Southwest Missouri's Best Craft Breweries

Beer is flowing like water here in Springfield thanks to the craft breweries popping up all over southwest Missouri. Each brewery offers a unique experience, so whether you're a novice or a craft beer nerd, there's sure to be a brewery for you.

By Evan Greenberg, additional reporting by Jamie Thomas | Art Direction by Joshua Sullivan

May 2024

exploding glass of craft beer Photos by Brandon AlmsIt's no secret... our craft beer scene is BOOMING.

Up until about the second decade of this century, if you wanted craft beer in Springfield, Springfield Brewing Co. was your only option. In recent years, locals have embraced the plethora of craft breweries with open arms—we can’t count the number of times brewers or owners have told us how surprised and overwhelmed they were by the reaction when they first opened. Two of these breweries, 4 By 4 Brewing Co. and Tie & Timber Brewing Co., have Denver roots, taking the neighborhood approach and applying it to Springfield, Missouri. All of southwest Missouri has fostered this sense of community in a short amount of time, proving that for all the supply entering the area, there is an equal amount of demand. We approached reporting this story with the same fervor, and what we found was an unbridled enthusiasm to bring the best quality craft beer and the experience to match.

Springfield Brew Co. exterior with patio seating
Photo by Brandon AlmsSpringfield Brew Company is the longest running brewery in Springfield, and has long been a staple in the community. Purchase Photo

Springfield Brewing Company

305 S. Market Ave., Springfield, MO

Mention “Brew Co.” to anyone in 417-land, and it’s more than likely that they’ll know you’re talking about Springfield Brewing Company. The staple has made continuity the name of its game—it celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022, and its name and staying power have helped it become almost synonymous with Springfield itself. Brew Co. is located in the heart of downtown and has held its constant presence as the surrounding area has grown and thrived. The brewery has also won awards for its beer, having previously won Gold in the World Beer Cup for its Mayhem Marzen. This is a brewery that asserts itself and backs it up, proving that there is a very good reason that it has been around as long as it has. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Read reviews for Springfield Brewing Company.

New Brews and News from Springfield Brewing Company

Springfield Brewing Company has continued to grow in the last few years, from launching a new line-up of year-round, seasonal and small-batch brews (while keeping a few old favorites) to opening its own distillery. The distillery, named Ty Iechyd Da (which is Welsh for "Good Health House") opened in 2020 and has introduced spirits like Songbird Gin Collection, Hinterland Maple Finished Bourbon, Ozark Mountain Daredevils Gin. For the full story on Ty Iechyd Da (including the origins of the name and an explainer on how to pronounce it) head to our previous story. Check out some of the year-round beers from Springfield Brew Co. below.

417 Lager
5% ABV, 16 IBUs
A light, crisp, mellow and slightly malt-sweet lager. A great go-to if you like something lighter but don't want to skip on flavor.

Blue Canoe Pale Ale
5% ABV, 30 IBUs
A pale ale with a malty, caramel sweetness underscored with a little hop bitterness for balance.

Greene Ghost IPA
6.5% ABV, 65 IBUs
Want something as flavorful as an IPA but without the overbearing hop bitterness. Greene Ghost balances sweetness with a grapefruit-like tang.

Greene Dragon DIPA
7.5%, 65 IBUs
If you do want something that packs a little bit more of a punch, Greene Dragon steps up the flavor profile of Greene Ghost without overdoing it.

Lawn games in the large backyard at Mother's Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsA giant in the community, Mother's Brewing Company is as embedded in Springfield as any business in the area. Purchase Photo

Mother's Brewing Company

215 S. Grant, Springfield, MO

Even if you don’t drink beer, you probably know something about Mother’s Brewing Company. From the brewery’s perspective, that brand awareness is very much on purpose. More than any other 417-land brewery, Mother’s is visible, establishing itself as a champion of the community and hosting or sponsoring some of its biggest events year-round. Given the brewery’s downtown location, driving past Mother’s often comes with a sinking feeling that you’re missing out on something, and that’s because you probably are. There are taproom-only special releases that add an aura of exclusivity for a brewery whose beer is fairly easily purchased in liquor stores across southwest Missouri. There’s a purpose to this—Mother’s would love nothing more than to be the reason that people come to Springfield, supporting local businesses and hotels.

Although the indoor taproom is expansive, Mother’s most prominent feature is its acre-and-a-half lawn, a massive backyard that lends itself to just about any activity you can imagine. In warm-weather months, that means it’s usually packed, as adults gather to chat and catch up while their kids run and play. It also means whiffle ball leagues, movie nights and two massive yearly festivals. Mother’s Day, a music festival spread over three weekends, arrives on the Saturday after the actual holiday to celebrate the anniversary of the brewery’s opening in 2011. Oktoberfest, a September festival centered around beer, is a highlight of the fall calendar.

Read reviews for Mother's Brewing Company.

New Brews and News from Mother's Brewing Company

A few changes have come along at Mother's Brewing Company, although the backyard is as active and welcoming as ever. Perhaps the biggest recent development is the retirement of Mother's founder Jeff Schrag. Schrag announced his retirement in May of 2023, and hands ownership of the brewery over to Jeff and Lindsay Seifried. Jeff Seifried previously served on the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, and took over ownership of Blackwells with wife Linda in early 2023. Now the couple add one of Springfield's cultural hubs to their resume.

As for the beer lineup, Mother's has mixed things up with a few new brews and making some once-seasonal beers part of the year-round lineup. The sour-wheat ale Cobra Scare is now a staple, as is the hazy IPA Sunshine Chugsuckle. New additions to the lineup include Step Dude lager, a cold-brewed IPA, Stone Cold Helper and their take on a golden ale, Lake Break. Old school Mother's fans don't need to worry about losing out on old favorites: Li'l Helper IPA and Three Blind Mice brown ale are still on the menu. Mother's also offers selection packs of beer at local stores that include limited exclusive brews.

Lake Break
4.6% ABV, 5 IBUs
Spending a day at the lake? Lake Break is a golden ale with a fruity flavor profile, light body and a hint of spice. The flavor and low ABV makes it a great pairing with a relaxing weekend any time of year.

Step Dude
5% ABV, 18 IBUs
Lager fans have been sipping pretty recently, with Springfield’s craft breweries brewing up easy-drinking-but-flavorful lagers with the balanced malt-and-hop balance the makes this type of beer a favorite. Step Dude is Mother’s take on the style that’s a little lighter but with no less taste.

Stone Cold Helper IPA
5.5% ABV, 40 IBUs
Cold IPAs are a relatively recent trend, combining the clean taste of a lager with the hop bite of an IPA. Stone Cold Helper takes on this style but with a lighter ABV to make a beer with a crisp, refreshing taste.

While You're at Mother's

Check the Board

Mother’s makes a point to have taproom-only beers—brews you can only try by stopping in to visit. The list of what’s on tap is visible when you come in.

Take Them Home

Mother’s keeps a fridge of six-packs and cans in its taproom, so you can take home your favorites from your visit.

Go Outside

Mother’s backyard is one of the best spaces to hang out, play games and catch up with friends in 417-land. If the weather is nice, it’s the place to be.

White River Brewery Springfield MO patio at sunset
Photo by Brandon AlmsA C-Street pioneer, White River Brewing Co. has an inviting patio and beers that acknowledge exactly where they are made. Purchase Photo

White River Brewing Company

505 W. Commercial St., Springfield, MO

Think of White River Brewing Co. as a presiding member of the revitalization of Commercial Street. When former owner Buz Hosfield bought the building, he was optimistic about the direction the street could take. But he also remembers the run-down businesses that surrounded the brewery when it first opened. 

His optimism has turned out to be well founded. C-Street is now a place to see and be seen, where some of the most exciting food concepts are happening, where you can shop and drink a beer and eat nationally recognized chocolate all within a few blocks. Hosfield considers White River the western anchor of C-Street.

As for the brewery itself, it’s all about the patio. It peeks out onto the street, as if trying to lull you in to try Gravel Bar IPA or that C-Street Pale Ale. Drive by and you’ll almost always hear some sort of live music emanating from the patio, along with a visual of people packed in, leaning against the railing. There’s a taproom inside, too, with a fairly expansive space with tabletops and chairs and decor that hints at the overall brewery motif.

Read reviews for White River Brewing Company.

[Editor's note: Since the original publication date of this story, owner Buz Hosfield has died. White River Brewing Company is currently owned by Michael Felts.]

people sitting at a picnic table on a deck at Piney River Brewery in southwest Missouri
Photo by Brandon AlmsHoly cow! The pet-friendly patio at Piney River Brewing Co. has a one-of-a-kind view of the bovine neighbors. Purchase Photo

Piney River Brewing Company

15194 Walnut Grove Drive, Bucyrus, MO

To get to Piney River Brewing Co., you might need to have a compass and a treasure map. You’ll first need to drive to Bucyrus (pronounced bew-SIGH-rus), an area encompassed by the nearby Mark Twain National Forest. Once you reach the gravel road that leads to the brewery, it’s a 2-mile drive where every bump brings the sensation that you’re going the wrong way. But a giant silo and barn emerge to assure you that, yes, this is a brewery, and a stellar one at that. For owners Joleen and Brian Durham, the reception and patronage has been outstanding.

Piney River opened in 2011. The brewery has what it calls the BARn, a taproom with a two-story outdoor patio that opens its doors to visitors, hikers and locals looking to drink a few beers. “We’re really proud of what we’ve done here in a very economically challenged area,” Joleen says. “We bring a lot of tourism in the area.”

Given the brewery’s secluded nature, food options are limited, but Piney River recently does offer homemade pizza, giving people every reason to stay as long as they’d like. Look outside and you’ll see green pastures and cattle and start to feel a little rebellious, as if drinking in this space is an act of defiance. It all factors into what Piney River is trying to do: brew beer against a very specific backdrop. “We’re trying to celebrate the Ozarks,” Joleen says.

Read reviews of Piney River Brewing Company.

While You're at Piney River

Eat Some Pizza

Hungry hikers and campers were stopping by Piney River for a day of drinking, so the brewery started offering homemade pizza.

Get Outside

Piney River really is in the middle of a farm, and its two-story patio provides great views of the land and a unique ambience.

Park It

Joleen Durham will tell you there’s not a ton in the way of tourist attractions in Bucyrus, and Piney River was designed so patrons can waste the day away if they so choose.

People drinking draft beers at 4 By 4 Brewing Company Springfield MO Galloway Sequiota Park
Photo by Brandon AlmsThe fact that Sequiota Park and the Galloway Creek Greenway are mere steps away makes 4 By 4 Brewing Co. a natural gathering place. Purchase Photo

4 By 4 Brewing Company

2811 E. Galloway St., Suite A, Springfield, MO

Perhaps more than any other brewery in Springfield, 4 By 4 Brewing Co. is a recreation space. Given its location near Sequiota Park and Galloway Creek Greenway, this only makes sense. It’s the type of place that feels like a brewery and a bar in equal measure, equipped with TVs, ping-pong, darts, Connect Four, jumbo Jenga and anything else you’d want to help you waste the day away.

The brewery gets its name from the four couples who co-own it. Derek Shimeall, one of the aforementioned co-owners, says that the proximity to Sequiota Park and its community atmosphere was a factor in designing the brewery’s look when it opened in late 2017. It is very open, both visually and in personality—Shimeall says patrons often ask for him; his wife, Danielle; and the other owners to serve and educate them from behind the bar. “We want people to talk to people they’ve never met,” Shimeall says. “We want people to make friendships.”

The brewery’s biggest attraction is the room adjacent to its main taproom. The brewery doesn’t have a lot of outdoor space, so this room serves as a jack-of-all-trades for any season—comedy shows, live music and game tournaments. The room allows 4 By 4 to establish itself as a year-round destination for gatherings. Shimeall notes that the colder months are when the craft beer business usually has a drop-off, and he sees no reason why that can’t change.

“We are a brewery taproom,” Shimeall says. “We want that to be the focus, but we want people to stay and hang out, too.”

In early 2023, 4 By 4 opened a second location in Fremont Hills, complete with its own taproom and beer garden.

Read reviews for 4 By 4 Brewing Company.

Tie & Timber Beer Company Springfield MO Pickwick and Cherry
Photo by Brandon AlmsA true neighborhood gathering place, Tie & Timber makes its mark with an emphasis on live music and a welcoming, no-one-is-a-stranger atmosphere. Purchase Photo

Tie & Timber Beer Company

1451 E. Cherry St., Springfield, MO

Jennifer Leonard and Curtis Marshall come from Denver, where it seems there is about one craft brewery per block. With that comes a need to be hyperlocal, to appeal to the neighborhood in which that brewery resides. “We had noticed that Springfield didn’t have the neighborhood breweries that we were used to seeing in Denver,” Leonard says. 

Their goal: Start a brewery you can walk to if you’re close enough, as Leonard and Marshall do, establishing a meeting place that a neighborhood can call its own. At Tie & Timber Beer Co., as co-owners, Leonard and Marshall have adopted this philosophy in Rountree. From the outdoor space and the tanks visible in the back to the giant owl-centric “This Must Be the Place” sign made of 300 yards of thread, the place feels lived-in, as if it’s always been there.

Live music is a centerpiece at Tie & Timber—Leonard and Marshall spent their summers going to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Leonard acknowledges that the brewery is very much an extension of her and Marshall. Around the brewery are concert posters and music memorabilia, and once a month, crowds pack in for a big show by a nationally touring act.

The brewery is also a canvas of experimentation, from the beer-making, where you’ll often see something new week-to-week, to the pop-ups and food trucks looking to try something new and reach a wider audience. You’ll find wine and locally made Spring Branch kombucha on tap, too, although, as the brewery grows, beer will become more of the focus.

Read reviews for Tie & Timber Beer Company.

Before and After Brewing Company

2940 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, MO

Before and After Brewing Company is one of the smaller spots on the Springfield craft brewing scene. A unique combination of coffee shop and brewery vibes, Before and After was founded by Doug Riddle, David Soper and Marci and Brent Sonnemaker. Riddle and Soper are formerly of Mother’s Brewing Company while the Sonnemakers are behind City Butcher and Barbecue and Team Taco. The core of Before and After’s identity is in offering coffee, beer and a variety of food specials on a pop-up basis. The boozy drinks are generally lighter fare and classic cocktails, with the beer brewed one barrel at a time. You can find our full review of Before and After Brewing here.

Read reviews for Before and After Brewing Company.

Bar Bites

Some bars go so hard on the drink menu that they aren’t left with much to give on the food menu. If you’re in the mood to go out for drinks but you’re also feeling a bit peckish, here’s where the chow isn’t just an afterthought.
By Tessa Cooper

Cellar + Plate
2916 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield
This wine bar located right on the edge of Galloway Village goes a little above and beyond in the way of food offerings. You could easily end up ordering a four-course meal here, and they conveniently print wine pairing suggestions right on the menu.
Must-Try Dish: The creamy Italian burrata served with basil pesto, prosciutto, tomatoes and crostini.

The Golden Girl Rum Club
137 Park Central Square, Springfield
Offerings like pizza, tacos and nachos sound like pretty basic bar food. But make no mistake, these dishes are far from that, thanks to the addition of ingredients like kimchi and Thai peanut sauce.
Must-Try Dish: The House Ramen is served with braised pork, fried egg, pork belly and seasonal pickled veggies.

The Royal
427 E. Cherry, Ste. B, Springfield
The Royal is working with a pint-sized kitchen, but that doesn’t stop the crew from putting together finger foods with thought-out ingredients. For example, the housemade Chex mix is based on the original 1966 recipe.
Must-Try Dish: The salmon rillettes, which is a dip made with smoked Salmon, whipped cream cheese, herbs and spices.

Vantage Rooftop Lounge and Conservatory
260 E. McDaniel St., Springfield
Vantage’s menu features nine different small plates to choose from, plus a raw bar complete with oysters, shrimp and scallops.
Must-Try Dish: The albondigas, which are Spanish-style meatballs made with Marcona almonds and fresh herbs.

Beer in Great Escape Beer Works, Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Great Escape Beer Works

Great Escape Beer Works

2940 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, MO

Great Escape Beer Works opened at the tail-end of 2018 and has since become a staple of the Galloway area. Roomy outdoor seating and a great view of the Galloway district from the second floor pair great with a varied beer menu make Great Escape an ideal hangout. In April of 2022, Great Escape announced that they were expanding to a second location in Republic, with opportunities for some more experimental brews, a full kitchen, plenty of outdoor space and more. You can see the full story about it here—stay tuned for more news as we hear it.

Read reviews for Great Escape Beer Works.

Beer from Hold Fast Brewing in southwest Missouri.
Photo courtesy Hold Fast Brewing

Hold Fast Brewing

2940 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, MO

Hold Fast Brewing, located in downtown Springfield, opened in 2019 and frequently plays host to trivia nights, live comedy and live local music. Hold Fast was founded by sisters Carol and Susan McLeod, who chose the former firehouse as the building for the room to grow and its central location. Like its fellow local breweries, Hold Fast has a solid selection of beers available year round, from mellow golden ales like Patio Please to tropical-tinged, hop-forward IPAs like Trafficway. Take a look at our previous story on how Hold Fast Brewing came to be.

Read reviews for Hold Fast Brewing.

Wire Road Brewing Company

2940 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, MO

As of writing, Wire Road Brewing is currently the newest craft brewery to southwest Missouri's brewery lineup. Nestled roadside not far outside of town, Wire Road brings the neighborhood brewery vibe to Battlefield with indoor and outdoor seating—including an outdoor bar and covered beer garden. Wire Road boasts an extensive and frequently updated beer menu to please all kinds of palettes. Want something summery with minimal bitterness? Try the Sippin’ Sunset Tangerine Wheat. Like your IPAs in a hazier, fruitier New England style? Spirit Horse is the pour you’re looking for. Wire Road also offers coffee and has food trucks frequently stopping by.

Read reviews for Wire Road Brewing Company.

More Craft Breweries in Southwest Missouri

Wages Brewing Co.

At Wages Brewing Co. (1382 Bill Virdon Blvd., West Plains, 417-293-3119) you’ll find a large selection of handmade craft beers available Tuesday through Saturday, paired with a full breakfast and dinner menu by Cafe Whimsy. Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, You'll find a variety of things to do in their monthly schedule, like enjoy live music, trivia, local fundraisers, social nights and more.

Show-Me Brewing

Show-Me Brewing (1925 E. Bennett St., Springfield) allows you to pick the style of beer you want to brew and do so right on its premises. Never brewed before? That’s usually the case, and specialists are on-hand to guide you through the process. The brewery itself makes just about any style you can imagine, so you’ll be able to sample something new if brewing isn’t your thing.

Hungry Hollow Brewing Company

This brewery (14396 Farm Road 2140. Cassville, 417-342-2072) is a big part of the Cassville community, hosting food trucks and bocce ball and Frisbee games. Kids are welcome at the acre of land the brewery sits on. Some of the beer gets up there in alcohol by volume—beers in its Fully Fluted series reach above 10 percent!

Indian Springs Brewing Company

A Neosho brewery, Indian Springs Brewing Co. (109 E. Main St., Neosho, 417-454-9498) draws visitors far and wide with its bar food, food trucks, weekend bingo and trivia, vinyl records nights, live music and more. It’s shrouded in history, too. The brewery derives its name from a town named Indian Springs with seven springs thought to have healing abilities. The building used to be a jewelry store that was in the same family for over 100 years.

Boat Town Brewing

The Boat Town Brewing team has brought the experience to downtown Lebanon! Now located at 214 W. Commercial St., they’re a bit more on the beaten path and closer than ever to all the great things to see and do in Lebanon. At the new location, you’ll find the same relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, along with the delicious food that Boat Town is famous for and the craft beer that is brewed on-site.  

Lake Bums BrewingCo.

True to its name, Lake Bums BrewCo. (112 Parrothead Lane, Pontiac, 417-989-1797) is nestled on Bull Shoals Lake—the only such brewery—where it welcomes campers and resort-goers. There’s cornhole, Jenga, coloring books for the kids and Saturday-night music. The real draw? If you are staying at a nearby resort or Pontiac Cove Marina, someone from the brewery provides transportation in a 10-person bus to and from the brewery. 

Back Home Brewing

Take them at face value—the folks at Back Home Brewing (1502 S. Third St., Ozark, 417-581-0782) want you to feel at home. Their hospitality reflects that. In addition to the beer that they brew, Back Home serves other local microbrews and food (pulled pork is a favorite) and has a full bar to satisfy those not interested in beer. “We’re more like a hometown pub that brews their own beer,” says Angela Lachner, one of its co-owners.

Not Into Beer?

If beer isn’t your thing, there are other places brewing up their own libations across southwest Missouri. 

Spring Branch Kombucha

Spring Branch Kombucha (locations vary) can be found at local specialty markets across Springfield and the ozarks like MaMa Jean’s Natural Market, Lucky’s Market and Ruby’s Market. Try the raspberry basil flavor—it’s a gateway flavor that’ll ease you in if you’ve never had kombucha before. 

Saint Fox Cider

Saint Fox Cider (locations vary) is all about supporting local businesses, featuring its cider at coffee shops like Mud House and restaurants like Cherry Picker Package x Fare, Coffee Ethic and 4 By 4 Brewing Company. The cider is made from local apples and is light on the palate, making it a great alternative to beer.

Mother's Ready Hard Seltzer

Mother's Brewing Company doesn't just brew beer. Mother's launched a line of canned hard seltzers in 2022 in a range of fruity flavors that are sugar and gluten-free. You can pick up a pack at local stores or from Mother's.

[Editor's Note: This story was originally published in 2018 and updated in June 2024.]