Here Are 2019’s Best Beers in America, According to Homebrewers
In its 17th year, the annual American Homebrewers Association list ranks both brews and breweries.
Compiling best beer lists has become virtually impossible. America ended 2018 with around 7,400 breweries, meaning if you wanted to try a beer from every brewer in the U.S. in a single year, you’d have to drink 20 beers every day. (It’s worth a shot, right?) But for 17 years, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) has taken a more collaborative approach to defining the country’s best brews: Using the assumption that people who care enough to brew beer at home also know which beers are the best, Zymurgy — the AHA’s official magazine — once again asked its readership to vote for its favorite brews and compiled the results into its annual “Best Beers in America” list. The 2019 results were released this morning.
For the third year in a row, Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery topped the list. It was a huge deal when the Michigan brand’s flagship IPA unseated the previous perennial favorite — Russian River’s Pliny the Elder — to take the top spot back in 2017, but Two Hearted has been holding steady since. Speaking of holding steady, the piney double IPA from California known as Pliny has settled into the second place spot also for three years running. Additionally, Bell’s finished first on the list of Top Ranked Breweries (while Russian River finished third.)
“It is an honor to once again be awarded the top-ranking spots among so many great breweries and beers. Only the best Centennial hops, a commitment to quality by the entire Bell’s team, and the splendor of our home state are all part of the beauty of Two Hearted Ale. There is one other vital component, the beer lover,” John Mallett, director of operations for Bell’s said in the announcement. “We are truly humbled to be recognized by the finest palates in homebrewing.”
The rest of the top ten beers remained essentially the same as last year, albeit in a different order. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was third (up from #5), Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout was fourth (up from #7), The Alchemist Heady Topper was fifth (down from #3), Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout held steady at sixth, Founders All Day IPA moved into a tie for seventh (up from a tie for #10), Bell’s Hopslam was also tied for seventh (down from #4), Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout landed in a tie for ninth (down from #7), and WeldWerks Juicy Bits was also tied for ninth (up slightly from a tie at #10 last year). So outside of a bit of musical chairs, the only difference on this year’s list was that Three Floyds Zombie Dust was bumped entirely. (Due to ties, last year’s “top ten” actually had eleven beers.)
Here are both of this year’s top tens in list form for the paragraph averse:
Top Ranked Beers:
1. Bell's Two Hearted Ale
2. Russian River Pliny the Elder
3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
4. Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
5. The Alchemist Heady Topper
6. Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
T7. Founders All Day IPA
T7. Bell's Hopslam
T9. Founders Breakfast Stout
T9. WeldWerks Juicy Bits
Top Ranked Breweries:
1. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Comstock, Mich.
2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
3. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa and Windsor, Calif.
4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. and Mills River, N.C.
5. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
6. Tree House Brewing Co., Charlton, Mass.
7. The Alchemist, Stowe, Vt.
8. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.
9. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo.
T10. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.
T10. Stone Brewing, Escondido, Calif.
Find the entire list on the American Homebrewers Association website here.