of them? And they win? They are the worst brewery in tx. I’m sure you left out plenty of other good breweries in other states too. Sad, and Rahr advertises that they won this contest. Sad.

  3. Jon says

    Serious, Rhar & Sons #1!! As a lover of craft beer and living in Texas, I am completely shocked by this. Unless their beers have greatly improved over the years, Rhar has no business being #1, much less even being on this list. So many better Texas breweries, like Real Ale, Live Oak, Southern Star, Independence. I’d have to say Rhar is one of the worst beers I’ve had in the State.

  4. Kim says

    I’m not from the south so my vote probably shouldn’t count (and won’t since voting is closed) but I am a HUGE Abita fan… I am super stoked that our local New Seasons carries it and can’t wait to get some pints whenever I get to the New Orleans area…

  5. Matt says

    Who the hell made up this list? Only 13 Breweries for all the south?
    Make a new list and hold a new vote!

  6. Janet says

    Rahr Brewery Fort Worth, Texas The specialty beer,Bourbon Barrel Winter Warmer was the best. I hope they do it again next year.

  7. Peter Dickinson says

    Rahr is excellent. Stormcloud particularly
    As a British visitor to Dallas Fort Worth, I always make a point of taking in the Saturday afternoon session. Be there in August!!

  8. Lee Gilby says

    My votes for Rahr – Awesome variety and they are all quality. Wife is a big Blind Salamander fan and I prefer the Red and Storm Cloud.

  9. Bret Adams says

    My vote hands down is Rahr Brewery. The beers are always fresh and satisfying and the staff, including Tony, are the best! Blind Salamander, Ugly Pug, Buffalo Butt and Blonde Lager are fantastic!

  10. Glenda Vrba says

    I vote for Rahr…it’s a really neat place with the friendliest people (both employees and vistors) I’ve found.. beside they make pretty darn good beer there.!! Good luck guys… Glenda

  11. Jack Tarasar says

    The Gang Bang I have received here hurts. But, if anyone really cares, what started this was that I simply voted for Sweetwater. It is in the early comments. Then, Rahr Guy (Mark Boren) slammed me and I felt the need to defend myself. I stand by all the comments that I made as they were my experience. If others think that Rahr is the nest beer then great. If anyone also cares, you can see that I said that most everyone involved with Rahr, exception Fritz and Tony, are exceptional people, volunteering their time for someone elses moneetary gain. That takes characater to do that. And, I DID give my time for a year. Bottom line is that I voted for Sweetwater because I like their beer better. Isn’t that what this contest is all about? It is not a forum for petty arguments.

    Good luck to whoever wins.

  12. Sarah says

    Hate to break it to you all, but Texas isn’t really the south. Rahr & Sons needs to have it’s own “best texan craft brewery poll.”

  13. Kelly says

    Sweetwater. The only problem with 420 is that it goes down so smooth. What do you mean they are all gone?!

  14. C says

    As someone who has toured both sweetwater and rahr, i must say both of these breweries, while different in some ways, have a lot in common as far as quality, offerings, and love from their local community. I almost can’t decide which I liked better. Congrats to whoever wins…I like ’em both!

  15. Djinni says

    Jack, aka post #98 is still upset about the $40 golf shirt. Also seems that he was more interested in free beer than truly helping out a great group of people with a great product.


  16. Loralei says

    I bet Jack has bitter beer face. I dont remember you but I have been coming to the Rahr brewery and have volunteered for several years as well as having been a paid employee. Not everyone “expected” a case of beer for their labor. There are actually people who love Fritz and the brewery itself and do it for nothing more than the experience. I may be speaking for myself, but I doubt it. I have met many great people and good friends most of which I am sure will be so for a lifetime. The volunteers there are like family and work together to make each Saturday an enjoyable experience for all. JB and Jason are awesome people and brew some of the most fantastic beers I have ever had. I admire and respect what they do to keep the brewery on the forefront with new seasonals and even revising some of the old favorites like the Stormcloud. The bottling line is no longer volunteer and the brewery is doing well. I am truly sorry that whatever experiences you had with the brewery were not happy ones, but assure you that you are alone. Drink Rahr beer!!!!

  17. John H says

    I had a great tour and tasting at the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, MO. Check it out if you get the chance.

  18. Chris C says

    Sweetwater has best drinking everyday beer with the 420 and supplements that great taste with some choice seasonals. Motor Boat was a great Catch & Release addition last fall. Sweetwater is all about the lifestyle including community service, being in tune with the environment and throwing some great parties – 420 Fest is the Best!

  19. Mike says

    and just to add on to my previous post. Fritz and Erin are in town this weekend. They will be at the brewery friday night for arts goggle and most likely for the saturday tour and tasting.

  20. Mike says

    Jack sounds like a bitter person. I personally have been with Rahr for over a year and I love every bit of the time I spend there. Tony and everyone else there treats everyone with respect and they go out of their way to help everyone they can. Jack needs to have his taste buds examinied if he thinks that Rahr does not make great beer. Ugly Pug gold medal 2008, Blonde gold medal 2008, Bucking Bock Bronze medal 2008, Iron Thistle National Grand Champion. All of these medals come from wither the world beer cup or the u.s. beer tasting championship. I am sorry but mediocre beer would not have the accomplishments Rahr has had in the little over 5 years that they have been open.

  21. Mark says

    Where’s Gizzmo?

    Jason, thanks for the great job you do! Also without Joe and Bill I think Rahr wouldn’t know what to do! Thanks to those two also.

  22. URKiddinMee says

    As a devout Guinness affecianado, I can’t stand any of the weak stuff some people mistakenly refer to as “beer.” Rahr’s “Ugly Pug” is good BEER! Somewhere between Guinness and Murphy’s, it’s creamy, chocolatey and SMOOTH.

  23. Daniel says

    I’m shocked that Highland Brewing, Duck-Rabbit, Thomas Creek, Pisgah, and Wedge were all left off the list. Where’s the Western NC representation?

  24. AnotherRahrGuy says

    Post # 98 is freaky (not to mention boring). Someone needs to get over it and get a life.

    Go Rahr!

  25. Beer Man says

    Sweetwater Rules>>>>>>>>Great Beer = Great Parties>>>>>GOOD TIMES>>>>>>>>TIS THE SEASON>>>>>>>>

  26. christy says

    Sweetwater with Terrapin a close second

    Sweetwater for 420, and their dank tank offerings like the Creeper and Ron Burgundy – yum!

    Terrapin for their rye and for the IBA that Taco Mac offered with Woodford Reserve-soaked oak chips – totally awesome

  27. mike says

    sweetwater is one of my favorite micro brewers but highland beer from asheville, nc should be on there…the gaelic ale is one of my favorites…

  28. Patrick says

    Rahr is fantastic, Sweetwater is even better, but WTF?! No Highland in Asheville, NC. It is every bit as good as any brewery in the country!

  29. Ace says

    Sweetwater 420; first thing I drink when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I drink before going to bed at night…..

  30. C says

    Fritz, Tony, and everyone there have always been great to me,and some changes have taken place since 10/08. As I stated with the other C; let’s move on with the competition and let old issues (perceived or not) lie.

  31. Jack Tarasar says

    When I left Rahr in October, 2008, they were producing 600 plus cases of beer per week and also another 70-100 kegs per week. Yet, Tony, the Managing Partner (who knows how much Fritz Rahr now owns), would deny most of the 13 plus vollunteers their case of beer, saying “We don’t have enough to go around after filling our orders”. Two volunteers, Bill and Ed run Rahr Brewing,neither of which are paid. Bill is retired and on pension from Lockheed Martin and he seems to love to be there at Rahr. Both of these volunteers work tirelessly for Rahr Brewing, showing up pretty much 7 days a week and working 8-12 hours per day. And, although the bottling line requires 13 souls to run it, there are many, many more volunteers who show up whenever they can. ALL of those people are fantastic individuals, who volunters their time without any expectations. We all did this for one of two reasons, or both. (1) To be part of the experience of building a craft brewing operation, and (2) to be a part of an organization, a commraderie thing. To belong to the crew, as it were. Now, when a craft brewing operation (or any type of operaation is a startup) it needs seed money and many, many hours of hard work, hoping for a distant payoff monetarily. From what I know, Fritz did this in the early days. In the year that I was involved there, Fritz came back from his overseas contract for a visit approximately 3 times. Tony Fornby ran the operation. Now, at the end of 6 years in business, selling the amount that they do and buying more fermentation vats and expanding, they are quite obviously way past the stage of operating in the red. The operation is domiciled in am approximately 10,000 sq. ft facility. it is an ongoing business. I quite understand that it might not have been able to survive if NOT for the volunteers in the beginning stages. But, they are well beyond that stage. Yet, they cannot seem to ween themselves of the “free” labor. Yet, not knowing how it was in the beginning stages (I imagine that Fritz Rahr greatly appreciated the help that he recieved from the volunteers) the impression that I got from Tony Fornby was that he felt that we were like slaves, that he was entitled to our free labor. And, that if some of us left (the burnout rate was as one would imagine, working for free and no “Atta Boy”) there were always another new volunteer to replace the one leaving. What businessman, myself included, would not like to have a staff of volunteers running my company. Wow! And, although I never met Fritz Rahr the entire year there (He didn’t aassociate himself with the bottling crew) I imagine that especially in the beginning that it was his personality that got and kept the operation running. It takes someone with a likeable personality to run any company, no less a company of volunteers. As such, I imagine that he has that magnetic personality. The problem that I saw was that they had come to expect Bill and Ed and all the other volunteers to run the operation while saat back and reeped the rewards. If you cannot make a profit after six years in business and selling 600 cases and 70-100 kegs per week and only having aa few volunteers, then isn’t it time to fold up and move on to another venture? In the year that I volunteered at Rahr, the ONLY volunteer Appreciation Day that I ever know of was a night at the Minor League baseball team, The Fort Worth Cats. It was a very nice night and the volunteers appreciated it, including myself. But, one night in a year? One Saturday, when Fritz haad returned for a few days for a Pub Crawl, we were bottling in the early morning. There was a problem on the other side of the bottling line and I went under the line to help fix it. My expensive Golf Shirt got caught on a bolt and tore a large hole in the back of my shirt. The Saturday afternoon public “Tasting” people started arriving for the weekly brewery tour. I was embarassed with this large hole in my shirt. When Bill, the Head volunteer saw it, he told me that I should “Buy” a shirt from the Gift Shop!!!! Fritz saw it and never even commented on it. Now, that is a tight group of people!!! I worked for free that day and it cost me a $40.00 Golf Shirt. From that day on, I only came their to collect my 24 cases of beer. And, I didn’t take any more excuses on why they couldn’t/wouldn’t have any for me. However, I was only allowed to take 1-2 cases per week to catch up, so they had me for a while after that on the “hook”.

    I say these experiences, not to harm the Rahr Brewery. But, to maybe wake Fritz up and to start to appreciate the people who work for him. As I said, almost to the last person, each and every one that I volunteered with was/is a goodhearted person. If they weren’t, they would not volunteer.

    re: Chris, the Salesman/Deliveryman. The last time that I was at Rahr, in October, 2008 Chris was still there. He was one of the original volunteers before they started paying him for delivering and he did so in his own personal SUV. He was/is a good man.

  32. Old_Airman says

    Fritz Rahr does indeed have two sons. He is a son of a malter and a great grandson (I don’t know exactly how many greats) of a German Rahr who brewed in Minnesota/Wisconsin. Tony has personality issues. But don’t we all. Anyway Fritz will be back in a couple months. JB and Jason are making some damn fine beers. For those that say don’t, how do they explain Iron Thistle being judged the best Scottish Ale in the US a few months ago?

  33. C & C says

    As you can see by the comments, someone is by far a minority and we agree with all the others; now quit the banter and get out the votes. We are all part of the RAHR ‘family’!!!!!!

  34. Sharon says

    Don’t know who Jack Tarasar is but apparently he hasn’t been at Rahr for a long time. Chris hasn’t been with them for almost a year. And his comment “The rest of the brews are mediocre to just plain nasty.” couldn’t be further from the truth.
    Sounds like he has a bone to pick…his loss..of fine people and a FANTASTIC beer!
    And Fritz is there more lately, in fact he was there last weekend.
    Great beer by great people!

  35. Billy Gene Mims says

    Sweetwater 420 the only beer I drink at 4:20.
    Great beer great taste War Eagle!

  36. Frances Cash says

    Note to Jack Tarasar:

    I used to volunteer at the brewery too (pre-Tony). There really are two Rahr sons – and a wife! I’ve met them all (didn’t ask to see birth certificates…but they look enough like Fritz and his wife for me to believe they’re real). 😉

    I know Fritz had to take the out-of-country job because he had put every penny he had into the start up of the brewery. I was there on his last bottling run (Fritz ran the bottling line and we always had a blast) and I saw his eyes well up as he told everyone goodbye. This brewery is his family’s passion and it was so clear that he was torn up to have to leave it. I hear a rumor that his contract is up and that he and the fam will be back full time at the brewery this summer.

    It sounds like you had a terrible experience volunteering at the brewery and that sucks – but I have a feeling things will be back to normal once Fritz is back on that bottling line.

  37. Terry Reed says

    Sweetwater is the best in the land. Give it a try & you will see what I’m talking about!

  38. says

    I would have to disagree with the above post from Jack Tarasar. Rahr is an excellent brewery with great people. They were willing to help out a stranger with a soccer team, when they had no reason to do so. If you don’t believe me, Check out all it has done for our team in the local community at

    Thanks for everything Rahr!! There’s nothing better than soccer hooligans and fantastic beer! Best brewery in the south for sure!

  39. Mark Boren says

    Rahr is a great beer!!! I have been a volunteer for four years and it just ain’t right! Fritz, a TCU grad, brought this great beer to Fort Worth and we are greatfull for that. JB has really gotten it back to the fine family taste and you just have to try it to understand the true craftmmanship! Hurry home Fritz, I want to bottle (for free) again.
    Where’s. Gizzmo?

  40. Jen Ramey says

    SweetWater Brewing Company, Atlanta GA
    is the best!!!!! My fav is SweetWater Blue!!!!!
    but if the store ain’t got that 420 will do!

    Jen in SC

    Needs to be stocked on more shelves in SC like in Easley….had to go to Greenville to buy it.

  41. Jack Tarasar says

    Ugly Pug is a good brew. They are had a limited brew of Winter Warmer aged in Maker’s Mark oak kegs.. The rest of the brews are mediocre to just plain nasty.

    The Managing Partner, Tony, has to be one of the cheapest guys in the business. Or, any business. I worked for free (volunteered) for a year for the brewery. They require 13 souls to run the bottling line. We all worked for free. At the end of each run, we were supposed to get a case of beer to take home. Most of the time, we were told that there was “Not enough to go around. We cannot afford to give any away.” At one point, they owed me 24 cases!!! I made it a point to get them all before I quit. I then gave them away to the Fort Worth Fire Department and other people serving the community. Fritz Rahr (there are NO sons) isi never around. He works out of the country on a non-related business contract. Tony haas spread the word that he is a multi-millionaire from a software program that he wrote. But, as you see from the website, they are not even able to get their e-commerce link to function to sell Rahr gear. Tony is rarely there when the bottling occurs, yet when the food comes (they buy subs oor pizza for the volunteers) he shows up to cut the subs into pieces that he then doles out with apparent pain. He absolutely hates to supply the food OR the case of beer. As I said, there are some very good people who work for the Rahr Brewery. Unfortunately, none of them are compensated at all for their hard work. Chris, the Salesman and Deliveryman is a nice guy and works hard. J.B. Flowers, the Brewmaster also works hard. They are the ONLY two paiad employees. Imagine running a company and not needing to pay anyone!!! Must have a fine return on investment!!!

  42. Nick says

    REAL ALE Brewing!?!!!

    Sisyphus, Devils Backbone, Lost Gold, Phoenixx, Fireman’s #4…

  43. Sharon Chamberlain says

    Rahr Beer makes the best beer in the world, “ugly Pug”. nothing better. None.

  44. RahrGuy says

    Jack Tarasar is a loser-jerk. Love that he is no longer affiliated with the best Brewery in the south.

  45. Carlos Bagel says

    Rahr deserves to win because they make incredibly delicious beer, and are charitable with it. Even when you cant afford a good beer, they’ll give it to you free. The Mother Teresas of beer.

  46. Jason says

    Both Rahr and St. Arnold are fantastic, but my new favorite is Southern Star in Conroe. Dave is the biggest beer geek in the world, and they take risks (who else has tried a commercial Rauch?). And St. Arnold’s Elissa is his recipe. ‘Nuff said.

  47. Dave says

    I’m in Taiwan right now – what I wouldn’t do to have a Rahr in my hand . . . . Rahr gets my vote . . . .

  48. says

    What are we? Chopped liver?
    How about a little love for the South’s smallest micro. Hell, we do a beer with Palmetto berries.
    Can’t get more South in your mouth than that!
    Bob Sylvester
    Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.
    Tarpon Springs FL

  49. says

    @paul – St. A’s yearlong line might be “safe,” but their Divine Reserve’s aren’t safe if you have more than two! LOL!

    Also, I wouldn’t call Rahr “edgy.” I’ve enjoyed an evening of Rahr, so it’s obviously fine, but IMHO it’s the Shiner of Ft. Worth.

    I’m willing to do more research to see if this evaluation holds up. You buying?

  50. The Irish Cherokee says

    My Mug always has Ugly Pug! – Rahr rocks my socks off in Ft. Worth. They are great folks with great brews! Keep Up the good work! FROGS!

  51. Ken says

    Rahr & Sons Brewery in Fort Worth, TX have many good selections but my fav is the Winter Warmer. Cheers!

  52. Dale Myres says

    Rahr & Sons Brewing are one of the best. After all, I am parcel to hometown brews.
    “I like beer, it makes me a jolly good fellow”-Tom T. Hall

  53. Vince says

    Rahr is the best beer to drink outside your cahr, because you can always drink it out of a jahr,
    so if you want to be a stahr,
    always order rahr at the bahr.

    I vote for Rahr!

  54. Tim K says

    When I travel to Fort Worth, I make sure I check out Rahr & Sons Brewery. Fritz knows how to brew beer. Keep up the great work!

  55. Trent says

    Just came back from Rahr’s. Had some Bucking Bock and Winter Warmer. mmmmmmmm.
    Rahr is better by Fahr!!

  56. says

    VOTE!!! Everyone should get online and vote for your favorite brewery. Help support them and their efforts. There’s no bad press, make em’ famous!!!

  57. Djinni says

    Some one please tell Daniel that shiner is not craft beer. i am not even sure it qualifies as real beer any more….

  58. JBKIFW says

    Can’t believe an “Aggie” would turn it’s back on the “BEST LITTLE BREWERY IN TEXAS” !!
    RAHR all the way

  59. AK says

    Rahr & Sons- Great seasonals. Love the Winter Warmer, and Blind Sally, and the Iron Thistle, and the Summertime Wheat, and the StormCloud, and the Bucking Bock, and the Ugly Pug and….

  60. Janice/Wayne says

    Rahr and Sons are the best. Ugly Pug is my favorite. All their beers are great

  61. casey says

    Rahr and Sons is the favorite for me…But a Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout sounds really good right now.

  62. Eric Tee says

    I’m glad to see that Real Ale in Blanco has been mentioned in the comments although my vote went to Rahr & Sons.

    Good luck to all the brewers!

  63. Janie/Fort Worth says

    Love Rahr Brewery…cool atmosphere, super friendly people and great beer.

  64. says

    One of the factors of “best brewery” is a willingness to experiment and involve their consuming public with events surrounding the brewery.

    No one does that better than Rahr & Sons. Saint Arnold is a great brewery but their beers are, well, “safe.” I like breweries that push limits.

  65. digitaldolly says

    You can’t go wrong with an “Ugly Pug!” My personal favorite of the Rahr & Sons Brewery in Fort Worth, TX. Rich & velvety, dark (but not insanely dark!), chocolatey & with a hint of coffee. It is divine!

  66. LuvinTehArnold says

    I totally agree about St Arnold’s being the best seasonal (Christmas Ale). Fancy Lawnmower stocks my fridge throughout the summer as well

  67. eddy says

    Saint Arnold’s entire product line is consistently good. I will drink any of them, except for the two I don’t like merely due to style.

    Heck, Saint Arnold’s beers are good as is or blended with each other! Bramber or Sailing Santa anyone?

    Duck-Rabbit’s milk stout is good.

    I enjoy Real Ale, especially the coffee porter, but their beers aren’t as full-flavored as I prefer.

  68. John Beal says

    Hey I don’t see Highland Brewery on this list!
    Some great craft beer from Asheville, NC
    love the Gaelic Ale and the Black Mocha Stout.

  69. jenn szafnicki says

    Sweetwater…..geez it’s not just the great tasting, flavorful brews, it’s the entire atmosphere. Great people, great beer, great music!

  70. says

    southern star needs to be on that list of down south breweries. Pine Belt Ale is AWESOME.

    And if it werent for Dave @ Southern Star, Saint Arnolds wouldnt be on that list.

  71. says

    Do you really think the larry the cable guy dude next to the voting list gives a good representation of southern brewers? come on dude, we’re MUCH headier than that these days! Give us some credit brah!

    Sweetwater rules your face, then melts it.

  72. Kimberly says

    I have to put in a vote for Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, NC. They make an excellent milk stout, as well as one of the best wee heavies I’ve ever had! (It was a seasonal beer, get it while you can…)

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