Best Small Brewery

Ale Industries

In case you missed it, beer is back. Not that it ever went anywhere, but microbrews and artisan beers are on people's tongues in more ways than one these days, which may have something to do with our corresponding love affair with local and sustainable food. Whatever the reason, the East Bay is experiencing a minor renaissance among independent and small-batch brewers. The dark horse is Concord's Ale Industries, not least because it's a bit off the beaten path. Of course, that hasn't stopped the small brewery from landing its innovative beers in bars and stores from Santa Clara to Sacramento, with a nexus in Berkeley and Oakland. Morgan Cox opened the brewery in early 2009 and currently produces three styles year-round: Orange Kush, a refreshing wheat beer brewed with chamomile, orange peels, and coriander; Uncle Jesse's, a pale ale; and Rye'd Piper, a hoppy red rye. They're all delicious. And Cox isn't just a top brewer; he's also a good guy, having recently helped the brand new Oakland Brewing Company get its start.

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