Everytime someone creates a list of the top anything, there’s always a bit of a backlash over the choices, or methodology, or something. It’s hard — strike, that — impossible to please everybody in these sort of things. People love lists (I know I do) but picking the “best” is a fool’s errand. So I appreciate that Serious Eats didn’t even try. Instead, when they chose one beer from each state, they didn’t declare them to be the top, or the best or even the most popular. For their 50 States, 50 Beers We Love, they just chose ones that they … well, loved. They may not all have even been their favorites, though I think we can infer that some of them may be a favorite. It’s a list you can’t argue with, because there’s no aggrandizing or sweeping pronouncements. It’s just what they like, pure and simple. As such, I think it has a great chance of provoking discussion, because if you love a different beer you’re not saying I disagree, you’re saying I also love this beer, too.
Take my home state of California. They chose Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. And it’s hard to argue with that. I love that beer, too. Is it the best beer in California? Who cares? It’s a great beer among probably hundreds of other California beers that I also love and could easily have made the list.
So check out their choices. Or as they put it. “This map celebrates beers we love in every state—a beer we’d be certain to pick up at every stop on that road trip of our dreams. Some are cultworthy favorites that require camping out at the release party, while others are really well made porch sippers that you can pick up at your local store. Some evoke happy memories, while others are showstoppers that grab your whole attention.”
And start working on your list of beers you love. That’s a list I can get behind. Plus, I love this flag that Robyn Lee created for the article. This is a flag I’d run up the flagpole and although I probably wouldn’t salute it, I would drink a toast to it.