Are these the best beers in America?

This week, Zymurgy—a publication of the American Homebrewers Association—released its annual list of the best commercial beers in America, which were voted in by members of the organization. The results are, well, familiar. Here’s a look at the top five beers:

Zymurgy’s 2013 Best Beers in America
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
4. Bell’s Hopslam
5. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

These are all fantastic beers, and definitely some of the best in the country, if not the world—I actually enjoyed a Sculpin last night. Browsing the top 50 beers, it’s clear hoppy beers are continuing to rise in popularity, but you probably don’t need a list to tell you that. What is interesting is how similar this list looks to last year.

Zymurgy’s 2012 Best Beers in America
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
4. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
5. Stone Arrogant Bastard

And the year prior:

Zymurgy’s 2011 Best Beers in America
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3T. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
3T. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
5. Bell’s Hopslam

And, for good measure, the year before:

Zymurgy’s 2010 Best Beers in America
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

There’s not much to read into this beyond the apparent fact that the majority of Homebrewers Association members who vote like hoppy beers, which certainly mirrors most craft beer drinkers. But, just because the top ranked beers haven’t changed much in the last few years, doesn’t mean the list is stagnant: Lagunitas Sucks, Stone Enjoy By and The Alchemist Heady Topper are a few newcomers that cracked the top 50. And, because this list relies on people actually tasting the beer, notable breweries with limited distribution like Hill Farmstead, which was named the “Best Brewery in the World 2013” by Ratebeer.com, are absent—The Alchemist is an exception.

So what’s the biggest take-away from this year’s list? It’s full of phenomenal beer. Figure out which ones you haven’t tried and get drinking.


Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
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