Best Beers In America 2011

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The readers of Zymurgy magazine were asked to send in a list of their 20 favorite commercially available beers. With a record number of votes in the poll’s third year, 1,306 different beers from 433 breweries made the full list. The results were not exactly shocking, and most of the beers and breweries that got the most votes were what you’d expect, I think, but it’s an interesting list all the same. The results are also printed in the latest issue.

Zymurgy-2011

Top Rated Beers
(T indicates tie)

Six of the top ten are California beers, with sixteen making the list.

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
T3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
T3. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
5. Bell’s Hopslam
6. Stone Arrogant Bastard
7. Sierra Nevada Celebration
T8. Sierra Nevada Torpedo
T8. Stone Ruination
10. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
11. Stone Sublimely Self Righteous
12. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine
13. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
T14. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
T14. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
T16. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
T16. New Glarus Belgian Red
18. North Coast Old Rasputin
19. Bell’s Expedition Stout
T20. Deschutes The Abyss
T20. Left Hand Milk Stout
T20. Odell IPA
T20. Samuel Adams Noble Pils
T20. Surly Furious
T20. Troegs Nugget Nectar
T26. Rogue Dead Guy Ale
T26. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
28. Anchor Steam
T29. Bear Republic Racer 5
T29. Ommegang Three Philosophers
T29. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
T29. Three Floyds Alpha King
T29. Three Floyds Dark Lord
T34. Avery Maharaja
T34. Dogfish Head Indian Brown
T34. Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
T34. Three Floyds Gumballhead
T38. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
T38. Lost Abbey Angel’s Share
T38. New Belgium La Folie
T38. New Belgium Ranger
T38. Oskar Blues Old Chub
T43. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
T43. Great Divide Yeti
T43. New Belgium 1554
T43. Russian River Blind Pig
T43. Ska Modus Hoperandi
T48. Alesmith Speedway Stout
T48. Dark Horse Crooked Tree
T48. Green Flash West Coast IPA
T48. Summit EPA
T48. Victory Prima Pils

Brewery Rankings

Based on the total number of votes a beer from the same brewery received, the following list is of the top 50 breweries based on the voting. Seven California breweries made the list, with six from Colorado, and two apiece from Michigan and Oregon.

1. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
2. Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Mich.
3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif.
4. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif.
5. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.
6. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
7. New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo.
8. Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams), Boston, Mass.
9. Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, Ind.
10. Oskar Blues Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo.
11. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, Ill.
T12. Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, Calif.
T12. New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, Wis.
14. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.
15. Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio
16. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo.
17. Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, Colo.
18. Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, Colo.
19. Victory Brewing Co., Downington, Pa.
20. Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, Minn.
21. Rogue Ales, Newport, Ore.
22. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif.
T23. Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
T23. North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, Calif.
T24. Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, Calif.
T24. Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo.

Best Portfolio

They also determined which breweries got the most votes for different beers that they produce, and called that list “best portfolio.” The number following their name is how many of their beers got at least one vote.

1. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, 28 beers
2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 23 beers
T3. Avery Brewing Co., 18 beers
T3. Goose Island Beer Co., 18 beers
T3. Lagunitas Brewing Co., 18 beers
T3. Boston Beer Co./Samuel Adams, 18 beers
7. Bell’s Brewery, 17 beers
T8. Founders Brewing Co., 15 beers
T8. Great Divide Brewing Co., 15 beers
T8. Southern Tier Brewing Co., 15 beers
T11. Brooklyn Brewery, 14 beers
T11. Odell Brewing Co., 14 beers
T11. Rogue Ales, 14 beers
T14. New Belgium Brewing Co., 13 beers
T14. Russian River Brewing Co., 13 beers
T14. Stone Brewing Co., 13 beers
T17. Deschutes Brewery, 12 beers
T17. Three Floyds Brewing Co., 12 beers
T19. Boulevard Brewing Co., 11 beers
T19. Dark Horse Brewing Co., 11 beers
T19. New Glarus Brewing Co., 11 beers
T22. Alpine Beer Co., 10 beers
T22. AleSmith Brewing Co., 10 beers
T22. Great Lakes Brewing Co., 10 beers
T25. Cigar City Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. Flying Dog Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. Harpoon Brewery, 9 beers
T25. The Lost Abbey, 9 beers
T25. Shorts Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. Ska Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. Sprecher Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. Summit Brewing Co., 9 beers
T25. The Bruery, 9 beers

Top Imports

With a lot of ties, a few imports also received votes as readers’ favorite beers.

1. Rodenbach Grand Cru, Belgium
T2. Fullers ESB, England
T2. Guinness, Ireland
T2. Rochefort 10, Belgium
T5. Duvel, Belgium
T5. Saison Dupont, Belgium
T5. St. Bernardus Abt 12, Belgium
T8. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Germany
T8. Cantillon Gueuze, Belgium
T8. Chimay Grande Reserve, Belgium
T8. Orval, Belgium
T8. Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown, England
T8. Unibroue La Fin du Monde, Canada

Spirit of Homebrew

And finally, the “Spirit of Homebrew” list is compiled by taking the number of votes a brewery received and dividing it by their annual production. The idea is to reward smaller breweries for having big reach. I was amazed to see that four of the five are from California. Congratulations to Pat, from Alpine, for being the biggest little guy.

1. Alpine Beer Co., Alpine, Calif
2. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.
3. AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, Calif.
4. The Bruery, Placentia, Calif.
5. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, Mich.

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