by Rebecca Patrick

Instagram is one of the latest incarnations of social media being embraced by the craft beer industry, giving breweries a great way to connect with their fans. Facebook and Twitter still allow breweries to reach their consumers and strengthen those relationships, but Instagram offers a new way for craft beer fans to see their favorite breweries. Via Instagram, we’re able to see daily activities at breweries we love, what beers their employees are drinking, and the fun they are having doing all of the above. The culture surrounding brewing beer and the craft beer community produces some great imagery, be it bright green hops fresh from the harvest, the brewers working their magic, or the beauty of a gorgeous amber ale in a glass. Whether it’s Upland documenting their latest Tour de Upland or Big Sky Brewing re-posting their fans’ pictures, Instagram brings craft beer lovers together even more. Here are just a few breweries you shouldn’t miss on Instagram. What are some of your favorites?

Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon’s Instagram account is a winner for any pet and craft beer lover. I enjoy following Harpoon’s Instagram anyway, but a few months ago they started featuring pets and pints, which instantly makes time spent on Instagram even better. This year, Harpoon also hosted a great giveaway on Instagram for the “12 Days of Christmas” which included skis, a koozie set, and an iPhone case with a built in bottle opener.

Upland Brewing Company

By the looks of their Instagram account, you can tell this Indiana brewery is having fun. Upland hosts everything from runs to their annual Tour de Upland bike ride in Brown County which features camping, cycling, music, and (of course) great craft beer. Check out their Instagram for photos from those events, their cycling team’s races, and peeks behind the scenes at their brewery and tasting locations.

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brew

I happily stumbled upon this Virginia-based brewery on Instagram over a year ago. It has been such a joy to follow them as they’ve documented building their brewery from the ground up. With breweries springing up everywhere over the past few years, actually witnessing one being built from start to finish is fascinating. They’ve shown everything from building the foundation of their brewery over a year ago, the completion of their building, passing various inspections, and finally the brewery opening a few months ago. The progress has been incredibly inspiring.

Big Sky Brewing

If you’re looking for a breathtaking sky and some big beer, Big Sky Brewing is a great place to start. Located in Missoula, Montana, and nestled between mountain ranges, Big Sky benefits from having some of the best backdrops for any Instagram photos I’ve seen. They also frequently re-post user submitted photos, one of my favorite ways for a brewery to show their appreciation for their fans. Plus, any beer looks great against a Western sky and snowcapped mountains.

New Belgium Brewing

Hands down, New Belgium has a great looking Instagram account. And as one of the biggest names in craft beer, they’re a “must see” on any form of social media. My favorite hallmark of theirs has always been their New Belgium Beer Pairing feature (#nbbbeerpairing), which periodically pairs a craft beer with a record. Craft beer goes well with many things, especially a night spent listening to good music. Check them out to see what they’ve been listening to recently!

Natty Greene’s Brewing Co

Following this North Carolina-based brewery will give you a great peek behind the scenes of a craft brewery - one of the most enjoyable parts of following any brewery on Instagram. The privilege of seeing which fresh spices are being used or any other “insider info” is a treat if you don’t have the opportunity to visit a certain brewery often. Nothing compares to being there in person, but being able to “be there from afar” helps connect us even more to the beer we love and the people who make it.