Drinking Across America: A Look at the 25 Best Microbreweries in the Country

Monday, December 10, 2007 at 3:07am by admin

By Jessica Merritt

If you think Bud Light is the best beer in America, prepare to have your world rocked by these purveyors of high quality beer. In our collection of microbreweries, you’ll find people that truly love the craft of beer making. They place a high value on beer that offers flavor, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, a strong character and independent spirit. A visit to any of these breweries, from the ultra-micro to the larger craft brewers, is sure to please the accomplished beer drinker and newbie alike.

  1. Anchor Brewing Company: San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company offers a beer experience that you just don’t see often these days. It’s made in a gorgeous brewery modeled after traditional, historic brewhouses. Because of this, each brew is "virtually handmade," a quality that beer lovers are sure to appreciate. Their most famous beer is Anchor Steam, which has a uniquely rich flavor. Make a reservation to tour their brewery and see how beer is made in this brewery that embraces the brewhouses of old.
  2. Full Sail Brewing Company: The "specialists in the liquid refreshment arts" at Full Sail are "stoked to brew," and it shows through their beers. This employee owned brewery in Oregon is home to award-winning beers like the Full Sail Amber, IPA, LTD and Wassail, which all picked up a gold medal at this year’s World Beer Championships. Even better, the brewery is located (and open for tours) in Hood River Oregon, a gorgeous little surf town that’s a favorite of windsurfers and skiiers alike.
  3. Real Ale Brewing Company: Located in the Texas Hill Country, Real Ale is a nice place to stop by if you’re on a scenic drive. They use the nearby Blanco river for brewing water, which Owner Brad Farbstein touts as "some of the best brewing water for the styles of beer that we make." Their tours and tasting hours are on Friday afternoons, making a stop by the brewery a great way to kick off your weekend with a good quality beer.
  4. Stone Brewing Company: Stone brews "big character" beers, like their intensely strong Arrogant Bastard Ale, which, by the way, you’re not worthy to drink. The brewery has a restaurant and beer garden in which you’re free to enjoy their tasty brews.
  5. Saint Arnold: Beer lovers, from connoisseurs to frat boys, love to visit Saint Arnold’s. Why? Their tours are essentially a beer drinking free-for-all party. Held every Saturday at 1, visitors are treated to a history of beer and the brewery, followed by a celebration with free flowing taps and a fun ambiance. Spend one of four tokens to fill a glass, whether it’s a small one provided with the tour, or a large glass purchased from the brewery. Some of their best-loved brews include the Brown Ale, which offers a slight hint of chocolate pudding, and the Fancy Lawnmower, a beer that won the Kolsch gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival this year.
  6. Redstone Meadery: The Redstone Meadery is unlike any of the other breweries on this list, as they create something completely different. Redstone’s tiny brewery puts out honey wine, or mead, an ancient beverage enjoyed by drinkers from Vikings to Beowulf. Six of their meads won medals at the International Mead Festival, including their 2002 Reserve and Sunshine Nectar, which earned Gold. Just the meadery’s aroma is enough to turn you on to their brews: a visit to their facility is sure to be sweet.
  7. Avery Brewing: Avery brews perhaps some of the hoppiest beers in Colorado. As "big beer" lovers, this family owned brewery’s team of hopheads creates intensely flavored brews that are favorites among beer afficionados. Just think of your favorite brewery’s specialty ale: nearly every one of their beers is just as big and robust. These beers are sure to please, as is a visit to the brewery, where you can sample all of their creations and even try cask ales that you can’t find anywhere else.
  8. Flying Dog Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery takes the cool prize. These brewers used to be friends and neighbors with Hunter S. Thompson, and use artist Ralph Steadman for all of their labels. But their excellence doesn’t stop there. They have some truly awesome beers, ranging from the Horn Dog barley wine to the In Heat Wheat. If you tour the brewery, you’ll have a chance to drink a fresh brew straight from the fermenter, and even check out the unique whiskey distillery next door.
  9. Left Hand Brewing: Left Hand’s philosophy is all about balance: of fun activities and of great beer. They work towards a perfect balance of malt and hops, a process that’s evident in all of their beers. This year alone, they’ve raked in 9 awards for their brews, including their intriguing Juju Ginger Ale, which was awarded Best of the Rockies in the Spiced Beer category at the US Beer Tasting Championships.
  10. Dogfish Head: Dogfish has some strong, special brews that hopheads are sure to love. They have a line of time-hopped IPAs, ranging from 60 to 120 minutes. They also have a complex Raison D’Etre, which was voted American Beer of the Year by Malt Advocate Magazine in 2000, and the Midas Touch Golden Elixir, a beverage that showcases ingredients that were found in drinking vessels in King Midas’ tomb. Check out both their brewery and brewpub if you’re in the Delaware area.
  11. New Belgium Brewery: For New Belgium, like many others, brewing is a labor of love. From delivering beer by station wagon to becoming the country’s first brewery to subscribe to wind-generated electricity, this brewery has a rich history and rich beers to match. Their Belgian-inspired brews are a treat, particularly the Sunshine Wheat, a refreshing hefeweizen with a citrus bouquet.
  12. Rahr and Sons Brewing Company: Rahr & Sons is a family owned brewery in North Texas. The brews are only available in Texas, but they’ve won national awards. Rahr’s Blonde Lager, Ugly Pug, and Summertime Wheat have all been recognized at the US Beer Tasting Championships.
  13. Redhook: Redhook’s beers "defy ordinary." Their flagship beer, the ESB, or extra special biiter, is styled after bitters served in England. They have recently merged with Widmer Brothers Brewing Company, the brewers credited with bringing the hefeweizen to America.
  14. The Lost Abbey: The Lost Abbey has beers for saints and sinners alike, offering beers modeled after the brews created by monks in Belgium as well as numerous other styles. At the Great American Beer Festival this year, The Lost Abbey took home three medals, and was crowned the nations’ best small brewery.
  15. Rogue Brewery: Rogue’s founders fled the corporate life in favor of the food and beverage industry. Significant brews include the Brew 10,000, which was brewed in a limited batch using ultra premium ingredients, and the Chipotle Ale, dedicated to Spanish author Juan de la Cueva. Most recently, their Imperial Stout took a Bronze medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, and Shakespeare Stout took Guld at the Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival.
  16. Russian River Brewing Company: Russian River is an example of what happens when a skilled champagne company, in this case Korbel, tries their hand at brewing beer. It’s now owned by a husband and wife team and has won numerous awards, from gold medals for individual beers to Champion Brewery and Brewmaster. Their adventuous beers include a double IPA and wine barrel-aged ales.
  17. Lagunitas: Lagunitas prides themselves on "steadily losing less money each month," a feat achieved by the growing popularity of their quality beers. From their Imperial Stout to seasonal ales like the Lagunator, you’re sure to find something tasty.
  18. Allagash Brewing Company: Allagash started out brewing a Belgian Wit beer, Allagash White, and has expanded to a variety of bottle conditioned beers. This involves a second fermentation in the bottles after the initial fermenting in tanks. It adds an air of complexity to the beers, and the novelty of drinking a "living" beer.
  19. New Glarus Brewing Company: New Glarus was founded by Deborah Carey, the first woman to found and operate a brewery. They have recently moved to New Glarus, Wisconsin, and their facility, currently under construction, is designed to look like an old-world Switzerland town square. Their most popular brew is the Spotted Cow, a blonde ale. Also notable is the Wisconsin Belgian Red, which has won a number of awards worldwide. Last year, New Glarus took the Midsize Brewery of the Year award at the Great American Beer Festival.
  20. Deschutes Brewery: Deschutes is located on the banks of the Deschutes river, offering a small brewpub and specialty brewing facility. They have a number or unique beers, from the Obsidian stout to the Jubelale.
  21. Big Sky Brewing: Big Sky "makes water fun" by pouring their hearts into every beer. Their beer sells in thirteen states, most popularly in Montana. Their brews include Moose Drool, Scape Goat, and Big Sky IPA.
  22. Harpoon Brewery: Harpoon is one of the largest craft breweries in New England, due in large part to their great beer. Located in both Massachusetts and Vermont, they’ve been a large part of the rebirth of microbrewing. They’re best known for the Harpoon India Pale Ale, but their Munich Dark, hefeweizens, and brown are not to be missed.
  23. Great Divide Brewing Company: Great Divide, based in downtown Denver, offers a number of challenging beers. The most popular is the Denver Pale Ale, followed closely by the Hibernation ale. So far, they’ve collected twelve awards from the Great American Beer Festival. They have since ventured into "big beer" territory, producing beers like the Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout and Hercules Double IPA.
  24. Independence: Independence’s Rob Cartwright started out brewing beer with his mom at the tender age of 14. Since then, he’s brewed beers for both personal consumption and hand-crafted style. This Austin beer offers loads of flavor and easy drinking. Independence beers include the seasonal Jasperilla Old Ale, Bootlegger Brown Ale, and Freestyle Wheat Beer.
  25. Bear Republic Brewing Company: In the heart of wine country, Bear Republic offers an award winning beer experience. Ingredients at Bear Republic are hand-selected, and recipes are developed over several years. Their Racer 5, Red Rocket, and Heritage ales have been recipients of gold, silver, and bronze medals. This brewery was awarded the Great American Beer Festival’s Small Brewing Company of the Year.

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  1. FOUL!!!!
    Where is Sierra Nevada on this list?????? You can’t hardly begin to talk about microbrewing in the US without Sierra Nevada. It was started by two guys in a garage in northern California in 1980. what a boo-boo on your part.

    Comment by Karl — December 10, 2007 @ 4:09 am

  2. Sierra Nevada isn’t a microbrew, dumbass.

    Comment by Stryker — December 10, 2007 @ 4:19 am

  3. I agree with most on the list except St. Arnold. Terrible, sweet-tooth beer made for folks who are used to “sweet tea.”

    Comment by Bad Ben — December 10, 2007 @ 4:26 am

  4. I also agree with most of these… Though I’m hoping they aren’t in sequential order. I don’t know if I’d put Anchor 1st. Yes, they were instrumental in bringing back the micro, but there are definitely better quality beers out there (many of which are on the list!).

    As expected, the South is under-represented. But we’re working to change that.

    Comment by Jonathan — December 10, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

  5. There won’t be one comment agreeing with your list.

    Except this one.


    I’m an Anchor Steam man myself.

    Comment by Justin — December 10, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  6. To Stryker, before you start insulting people, you might want to know what you’re talking about. The colloquial definition of a microbrewery is one that produces a small or limited amount of beer. The technical definition is less than 15,000 barrels per year. Sierra Nevada Brewing will produce somewhere around 750,000 barrels. However, of the breweries already on this list, at least eleven of them brew more than 15,000 barrels a year, so asking about Sierra Nevada shouldn’t provoke such a rude response. If you know they’re already breaking the technical definition, what’s wrong with adding one more? If you want to be fussy (and clearly you can’t help yourself), complain about Redstone Meadery which is not a brewery of any size, micro or otherwise.

    Comment by Jay Brooks — December 10, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

  7. I’ve only had Redhook and New Belgium beers off this list – there’s a whole world of other brews to sample next time I’m in the States. Thanks!

    Comment by Jack from eyeflare.com — December 10, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  8. Great list, and I’m sure everyone could add a few more of their favorites. If you are in Portland, Oregon, you may want to check out the Lucky Labrador (www.luckylab.com). While the food is only slightly more interesting than your typical pub, the scratch beers are quite unique.

    Comment by Howard Abrams — December 10, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  9. Jessica, good and thoughtful list you’ve got here. By nature, lists will always be met with a critical eye, but you’ve done a really good job on this, representing a number of regions and tastes…

    Comment by Rick Sellers — December 10, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  10. Don’t for get about Bells beer out of Kalamazoo Michigan.

    Comment by Conor Murphy — December 10, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

  11. I’ve got to add Founder’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Comment by Joe4founders — December 10, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

  12. What about Magic Hat, Ommegang, or North Coast? I don’t know if they fit in to Jay’s stringent definition of a ‘Micro-brewery’ but I’m not privy to the aforementioned brewerys’ production schedules.

    Comment by Chuck — December 11, 2007 @ 12:22 am

  13. I would like to see Pizza Port on this list. The take home some serious awards at GABF and are perhaps one of the best breweries in the great San Diego tradition. IPA anyone? How about a Hop 15? But for my money, I can drink Shark Bite 365.

    Comment by diesel — December 11, 2007 @ 3:04 am

  14. Pizza Port needs to be on this list!

    Comment by rubexcube — December 11, 2007 @ 3:09 am

  15. What about Blue Point’s Hoptical Illusion? It is delicious!

    Comment by shawn collins — December 11, 2007 @ 4:02 am

  16. How about Erie Brewing Company? They started out as a brewpub but became a regional craft brewery in the late 90s. Their Railbender Ale is Outstanding (check out the rating page at the Beer Advocate website) and their OL Red will knock you on your butt if you’re in the mood. If you live in or near PA, MI, IN, OH, NY, NJ or MD treat yourself to some for the Holidays.

    Comment by Freya — December 11, 2007 @ 4:13 am

  17. I’ve had nearly all of these beers, but the best thing of Flying Dog is the Steadman bottles. The beers themselves are very poor IMO.

    Comment by zakk — December 11, 2007 @ 4:15 am

  18. Bells is seconded. They beat the pants off most of these guys. Maybe a little too micro to even make the list?

    Comment by Seth — December 11, 2007 @ 9:48 am

  19. Four Peaks of Tempe AZ.
    Kilt Lifter


    Comment by Lonely — December 11, 2007 @ 11:08 am

  20. I was hoping to see Terminal Gravity, from Oregon. Blacklab is also wonderful. And the creative brews of Mcmennamins.

    Comment by well, it is not really by, but from — December 11, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  21. The list isn’t bad, if you’re making a list of the top 25 microbreweries whose beers are distributed on the West Coast (actually, based on the choices, I’m assuming the writer lives in Texas). But if you’re really going for best in the country, you have to travel east of the Mississippi and try the great East Coast beers for yourself.

    Dogfish Head and Allagash are good breweries, but they’re not the only world-class breweries on this coast. Victory, Troegs, and plenty of others deserve a spot as well.

    Comment by Chris — December 11, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  22. I’m sorry you missed the award-winning Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland. I’m also sorry that Red Hook’s Black Hook is so hard to find.

    Comment by mr.ed — December 11, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

  23. What?!? No Abita Srpings ?!? Pure anti-Louisiana bias!

    Actually, I agree with most of the list, but if you haven’t had a chance to try an Abita Amber or Turbodog, you should.

    Comment by Lee — December 11, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

  24. Great list, but pity you left out geographical data )you know, city and state), I thought this was a travel-related website.

    Comment by Filip — December 11, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

  25. Sierra Nevada?!? What horrible crap that is. Take a base (and not very good) beer and add flavored syrup? Southern Tier Brewing near Jamestown NY, now that’s good stuff. Unearthly, Uber Sun…..MMMMMMM

    Comment by Maxwell — December 11, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

  26. I didn’t expect to see it on the list, as I believe they are only local, but McNeils in Brattleboro, Vermont is the finest beer this beer afficianado’s had in all the world.

    Comment by Matthew — December 11, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  27. Free State Brewery Lawrence, Kansas.
    Oatmeal Stout and the Cyclist.

    Comment by KS Expat — December 11, 2007 @ 7:05 pm

  28. Northcoast Brewing in Fort Bragg, CA. I don’t know if they are really are a microbrewery, by the strict definition. Nevertheless, their Red Seal Ale is fantastic.

    Comment by Ariel — December 11, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  29. Maxwell, I can see why you were too afraid to leave a way to contact you. Sierra Nevada is “horrible crap?” And you think they add “flavored syrup?” I’m not sure what you’ve been smoking, but you got the bad stuff. Sierra Nevada for all its size is one of the best breweries with the highest standards of quality anywhere in the world and believe you me, I’ve visited a lot of breweries. You can say you don’t like them, I may not understand that, but I’d defend your right to hold that opinion. But to say what you said is honestly to show how little you really know about beer and/or brewing.

    Comment by Jay Brooks — December 11, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

  30. ‘focus on open fermentation, oak aging, and bottle conditioning we are dedicated to elevating the craft of brewing into an art’
    BeerAdvocate’s 2007 #8 Dexter, Michigan’s:
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales LLC. jollypumpkin.com

    Comment by Sleeping Bear — December 12, 2007 @ 3:51 am

  31. What about bell’s?

    Comment by nate — December 12, 2007 @ 9:18 am

  32. Good list, but what about Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Their IPA is one of my favorites. Plus its a great place to visit, with a disc golf courese and all.

    Comment by Herbert Jones — December 12, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

  33. Check the definition of “microbrewery”. Not one of these breweries can fit that definition. They are all at least regional breweries.

    Comment by Dave — December 12, 2007 @ 11:32 pm



    Comment by bend — December 13, 2007 @ 3:12 am

  35. Dave, actually a microbrewery is defined as producing under 15,000 barrels annually. Less than a dozen on this list produce more than that. But that’s the technical definition, the more colloquial definition is simply one that produces a small or limited amount. Relative to A-B’s 101,000 annual production or even Coors’ 22,645 barrels in 2006 I’d say they all fit the spirit of that definition.

    Comment by Jay Brooks — December 13, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  36. Uhhh, no Three Floyds? These guys have the #1 Imperial IPA on ratebeer.com, plus their two versions of Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout rank in the top 6 BEERS IN THE WORLD on the overall ratebeer.com list.

    Mayhap some research next time will have you question this. Dogfish Head is good, too. Overall it’s a pretty good list. I wouldn’t recommend ANYTHING by Flying Dog, and I have had some St. Arnold’s stuff. The Elise is great, but the Lawnmower? Please, that’s not a Kolsch, it’s a friggin’ light beer!

    Comment by Jez — December 13, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  37. How about Great Lakes Brewing Co. out of Cleveland, Ohio? I’d put ‘em over Flying Dog any day.

    Comment by OhHoItsJoe — December 14, 2007 @ 12:56 am

  38. Matthew, Matthew, Matthew. There is a code amongst us McNeill’s fans! You can’t go around giving out the secret of McNeill’s! Yes, their beers are by far better than any of those on the list, but why tell everyone? They are small, and probably wouldn’t be able to produce enough for everyone who reads this site! When I go to McNeill’s I want my supply of Duck’s Breath, Dead Horse, Pullman’s Porter, and Ringworm. Aww heck, nobody could find the place anyway. See ‘ya there Matthew…I’ll be sitting on the throne.

    Comment by Jason — December 14, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  39. How could you ever had agreement on the best beers or breweries among any significant number of beer lovers?
    I love lots of my local beers here in Seattle, but there are great ones wherever you go. I love looking up local microbreweries everywhere I go, its like an easter egg hunt.

    Comment by Austin — December 18, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  40. Some great places on this list and some I’d replace with others (Bell, Founders, North Coast,Victory could be on there) but it’s also cool seeing New Glarus on there. Curse them for making their fine nectar only available in WI though…I reroute driving trips from time to time just to swing through the state and pick some up.

    Comment by Melad — December 19, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

  41. Bad Ben, how can you rag on my boys down at St. Arnold like that? Damn, and you seemed like such a nice guy when I met you last month. :-)

    Seriously, which St. Arnold did you have? Their IPA, winter stout, spring bock, and Christmas ale are all fantastic stuff.

    I do agree with previous posters who question the lack of Sierra Nevada on this list. SN belongs here well before Independence or Rahr & Sons. So does Victory.

    Comment by Lee — January 8, 2008 @ 4:59 am

  42. You missed the midwest. I have been 3 on this list and of those (red hook and bear republic) are beat out by Upland (Bloomington, IN) and 3 Floyds (Munster, IN). My opinion, I know… but I had to share it.

    Comment by Keith — January 14, 2008 @ 4:15 am

  43. To find these and every other craft brew in the U.S. and most of Canada, check out http://www.pubquest.com.

    Comment by Julie — January 21, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  44. Decent list, I’ve had almost all. A lot of Colorado, except for the best one, which is O’Dells of Fort Collins. I’m happy to see New Glarus which, also, is the second best Wisconsin brewery behind Central Waters of Amherst. And of course, two great Michigan breweries, Bells, as many have mentioned, and Dark Horse, which is my personal favorite overall.

    Comment by squib — March 23, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

  45. Boulder Beer Company has a couple awesome brews! Hazed and Infused, nice floral and hoppy notes..and their Mojo is the best IPA out there! They offer some really cool cycling jerseys…looked stylin out in Moab!

    Comment by Jen — May 21, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  46. Where is Shiner bock on this list????

    Comment by Drew — July 16, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  47. St. george brewing company out of Hampton, Virginia should be at the top of the list.

    Comment by Arya — August 29, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

  48. @Drew… The Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner Bock) has grown a lot over the last 15 years and now produces over 300,000 barrels a year, and wouldn’t be considered a micro brewery (15,000 barrels/year or less).

    Another to consider for the list.. Heartland Brewery in NYC. It’s consistently named the best micro in New York City. I’ve tried a few from their line and they were all great. http://www.heartlandbrewery.com

    Comment by Kevin — October 10, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

  49. Someone should mention the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, WI during the second Saturday in August

    Breweries that have excellent beers there are as follows:

    Kuhnhenn Brewing, MI

    Surley Brewing, MN

    New Albanian Brewing Co., IN

    Arcadia Brewing, MI

    Dragonmead, MI

    Lake Louie, WI

    Ale Asylum, WI

    Tyranena Brewing, WI

    Comment by Mike — November 4, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

  50. Oscar Blues in Longmont is one of my new favorites around these parts. The best 25 breweries in the country are the last 25 I tried. Keep tasting new beer and all will be well.
    ps, I brew some badass beer myself.

    Comment by Seth — March 11, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  51. What about Magic Hat or Long Trail….? VT beer baby

    Comment by Jack — April 5, 2009 @ 2:44 am

  52. U’ve got good pics, the site could use a tiny bit of work (no offense) its still awesome

    Comment by guaranteed issue health insurance — May 20, 2009 @ 10:27 am

  53. can you recommend a site where I can order micro brews as a christmas present…either for 6 month or 1 year????


    Comment by carla turner — October 6, 2009 @ 12:20 am

  54. Mike hit the nail on the head regarding the Great Taste of the Midwest – too bad he posted this almost a year ago. Those are some really good breweries.

    Surly Brewing in Minnesota is the real deal. Every beer they make is unique and has a ton of character. Try Surly Furious, and hops will be re-defined for you. If you can get a hold of anything with the name Surly on it, try it.

    Comment by Steve — October 15, 2009 @ 12:13 am

  55. Ommegang, Victory, Brooklyn… Where are they on this list?
    I’m not sure who compiled this list, but it’s far from complete. Or accurate. In my opinion.

    Comment by Stevie — October 27, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

  56. Like others have posted, I can’t believe Flying Dog is on this list. I have tried about five different types of brew they make, and each one was in the bottom 1/3 of all beers of its respective type. They need to seriously tweak recipes if they have any interest in being around for a long time.

    Comment by Greg Johnson — December 4, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  57. Maybe 4 or 5 of these breweries would make my personal list at most. This is so subjective it is sheer arrogance to label such a list “the best 25 microbreweries in the country.” It is the author’s (highly questionable) opinion, that is all.

    If this list had simply been entitled “my favorite 25 microbreweries in the country” despite disagreeing for the most part I wouldn’t have said a thing, but this kind of jerkishness can’t pass without comment.

    Comment by sid v — December 4, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

  58. Bells is the biggest omision on your list. have you ever tried their beer? amazing.

    Comment by charley — December 30, 2009 @ 1:39 am

  59. Comments from snooty douchebag beersnobs can be expected in any list of this type but geez, ya’ll commenters went out of your way showin’ your ass here! Thanks to for the hilarity and thanks to the author for taking the time to put this list together (greg johnson can go f*ck himself btw, he must be one of those asshats from 10 barrel brewing).

    Comment by danerator — January 10, 2010 @ 3:18 am

  60. There are many great ones one this list true….. Before I add I will point out that this list is titled WEST COAST. So for all you dumbasses that wrote you would add micros from Michigan, learn to fuckin read. With that, Ninkasi(Eugene) Widmer Bros,(Portland) And newer Hop Valley (Springfield)

    Comment by Tyler Smith — January 11, 2010 @ 3:43 am

  61. Where is Great Lake Brewing Company, Christmas Ale is Heaven in a glass!

    Comment by Jason — January 26, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  62. yo you totally need to have 3 floyds and bells brewing company on your list and russian river needs to be at the number 1 spot !!

    Comment by Hoff dawg — February 12, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  63. I actually think this is a pretty good list. Got quite a few of my favorites on there… I’m definitely missing some Magic Hat up there, though. Kudos man.

    Comment by Tara — March 10, 2010 @ 11:43 pm

  64. I don’t understand how anyone can put together a list like this and leave out Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, Ohio. Hurray for the comment about Christmas Ale!!! Commodore Perry IPA is outstanding!!! 7 gold medals in 2008!!!! Here, here for Great Lakes!!

    Comment by Michael — April 30, 2010 @ 3:11 am

  65. actually siera navada is a craft brewery.
    siera pale ale is my second favorite, and the best one i know of so far is middle ages brewery Syracuse new york

    Comment by redwun — June 7, 2010 @ 12:27 am

  66. pardon my spelling lol i’m drinking ale today

    Comment by redwun — June 7, 2010 @ 12:27 am

  67. Hands down, Oregon has the best microbreweries. Portland has the most microbrews per capita in the world!

    Comment by caseyk — August 9, 2010 @ 6:05 am

  68. Great List. Flying Bison’s ‘Bird of Prey’, a seasonal brew from the city of no illusions, Buffalo New York & Blue Point’s “Hoptical Illusion’ (Long Island, NY) are excellent IPA’s.

    Comment by Jeff Whitney — October 17, 2010 @ 1:42 am

  69. come on. Sweet water has to be in the top 25

    Comment by josh — November 22, 2010 @ 10:40 am

  70. Bell’s out of Kalamazoo, MI has the best IPA I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried a lot of them. Try the Two Hearted Ale and you’ll be greatly surprised.

    Comment by John O'C — December 31, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  71. you left southern tier[upstate-n.y.]and blue point brewery[long island-n.y.],i’ve taste most on your list,and those are my two top breweries,hands down

    Comment by thor — January 11, 2011 @ 12:27 am

  72. This person has only tased the big micro brews in the country, manly the west cost, very bias, breweries like long trail and ship yard that are not on the list who only sell to a few states in the north east, shipyard having a top 25 beer in the world…..(pumpkin head) this person is a cali prick who has no clue what a real beer taste like.

    Comment by Bossman2k7 — March 11, 2011 @ 6:44 am

  73. It is impossible to rate the “best” beers based on what you get in your nearest bottle shop for many reasons. Some are the age of the beer, bottles access to light, climate changes during shipment, personal preferences and ones own biases based on reading websights, magazine articles and what the self proclaimed “beer experts” tell them. Bells and Southern Tier are slowly expanding (as are most of the other brands people have mentioned). Southern Tier wasn’t even heard of in California at the time of this rating, and still isn’t available throughout most of CA. My personal favorite is Southern Tier, but I live near the brewery. If I lived in CA., I would probably be celebrating at 420 (Lagunita’s, the best IPA in the USA).

    Comment by tauruslw33 — April 25, 2011 @ 3:13 am

  74. Why is everyone dissing Flying Dog?? Raging bitch is a great brew. Also I believe there are some key breweries missing: Victory, Starr Hill, Kona, Magic Hat, Ommegang, Brooklyn, etc… Also I am not a big fan of Redhook.

    Comment by ghappel — April 29, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  75. Sierra Nevada (IS) a Micro-brewery and it’s listed as one, the second largest in the US.
    It has several brews, some seasonal- And they all ROCK!

    They know what they are doing there, hands down !

    Pale ale, Porter and Summerfest…… Mmmmmm.

    Comment by pthor — May 5, 2011 @ 2:40 am

  76. Dragonmead. Warren, Michigan. Gold medals. Very micro. See the wikipedia article for an overview. Brews lots of small batches to type. If you go there, get food at “Lazy Bones” (a half mile awsy, which is owsned by the former sous chef from Southfield, Michigan’s Golden Mushroom (now closed).
    Michigan Brewing Company, Webberville, Michigan.
    Arcadia Brewing, Battle Creek. Nice place to stop, and some very good beers. I really liked “Cereal Killer.”

    Comment by Stan from Warren — August 30, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  77. Michigan houses some of the best microbreweries in the country! Where are Frankenmuth Brewery and Bell’s on this list? They definitely deserve a shout-out in my opinion. Frankenmuth’s Oktoberfest (www.frankenmuthbrewery.com/beer) is the best part about fall for me!

    Comment by Cassandra — October 12, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  78. Guys should check out fordam/ old dominion in delaware

    Comment by Joe — October 25, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  79. Great Site, your plugins are very useful and save me a tonne of time.fdwaww

    Comment by replica jewelry — January 28, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  80. What about Cigar City Brewing( Tampa, Fl)? Beer Advicate rates CCB as a World Class Brewery. Also, Sweet Water and terrapin out of Ga. I guess the author did not want to venture south for this article.

    Comment by Brad Landis — December 9, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  81. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see if
    it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.

    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is
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