During Oktoberfest season — and pretty much any time of the year — many travelers enjoy spending their airport layovers in a bar with a glass of beer.
In the past that meant something generic, sudsy and overpriced. But as the craft beer industry has boomed in towns and cities around the country, it’s now possible to find locally made brews in just about every airport.
“I make it a point to pound homegrown beer at every airport I pass through. That means sipping Stone IPAs at the brewery’s San Diego outpost and knocking back Land-Grant’s hoppy wheat beers at its Columbus airport taproom — and then taking a six-pack to go, too,” said Joshua M. Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course and Complete IPA.
History of airport brewpubs
Boston-based Samuel Adams may have started the airport brewpub trend back in 1993, when it opened a branch at Boston Logan International Airport. The company now has 12 airport brewpubs around the country: Atlanta; Boston, Cincinnati (two); Richmond, Va.; Miami; St. Petersburg, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Charleston, S.C.; Flint, Mich.; and at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
“As a brewer, I travel a lot and knowing that I can have a taste of home at most airports across the country is something I’ll never take for granted,” said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams. “It makes my travels a lot more fun.”
Today, brewpubs such as Cask & Larder offer up a wide variety of local and regionally made beer at Orlando International Airport, but in the late 1990s the airport was the first to have a working brewery.
In April 1997 the Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine, opened a 20-barrel, 5,000-square-foot microbrewery in the airport’s main terminal. Passengers could look thorough 6-foot glass windows, watch beer being produced, and take a self-guided tour along the perimeter of the facility to learn about the workings of the brewery.
There were also two nautically themed Shipyard Brew Pubs in the airport, offering pub food and games, such as checkers, backgammon and darts (!), along with a half-dozen…