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The top 25 beers of 2016

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IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, WE’VE WITNESSED AN EXPLOSION of new beer styles. Where sours were once obscure, today American wild ales and their fruited variants are the darlings of craft beer. Where session IPAs initially had us scratching our heads (How are they different from pale ales? Are they supposed to be less alcoholic or less bitter than IPAs, or both?), they’ve now distinguished themselves as one of the most popular beer styles on shelves.

But 2016 was different: Unlike in years during which we celebrated wholly new styles, this time around we relished in a deepening and broadening of the types of beer we’ve celebrated in the past. We found a 14%-ABV barrel-aged blend from Deschutes and Hair of the Dog that was gorgeously layered but surprisingly easy to drink, and a balanced Czech Pilsner from Live Oak Brewing that was wonderfully complex. We saw IPAs that took on new forms—but were still IPAs at heart—with cloudy, juicy and fruited versions landing among our favorites. And while brewers are still playing with fun, unusual and exciting ingredients in beer, this year we enjoyed the thoughtful flavor construction of their food-infused brews.

This was the year that the thrill of finding something novel was replaced by the delight of experiencing something expertly crafted. These 25 beers, all new or newly packaged in the last 12 months, are a testament to where beer is today—and, we can only hope, where beer will continue to go.



Brewery Travels: My Favorite Brewery/Beer from Each State

In my ongoing quest to visit breweries all across this great land, I have now surpassed the 400 mark, and they’ve been spread across 37 states and 175+ cities. To celebrate this landmark, I’ve put together a ‘Special Edition’ of Brewery Travels: A rundown of my favorites in each of the states visited so far.

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   Midwest Breweries   Midwest Feature   Northeast Breweries   South Breweries   Travel   West Breweries  


Why a Miller Lite Was the Best Beer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve worked in craft beer for nearly five years now. I’ve had the fortune to try some truly amazing brews: Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Supplication? I’ve got one in my mini-fridge. The reason I’m telling you this is because I want to frame my statements here properly. I’ve had good beer, trust me. The best beer I’ve ever had, though, was a Miller Lite.

CATEGORIES: Beer   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  


  • ryan says:

    Once again… you guys put the names of the breweries without the locations. It makes me so annoyed that I quit the article after just a few entries. So irritating.

  • no says:

    Um, it would be helpful if you posted the location of each brewery so we didn’t have to look all 25 up.

  • Julien says:

    There is only one non american beer, it’s a bit surprising., not to say narrow minded.

  • Grodans says:

    Only one outside of the US?! Why?

  • Steve says:

    Any article that is compromised of mainly stouts and IPAs isn’t worth the read. Beer has moved beyond 2009 guys. Cream Ales, Lagers and Pilsners are where things are now…yet your article is hanging on to beers that are in a crowded/dying marketplace.

  • Larry Doroff says:

    First thing is who ever wrote this article needs to use spell check. Yourunsomanywordstogetheryoucan’treadthearticle. Steve, Cream Ales, Lagers, Pilsners? I think you need to move beyond 2000. As much as I dislike IPA’s, I love stouts but I thought there would be a greater diversity.

    • Zach Fowle says:

      Thanks for pointing out the formatting error, Larry. It looked fine when we first uploaded it, we swear! Something must’ve gone screwy in the process. Should be fixed now.

  • J says:

    I don’t think I have seen so many negative things that’s not even about the taste of the beer, you people are crazy!
    So what if there’s only 1 beer out of the US, isn’t that a good thing to so many great beers here? Collage 2 is great, awesome flavor and is easy to drink for a 14.3 ABV%. Try it sometime, pretend its from another country or planet if you must, but your going to like it!

  • Jeff says:

    Didn’t spend much time in Oregon? Washington? Probably the highest concentration of breweries and brewers. Expected half of the list to have come from there. I will keep my eyes open for these beers though. Thanks

  • JD says:

    I think a better title would be “Our Favorite 25 Beers this Year.” I doubt anyone on staff has tasted even 1% of the craft beers out there, so it is a bit egotistical to pronounce these 25 “The Top.”

  • Troy says:

    You guys missed “Morning Wood” by Funky Buddha and “So Happens it’s Tuesday” by Bruery. For 2017, try to get your hands on some BRASH Brewery goodness out of Houston,Tx.

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