BFF (Beer Friends Forever): A Few of Our Favorite Brands Pick the Brands They’re Loving Right Now

Considering TapRm’s raison d'être is bringing the absolute best craft beverages in the country to the doorsteps and fridges of beer geeks, cider fans, hard kombucha lovers, RTD cocktail enthusiasts, and hard seltzer aficionados, it makes sense that the number one topic of conversation for us is talking up the brands and breweries we’re really excited about. It’s all a part of helping you find your longtime go-to’s and brand new favorites! Every brand we work with is special, from their production methods to their ingredients to their stories to their community outreach to their collaborations to their innovations. 

We could wax poetic for days on end about all the brands on TapRm. So, it hit us: Why don’t we let someone else grab the mic for once? How fun would it be to actually hear from some of our favorite brands, about their favorite brands? For one, you get even more beverage-loving opinions. For another, these brands are experts in their field--they know what it takes to make a top beverage, so they recognize when another brands is doing it. Take advantage of their experience, exposure, and drink smarts! And for a third factor, letting brands spread the love for other brands is just a warm and fuzzy example of the community-first, support-your-neighbor vibe we love in the craft beverage scene. Read on for some brand crushes!


John Arcara, Founder of Red Tank Brewing

John: “We love anything put out by Twin Lights Brewing!”

Red Tank is a family operation in Red Bank, New Jersey, and they know their beer stuff, as evidenced by the different classic styles they elevate with locally sourced ingredients. Their brand crush, Twin Lights Brewing, is a fellow member of the Garden State’s beer scene. Twin Lights brews up crisp lagers and hazy, juicy IPAs, and just about everything in between.


Loretta Chung, Co-Founder of Dyke Beer

Loretta: “I am excited about the seasonal beers that TALEA and Greenpoint Beer & Ale put out.”

Same! Loretta runs the Dyke Beer operation with Sarah Hallonquist. In order to celebrate and drum up support to save lesbian bars as well as create new safe, thriving spaces for queer women, Dyke Beer seasonally releases new delights like a saison, a gose, and even an Australian sparkling ale. We totally agree with Loretta’s love for Brooklyn beer buds TALEA and Greenpoint Beer & Ale. We’re proud to partner with TALEA, too, run by co-founders Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland, wowing beer drinkers and converting new beer drinkers with lagers, sours, IPAs, stouts, and more. Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Greenpoint Beer & Ale flexes a similar versatility with gems of every style. Both TALEA and Greenpoint have super fun taprooms, to boot.


Steven Tang, Co-Founder of Drunk Fruit

Steven: “Hana Makgeolli, brewing traditional Korean rice wine in Brooklyn!”

Considering Steven’s role as co-founder of Drunk Fruit, a line of dreamy hard seltzers beautifully showcasing Asian fruits, we know to listen up here for recs regarding refreshing drinks with thoughtful flavors. Hana Makgeolli is an artisanal producer with a gorgeous taproom in Brooklyn, championing the Korean tradition of rice wine with expertly crafted beverages that are a comforting yet intriguing love letter to this drink category.


Tara Hankinson, Co-Founder of TALEA Beer Co.

Tara: “AL's Non-Alcoholic Pilsner. It's so crisp and refreshing and perfect for a lunch beer alternative.”

As we recently raved (hint: scroll up), TALEA is a fresh arrival of serious flavor and expert balance in the beer world. So, we take Tara’s advice to heart when it comes to how we can get lots of flavor and refreshment in the form of a beer we’ll love, all without the booze factor. AL’s alcohol-free pilsner is great for lunchtime, a Tara notes, and for any time at all when you want or need to keep the ABV at zero.


The Team at My Favorite Thing 

“Anything Suarez at anytime.”

With baklava-inspired stouts, triple hazy IPAs exploding with mango flavor, and double IPAs that showcase different hop characters with gusto, My Favorite Thing is a buzz-worthy brewery keeping the focus on special, bold beers with an artful twist. Like other brewers in the know, this team loves the Hudson Valley’s Suarez Family Brewery, an operation that keeps things simple, allowing focus to fall on the local ingredients bringing long loved styles to life.


Brian Kulbacki, EntreBrewer at Departed Soles Brewing Company

Brian: “Fifth Hammer, Destination Unknown, Alewife, and Two Ton.”

The star picks are as simple as that for Brian, “EntrepreBrewer” at Jersey City’s Departed Soles. Departed Soles boasts a lineup of creative beers that push the envelope on go-to styles with game-changing ingredients and processes. It tracks that Brian’s inspiration comes from a whole team of innovators and dedicated beer makers. Fifth Hammer Brewing Company serves up a diverse array of must-have styles from its welcoming digs in Queens. Destination Unknown Beer Company, aka DUBCO, honors its name with an emphasis on exploration and experimentation, not to mention a flair for seasonality. Alewife Brewing is another Queens hitmaker spinning everything from goses to IPAs to blondes that hit the spot. And New Jersey’s Two Ton Brewing Co. simultaneously delights IPA fans, porter lovers, pilsner enthusiasts, sour cheerleaders, and more.


Jiant Hard Kombucha

“Prairie Artisan Ales, Foley Brothers Brewing, and Jack’s Abby.”

Similarly, as the team crafting one of the most in-demand brands of hard kombucha, constantly demonstrating just how fruit and botanical flavors can harmonize together in the form of easy-drinking refreshers, Jiant recommends a trio of brands that form a delicious ride through craft beer today. From complex imperial stouts to hoppy, fruity sour ales, Oklahoma City’s Prairie Artisan Ales sets an example many other brewers look to in terms of creativity. In Vermont, Foley Brothers wows IPA lovers with deep dive on different hop profiles and methods--not to mention a pirate theme! And in Massachusetts, Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers continues to show just how rich, eclectic, and completely irresistible the world of lagers can be.


Richard Roy, Co-Founder of NOCA Beverages

Richard: “Not a particular brewery or brand, but I'm most excited about the

NOCA Beverages category and new entrants that are beginning to pop up. There is BUZZ WTR and Mom Water out of the Midwest and one called Funny Water that just came too market as well. It is nice to see a category that we led the charge on starting to gain some attention.”

The team at NOCA has truly disrupted the drinks biz by taking all the flavor, refreshment, and buzz of hard seltzers and cutting the bubbles, which can even further boost the easy-drinking-ness and eliminate any post-imbibing heaviness. These alcoholic waters are not only delicious, they’re innovative and trail-blazing, and we love that Richard is sharing the love by shouting out other, new contributors to this new and growing market. BUZZ WTR and Mom Water add to the options that NOCA has helped spark.


Chris Allen, Co-Founder of Osena

Chris: “I'm excited to have Ranch Water in the Northeast as I enjoyed it in other parts of the country, notably Austin, Texas.”

What’s that saying, “Refreshing game recognizes refreshing game?” Or…something like that. Both Osena and Ranch Water have carved out fascinating, fantastic niches in the drinks industry and are garnering huge followings with the way they’ve found the perfect balance between easy-drinking and flavor-bursting. Osena’s hard coconut waters are a celebration of tropical flavors and a laid-back buzz, while Chris’s pick of Ranch Water makes the time-honored combo of lime, tequila, and seltzer an easy-to-share, easy-to-enjoy fridge staple.


Tianna McDonald, Marketing & Events Director at Tivoli Brewing Co.

Tianna: “Flying Embers Hard Kombucha! They have such an amazing product and revenue goes to a great cause.”

Denver’s Tivoli Brewing Co. has balancing flavor with easy-drinking goodness down pat, considering it’s been around since 1859 (hello, icon!) and ever since it reopened in 2015, it’s been blending traditional techniques with new ideas and methods. Tianna’s brand crush, Flying Embers, has also taken a time-honored drink, kombucha, and made it oh so “now” with a bit of buzz and a lot of flavor. And having survived a wildfire in their local California and being born anew out of it, Flying Embers donates a portion of its revenue to addressing first responder and community needs nationwide. Learn more about their education and awareness, natural disaster response, and recovery efforts initiatives here.


Jeremy Kim, CEO of 하드Nectar Hard Seltzer

Jeremy: “The most exciting beverage brand is Happy Dad because they have completely re-written the script on how to grow a brand.”

As CEO of Nectar, one of hard seltzer’s most exciting brands with Asian ingredient-showcasing varieties that always delight and refresh, Jeremy knows all about building a unique and engaging identity and online presence. Happy Dad is a fun and fresh addition to hard seltzer with an emphasis on quality and craft and the kind of branding personality that makes it stand out in a crowd.


Maíra Kimura, Co-Founder of Japas Cervejaria

Maíra: “I was really excited to visit TALEA last time I went to NYC, they make some very tasty beers and I was happy to see how much they're growing. I was also very impressed with the beers from Wild East Brewing.”

Another vote for TALEA, we love to see it! Especially from another game-changer, innovator, and transcendent beer creator like Maíra from Japas Cervejaria. As co-founder of the Brazilian brewery that celebrates its founders’ Japanese heritage with ingredients and stories that sing, it’s no wonder Maíra has an eye for special beer and special flavors. TALEA no doubt delivers, as does Brooklyn’s Wild East Brewing. With a fun taproom and an emphasis on beer education and community, Wild East brews up some incredible examples of traditional European styles.


Jon Moore and Jason Pazmino, Co-Founders of Gay Beer

Jon and Jason: “We support other Brooklyn brands and are excited about beers from Threes Brewing, Grimm Artisanal Ales, and Other Half. But our favorite brewery is in Athens, Georgia, called Creature Comforts. And a friend has launched a cannabis canned cocktail called Flyers.”

Gay Beer is built on and exudes community love and coming together, so it’s no surprise that Jon and Jason are sharing the love with fellow New Yorkers Threes, Grimm, and Other Half. All three breweries are seasoned pros at delivering big flavor in the form of refreshing, easy-drinking beers that pair well with all different kinds of food and bring friends together with something to “cheers!” over. (We mean, just take a gander at Grimm’s lineup featuring everything from yuzu goses to IPAs to traditional pilsners.) Plus, Creature Comforts is a favorite among craft beer connoisseurs for its excellent roster, and Flyers embodies the excitement of a whole new beverage trend that offers us another way to kick back.


Kevin Wong, Co-Founder of Lunar

Kevin: “I'm keeping an eye on JuneShine's newest canned cocktails--they have built a great brand and I'm excited to try their latest release.”

Lunar and JuneShine would definitely live happily ever after together in any delicious, fun, easy-going adult beverage portfolio--like, say, your fridge? Or your drink offerings for your get-together this weekend? Lunar is a line of hard seltzers shining with Asian fruit ingredients, while JuneShine made its name on extraordinarily irresistible hard kombuchas and is now expanding with must-have canned cocktails like their own take on ranch water.


Robby Willey, Co-Founder of The Virginia Beer Co.

Robby: “We just teamed up with Bearded Iris Brewing to create two new recipes for our sixth anniversary. Our brewmaster and the co-founder of Bearded Iris brewed together at SweetWater Brewing Co., and after six years (and one pandemic) they finally found the time to team up at their own breweries. We're stoked to see more Bearded Iris brews popping up in VA and around the country, and we can't wait to have a couple of our own on tap soon.”

Put The Virginia Beer Co. and Bearded Iris together and whaddya got? Two stellar breweries always at the top of beer lovers’ lists, two great road trip destinations, and two ace partners for the ultimate collab. From VBC’s flavor-focused, quality ingredient-propelled lineup to Bearded Iris’s crowd-pleasers that range from bold to restrained, this is a dream team for the ages.


John Ross Cocozza, Founder and President of Ross Brewing Co.

John: “We love every beer we've ever had from The Virginia Beer Co. Good people making good beer the right way, how can you go wrong? As well, we were super excited recently to try some beers from Crowns & Hops, and we were blown away! Teo, Beny, and the crew and turning out some awesome beers and we can't wait to see what they come up with next! Those are two breweries we'd be particularly interested in collaborating with at some point in the future!”

More TapRm brand BFFs; we’re getting emotional! And if these breweries are all listening--let’s get those collabs going! We’d love to play matchmaker, and beer drinkers everywhere would be thrilled with the results. Ross Brewing brings to the table a killer repertoire of all different styles brewed to not only nail that style but push it forward with creative ingredients and processes. VBC walks a similar path, combining craft, quality, tradition, and ingenuity. Crowns & Hops has electrified the industry by fusing quality, creativity, and a laser-focused finger on the pulse of what craft beer fans want to drink. IPAs from West Coast to hazy? Yes, please.

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