With any numerical list comes the inevitable post-publication commentary. Earlier this month, we published a feature called 25 Breweries on the Rise, a by-no-means-exhaustive collection of breweries who are pushing boundaries, creating identities for themselves, and most of all, making delicious beer. Readers emailed, Tweeted and commented with questions, suggestions and sometimes, a bit of outrage. We welcome it all.
This got us reminiscing about our 2014 list called 25 Breweries You Should Know. It’s only fair that we revisit that list two years later, see who’s still crushing the game, and evaluate whether we got it right. Transparency!
The breweries on the 2014 list were all under five years old, as was the case with this year’s crop. The 2014 class included Wicked Weed, Societe, The Rare Barrel, Perennial Artisan Ales and Side Project Brewing, Tired Hands, de Garde, Tree House, Pipeworks, Night Shift, Hill Farmstead, Prairie, Carton and Jester King … just to pick a few. Tree House has since announced plans to quadruple production with a new, larger facility. Pipeworks has likewise gone from itty-bitty Kickstarter darling to a 17,000-square-foot brewery with dialed-in production and consistency (and cans). RateBeer named Hill Farmstead the Top Brewery in the World. Side Project continues to wow with its tart saisons and has also opened a tasting room/bar called The Side Project Cellar. Prairie has maintained momentum and has even spawned its own much-anticipated splinter, American Solera. Jester King finally got that farm it had been asking Santa for.
If the breweries on our 2016 list enjoy this much success, the future of American beer is quite bright. As always, we love to hear your comments, feedback, speculation and crystal-ball divinations.