The top 50 breweries in America

In the past few decades, there has been a renaissance in beer brewing in the United States. New flavors, new styles, and new breweries are popping up every day. Collaborations are taking place—oftentimes between brewers on opposite sides of the nation or even on different continents. Prospective brewers can attend universities dedicated to teaching the arts of craft brewing, and record numbers of students are graduating from these programs.

Though beer is brewed all over the world, and the origins of this beverage are far from the shores of this country, it is my belief that in no other place can you find such innovation, such craftsmanship, and such a wealth of good beer as is now in America.

As I was researching the history for my book The United States of Craft Beer I found out this wasn’t always the case. In the 1990s, if you traveled to Europe and offered to buy someone in France, Germany, Italy, or Belgium an American beer, you probably would have been laughed at. But that’s only because the beer aficionados in those countries were unaware of the growing wave of craft brewing that had picked up momentum. Most of the rest of the world knew only of the big, commercially produced American beers. But times have changed. Information moves fast, and so do cans and bottles of beer. Though your local bottle shop may not stock all of the beers from all of the breweries listed below, many of them have found dedicated followings far from home. It is now possible to enjoy cold, craft-brewed American beers as far away as Shanghai, China, or even the remote islands of the Maldives. And while the joy of craft beers sometimes comes down to the fact that the beer in your pint glass can only be found at your local brewpub, I find it comforting that the American beer renaissance has spanned the globe and has finally put to rest the question of whether or not Americans can make good beer.

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Here are my picks for the best craft brewery in every state along with my pick for each brewery’s best beer:


Straight to Ale, Huntsville
Their best beer: Russian Imperial Stout
Imperial Porter


Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau
Their best beer: Alaskan Smoked Porter


Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, Gilbert
Their best beer: Picacho Pecan Pie Brown Ale


Diamond Bear Brewing Company, North Little Rock
Their best beer: Two Term Imperial IPA


AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego
Their best beer: Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout
The barrel room at AleSmith Brewing Company


Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont
Their best beer: Dale’s Pale Ale


New England Brewing Company, Woodbridge
Their best beer: Gandhi-Bot (double IPA)


Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton
Their best beer: 90 Minute IPA


Cigar City Brewing, Tampa
Their best beer: Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout


Terrapin Beer Company, Athens
Their best beer: Wake’ N’ Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout
Terrapin Wake n Bake


Maui Brewing Company, Lahaina
Their best beer: CoCoNut Porter


Grand Teton Brewing Company, Victor
Their best beer: Bitch Creek ESB


Revolution Brewing, Chicago
Their best beer: Anti-Hero IPA


Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster
Their best beer: Zombie Dust Pale Ale


Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, Decorah
Their best beer: pseudoSue APA
Toppling Goliath American Pale Ale


Tallgrass Brewing Company, Manhattan
Their best beer: 8-Bit Pale Ale


Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse, Louisville
Their best beer: We Shuck on the First Date stout


NOLA Brewing, New Orleans
Their best beer: NOLA Blonde


Allagash Brewing Company, Portland
Their best beer: Allagash White


Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick
Their best beer: Gonzo Imperial Porter
Gonzo Porter


Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham
Their best beer: Smoke and Dagger Black Lager


Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter
Their best beer: Bam Biére Farmhouse Ale


Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis
Their best beer: Wet, Wet-Hopped West Coast India Pale Ale


Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, Kiln
Their best beer: Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale


Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City
Their best beer: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Tank 7 Ale


Big Sky Brewing Company, Missoula
Their best beer: Whistle Pig Red Ale


Nebraska Brewing Company, Papillion
Their best beer: Cardinal Pale Ale


Tenaya Creek Brewery, Las Vegas
Their best beer: Red Ryder Ale

New Hampshire

Smuttynose Brewing Company, Portsmouth
Their best beer: Big Beer Series (subscription)

New Jersey

River Horse Brewing Company, Ewing
Their best beer: Brewer’s Reserve series
River Horse Brewery

New Mexico

Santa Fe Brewing Company, Santa Fe
Their best beer: Oktoberfest

New York

Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood
Their best beer: Blackwater Series Choklat

North Carolina

Pisgah Brewing Company, Black Mountain
Their best beer: Pale Ale

North Dakota

Laughing Sun Brewing Company, Bismarck
Their best beer: Feast Like a Sultan IPA


Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland
Their best beer: Commodore Perry IPA
Great Lakes Brewing


Choc Beer Company, Krebs
Their best beer: 1919 Hefewiezen


Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene
Their best beer: Total Domination IPA and Tricerahops


Victory Brewing Company, Downington
Their best beer: Hop Devil IPA and Victory Lager

Rhode Island

Newport Storm Brewery, Newport
Their best beer: Cyclone Series

South Carolina

Thomas Creek Brewery, Greenville
Their best beer: Up The Creek Extreme IPA
Thomas Creek Brewery

South Dakota

Crow Peak Brewing Company, Spearfish
Their best beer: ctrl-ALT-dlt altbier


Yazoo Brewing Company, Nashville
Their best beer: Gerst beer


Live Oak Brewing Company, Austin
Their best beer: Live Oak Liberation IPA


Uinta Brewing Company, Salt Lake City
Their best beer: Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner, and Birthday Suit Sour Brown Ale


Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Burlington
Their best beer: #9
Magic Hat Brewing


AleWerks Brewing Company, Williamsburg
Their best beer: Brewmaster Reserve beers

Washington State

Elysian Brewing Company, Seattle
Their best beer: Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Washington, D.C.

DC Brau Brewing Company, District of Columbia
Their best beer: The Corruption IPA

West Virginia

Mountain State Brewing Company, Thomas
Their best beer: Almost Heaven or Seneca Indian Pale Ale


New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus
Their best beer: Thumbprint Series
New Glarus Brewing


Snake River Brewing, Jackson
Their best beer: certified Organic Beer Number 1

Jess Lebow worked for Budweiser and Redhook selling and distributing beer in the Seattle area during the microbrew boom of the late 1990s. During that time, he tried nearly every craft beer in the Pacific Northwest and any he could lay his hands on from around the nation. He is the author of The United States of Craft Beer and The Beer Devotional (both published by Adams Media).