Happy Independence Day to our neighbours to the south!
While there are plenty of great craft brewers in Canada, we pale in comparison to the number of brewers in the US of A cranking out some beloved craft beer. There are so many craft brewers in the states, it can be hard to keep track of whose-who; in fact, the number surpassed 6,000 at the end of 2017!
With that many breweries, it can seem like an impossible task to settle on the very best of the best. Well, the American Brewers Association took on that challenge, and has been producing a crowd sourced list of the best beer in America for the last 16 years.
This year, the survey includes Top Ranked Beers, Top Breweries, Best Portfolio and Top Imports. So just who rises to the top in this massive marketplace? For fans of craft beer, the top ten may not be much of a surprise:
- Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
- Russian River Pliny the Elder
- The Alchemist Heady Topper
- Bell’s Hopslam
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (tie for 5th)
- Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) (tie for 5th)
- Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) (tie for 5th)
- Three Floyds Zombie Dust
- Founders Breakfast Stout
- WeldWerks Juicy Bits (tie for 10th)
- Founders All Day IPA (tie for 10th)
Pliny & Heady Topper are consistently battling it out for the best American IPA, but Bell’s looks to have surpassed the both of them twice in a row now. Founders breakfast stout (and its varieties) continue to be a favourite. But as you can see, outside of Founders the entire top ten is made up of IPA’s or hoppy pale ales, which goes to support that craft beer drinkers just aren’t that original.
The top breweries in America reflect the top 10, but you should still consider this list as the ultimate American craft beer pilgrimage:
- Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (Comstock, MI)
- Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Russian River Brewing Co. (Santa Rosa, CA)
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA & Mills River, NC)
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)
- Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, DE)
- Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA)
- The Alchemist (Stowe, VT)
- Three Floyds Brewing Company (Munster, IN)
As for top importers, Canada makes a mark, with Unibroue coming in on the top 3:
- Orval (Belgium)
- Unibroue La Fin du Monde (Canada)
- Duvel (Belgium)
Looks like American’s still prefer to have their Belgian style beers imported, as only one American Belgian beer made the full list (and it was a kriek).
For the entire list you can visit the Brewers Association page here.