Wednesday, July 26, 2017

25 Best Breweries In America

Here is an article from Gear Patrol proclaiming the twenty-five best breweries in America.  These lists are usually clickbait nonsense, but Gear Patrol's story before its list is worth reading.  It gives a good description of the big forces against craft beer and how the large breweries are purposefully blurring the lines of what craft beer is to hurt independent craft brewers.  In the article I learned that one definition of a craft brewer is it must brew less than 6 million barrels of beer a year.  For context, all the independent brewers in San Diego brewed just over 1 million barrels in 2016, and this included Stone Brewing, Green Flash, and Karl Strauss, so 6 million barrels is a massive amount of beer. 

The article had this eloquent disclaimer expecting the haters:

Before you dive in, know this: No list is perfect nor permanent. Missing from ours are the thousands of small, determined breweries that have become vital parts of their communities, either through philanthropy, volunteerism or job creation — but usually a combination of the three. Our goal is not to discount their efforts, nor their beer, but to celebrate the movement they’re a part of by recognizing its leaders and innovators — those breweries we feel continue to push excellence, despite size or reputation, and define the limits of what it means to be a craft brewer in America today.

While we expect our fair number of critics, our mission here is not to play favorites, but to help you as the consumer navigate your way through the wide, beautiful world of American craft beer, which has never been more political, exciting or delicious as it is right now.
I have not tried beers from many of the breweries on this list so I am not going to criticize the selection.  But while not hating, I can't imagine a list without Stone Brewing.  I know its beers are many places, but so are Sierra Nevada's beers, and seeing a Stone Enjoy By on a Von's shelf is not like finding a Sante Adairius Rustic Ale, but Stone makes some great beers and is constantly innovating.  Stone's rare misses are better than most breweries best beers.  Societe Brewing and Modern Times Beer  deserve honorable consideration on any list of best breweries. 

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