Beer May Lessen Chronic Pain

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Here’s another study you won’t see reported by Alcohol Justice, because it goes against their propagandist mantra. A study conducted at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland essentially found that the moderate consumption of alcohol might lessen chronic pain, especially in people with fibromyalgia, defined as a “a syndrome characterized by fatigue and chronic pain in the muscles and in tissues surrounding the joints.”

Drinks Business summarized the findings:

In a study of over 2,000 sufferers of chronic widespread pain, those who often consumed above average amounts of alcohol had lower levels of disability than those who never or rarely drank.

The research into sufferers of fibromyalgia — a rheumatic condition that causes muscular pain and stiffness — surveyed patient’s eating and drinking habits to determine the effect of diet on their symptoms.

Of the 2,239 people surveyed, those who drank 21 to 35 units of alcohol per week were 67% less likely than to experience disability than those who didn’t drink.

The study itself was published on the July issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research under the title “Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk (and severity) of chronic widespread pain: Results from a UK population-based study.”

Aberdeen also put out a pdf with the basics of the study and here’s the Abstract:

Objectives: To determine whether reported level of alcohol consumption is associated with the likelihood of reporting chronic widespread pain (CWP) and, amongst persons with CWP, the associated disability.

Methods: A population-based study in two areas of the United Kingdom. Participants self-completed a postal questionnaire. They were classified according to whether they met the American College of Rheumatology definition of CWP and whether the pain was disabling (Chronic Pain Grade III or IV). They reported their usual level of alcohol consumption. Potential confounding factors on which information was available included age, gender, cigarette smoking, employment status, self-reported weight and height and level of deprivation.

Results: 13,574 persons participated (mean age 55 years; 57% female) of whom 2239 (16.5%) had CWP: 28% reported never regularly consuming alcohol, 28% consuming up to 5 units/wk, 20% 6-10 units/wk and 24% more than 10 units/wk. Amongst persons with CWP, disability was strongly linked to level of alcohol consumption. Prevalence of disability decreased with increasing alcohol consumption up to 35 unit/wk (Odds Ratio (OR)21-35 units alcohol/wk v. never drinkers 0.33 95% CI (0.19,0.58)) adjusted for confounders. A similar relationship was found between reporting CWP and level of alcohol consumption (adjOR21-35 units alcohol/wk v. regular drinkers 0.76 95% CI (0.61-0.94).

Conclusions: This study has demonstrated strong associations between level of alcohol consumption and CWP. However the available evidence does not allow us to conclude that the association is causal. The strength of the associations means that specific studies to examine this potential relationship are warranted.

So while the researchers believe more study is necessary to confirm a causal connection, they do believe there are “strong associations” between moderate drinking and chronic widespread pain, and that those are robust enough to warrant additional study.

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NYC Gives Bad Advice During Heatwave

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So right now many places are going through a heatwave, even where I am in Sonoma County has had some very unseasonably hot days. But apparently New York City is having a particularly bad time, with temperatures close to 100° F. On Monday, New York mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to assuage New Yorker’s fears and offer suggestions on how to stay safe during the heatwave. Also on hand at the event with the Mayor was the commissioner of the Department of Health, Mary Bassett, who “told New Yorkers not to crack open a frosty lager or pour themselves a crisp ale in a chilled glass” during the heatwave, warning them about “the perils of alcohol and caffeine, both dehydrating diuretics, for those who must labor in the sun.” She’s quoted in the Observer.

“Water is the best beverage for staying hydrated. Beer is not,” she said.

Unfortunately, at least as long as ago as 2007, studies have shown that not to be the case. As I reported in late 2007, in Forget Gatorade, Drink Beer, a Spanish study has concluded that the best thing you can drink after playing vigorous sports is not Gatorade, but beer. Specifically, the study found that for the dehydrated person, beer helps retain liquid better than water.

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What would you rather down after sweating yourself silly either in a soccer match, mowing your lawn or simply enduring a blazing sun heatwave, Gatorade, water or this?

The main reason is that water doesn’t replenish electrolytes or other chemicals that the body loses when sweating. Water’s great, don’t get me wrong, it is up to 95% of what makes beer. For example, the UK’s NHS cautions against using just plain water, saying dehydrated persons “shouldn’t be given water as the main replacement fluid because it can further dilute the minerals in their body and make the problem worse.”

When you’re dehydrated, you lose sugar and salts, as well as water. Drinking a rehydration solution will enable you to re-establish the right balance of body fluids. The solution should contain a mixture of potassium and sodium salts, as well as glucose or starch.

Even Gatorade would probably be a little better than just water for severe dehydration that’s associated with a heatwave, although the Spanish study found that beer is even better.

For the study, Garzon asked a group of students to perform strenuous exercise in temperatures of around 104ºF. Half the subjects were given a pint of beer after the workout, the other half the same quantity of plain water. Garzon said the hydration effect in those who drank the beer was “slightly better.”

Juan Antonio Corbalán, a cardiologist who formerly worked with Real Madrid soccer players and Spain’s national basketball team, insists that beer has the “perfect profile” for a rehydrating beverage after sports. Corbalán adds that he has long advocated the drinking of barley-based beverages by professional athletes.

Of course, beer being a diuretic means you’ll lose some liquid through urination, and there aren’t any appreciable electrolytes in beer. But then there aren’t any in water, either, so advising just water seems like poor advice at best. Even critics to the Spanish study, like James Betts, an expert on nutrition and metabolism at Bath University in England, admits that “a moderate amount of beer might be as effective as water at helping the body with liquid retention.” So again, NYC’s position that people should lay off a cold beer and stick to only water seems pretty out to lunch.

Apparently, a C. Johnson, who’s a Theoretical Physicist has come up with Gator Beer, a beer that would apparently include electrolytes and other chemicals lost during perspiration such as sodium (already in beer), potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Sadly, no one is currently making Gator Beer.

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I’m sure Mary Bassett is a lovely person, but you wouldn’t know it from this photo of her supplied by the mayor’s office, where she looks exactly like the sort of person who would say “no” to a beer.

Pyramid Closes Berkeley Brewery

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North American Breweries announced today that effective immediately, they’ve closed the Pyramid Brewery that’s been located in Berkeley, California since 1997. That leaves just the Walnut Creek alehouse remaining in California, after they closed the Sacramento brewpub in 2013.

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At Pyramid’s website, it offers only the following by way of explanation.

The Pyramid Berkeley Alehouse is now closed.

Thank you so much for your support and patronage over the years! We also want to thank our employees for their dedicated service. Our other locations remain open and available to provide great beers and a wonderful experience. We hope to see you there.

The East Bay Express has a bit more of the story, explaining “Berkeley’s Pyramid Alehouse (901 Gilman St.) is now permanently closed, according to a message on the restaurant and brewery’s answering machine.”

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Of course, the story isn’t complete without acknowledging that they haven’t been brewing at that location since 2013, when the brewers voted to unionize and shortly thereafter the company suspended brewing claiming it was to “fix a quality issue.” Which was obvious nonsense, especially now that the closure has gone from temporary to permanent. The original “temporary” period to “fix” the brewery was supposed to be 6-9 months, which meant it should have reopened and brought back the laid-off brewers sometime between March and June of 2014, or a little over one year ago.

This is, at least in part, what happens when breweries become part of larger businesses like equity firms, who only care about profit and bottom lines, and not the businesses themselves. Pyramid is part of North American Breweries (NAB), and was created in 2009 when equity firm KPS Capital Partners (KPS) bought it along with Magic Hat, Portland Brewing, Labatt’s USA, Genesee and a couple of other brands. In 2012, KPS sold NAB to Cerveceria Costa Rica, a subsidiary of Florida Ice & Farm Co., for $388 million.

East Bay Express later added this update, apparently from a press release from NAB:

The company decided to close its Berkeley facility in order to prepare the building for sale — “after an extensive evaluation process. “We have made the decision to focus our West Coast production in our Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington locations,” said CEO Kris Sirchio.

Frankly, that’s about as believable as the celebrity or political figure embroiled in scandal who retires “to spend more time with his family.” I’m sorry to see the brewery go, but frankly NAB has become a difficult company with many layers to get through before finding an actual live person who can, or will, answer questions about the company’s brands. When Sacramento closed, I spent hours on websites and phones just trying to find someone who would comment or answer questions, and this time I’m not even going to try, given how awful it was last time. One commenter on the EBE piece said, “[w]ord on the street is that another brewery is looking to purchase the property,” so perhaps we’ll have good news about the location soon.

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R.I.P. Pyramid Berkeley 1997-2015.

Breastfest Returns To Marin This Saturday

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This Saturday, the Breastfest moves back to Marin, and will be held this year at the Fairground Island at the Marin Civic center in San Rafael. The fest starts at Noon tomorrow, and tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door. Either way, it’s supporting a great cause. Over 60 breweries and 10 wineries coming together in hopes of raising money for a cancer clinic offering alternative treatments for low-income women with cancer. The new location is awesome When I first moved to Marin, we lived near the Civic Center and spent a lot of time there. It’s a great spot for a festival.

The Breastfest is a unique fundraiser in that it is organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of the proceeds goes directly to low-income women who are battling cancer right now. These women are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends and they are truly grateful for your support. This cause is particularly personal to me, as I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was only 21 years old.

For its 15th year of fundraising, The Breastfest beer festival has a new location back in beautiful Marin County at the Marin Center on the Fairground Island. The fundraiser will feature endless eats and bottomless cups at no additional charge. Sip beers from 38 of the best California Breweries while listening to live music and supporting a great charitable cause.

All the Proceeds from the popular event will benefit Oakland’s Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, an award-winning non-profit women’s health provider. A pillar of low-income medical care in the Bay Area, Charlotte Maxwell has supported and saved thousands of lives by providing complementary integrative treatments for low-income women with cancer for 25 years. To date, the Breast Fest is the largest fundraiser for the clinic, which does not receive public funds.

A free-of-charge clinic that specializes in complete care for those who need it most, the clinic’s innovative comprehensive care model supports women medically and financially during treatment, giving a safety net that allows for full recovery.

The festival has also partnered with Lyft to get you to and from the Breastest safely. Get affordable rides within minutes after downloading the mobile app.If you’re new to Lyft, sign up with the promo code BREASTFEST for a free first ride up to $20. Once you download the app, create an account and enter the code in the ‘Payment’ section.Drink responsively and designate a drive or arrange a lift with LYFT!

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Duvel Invests In Firestone Walker

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Earlier today Firestone Walker Brewing — in a carefully worded press release — announced that Duvel Moortgat and Firestone Walker “will combine their two companies in the USA.”

Here’s they said it on their website, at Firestone Walker news:

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And this was the press release sent out:

July 16, 2015 – Kansas City, Mo., & Paso Robles, Ca. – In an agreement signed earlier this week, Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Duvel Moortgat will combine their two companies in the USA. The California brewery will continue to operate independently in Paso Robles under its current leadership of David Walker and Adam Firestone.

David Walker and Adam Firestone, joint founders of Firestone Walker said: “The Firestone Walker and Duvel Moortgat families have combined forces to broaden their capacity and scope as brewers. Long admirers of each other’s beers, culture and breweries, the two teams saw the perfect fit for an alliance. The partnership will allow Firestone Walker to develop our capacity across the US in a conservative and thoughtful way by consummating a life long tie with this family-owned international craft brewer, who continue their commitment to participating in the American Craft Revolution.”

“The relationship I have built with David and Adam made Firestone Walker the perfect fit for future growth,” said Michel Moortgat, CEO of Duvel Moortgat. “We share the same values; have a great mutual respect for each other’s achievements and a deeply-held belief in exceptional quality as a platform for long-term success. Bringing Firestone Walker together with Boulevard, Ommegang, Duvel and the other craft breweries in our family creates a stronger platform in the USA for us both and allows us to collaborate on brewing in different locations across the USA”

“The most important thing that we can do for Firestone Walker is to help David and Adam manage the exponential growth that their team and their brewery is experiencing right now by providing financial and production capacity to support them,” said Simon Thorpe, President of Duvel Moortgat USA. “We are not integrating our organizations. Both Boulevard and Ommegang are also enjoying tremendous success and we still have much to do in realizing our dream for both these breweries.”

The transaction between Duvel Moortgat and Firestone Walker is expected to close later this year. It is an agreement between two private, family-owned companies, so no financial or contractual details will be disclosed.

It will be interesting to see how this is the same or different from the deal Duvel did with Boulevard Brewing almost two years ago, from which Boulevard seems to have emerged unscathed and doing well, both in terms of quality and public perception. At this point, it appears it may be similar, with very little changing in terms of day to day operations of the brewery and with all the key people remaining in place.

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Nielsen Beer Numbers Show Where Growth Is Happening

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Earlier today, Bart Watson, the BA’s economist, tweeted a chart from Nielsen entitled “Craft Beer is a Staple Out West and Growing Across the Country.” The chart is from a new report released yesterday, called Tapped In: Craft and Local Are Powerful Trends in the Beer Aisle. It shows three columns of data, including dollar share, percentage change of dollar volume versus last year and changes in dollar share versus last year. This is for “craft beer,” which Nieslen defines slightly differently than the BA, if memory serves.

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The top five markets for share of craft beer are on the west coast, three of them in California: San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. The bottom five are all midwest and east coast, though only Washington DC is a particularly large market, with the other four being somewhat smaller. The top five each represents market in which craft enjoys roughly one-third of all beer sales, which is amazing to me given where we were just ten or twenty years ago.

In terms of change, Birmingham, Alabama is the surprise winner with an astonishing 63.1% growth in volume over last year. Although equally surprising is San Diego who despite being the third largest market for craft, also grew 22.5% more on a large base, and was the fourth highest in volume growth.

Of the categories Nielsen tracks, cider is the one most on fire, with volume up 43.2%. Next is craft beer with 10.2%, tied with Mexican beer, although craft has the edge in percentage change in value, though I’m not entirely sure how that’s calculated. Super Premium, Premium, and Sub Premium are all trending down, with negative numbers, though not by much. Sub Premium is losing the most ground, down 3.5% by volume.

In addition, Nieksen surveyed beer drinkers about how much they care about their beer being local.

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If you’re unfamiliar with Nielsen, they track sales data in primarily larger, chain outlets like groceries, convenience stores, liquor and drug chains, etc. as opposed to beer stores and more independent or unique sales avenues. But because they’ve been collecting consistent data for a number of years, their information is usually pretty reliable and a decent snapshot of what’s going on across the country. Here’s some more of their analysis regarding where people are buying beer.

At the end of June 2015, craft beer accounted for 11.9% of the total dollar volume of the beer category in the U.S. It’s worth noting, however, that craft’s market share varies significantly by channel. For example, it has a much larger share in the grocery channel (20.1%) than the convenience (4.6%) and drug (8.7%) store channels, largely because grocery stores have significantly more floor space available, which allows for greater assortment and options for consumers. That said, however, the convenience channel holds the title for being the leader for overall beer sales, and craft is making a strong run there, growing at a faster pace in the convenience channel (+21.4%) than in grocery stores (+13.7%) for the 52 weeks ending June 20, 2015.

AB-InBev Buys Pioneering Brazilian Brewery

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Cervejaria Colorado was one of Brazil’s first small breweries when it opened in 1995. I met founder Marcello Carneiro in Argentina when I was there for beer judging in 2011. He’s one of the most fun-loving people I’ve ever met and I’ve since seen him in Brazil and also stateside a few times. He announced earlier today on Facebook that AmBev would be acquiring his brewery. Here’s the Google translation of the announcement:

Dear friends of the bear, we are very happy to formalize you that now the Colorado it becomes part of the group Ambev, along the breweries beer! In 1995, our founder, Marcelo Carneiro, started his journey in the country and put the breweries Colorado on the international market, solidifying a company that today bill around $18 million per year. 20 years ago we work with dignity and fight for the cause brewery, we gain strength and tread a path of large awards, authenticity and it will now be even better! We will continue to develop Brazilian genuinely revenue, our DNA. The Union of the brands will make it possible to increase the capacity of distribution of Colorado and, of course, to our dear Marcelo to devote even more to research of ingredients. Our commitment to the lovers of good beer is still strong and the dream that unites the two pubs is the recovery of the Brazilian beer, with ingredients Brazilians and produced for consumers from north to south of the country. Unite is to make this dream a reality, the dream of the Brazilian school of beer! A toast and hug from bear.

AmBev, you may recall, is the Companhia de Bebidas das Américas, a Brazilian brewing company, and the largest in Latin America and 5th worldwide. It was established by a merger of Brahma and Antarctica in 1999. After more business dealings, mergers and acquisitions, today is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. AmBev makes Antarctica, Brahma, Bohemia, and Skol, and in addition has a controlling interest in the popular Argentine brand Quilmes.

AmBev also released a statement, which I’ve used Google Translate to make more understandable as my Portuguese is worthless:

COLORADO NOW IS THE TIME OF THE BREWERY BOHEMIA

Breweries unite the passion for beer and the search for innovation

The dream of creating a Brazilian school of beer, based on the valuation of culture and national ingredients, joined our Brewery Bohemia Brewery and Colorado. The mark of São Paulo is now part of our team, bringing their tradition, quality, passion and daring.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to achieve my dream with Cervejaria Bohemia. When I founded the Colorado 20 years ago, always wanted to give a national touch to recipes and create a Brazilian school of beer, as there is the German and Belgian. I know that together we will make it happen, “says Marcelo Cerneiro, founder of Colorado.

Wakswaser Daniel, director of marketing for Cervejaria Bohemia, also celebrates the partnership: “It’s a time of celebration for the Brazilian culture. Our union allows further spread the knowledge brewing across the country. Consumers will have more choices, varied beers, unusual income and undisputed quality. ”

The Colorado follows with manufacturing in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo. All labels will be maintained and the union with Bohemia Brewery will bring innovation to the portfolio. With the alliance, the distribution of power increases, enabling the brand to bring more beer enthusiasts throughout Brazil.

So it appears that the acquisition will merge Colorado with AmBev’s premium division headed by Cervejaria Bohemia, just as Wäls did in February, when AmBev bought them, as well. Also, in May, they acquired the Bogotá Beer Co., which is/was Colombia’s largest craft brewer.” So it appears there’s some long term plan for Latin America, just as we’re seeing here in the United States, too.

Marcelo’s also announced what his role will be going forward. “My job is international consultant, for a minimum of five years. My task will be to open new roads for Colorado, talk to business partners, represent the brand that I fought for 20 years. My fight has always been and will continue to facilitate the consolidation of a typically Brazilian brewing school, and it will never be abandoned.”

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Bia Amorim, me and Marcello after a beer dinner in São Paulo in 2011.

Jeremy Warren Leaving Knee Deep

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Knee Deep Brewing Co. founder Jeremy Warren announced earlier today via Facebook that effective August 3 he’ll be leaving the brewery he started five years ago. Here’s what he’s saying so far:

The past 5 years has been a great ride with Knee Deep Brewing. From my half bbl home brew in my garage to 11,000 bbl in an 18,000 sq. ft. warehouse! I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement.

Your constant kind words and criticism keeps us Brewers on our toes in making the best beer possible.

With that said, it is with a bittersweet feeling that I’m announcing my separation from Knee Deep Brewing effective August 3rd.

Don’t freak out! I will be announcing my new project soon!

I will not disappoint!!

So it sounds like he’s already cooked another project and will leave Knee Deep intact, which is great. Join me in wishing him well on his next adventure.

UPDATE: The Sacramento Beer published a follow-up yesterday about Jeremy’s resignation that includes speculation that he’ll be opening his own brewery, which naturally is what we’re all thinking. But co-founder Jerry Moore, who’s also apparently the majority owner of Knee Deep, states “he was not surprised by Warren’s decision and he insisted that Knee Deep will not skip a beat.” He then adds this:

“Knee Deep owns those recipes and I own Knee Deep,” said Moore, noting that Warren has been a minority owner. “Knee Deep will continue to make all of the beers we’ve been making. We have four full-time brewers who have been making these beers.”

I don’t want to read too much into that statement, especially since I don’t know Jerry Moore, but it’s hard not to see it as inferring an issue or issues that led to Warren’s departure.

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Jeremy Warren from a recent article in Sacramento Magazine.

Lagunitas Announces Third Brewery

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I’ve been traveling most of this week, so I missed the announcement Wednesday by owner Tony Magee when he unveiled plans for a third brewery on Twitter. When I interviewed him for a profile piece in in Beer Connoisseur magazine in 2012, he was already thinking about a third location after Chicago was up and running, but at that time was leaning toward New Orleans. But it turns out the new brewery will be in Southern California in the town of Azusa, which is in the San Gabriel Valley and is part of Los Angeles County, about 25 miles east of the city of L.A. This third brewery is a whopping 178,000-square feet and will reportedly have “an initial capacity of 420,000 barrels” which can be raised to one million barrels over time. By contrast, Chicago, when completely finished, will be able to brew 1.2 million barrels a year, and when an expansion in Petaluma is done, they’ll go from a capacity of 450,000-bbl to 750,000-bbl.

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Tony teased out the new space on Twitter with this blueprint.

It’s location is also “spittin’ distance” from the Miller facility in Irwindale. Construction has apparently already begun and is expected to open by early 2017. The decision was prompted by nearing capacity in Petaluma, which is expected to be at 85% in about 18 months. Magee said the L.A. space will be “similar in scale and operation to their Chicago brewery,” so that’s pretty promising. If it’s anything like the Chicago brewery, which I just visited Monday, it will be spectacular.

UPDATE: Lagunitas posted some photos of the ongoing construction which has already begun in Azusa.

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Homebrewers Pick The Best Beers In America 2015

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For the 13th straight year, 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 thirteenth year, over 1,900 different breweries were represented in the voting. 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, as usual, printed in the latest issue, July 2015.
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Top Rated Beers
KEY: T indicates tie / (#) indicates rank last year / [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

Four of the top ten are California beers (the same number as last year), with again 24 making the list. This is the seventh year in a row AHA members chose Pliny the Elder as the top beer. This also the sixth consecutive year that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale came in second.

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder [↔]
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale [↔]
3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA [↔]
4. Stone Enjoy By IPA (8) [↑4]
5. Founders Breakfast Stout (9) [↑4]
6. The Alchemist Heady Topper (5) [↑1]
7. Bell’s Hopslam Ale (4) [↓3]
8. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (14) [↑6]
9. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (7) [↓2]
10. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (13) [↑3]
11. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA (not on last year’s list)
T12. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro (not on last year’s list, though plain Milk Stout was 29)
T12. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale [↔]
T12. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (20) [↑8]
15. Goose Island Bourbon Country Stout (10) [↓5]
16. Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A. (22) [↑6]
T17. Arrogant Bastard Ale (18) [↑1]
T17. Founders KBS (11) [↓6]
T19. Russian River Consecration (39) [↑20]
T19. Russian River Supplication (30) [↑11]
21. Deschutes Black Butte Porter (23) [↑2]
T22. Firestone Walker Parabola (not on last year’s list)
T22. Firestone Walker Union Jack (18) [↓4]
T24. Firestone Walker Double Jack (15) [↓9]
T24. Odell IPA (49) [↑25]
T24. Tröegs Nugget Nectar (39) [↑15]
27. Founders All Day IPA (34) [↑7]
T28. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (27) [↓1]
T28. Sierra Nevada Celebration (15) [↓13]
30. Lagunitas IPA (38) [↑8]
31. North Coast Old Rasputin (23) [↓8]
32. Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (15) [↓17]
T33. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (not on last year’s list)
T33. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (25) [↓8]
35. Surly Furious (32) [↓3]
36. Stone Ruination IPA (26) [↓10]
37. Deschutes The Abyss (41) [↑4]
38. Green Flash West Coast IPA (31) [↓7]
39. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (44) [↓5]
40. Cigar City Jai Alai (42) [↓2]
T41. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (47) [↑6]
T41. New Belgium La Folie (33) [↓8]
43. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (36) [↓7]
44. Founders Backwoods Bastard (49) [↑5]
T45. Victory DirtWolf Double IPA (not on last year’s list)
T45. Fat Head’s Head Hunter (not on last year’s list)
T45. Lagunitas Sucks (6) [↓39]
T45. Stone IPA (37) [↓8]
T49. Odell Myrcenary (not on last year’s list)
T49. Russian River Pliny the Younger (28) [↓21]
T49. Ballast Point Victory at Sea (not on last year’s list)

Brewery Rankings

Brewery rankings are based on total votes received by each brewery’s beers. This year’s top brewery is the same as last year, Russian River Brewing Co., in Santa Rosa, Calif. Russian River placed five beers in the top 50, including both its Plinys. Stone Brewing finished second, while Bell’s Brewery came in third, exchanging places from last year.

finished second, while last year’s winner, Stone Brewing Co., came in third this year. Eight California breweries made the list (one more than last year), with five from Colorado, and two each from Michigan and Pennsylvania. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA [↔]
2. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA (3) [↑1]
3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI (2) [↓1]
4. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI (6) [↑2]
5. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA (7) [↑2]
6. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA & Mill River, NC (5) [↑1]
7. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE (4) [↓3]
8. Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, CA & Chicago, IL [↔]
9. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA (13) [↑4]
10. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR (9) [↓1]
11. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO (10) [↓1]
12. Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO (20) [↑8]
13. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO (14) [↑1]
14. Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN (11) [↓3]
15. Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO (17) [↑2]
16. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL (12) [↑4]
17. New Glarius Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI (18) [↑1]
18. Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN (21) [↑3]
19. Tröegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA (not on last year’s list)
20. The Bruery, Placentia, CA (not on last year’s list)
21. Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA (not on last year’s list)
22. The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA (15) [↓7]
T23. Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO (22) [↓1]
T23. Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL (not on last year’s list)
T25. Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA (19) [↓6]

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. (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. [60 Beers] (3) [↑2]
2. Stone Brewing Co. [54 Beers] (5) [↑3]
3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc. [52 Beers] (6) [↑3]
4. New Belgium Brewing [47 Beers] (1) [↓3]
5. Avery Brewing Co. [39 Beers] (10) [↑5]
T6. Goose Island Beer Co. [37 Beers] (10) [↑4]
T6. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery [37 Beers] (4) [↓2]
T8. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. [35 Beers] (not on last year’s list)
T8. The Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) [35 Beers] (2) [↓6]
T8. The Bruery [35 Beers] (9) [↓1]

Top Imports

With a few ties, several imports also received votes as readers’ favorite beers. For at least a second year in a row, Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde claimed the number one spot among imports. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year, while [Arrow indicates their movement over the previous year].

1. Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, Canada [↔]
2. St. Bernardus Abt 12, Belgium (3) [↓1]
3. Rodenbach Grand Cru, Belgium (5) [↑2]
4. Guinness Draught, Ireland (1) [↓3]
5. Saison Dupont, Belgium (not on last year’s list)
T6. Orval, Belgium (not on last year’s list)
T6. Chimay Grande Reserve/Blue Label, Belgium (not on last year’s list)
8 Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, England (not on last year’s list)
T9. Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier, Germany (not on last year’s list)
T9. Cantillon Gueuze, Belgium (not on last year’s list)