For the second year in a row, Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Michigan, is home to the No. 1 beer in the United States, as chosen by beer enthusiasts.
Each year Zymurgy Magazine, the official magazine of the American Homebrewers Association, asks the group’s tens of thousands of members to cast their votes for the best beers in the country. Because Zymurgy readers are homebrewers, the idea is that they have more refined palates than most and can most accurately call the winners.
While some beers managed to cling on to their spots in the ranking from last year, others have climbed ahead or fallen off the list. Here’s the full top 10:
10. Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA (TIE)
The All Day IPA is a light and crisp session IPA that’s bursting with grapefruit, tangerine, orange, lemongrass, and pine. The light and refreshing beer features a complex array of malts, grains, and hops for optimal aromatics and a clean finish.
10. WeldWerks Brewing Juicy Bits (TIE)
Weldwerks Brewing’s take on the New England-style IPA climbs into the top 10 this year. The aptly named Juicy Bits packs a whopping citrus and tropical-fruit hops character that’s like drinking juice with extra pulp. It’s made with Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops and has a softer mouthfeel thanks to its adjusted water chemistry.
9. Founders Brewing Co. Breakfast Stout
The Breakfast Stout is a wake-up call you don’t want to miss. A harmonious blend of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and coffee, this imperial stout offers a fresh-pot-of-coffee nose and a creamy, luscious taste.
8. Three Floyds Brewing Co. Zombie Dust
A brew that’s fit for the living and the undead, Zombie Dust is a medium-bodied pale ale that gushes with hops. Touches of grapefruit and citrus and a smooth mouthfeel make it a fresh and inviting brew, though Zombie Dust fell four spots on the ranking this year.
5. Founders Brewing Co. Kentucky Breakfast Stout (TIE)
The Kentucky Breakfast Stout, or KBS, is an oatmeal coffee stout made with “a massive amount of coffee and chocolates.” At 11.8% alcohol, this imperial stout hits you like a shot of espresso. It has a dark molasses colour and a burnt caramel head.
5. Founders Brewing Co. Canadian Breakfast Stout (TIE)
The Canadian Breakfast Stout, or CBS, debuted in late 2017 and is made from the same base as the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Not to be outdone, the Imperial Stout is packed with coffee and chocolate and aged in barrels with maple syrup and bourbon – the near polar opposite of Founder’s citrusy All Day IPA.
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Pale Ale (TIE)
The all-natural Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has light lemon, pine, and grapefruit aromas from the use of whole-cone American hops. The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has been described as “your dad’s pale ale – a pretty classic style pale ale that’s rounded out with no intense sharp edges.” It’s easily drinkable, light, and refreshing.
4. Bell’s Hopslam Ale
The Hopslam Ale combines so many types of hops that it has its own hopping schedule. Six hops varieties were hand-selected from the Pacific Northwest for their aromatic qualities, from pungent grapefruit to florals. A splash of honey makes this double-IPA-style brew incredibly drinkable.
3. The Alchemist Brewery Heady Topper
The Heady Topper has been called America’s most coveted beer. People wait in line hours ahead of store openings to get their hands on the often-sold-out, 8% alcohol IPA. The Alchemist adds most of the hops late in the brewing process, which creates bold flavour dripping with grapefruit, orange, tropical fruits, and fresh herbs.
2. Russian River Brewing Co. Pliny the Elder
After eight consecutive years atop Zymurgy Magazine’s ranking of the best beers in America, Pliny the Elder fell to No. 2 in 2017. It holds onto second place this year.
It remains one of the most sought-after brews, with beer enthusiasts – and even Googlers – lining up outside the Santa Rosa brewery before opening most weekends.
The double IPA is super dry and hoppy, making for a bitter and fragrant experience that’s worth the hassle.
1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
The nascent king of beer is an IPA that, unlike its sibling Hopslam Ale, uses 100% Centennial hops picked from the Pacific Northwest. Balance is key here. The hops aroma bursts with grapefruit, pineapple, pine, and a hint of spice – but a rich, caramel malt backbone tames the bitterness. A crisp finish leaves you craving another sip.
With a more modest 7% alcohol, you better make it two pints.
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