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Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Best Craft Breweries in the U.S.

pro·vin·cial·ism
/prəˈvinCHəˌlizəm/

noun: provincialism; plural noun: provincialisms
1. the way of life or mode of thought characteristic of the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded
2. concern for one's own area or region at the expense of national or supranational unity.
3. a word or phrase peculiar to a local area.
4. the degree to which plant or animal communities are restricted to particular areas.

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Craft breweries are becoming increasingly popular, and (unsurprisingly) most folks are somewhat provincial in that they believe their local breweries are the best (which of course they are). Still, one can't help but wonder what the best craft breweries are in the United States. There are numerous rankings of craft beers, but of breweries, there are far fewer. I was able to track down three:
The first two listed ranked the top 50 breweries in the U.S., while the third ranked the top 20. Thus, I took the top 20 for each of the rankings, assigned them points (20 for first, 19 for second, 18 for third, etc.), added the rankings together, and arrived at a composite ranking of the top 30 craft breweries in the U.S. The rankings appear below:
  1. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
  2. Lagunitas Brewing, Petaluma, CA
  3. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA
  4. Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, CA
  5. Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
  6. Bell's Brewing, Kalamazoo, MI
  7. Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE
  8. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
  9. Yuengling & Sons, Pottsville, PA
  10. Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI
  11. Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, MO
  12. Boston Beer Company, Boston, MA
  13. Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
  14. Allagash Brewing, Portland, ME
  15. Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
  16. Rahr & Sons, Fort Worth, TX
  17. The Gambrinus Company, San Antonio, TX
  18. Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
  19. Firestone Walker Brewery, Paso Robles, CA
  20. Modern Times, San Diego, CA
  21. Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, CA
  22. Sun King, Indianapolis, IN
  23. Alamo Beer, San Antonio, TX
  24. Alaskan Brewing, Juneau, AK
  25. Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, WI
  26. Oskar Blues Brewery, Lyons, CO
  27. Smog City Brewing, Los Angeles CA
  28. Duvel Moortgat USA, Cooperstown, NY
  29. Matt Brewing Utica, NY
  30. Breckenridge Brewery, Breckenridge, CO
It was surprising how much the individual rankings differed from one another. In fact, Deschutes Brewery from Bend, Oregon, was the only one that appeared on all three lists, which is why it ended up being ranked number one overall. However, while one can quibble with the composite ranking (I'd be inclined to rank Dogfish Head and Russian River Brewing higher than they are), it's hard to argue that any of these don't belong on the list. Of course, a list is just a list (and a sigh is just a sigh), but it's still fun to debate which ones belong on the list and which ones don't.

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