Homebrewers Pick The Best Beers In America 2014

aha-new
For the 12th 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 twelfth year, over 1,600 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 2014.
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Top Rated Beers
KEY: T indicates tie / (#) indicates rank last year / No # indicates same rank as last year

Four of the top ten are California beers (there were seven last year), with 24 making the list. This is the sixth year in a row AHA members chose Pliny the Elder as the top beer. This also the fifth 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 (5)
4. Bell’s Hopslam
5. The Alchemist Heady Topper (16)
6. Lagunitas Sucks (9)
7. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (3)
8. Stone Enjoy By IPA (12)
9. Founders Breakfast Stout (6)
10. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (25)
11. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (17)
12. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (15)
13. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (20)
14. Three Floyds Zombie Dust (21)
T15. Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (23)
T15. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (9)
17. Firestone Walker Double Jack
T18. Firestone Walker Union Jack (23)
T18. Arrogant Bastard Ale (7)
20. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (12)
21. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA (8)
22. Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A. (42)
T23. Deschutes Black Butte Porter (27)
T23. North Coast Old Rasputin (12)
25. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (32)
26. Stone Ruination IPA (9)
27. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (not on last year’s list)
28. Russian River Pliny the Younger (39)
29. Left Hand Milk Stout (39)
30. Russian River Supplication (32)
31. Green Flash West Coast IPA (27)
32. Surly Furious (26)
33. New Belgium La Folie (32)
T34. Founders All Day IPA (not on last year’s list)
T34. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (30)
36. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale (19)
37. Stone IPA
38. Lagunitas IPA (36)
T39. Russian River Consecration (31)
T39. Troegs Nugget Nectar (27)
41. Deschutes the Abyss (48)
42. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (not on last year’s list)
43. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (21)
44. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (not on last year’s list)
45. Surly Abrasive IPA (not on last year’s list)
46. New Belgium Ranger IPA (not on last year’s list)
T47. Ommegang Three Philosophers (48)
T47. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (39)
T49. Founders Backwoods Bastard (not on last year’s list)
T49. Odell IPA (38)

Brewery Rankings

Brewery rankings are based on total votes received by each brewery’s beers. This year’s top brewery is Russian River Brewing Co., in Santa Rosa, Calif. Russian River placed five beers in the top 50, including both its Plinys. Bell’s Brewery finished second, while last year’s winner, Stone Brewing Co., came in third this year. Seven California breweries made the list, with six from Colorado, and two from Michigan. Again, (#) indicates their rank last year.

1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif. (2)
2. Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Mich. (5)
3. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif. (1)
4. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. (3)
6. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. (6)
7. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif. (6)
8. Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, Calif.
9. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore. (10)
10. New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo. (9)
11. Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, Ind. (12)
12. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, Ill. (18)
13. Ballast Point Brewing Co., San Diego, Calif. (not on last year’s list)
14. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo. (11)
15. The Boston Beer Co., Boston, Mass. (16)
16. Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, Mo. (17)
17. Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colo. (14)
18. New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, Wis. (19)
19. Victory Brewing Co., Downington, Pa. (24)
20. Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, Colo. (13)
21. Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, Minn. (not on last year’s list)
22. Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, Colo. (20)
23. Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio
24. The Bruery, Placentia, Calif. (not on last year’s list)
25. Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo. (not on last year’s list)

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.

1. New Belgium Brewing (60 beers) [7]
2. The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) (53 beers) [1]
3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (49 beers) [5]
4. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (48 beers) [2]
5. Stone Brewing Co. (46 beers) [8]
T6. Bell’s Brewery (41 beers) [6]
T6. Short’s Brewing Co. (41 beers) [not on last year’s list]
8. Deschutes Brewery (40 beers) [10]
9. The Bruery (38 beers) [11]
T10. Avery Brewing Company (37 beers) [3]
T10. Boulevard Brewing Company (37 beers) [9]
T10. Goose Island Beer Company (26 beers) [8]

Top Imports

With a lot of ties, a few imports also received votes as readers’ favorite beers. As in years past, there was a decidedly all-American bent to the voting. Of the top 50 beers in the poll, none were produced by a foreign brewery, although Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde claimed the number one spot among imports. Again, [#] indicates their rank last year.

T1. Unibroue La Fin du Monde (Canada) [4]
T1. Guinness Draught (Ireland) [3]
3. St. Bernardus Abt 12 (Belgium) [6]
4. Westvletern XII (Belgium) [not on last year’s list]
T5. Rodenbach Grand Cru (Belgium) [4]
T5. Duvel (Belgium) [10]

The Secret Life Of The American Beer Buyer

survey-analytics
Here’s an interesting survey that was just released by Survey Analytics entitled the The Secret Life Of The American Beer Buyer. They describe themselves as “an enterprise grade research platform that provides companies with feedback in over 30 industries.” Throughout the results of their “online consumer survey to capture sentiment on beer preference and purchasing habits,” they keep going back and forth between the terms “beer” and “craft beer” which seems to muddy the results somewhat. And given that results are rife with mass-produced big brewer brands I have to question the way the survey was conducted and whether it was meant to be beer or craft beer. It suggests a certain sloppiness or lack of understanding. It also points out how useless the distinction can be in practice, too. But here’s some of what the survey revealed.

  • Consumers average spend on beer annually is $1,270.00. That total amounts to about 115 six-packs at $10.99 each — or 211 pints at $6.00 a piece.
  • California brews the best beer said 19% of survey respondents. 15% of the survey respondents were from the Sunshine State.
  • Price isn’t the deciding factor for beer — only 5% of consumers take price into account when selecting a beer to purchase.
  • Advertising for beer brands is more important than ever. 33% of consumers say they associate their favorite beer brand with captivating advertising.
  • Home brewing trends continue to grow. 14% of respondents have brewed and enjoyed their own beer at home while 68% are interested in brewing lessons.

On their blog, they also created an infographic with some of the results.

craft-beer-survey-2014

And their press release offers additional insight into the findings:

Average consumer spends more than $1,200 a year on beer
Every year consumers shell out an average of $1,270 on beer. The highest reported amount was $10,000 while the lowest was just $100. Twenty-two percent of consumers buy and drink beer two to three times a week while 20 percent imbibe just once a week and 9 percent pop open a bottle more than five times per week.

Budweiser is a polarizing brand
The King of Beers managed to top the charts in both the best and worst brands of beer. Fifty-one percent of people rated it as their favorite while 46 percent named it their least favorite. The other brands that rounded out the best list: Coors (13 percent), Corona (12 percent) and Stella (10 percent). As for taste preferences, 33 percent of consumers prefer the taste of ale and 24 percent would rather have a lager.

Only 5 percent of consumers use price to determine favorite breweries
Surprisingly, a very small percentage used cost as the deciding factor for what beer they love most. What did they base their favorite brand on? Who has the best ads (32 percent), where the beer is brewed (29 percent) and what style of beer the brand makes (22 percent).

Craft beer and home-brewing trends continue to grow
Consumers don’t want to buy just any beer off the shelf — they want to invest time in creating their own brew or in learning about small microbreweries. Fourteen percent of people surveyed had brewed their own beer at home and enjoyed it while 68 percent are interested in taking craft brewing lessons from their favorite craft brands such as Dogfish Head and Breckenridge Brewery. What state shines as the best at brewing craft beer? Nineteen percent say California.

In addition, they created a couple of word clouds based on respondents most and least favorite beer brands.

Tell Us Your Favorite Beer Brand

brands-favorite-2014

Tell Us Your Least Favorite Beer Brand

brands-worst-2014

Great American Beer Bar Favorites Chosen

GABB2013_logo
CraftBeer.com, the consumer website for the Brewers Association released today the results of an online poll that took place in the last half of August. Here’s how they arrived at the 2013 Great American Beer Bar Selected by CraftBeer.com Readers. “CraftBeer.com asked readers to nominate their favorite craft beer bars in the country, and received over 5,000 nominations, a 117 percent increase from last year. The choices were then narrowed down to the 10 most nominated bars in each of the five regions of the country. Over 37,000 votes were cast in total, a 23 percent increase from last year, resulting in the top three overall and regional winners. Voting was conducted from August 19 until August 30.” I’ve never been to any of the top three, so I guess I’ve got some travel plans to make.

gabbmap_winners

The overall winners were roughly on the eastern half of the country.

  1. Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
  2. HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
  3. Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ

The Pacific (west coast) winners are as follows:

  1. The Bier Stein, Eugene, OR
  2. Toronado, San Francisco, CA
  3. Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse, Denali National Park, AK

Great to see the Toronado making the list.

Are Americans Turning Away From Beer?

gallup-poll
Well I can’t say that seems to be the case from my personal experience, but a new Gallup Poll is being spun that way, especially in an Atlantic article, Why Are American Drinkers Turning Against Beer? This particular Gallop Poll is done each year — since at least 1939 — and what you have to remember is that it’s a popularity poll, not necessarily a scientific one. The poll itself is conducted in a proper manner, but it’s asking people to “say what they drink” or “what they prefer.” And that’s far different from what the actual sales indicate. The last time I wrote about this was in 2010, when that year the Latest Gallup Poll Reveals Drinking At 25-Year High With Beer #1.

Gallop-2013-01

This year, the big story is “per capita consumption of beer down 20 percent,” as is overall production of beer. But as they continue to lump all beer together, when clearly patterns of drinking beer are changing, by keeping the poll simple they miss some of what’s really going on.

As my “beer brother” Lew Bryson commented. “Craft beer has been on a tear since 2002; latest figures have it up 15% annually (volume, 17% on $ sales). Volume sales of the majors are down, and trending downward steadily. Wine and spirits are picking up some of that, but craft is picking up a good share. It’s also worth noting that this IS a ‘what do you like’ poll, not ‘how much do you drink’ sales numbers. Beer still wins that by a sizable margin, both on volume and $ sales.” True indeed, when I wrote about this in 2010, beer outsold beer 4 to 1, showing just how skewed the difference is between what people say they like to drink, and what they actually drink.

One curious thing I wonder about these polls, and other alcohol data generally, is why alcohol is always divided up into these three tidy boxes? And where in these categories, if anywhere, is captured the sales, preferences or what-have-you for cider, alcopops, sake and other beverages that don’t seem to fit neatly into one of the big three. Are they ignored, or lumped into one of the three? It’s seems a fairly relevant question, since cider’s on a big upswing and alcopops have had their ups and downs, but certainly have to be part of the equation, especially when it comes to the all-important 18-29 demographic. But not even the full report gives any additional clues.

Gallop-2013-02

Another item that makes me question Gallup’s polling is the huge gains of bottled water. To me that has more to do with availability than anything else. It’s getting harder and harder to even find a water fountain these days, because business has figured out that people will pay for it when that have no choice.

Gallop-2013-03

Another explanation that didn’t ring true was that “American drinkers are more health-conscious today” and that’s led to people choosing other beverages, but even the author admits that this “does not adequately explain why Americans would turn against light beer,” as if that really is a healthy alternative. As I’ve said endlessly, low-calorie diet beer is hardly any healthier than non-light beers so that argument doesn’t hold any water … or even any watered-down beer.

Happily, the day after this story ran on the Atlantic’s website, the same author posted The Death of Beer Has Been Greatly Exaggerated, in which Derek Thompson shows that, despite the Gallop Poll, “total U.S. spending on all alcoholic beverages — both at home and at restaurants and bars — is up 27 percent since 1980 and even more since the mid-century.”

Gallop-2013-04

And as I mentioned earlier, beer currently still outsells wine by a significant margin, and his data also indicates that “beer volume still outsells wine volume by 8.5″ times! So it’s pretty hard to swallow once more that beer is on the ropes.

Gallop-2013-05

Thompson sums up his two days worth of articles:

The total amount of beer consumed by Americans is in structural decline, and there are more wine-drinkers than there used to be. But beer is still the most popular boozy beverage in America and overall sales are holding up, thanks in part to the emergence of craft beers.

Did we really need another Gallop Poll or Atlantic business writer to tell us that?

Beer Institute Releases Results Of New Beer Drinkers Poll

beer-institute
According to the Beer Institute (BI), recent economic analysis has revealed “that brewing and importing accounted for $223.8 billion in the economic output of the United States — with employees earning nearly $71.2 billion wages and benefits, and generating more than $44 billion taxes. In 2010, the last year tax statistics were available, 45 percent of what every beer drinker paid for a beer went to taxes of some kind, which “makes taxes the most expensive ingredient in your beer,” Joe McClain, president of the BI, stated.

The Beer Institute has just released a national poll of 1,000 likely voters, which found strong opposition to increasing taxes on beer. Nine out of 10 voters in the poll agreed that “raising taxes on beer will mean working class consumers will have to pay more.”

The poll also found that self-identified “beer drinkers” are a larger proportion of the electorate than self-identified supporters of either the Tea Party of Occupy Wall Street movement, and were evenly split between Republican and Democratic parties.

Beer drinkers are also more political than the average likely voter:

  • 68 percent of regular beer drinkers say they discuss what’s going on in the presidential campaign with friends or co-workers.
  • 66 percent of regular beer drinkers say they are going to be watching the presidential debates, meaning they are more likely to watch presidential debates than watch the World Series or an NFL game.
  • 25 percent say they will likely donate or contribute money to a political party, cause, or candidate running for public office.
  • 14 percent (or one out of seven) beer drinkers say they will likely volunteer for a political party, cause, or on the campaign for a candidate running this year.

Why Is This News? Beer Beats Wine!

beer-vs-wine
I never quite understand why this is even considered news at all? The L.A. Times is reporting that “Beer beats out wine as Americans’ booze of choice.” Their source for this so-called news is a new Gallup Poll entitled Majority in U.S. Drink Alcohol, Averaging Four Drinks a Week. But that’s not exactly news insofar as it’s been that way since the dawn of time, or thereabouts. The gallup poll is just a survey, of course, and prone to people’s prejudices and perceptions. So when they report that “Beer edges out wine by 39% to 35% as drinkers’ beverage of choice,” it’s hard not to laugh, and even harder to take it seriously. This is what people tell pollsters, and it’s pretty divorced from reality.

If you want a truer, more accurate picture of peoples’ tastes, look at what they buy. The World Health Organization, at their website, gives the following data, collected in 2005 (though it rarely changes by much):

Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 53%
  • Wine: 16%
  • Spirits: 31%

And the Ginley USDC 2010 reports that for 2009, the volume of alcohol sold in the U.S. — 3.3 billion cases — is divided as follows, giving beer an 85 share:

Alcohol Sales By Volume:

  • Beer: 85%
  • Wine: 6%
  • Spirits: 9%

And by retail dollars — a total $1.89 billion — beer still has a commanding lead:

Alcohol Sales By Dollars:

  • Beer: 52%
  • Wine: 14%
  • Spirits: 34%

It doesn’t really matter what people tell the voice on the other end of the phone when Gallup calls asking for peoples’ preferences, this is what they really drink. And while it does fluctuate over time, it’s been roughly like this as long as anybody can remember. Trying to turn it into something newsworthy takes a certain amount of opportunistic forgetfulness, ignorance and a willingness to ignore history.

And while somewhat petty, this also struck me in a way I couldn’t ignore, like someone slapped me. The author of the L.A. Times piece, Tiffany Hsu, refers to men as floozies, when she reports. “Men tend to be the biggest floozies, downing 6.2 drinks a week on average compared with 2.2 drinks for women.” Now I assume she owns a dictionary, and I was pretty sure what the definition of a floozy was. So after checking at least six dictionaries to confirm my suspicions — like it or not — a floozy is always described as a woman. It’s an old, archaic word you rarely hear these days, but it doesn’t mean someone who drinks too much, as she appears to believe.

There’s also other findings in the Gallup Poll results, part of their annual Consumption Habits poll, and some are interesting, if not altogether showing anything particularly novel or new. But toward the end of Gallup’s press release, they make this obnoxious statement in the conclusion, which they title “The Bottom Line.”

With drinking comes overdrinking, and despite possible reluctance by some respondents to admit problems, one in five drinkers — representing 14% of all U.S. adults — say they sometimes drink too much.

Okay, first of all, WTF! “With drinking comes overdrinking?” No it doesn’t. It’s hardly a fait accompli. Even by their own numbers, that’s twisted logic. 86% of the people polled say they don’t drink too much so one clearly does not follow from the other, now does it? And how about this for twisting; “one in five” is 20%, not even close to 14%. You can’t even say that’s rounding, it’s simply inflating the numbers. So much for even the illusion of accuracy.

And just the idea that one alcoholic beverage has “beat” the other is annoying, too. I may prefer beer, but as a cross-drinker — like most people, frankly — I don’t feel that they’re competing in an us vs. them kind of way. It seems only news outlets hungry for headlines pit the two against one another. The first sentence of the article is “Score one for beer.” What was the contest?

There are plenty of positive stories from the world of beer that mainstream media could be covering. As Garrett Oliver recently wrote in Food & Wine magazine, one of the Crimes Against Beer is its continuing lack of media coverage. Oliver writes. “The public is yearning for more knowledge about beer, and nobody’s giving it to them. Even though craft beer is more popular than wine in the US, every major newspaper has a wine column, and almost nobody has a beer column. What’s wrong with this picture?”

What’s wrong, indeed.

UPDATE: An interesting side discussion came out of my linking Garrett Oliver’s piece, Crimes Against Beer, in which he casually mentions that “craft beer is more popular than wine in the US.” I confess that when I first read that, I thought it couldn’t be correct, but since it wasn’t relevant to the broader point I was trying to make in this post, I didn’t dwell on it. Alan, from A Good Beer Blog, however, did, and used it as a launching point for his own post, Is All That Made Up Stuff A Problem With The Dialogue?. He also did a little digging this morning to get at the actual numbers, and between the two of us, here’s what we found. Alan looked at statistics gathered by the Brewers Association and the Wine Institute. He found that in 2011, there were 347 million cases of wine and 11,468,152 barrels of craft beer sold in the U.S. From that he concluded that craft beer volume is roughly one-third of wine. Being lazier than Alan, I looked at retail dollars from the same sources and saw that there was an “estimated $8.7 billion” in craft beer sales and $32.5 billion in U.S. wine sales. That works out to craft beer selling about 26.8% — just over one-quarter — of wine sales. So no matter how you slice it, craft beer sales are nowhere near that of wine sold in America. That number could be slightly higher, as my one quibble with this is that the Brewers Association definition of what it means to be a craft beer is fine for their purposes (which is membership-based) but is not practical in the real world where what makes a beer crafty is, to my mind at least, how it’s made and how it tastes. I do, for example, consider Blue Moon a craft beer. And that would change the numbers to some degree, but I suspect not enough to alter the fact that wine still outsells craft beer, at least for now.

Thirty Percent Of Americans Drink Once A Week

harris-poll
A Harris Poll conducted in March of this year concluded that Three in Ten Americans Drink Alcohol at Least Once a Week. The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, surveyed 2,379 adults between March 7 and 14, 2011. Not surprisingly, beer continues to be the most popular alcoholic beverage, followed by American wine and vodka. And men still drink beer more than women “75% vs. 50%.”

Harris-What_People_Drink-2011

Here are some other findings from the poll:

Question 1: “How often do you drink alcohol, including beer or wine?”

Harris-2001-1

Question 2: “How often do you drink alcohol, including beer or wine?”

Harris-2001-2

Question 3: “Which alcoholic beverages do you personally drink either at home or away from home? If you have mixed drinks, such as sours or martinis, please indicate the type of liquor they contain.”

Harris-2001-3

Question 4: “Although you may drink several types of alcoholic beverages, which one type would you say you drink most often?”

Harris-2001-4

Naturally, I have a couple of quibbles:

  1. Why did they separate out domestic and foreign wine, but not domestic and foreign beer?
  2. “It’s probably not surprising that men and women have different drinking preferences.” Maybe, but isn’t this something of a self-perpetuating prophecy? I know plenty of women who love beer and find wine too sweet. I also know women who claim to find beer too bitter but drink their weight in coffee. I can’t help but wonder if we keep reinforcing this by asking the question, and people respond with the answer they think is the case, which ends up making it real when maybe it’s not.
  3. “According to many doctors and medical studies, a glass of wine is good for one’s health. And even beyond wine, a drink, as long as it’s in moderation, is something that people shouldn’t be afraid of having.” Goddammit, why does this one persist, that “wine” is good for you but the rest are not? By omission, the statement implies that beer and other alcohol is not “good for one’s health” or at a minimum not “as” good which infuriates me. And adding the qualifying statement that “beyond wine” it’s okay to drink the other alcoholic drinks “as long as it’s in moderation” likewise implies that it’s healthful to drink as much wine as you like. How can they be so detail-oriented about the statistics involved in polling, and so ignorant in their statements of analysis? Sheesh.

Latest Gallup Poll Reveals Drinking At 25-Year High With Beer #1

gallup-poll
The annual Gallup Poll into American drinking habits was recently released. According to this year’s results, 67% of adults imbibe, a 1% increase from last year, and the highest percentage in 25 years. Also, the percentage of American abstaining hitting what looks to be the second-lowest number, 33%. Only around 1978-81 looks to have had fewer abstainers, which is great news since studies have shown that moderate drinkers tend to live longer than abstainers.

Gallup-2010-1

As has been the case in all but one suspect year, beer is the most consumer alcoholic beverage. I suspect, because even in the year people “reported” drinking more wine — 2005 — beer still outsold wine 4 to 1.

Gallup-2010-3

There’s some other interesting data about the demographics of current alcohol consumers. For instance, not surprisingly, there are more older abstainers. People with more education also drink more, and those with the least education comprise the majority of abstainers. Protestant Christians, followed by Catholics, have the largest number of abstainers.

Gallup-2010-2

And finally, by age and gender, men drink more beer, as do older people, regardless of gender. Somewhat surprisingly, the area of the country with the highest percentage of beer drinkers is the Midwest, followed by the East coast, the West coast with the South having the least.

Gallup-2010-4

Zymurgy Poll Picks Best Beers In America

aha
Zymurgy magazine, which is published by the American Homebrewers Association for its members, today released the results of their latest poll, asking their readers to “readers to send us a list of their 20 favorite beers. The only rule [was] that the beer [had] to be commercially available somewhere in the United States. A record number of votes were cast this year, with 1,192 different beers from 450 breweries represented in the poll.” So while the name of the poll is 2010 Zymurgy Best Beers In America, the list does include a few imported beers that are sold in the U.S.

For the second year in a row, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder took the top spot.

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2010 Zymurgy Best Beers In America Poll

  1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
  2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
  3. Stone Arrogant Bastard
  4. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  5. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  6. Stone IPA
  7. Tie for 7th
    • Bear Republic Racer 5
    • Guinness
    • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine
    • Sierra Nevada Celebration
  8. Stone Ruination
  9. Tie for 12th
    • North Coast Old Rasputin
    • Sierra Nevada Torpedo
    • Rahr Winter Warmer
    • Rahr Ugly Pug
    • Rahr Iron Thistle
  10. Tie for 17th
    • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
    • New Glarus Belgian Red
    • Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
    • Duvel
  11. Tie for 21st
    • Lagunitas IPA
    • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
    • Rahr Storm Cloud
    • Saison Dupont
  12. Tie for 25th
    • Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
    • Rahr Bucking Bock
    • Ommegang Three Philosophers

That’s the top 25, but the top 50 can bee seen at Zymurgy’s press release.

They also picked the top 25 favorite breweries, of which Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, Texas was number one and they “tabulated which breweries had the most brands in the voting. That honor went to Boston Beer Co. with 22 of its Samuel Adams brews getting votes. Dogfish Head was close behind with 20 brands.” You can also see the full list of Beer Portfolios and Favorite Breweries at the American Homebrewers Association website.

Portland Food Writer Goes Negative

thumbs-down
This is just disappointing. A writer at the Portland Mercury, Patrick Alan Coleman, missed the point of the Beer City USA poll by Charlie Papazian and the Brewers Association and instead took things negative with this missive.

Normally I wouldn’t be concerned about something from the Examiner. But Asheville, NC? We’ve got to take them down. We’ve got more “beer city” in the backwash at the bottom of our pint glasses than can be found in all of their pubs and breweries.

Dude, you should be ashamed of yourself. This is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be about civic pride, beer pride, beer community pride and building up support for your hometown. It’s not supposed to be about tearing down the other communities. It’s not about insulting other communities. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’ve never even been to Asheville or probably any other beer towns, either, because you come off like a provincial bigot. You’re not helping your community. Both towns have a lot to offer, beer-wise. It goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of Portland and have many, many friends in the Rose City. And I hope they all do the right thing and denounce you for being so antithetical to what makes the broader craft beer community so great: the sense of community that’s bigger than any one town.