Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The 10 best beers in the country

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 5:13 PM

If you think the American Homebrewers Association probably knows a little bit about beer, then you might be interested in the 2014 Best Commercial Beers in America list. Published in the trade association's Zymurgy magazine, the collection includes the usual, but delicious, suspects.

It's always hard with votes like these to tell who really deserves it and who just has great name recognition. And like last year's list, most of these are IPAs and none are from Colorado. But either way, there are no slackers here either. (The inclusion of Goose Island Beer Company may be contentious for some beer lovers, considering its sale to Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., but it's a damn good beer all the same, and still brewed in Chicago.)

“As brewers, AHA members know when they experience excellence in a craft beer. It is a very high honor for a brewery to be recognized by this group as having the best beer in America,” says Gary Glass, director of the AHA, in the release. “The consistency in the poll results indicates that the discerning palettes of these homebrewers recognize quality and are not easily influenced by the latest fads.”

As a side note, New Belgium Brewing Co. was award the Best Portfolio of Beers, for having some 60 beers which received votes. Anyway, without further ado:

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1. Russian River Brewing Co.'s Pliny the Elder
Brewed in: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8 percent
BeerAdvocate.com rating: 100
Brewery distributes in Colorado: Yes
Description: "Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine."

2. Bell's Brewery's Two Hearted Ale
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Brewed in: Galesburg, Mich.
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7 percent
BeerAdvocate.com rating: 95
Brewery distributes in Colorado: No
Description: "Bell's Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas."
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3. Ballast Point Brewing Co.'s Sculpin IPA
Brewed in: San Diego, Calif.
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7 percent
BeerAdvocate.com rating: 98
Brewery distributes in Colorado: No
Description: "Our Sculpin IPA is a great example of what got us into brewing in the first place. ... The inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish."
4. Bell's Brewery's Hopslam Ale 
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Brewed in: Galesburg, Mich.
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10 percent
BeerAdvocate.com rating: 100
Brewery distributes in Colorado: No
Description: "Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire."
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5. The Alchemist's Heady Topper
Brewed in: Waterbury, Vt.
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8 percent
BeerAdvocate.com rating: 100
Brewery distributes in Colorado: No
Description: "This Double IPA is not intended to be the strongest or most bitter DIPA. It is brewed to give you wave after wave of hop flavor without any astringent bitterness."

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