Craft Beer

Pliny the Elder has once again been named the best commercial beer by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). Made by Russian River, Pliny the Elder is a very popular and often hard-to-find double IPA.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Pliny the Elder has come out on top in this poll. Over 18,000 craft beer-loving, Zymurgy-reading, AHA members voted. They were able to choose up to 20 commercial beers they enjoyed.

The poll shows that trends for commercial beer preferences have been mostly stable in recent years. Craft beers are heavily represented. IPAs continue to be popular. West Coast breweries, especially Californian ones, are making in-demand beers (Russian River was ranked #1 brewery). The Midwest, too, remains a hotbed for the production of quality craft beer.

“The members of the American Homebrewers Association, made up of experienced homebrewers who participate in this annual poll, are among the most knowledgeable craft beer drinkers in the nation,” said Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. So their selections “reflect the highest quality beers available from the best brewers out there.”

The American Homebrewers Association’s complete list of “Best Beers in America,” as published in Zymurgy, is republished below. It’s a great look at what the thinking American craft beer drinker seeks in a brew.

Top-Ranked Beers (T indicates Tie)

  1. Russian River – Pliny the Elder
  2. Bell’s – Two Hearted Ale
  3. The Alchemist – Heady Topper
  4. Ballast Point – Sculpin IPA
  5. Ballast Point – Grapefruit Sculpin
  6. Founders – Breakfast Stout
  7. Three Floyds – Zombie Dust
  8. Bell’s – Hopslam
  9. Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Stout
  10. T – Deschutes – Fresh Squeezed IPA
    T – Stone – Enjoy By IPA

Top-Ranked Breweries

  1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.
  2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
  3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich.
  4. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif.
  5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. and Mills River, N.C.
  6. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.
  7. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, Calif.
  8. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
  9. Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, Calif. and Chicago, Ill.
  10. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.

Top-Ranked Beer Portfolios

  • Stone Brewing Co. – 67 beers
  • Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – 47 beers
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – 47 beers
  • Avery Brewing Co. – 42 beers
  • New Belgium Brewing – 41 beers
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – 39 beers
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Company – 38 beers
  • The Bruery – 38 beers
  • Boulevard Brewing Co. – 37 beers
  • Founders Brewing Co. – 33 beers

Image credit: “Russian River IPA’s” by Adam Barhan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.