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.

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

Alabama

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

Alaska

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

Arizona

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

Arkansas

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

California

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

Colorado

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

Connecticut

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

Delaware

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

Florida

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

Georgia

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

Hawaii

Maui Brewing Company, Lahaina
Their best beer: CoCoNut Porter

Idaho

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

Illinois

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

Indiana

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

Iowa

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

Kansas

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

Kentucky

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

Louisiana

NOLA Brewing, New Orleans
Their best beer: NOLA Blonde

Maine

Allagash Brewing Company, Portland
Their best beer: Allagash White

Maryland

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

Massachusetts

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

Michigan

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

Minnesota

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

Mississippi

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

Missouri

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

Montana

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

Nebraska

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

Nevada

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

Ohio

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

Oklahoma

Choc Beer Company, Krebs
Their best beer: 1919 Hefewiezen

Oregon

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

Pennsylvania

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

Tennessee

Yazoo Brewing Company, Nashville
Their best beer: Gerst beer

Texas

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

Utah

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

Vermont

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

Virginia

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

Wisconsin

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

Wyoming

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).