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 | Art Direction by Joshua Sullivan

Nov 2018

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. Now, what once wasn’t is—there are 17 breweries across the Ozarks. With this in mind, we traversed all sorts of terrain to get to know the people behind these breweries and what they are doing to make each a destination. 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 Co. 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 Co. The staple has made continuity the name of its game—it celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017, and not much has changed during that time. Some of its flagship beers have been around since the beginning, 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. 

“Some of [the brewery's] flagship beers have been around since the beginning, and its name and staying power have helped it become almost synonymous with Springfield itself.”
— Ashton Lewis, Springfield Brewing Company Brewmaster

For a while, the brewery was all there was when it came to craft beer downtown, serving as an entry point for thirsty customers all around. “When we first opened, we had a lot of people that had never drank craft beer before,” says brewmaster Ashton Lewis. Known for its food as well as its beer, Brew Co. serves a wide variety of American favorites, like pizza and its beloved mac and cheese. It is a place to meet up for business, to watch sports, to celebrate a big occasion, for team-building—whatever the case, the brewery, with its patio, meeting rooms and upstairs and downstairs spaces, can serve your function. You can almost guarantee that there’ll be live music on the weekends, too. It’s the type of place where you can assume you’ll run into someone you know regardless of when you go. 

Springfield Brew Co head brewery Ashton Lewis holding a glass of craft beer
Photo by Ettie Berneking

“Our place is so big that if people want to hang out for a couple of hours, they don’t feel pressure to leave,” says head brewer Ashton Lewis.

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bottle of Paul's Pale Ale from Springfield Brew Co.
Photo by Brandon Alms

Paul's Pale Ale is a tribute to the founder of Springfield Brewing Company, Paul Mueller.

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Soft pretzel sticks with beer cheese and a draft beer at Springfield Brew Co.
Photo by Brandon Alms

Although the beer at Springfield Brewing Co. is the main attraction, the food is not to be missed. Give the classic pairing of beer and pretzels a spin for that salty-sudsy combo.

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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. 

Lawn games in the large backyard at Mother's Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsA giant in the community, Mother's 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 Co. 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.

“The real value for us in this place comes when we get to do things and actually connect with the community.”
— David Soper, Mother's Brewing Company Head Brewer

“It’s within our interest and within the community’s interest for us to not just be a factory producing beer that goes into stores,” says head brewer David Soper. “The real value for us in this place comes when we get to do things and actually connect with the community.”

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 417-land. 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.

Mothers Brewery head brewer Dave Soper Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

“As the beer market continues to change, and things continue to go more hyperlocal, us continuing to do stuff out of our space will be increasingly important,” Soper says. “It’s something that I count us as being extremely lucky to have this beautiful green space.”

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Bottle of Lil' Helper IPA from Mother's Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Where's the best place to buy Mother's Brewing Company beer? At the brewery itself! But, you can also find Mother's on store shelves throughout the southwest Missouri region, Kansas City and St. Louis.

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Entrance to Mother's Brewery tasting room from the Mother's backyard Springfield MO
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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 arrives on the Saturday after the actual holiday, a music-oriented festival celebrating the anniversary of the brewery’s opening in 2011. Oktoberfest, a September festival centered around beer, is a highlight of the fall calendar. 

The brewery is well aware of its standing in the community. Beer releases, festivals, taproom exclusives—they’re all events. Cobra Scare, one of the brewery’s most popular releases, is Springfield-only, and it arrives every year to great fanfare. “As long as you continue to make good beer, people will find you,” Soper says.

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 owner Buz Hosfield bought the building almost 10 years ago, 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. It even brews C-Street Pale Ale, a beer that brewery rep Steve Ames says is part of White River’s identity. 

“We’re trying to capture the Ozarks and what we feel represents the people.”
— Stacey Uchtman, White River Brewing Company Head Brewer

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.

Stacey Uchtman White River Brewing head brewer Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Stacey Uchtman has an Ozarks brewing background, cutting his teeth at Piney River before arriving at White River to work with owner Buz Hosfield.

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Gravel Bar IPA can by White River Brewing Springfield MO
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Jam band playing at White River Brewing Summer Fest C-Street Springfield MO
Photo courtesy White River Brewing

Summerfest is a street-wide jam, celebrating all that makes C-Street unique. White River Brewing Co. contributes brews and hosts jam bands.

There’s no food on-site, but White River encourages patrons to bring it in, something that becomes all the more enticing as the options around it grow. White River has been around for six years, enough time for one head brewer to have come and gone. Its current head brewer, Stacey Uchtman, has held the post for three years and has an Ozarks brewing background, having previously worked at Piney River Brewing Co. This idea—the Ozarks, nature, outdoors—is baked into all that White River does. “We’re trying to capture the Ozarks and what we feel represents the people,” Uchtman says.  

A high mark on the calendar is the brewery’s Summer Fest, a celebration of C-Street with barbecue competitions and beer from White River and other 417-land breweries. The event very much highlights what White River has become—an ambassador for the street, the area and the people who inhabit it.

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.”

“We’re really proud of what we’ve done here in a very economically challenged area. We bring a lot of tourism in the area.”
— Joleen Durham, Piney River Brewing Company Owner

Given the brewery’s secluded nature, food options are limited. Piney River recently fixed that by offering 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. 

Piney River head brewer Matt Beaty Missouri
Photo by Brandon Alms

“We thought, ‘We’re going to build this space; people will show up here once and see where the beer is made,’” Joleen says. “‘But people aren’t really going to drive 2 miles down a gravel road and come to Bucyrus, Missouri, to drink beer.’ And we were so wrong about that.” -Head Brewer, Matt Beaty

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Can of Piney River Float Trip Ale
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Barn exterior at Piney River Brewery Missouri
Photo by Brandon Alms

Brewmasters make beer on this farm, where there are wide-open spaces, pizza and beer that reflects the bucolic surroundings.

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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.

group of people playing a game on the patio at Lost Signal Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsThe bright patio at Lost Signal Brewing Co. serves as a sunny backdrop for games and barbecue. Purchase Photo

Lost Signal Brewing Company

610 W. College St., Springfield, MO

Tyler Hoke can’t be fully impartial when he sings the praises of the barbecue at Lost Signal Brewing Co. He is the owner, after all. But he doesn’t make the racks of ribs, chicken and burnt ends; his father, Jack, does. With the beer that Hoke brews and the crave-worthy ’cue, Lost Signal has carved out a niche for itself. It’s a brewery with an indoor and outdoor space where you can sip a beer and chow down on barbecue that lives up to Missouri standards. Nestled just outside the main drag of downtown Springfield, it’s a spot where you’re going to want to stay awhile.

Tyler started as a home brewer and immediately got bitten by the bug. “When I start something, I get a little obsessed,” he says. He cut his teeth at Lakewood Brewing Co. in Garland, Texas, in a post as a volunteer that he turned into a job. He opened Lost Signal with a clear vision—brew German styles that often get overlooked. Add in the exclusivity of the beer—you’ll have a hard time finding it around town—and there’s a formula in place to keep patrons surprised and coming back for more. 

Lost Signal Head Brewer Tyler Hoke Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Tyler Hoke, owner and head brewer of Lost Signal, gets his inspiration from beer styles that have been around for a while but aren’t as prevalent. “The big thing with our beers, they’re all very approachable and easy to drink,” Hoke says. “We like to stick with a lot of the two-style beers, a lot of the older styles that you don’t see a lot anymore.”

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Beef brisket and fries from Lost Signal Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

“Brisket is a top-seller,” says head brewer Tyler Hoke. “One of our most underrated items is our chicken. It’s a half a chicken, so it’s a whole lot of meat, and it is fantastic. It’s the best chicken in town.”

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Drinking beers and eating bbq at Lost Signal Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brad Zweerink

Given that there is a very well-known brewpub in Springfield around the corner, Hoke made a point to separate Lost Signal from the crowd. He and general manager Kym Matney developed the menu, and Jack, an award-winning pitmaster, prepares the meat. Lost Signal encourages patrons to bring their own games, and it has games like Jenga, checkers and Connect Four on-site as well. 

Ultimately, it’s Lost Signal’s smallness that works as a strength—Hoke even says that he sees it as a marketing tool. The emphasis is good, dependable beer.  “We want you to come to us, and it’s as fresh as possible,” Hoke says.  

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. Soon, The Pitch Pizza & Pub will set up shop in a food trailer next to the brewery, making the experience that much tastier. 

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.”

Chris Shaffer Head Brewer 4 By 4 Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Chris Shaffer has been a homebrewer for over a decade, now taking his talents to 4 By 4 to share with the masses.

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Two young women drinking beers at the bar at 4 By 4 Brewery Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Inspired by taprooms elsewhere, 4 By 4 has what it calls a Beer It 4Ward wall, where patrons can order a beer for a friend—or anyone, really—for the next time that person comes in. The wall has quickly caught on, with customers posting on social media to get beer discounts and designating beer for service members to claim. “It’s a way for the community to get engaged,” says co-owner Derek Shimeall.

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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.”

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. Although the brewery opened in 2018 and is in its nascent stages, you wouldn’t know it.

Curtis Marshall and Jennifer Leonard brewers at Tie & Timber Beer Co Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Jennifer Leonard, head brewer of Tie & Timber, developed her recipes as a homebrewer along with tail brewer Curtis Marshall. Together, the two have brought their own take on a neighborhood brewery to Springfield.

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Two women drinking craft beers at a picnic table on Tie & Timber's outdoor patio
Photo by Brandon Alms

“We’re not in this to get rich,” says Jennifer Leonard, Tie & Timber Beer Co. head brewer. “We’re in this for the fulfillment of building something together and finding a way to be part of the community.”

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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. 

More Craft Breweries in southwest Missouri

Wages Brewing Co.

At Wages Brewing Co. (382 Bill Virdon Blvd., West Plains, 417-293-3119) you’ll find catered food Tuesday through Saturday with chef’s dinners mixed in on the weekend. On the last Tuesday of every month, Ryan Van Winkle of Dawt Mill is the chef. Playing cards and games are on hand at Phillip Wages’ brewery, where he promises a new experience every time you stop in. There’s also live music every Saturday.

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

A “destination brewery” given its placement along I-44, Boat Town Brewing (18146 Campground Road, Phillipsburg, 417-532-2772) is a place where “you have to know where we are,” says co-owner and head brewer Bart Guyer. It has a lot to offer, like “Dock Talks”—TED-talk style speeches once a month—and a beer garden, across from which Boondocks Woodfire Kitchen, a restaurant specializing in smoked meats, serves grub.  

Lake Bums Brewing Co.

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.

New Breweries Coming Soon to Springfield, MO

Great Escape Beer Works 
(Coming Soon!)

Centered on adventure and being outdoors, Great Escape Beer Works (4022 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield) will have living walls with greenery and two floors—the first with beer hall–style seating, and the second with high-top seating and lounge chairs for reading. At press time, an opening date had yet to be announced. 

Hold Fast Brewing
(Coming Soon!)

Hold Fast Brewing (235 N. Kimbrough Ave., Springfield) has been four years in the making. How is Hold Fast differentiating itself in Springfield's growing craft beer scene? By being the first female-owned brewery. According to owners and sisters Susan and Carol McLeod, the brewery is expected to open in summer 2019.

Prehistoric Brewing
(Coming Soon!)

The team behind Prehistoric Brewing Co. is still figuring out the specifics of its new Springfield brewery and is in the process of securing a space, but expect it to arrive fully formed when it does, with 10 beers on tap and four flagship brews. The owners have been plotting a brewery since 2010, so it’s been a long time coming. Be on the lookout for a volcano bartop sure to turn heads. 

Not Into Beer?

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

Leaky Roof Meadery 

Leaky Roof Meadery (1306 Azalea St., Buffalo, 417-345-1233) uses wildflower honey to create a base canvas for its mead at its taproom, where you can try a variety of fresh mead as well as craft beer on tap. Keep an ear out for live music, too. 

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.