2408-2410 Ownby Lane
Second Place: Ardent Craft Ales
Third Place: Strangeways Brewing
Legend Brewing may be the first local microbrewer that’s still around, but Hardywood Park Craft Brewery revved up the recent national craft beer movement in the city and then, with good beer and remarkable marketing, elevated the brewery experience. When ABC laws changed to allow breweries to sell samples on-site, Hardywood invited a few food trucks over and brought out a little music, transforming Thursday nights and then some. Its annual batch of the much-anticipated, nationally recognized gingerbread stout sells out before the holiday season has a chance to catch its breath. Not content to create a few solid regulars, the brewery always has tanks of new and different kinds of beer on hand to keep things interesting. Ardent Craft Ales has gone the same route, but upped the ante lately by holding its first beer dinner with heavyweight chefs Lee Gregory and Joe Sparrata. Strangeways Brewing makes solid, creative beer with wildly inventive names and throws some of the best events — Brews & Burlesque! — of all the breweries in town.