New list calls Dogfish Head country’s best craft brewer
Another list ranking the country’s top craft brewers will be released tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. You will be pretty close to the first reading about this. So, yeah, another list. What is behind this one.
The folks at the Daily Meal, a pretty big food and beverage web site and blog, brought 57 craft beer industry insiders together to nominate who they thought should be on a list of the best craft brewers in the country. They put a list together that totaled 72 of the biggest and best, some obscure and regional, others national. The list was not based on size but on quality. This list was then presented to the public for a vote to determine the top 25. After about a month, over 11,500 votes came in from around the country
The vote counts weren’t released, jut the list. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to the post in it’s entirety, but I’ll see if I can give enough of the highlights to make it worthwhile.
Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head Brewery in 1995 in Milton, Del, and quickly gained a reputation for great beer. He has won multiple awards for his big IPA style beers as well as his high gravity experimental ales. They consolidated their operation over the last few years, allowing them to concentrate on expanded capacity, and they will be reintroduced into many states, including Tennessee, that has not been able to purchase their beer for a few years.
Rounding out the top five, we have Stone, Boulevard, Founders, and Cigar City. Boulevard used to distribute here, but somehow that got screwed up and they are out. Founders has been intimating they have plans to distribute here, and it looks like that might finally come to fruition within about a year. Cigar City is gaining fans rapidly with their big beers, and a tripling of their capacity last summer may allow them to start to distribute, again, outside of Florida.
New Belgium, Lagunitas, Bell’s, Russian River, and Sierra Nevada bring in the top ten. These all seem pretty legitimate. Russian River at nine may ruffle some feathers. As the maker of Pliny the Elder, widely considered as one of the best beers made, ever, they should have gotten some bonus points for that. But as a company that nets over 51 percent of their profits from taproom sales, and as another company that drew back on distribution, you must know your beer to know of them.
Another brewery that is widely known to the beer nerds, or snobs, or aficionados, however you want to look at it, but not widely distributed is Three Floyds. They came in at twelve, so right in with the best of the best. Avery, Oskar Blues, and Rogue come in at thirteen through fifteen, with national distribution.
The highlights of the last ten include Boston Beer, the biggest craft beer maker, sliding down to twenty, with Green Flash, Ommegang, and Victory at 19 through 17 above them.
New Glarus, another small regional brewer getting to be known in the community is in at 23. Ohio’s Great Lakes hits at 24, and America’s original, even before Boston and Sierra, Anchor Brewing, closes out the list.
Another interesting list, but pretty defensible. Everyone has their favorites, usually small local joints that only a few people see. Having brewers like New Glarus and Three Floyds on the list really says something about their beer. Get some if you can.
Time for a pint. Cheers!