We have compiled a list of the 26 most popular beers ever brewed in the United States that can be used for running Beer Mile.
The portal contacted 21 experts from the American craft market (including leading brewers such as Ken Grossman, Sam Calagione, Jim Cook, as well as bar owners and journalists). Each survey participant could nominate five to seven beers produced in the US after 1960 that met the definition of “craft beer” at the time of release. An expert could only nominate two beers from each brewery (brewers were not prohibited from nominating their own beers). As a result, the varieties with the largest number of votes were selected.
26) Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)
The Pabst Blue Ribbon is a classic American Premium Lager. Thanks to a special fermentation and maturation process, the use of a unique combination of two and six-row barley malts, as well as aromatic varieties of hops Cluster, Willamette, Styrian, the beer is full-bodied, with a rich taste and noble aroma. PBR alcohol content (abv) is 4.8%.
PBR beer is a brand of youth, a lifestyle brand that supports all possible manifestations of individuality, dissimilarity. That is why on the home market the main generator of advertising content is the consumer, who uploads drawings, installations, videos, any manifestations of creativity to the network. The brand prides itself on not paying for product placement in well-known films and TV shows. This is a tribute to the iconic brand.
25) Ithaca Flower Power IPA
The modern American IPA developed on the West Coast, where the vast majority of hops were grown and new varieties were bred. East Coast IPAs have rarely received as much attention as their Western counterparts. But in 2004 Jeff O’Neill made Flower Power with Ithaca Beer, and everything changed. This beer is considered one of the first West Coast-style IPAs brewed in the East. Flower Power embodies the full power of the hop flower (hence the name): the hint of clover honey, floral flavor and powerful fruity aroma are given to it by numerous additions of hops during the boil, as well as dry hopping.
24) Victory HopDevil IPA
In the 90s, craft beer was loved only in a few cities on the East Coast – for example, in Philadelphia. When Bill Kowaleski and Ron Barchet opened the Victory Brewing Company near Philadelphia, the region had its own explosive hopped beer, the HopDevil IPA. Victory was the first East Coast brewery to market such a powerfully hopped beer, and it was a very daring decision at the time.
23) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
In 2001, Dogfish Head introduced one of the best common beers – a 9-degree 90 Minute IPA with 90 IBU. Dogfish Head has always prided it-self on brewing “eccentric beers,” “adding the most unusual ingredients and not a lot of madness.” 90 Minute IPA used innovative technology: hops were added gradually during the boil, rather than all at once (the brewery itself dubbed this technique continuous hopping – “continuous hopping”). The result is a beer with a strong, gradually unfurling hop profile on a solid malt base. Dogfish Head continues to brew all new and unique beers, but the 90 Minute IPA is probably their biggest achieve-ment.
22) Geary’s Pale Ale
Being the first microbrewery on the East Coast means something – that’s why D.L. Geary Brewing Company has earned its place on this list. Geary’s Brewery was the forefather of the East Coast crafting movement – it was founded in 1986, when there were fewer than a hundred breweries in the States. Geary’s Pale Ale is brewed from what would be called unfashionable today (English malt, Tettnang and Fuggle hops), and is unlikely to receive such recognition today as other varieties on this list. However, this is a living page in the history of brewing. Here’s what Da-vid Geary says: “30 years ago I decided to brew stable, quality English style ales, and by improving my pale ale, I fulfilled that mission.”
21) Anchor Porter
It’s hard to imagine a time when not every brewery brewed a soft, dark roasted chocolate porter. But when Anchor Brewing introduced its first porter in 1972, the style was nearly extinct. It was the first porter brewed in the United States after the repeal of Prohibition. “This is how a new style of beer came to America,” says Anchor’s current head brewer Scott Angermann. Today, 45 years later, the Beer Advocate database lists over 5,500 American porters, but Anchor Porter is still considered by many to be one of the best.
20) Nodding Head Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse
Although the popularity of Berliner Weisse has only skyrocketed in the last couple of years, Nodding Head Brewery brewed its Ich Bin Ein Ber-liner Weisse back in 2000, probably ahead of its time. “We had to, as they say, spoon-feed people with them. They did not understand him. Everyone needed to be explained what it was, and after that they liked it. But then sour foods were not in vogue, “said Nodding Head owner Kurt Decker in an interview. The restoration of historical styles is one of the main aspects of modern craft brewing. Though never bottled, beer geeks flocked to the brewpub in Philadelphia to sample the first and only Ber-liner Weisse in the US at the time.
19) Widmer Hefeweizen
Although IPA became the main style of craft brewing, in the 90s everyone rushed to brew hefeweizens because of their simple taste and German origin (Americans believed that the beer should be German). Therefore, hefeweizen has become the “threshold” beer for mass lager consumers. This trend began in 1986 when Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced its unfiltered Weizenbier. According to the brewery, this was the first Amer-ican-style hefeweizen. Of course, many would argue that this Widmer was not the best embodiment of German style, but it is important to emphasize that this is an “American style” hefeweizen – it can be considered as the progenitor of the flourishing American wheat beer style today.
18) Pizza Port / Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme
1999 year. For two years now, Tommy Arthur, the Pizza Port brewer, has been making a name for himself with great Belgian-style beers, but is still looking for a brand worthy of his name. Finally, Cuvee de Tomme appeared, challenging tradition even by today’s standards. It is a potent sour brown ale with Belgian candy sugar, raisins and sour cherries, and a secondary Brett fermentation in bourbon casks. Cuvee de Tomme was not the first American sour beer, nor did it invent the aging in bourbon barrels. Tommy Arthur’s breakthrough was that he combined several different techniques into one beer. When Arthur switched from Pizza Port to The Lost Abbey, he took this beer with him.
17) Anchor Christmas Ale
Spoiler alert: Anchor Brewing has four beers on this list – more than the others. Of course, the oldest brewery on the list (founded in 1896 and underwent a complete renovation in the 60s and 70s) had a definite advantage. Another reason for its success is its ability to innovate. In 1975, Anchor Christmas Ale was introduced. Since then, it has been released annually, every year with a new recipe (and with a new label), which is a big risk in an industry where consistency is valued. This beer has become a collectible and a great New Year’s gift.
16) Allagash Coolship Resurgam
About a decade ago, American beer drinkers began to take an interest in sour gueuze and Belgian-style lambics. It takes time (sometimes three years or more) and special equipment to produce such beer, which means that the brewery faces great risks and high costs. When this beer was just gaining popularity in the States, the Allagash Brewing Company building the first commercial coolship in the United States in 2007 was a very drastic move. Coolship Resurgam was presented to the public only in 2012, but most importantly, Allagash introduced America to this unusual equipment.
15) Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Some innovations are not directly related to the brewing process. In 2002, Oskar Blues brewed a quality but unremarkable pale ale that nev-ertheless changed craft brewing forever – it was bottled in cans. And Os-kar Blues became the first craft brewery to go into canning on its own. This is how the canning movement began (according to CraftCans.com, 2,162 beers have already been produced in cans), and cans, once consid-ered “low-end” containers, are now used for the most revered beers.
14) Celis White
The story of Celis White, which is considered by many to be the first Belgian-style wheat beer in the United States, is a tragedy. Pierre Celi brought the Belgian whit to America in 1992, when his Texas brewery began operations. The beer became a sensation and spawned many imitations. One of the imitators was Coors, who released the bestselling Vit Blue Moon in 1995. Seli sold his brewery to Miller the same year, and it closed in 2000. This broke Pierre’s heart and he left for Belgium. Beer under the Celis brand was produced by other companies, but, unfortunately, it was only a pale shadow of its former glory. However, the opening of the Seli Brewery completely changed the American beer market.
13) New Belgium La Folie
Over the past 10 years, sour beers have gone from a rarity to being on the menu of any serious bar. In 1997, New Belgium brought in an expert from old Belgium to brew real sour beer in the States. Peter Bouckaert, a former Rodenbach brewer, helped create La Folie, a Flanders brown ale aged in oak foeders. Belgium believed that such a beer could never be made anywhere else, but La Folie proved that the Belgians were wrong.
12) Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is not the oldest IPA to date, but it is probably the oldest that looks as powerful today as it did in its year. It was first brewed in 1981, with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops and 65 IBU bitterness. The celebration was originally marketed as a winter seasonal release – not just because in the 80s nobody knew what to do with IPAs. This beer is brewed in the fall when fresh hops are harvested, which means it hits the shelves in October and is ready to reveal its tastes and aromas for Christmas.
11) Anchor Steam
It is generally believed that the American craft revolution began in 1965 when Fritz Maytag bought a majority stake in Anchor Brewing (and thus saved the brewery, founded in 1896, from bankruptcy). After the purchase, Fritz Maytag completely revamped the brewery, including its flagship Anchor Steam, which is known for using an unusual technology in its production – fermentation with lager yeast at high temperature in open fermenters. Maytag has kept the traditional technique but has improved equipment and quality control. In 1971, he introduced a revamped beer.
10) New Albion Ale
Unfortunately, this legendary beer was not appreciated at its true worth. Its story is told by Jim Cook, founder of Samuel Adams: “In the late 70s, a homebrewer named Jack McAuliffe built a small brewery in California and began brewing the rich-flavored pale ale of New Albion Ale using a blend of two-row malts and the popular Cascade hops today. It was a one-of-a-kind beer at the time and is considered by beer experts to be the authentic American craft beer. ”
The New Albion Brewing Company opened in 1976, but by 1982 it had ceased operations. But the popular rumor about this beer persists. Jack McAuliffe’s brewery was the most visible to close. Jack showed that the new model could work, and while he failed to stay in the marketplace and failed, a new generation of microbrewers matured under his influence. New Albion Ale has been revived twice in recent years: at the Boston Beer Co. in 2013 and at Platform Brewing Co. in 2014.
9) Victory Prima Pils
The American craft renaissance was, in part, a rejection of the effervescent yellow lagers that dominated the market and descended from traditional German pils. So in 1996, when Victory Brewing Company re-leased Prima Pils, it was a real revelation: it was a pils with a powerful herbaceous hop flavor and tongue-tingling pine bitterness. While other breweries fought battalions of IPAs and stouts to fight lagers, Victory went the other way – and the pils were introduced to the craft market.
8) 3 Floyds Dark Lord
Previously, you had to stand in lines for beer only during the break of a football match, but everything was changed by 3 Floyds Dark Lord – a powerful 15-degree Russian imperial stout with coffee, Mexican vanilla and Indian sugar. The brewery hosts a Dark Lord Day every year, and there are huge queues for beer. It’s not just beer, it’s a whole ritual. Today such events have become commonplace, but it was 3 Floyds who invented them.
7) Russian River Pliny the Elder
Few beers are as legendary as Pliny the Elder, a lovely double IPA from Vinnie Silurzo, the brewer who is credited with being the inventor of the style. Silurzo says he made his first attempt in 1995 when he brewed In-augural Ale to celebrate the first birthday of his Blind Pig Brewing. “It was like licking a rusty tin can – so bitter, so tart,” he said. A few years later, when Vinnie switched to Russian River, he improved the technology, and in 2000, Pliny the Elder was born – a hop bomb that illuminated not only the bitterness of hops, but also the richness of its flavor. While double IPAs are commonplace today (perhaps a little too common), Pliny is popular with even hardened beer geeks. It holds up well and has outlived many newcomers.
6) Anchor Liberty Ale
Perhaps Anchor Brewing’s most famous beer is Anchor Steam, but Liberty Ale has had a larger impact on American brewing. It can be considered the first American IPA or APA. It was brewed in 1975 when no other American beer came close to its 47 IBU bitterness level. It introduced Americans to Cascade hop and a forgotten dry hop technology. It attracted a lot of attention and inspired many young brewers to follow.
5) The Alchemist Heady Topper
Beer has garnered a lot of attention before, but in 2011, when a small Vermont brewery began to bottle its acclaimed masterpiece, Heady Top-per, an East Coast-style double IPA, the concept of beer’s reputation took a new dimension. Heady Topper, like Pliny the Elder, has become the emblem of the era of beer geeks, bottle trades and the ratings of RateBeer, BeerAdvocate and Untappd. The Heady Topper was voted the best beer in the world (though some say it’s not even the best beer in The Alchemist’s repertoire), and its influence has brought recognition to a region that has long been overshadowed by the West Coast. Although The Alchemist still only sells its beer within 40 kilometers of the brewery, the name Heady Topper is known all over the world – it is constantly mentioned in conversations about beer that is difficult to get but must be definitely tried.
4) Allagash White
American beer tastes have shifted from lagers to trendy styles (like gose) overnight. There were many steps along the way, and one of them was Allagash White – a Belgian-style whit that was released in 1995. It has helped many people become familiar with craft beer. “When I started brewing White, I didn’t think about large volumes or finding my niche in the business. I wanted people to have a different experience,” says Allagash founder and brewer Rob Tob. – For its time, White was an unusual beer but simple at the same time. And it is so balanced that even when you drink it for many years, you discover something new. ” In the 90s, people had just started learning about craft beer and had little knowledge of Belgian styles. Allagash White paved the way for all the Belgian beers that exist in the US today.
Another addition to the story: Unlike Celis White, Allagash has maintained the quality of its flagship beer over the years. In 2015, it even won a gold medal in the Belgian Style Witbier category at the Great American Beer Festival. “To be honest, most of all I was afraid then that I would not like the beer that I brew… I cannot sell what I do not believe in. Fortunately, I liked it then – and today I like it even more,” recalls Rob Tod.
3) Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
Today, almost every brewery has a pile of wooden barrels in the taproom that hides future releases. But in the 90s, barrel aging was not common. “When we first brought the Bourbon County Brand Stout to the Great American Beer Festival, we billed it as an imperial stout – there weren’t many categories in 1995,” explains Gregory Hall, former Goose Island head brewer who now works for Virtue Cider. – The beer was a hit, but it was disqualified for excessive strength, barrel notes and bourbon. What the hell is this? Can’t I win because the beer is too good?” But Hall took an important lesson from this experience: “I’m sure the goal should be good beer, not following style rules better than others. American craft beer has become the best in the world thanks to innovation.”
2) Sam Adams Boston Lager
“Big breweries pour out more beer than I make in a year,” Boston Beer Company founder Jim Cook said in early ads for his Samuel Adams brand. In the 90s, these advertisements attracted many beer lovers to craft brewing, which was then warmly called microbrewing. But Samuel Adams grew quickly, and their flagship Boston Lager became the first craft beer to be found in almost every beer list across the country. Samuel Adams has introduced craft beer to more people than any other brand.
“I still have the honor to brew my great-great-great-grandfather Louis Cook’s recipe to this day,” says Jim Cook of the beer he first brewed in 1984. – When the beer was mostly yellow and effervescent, the goal of the seas was to brew high-quality beer with rich taste and traditional technologies. I quit my stable job and started brewing this beer, and it has been my companion for 30 years now, and the craft industry is growing and flourishing.” Today the Boston Beer Company is America’s largest craft brewery.
1) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the best beer. It was a breakthrough when it was released and is still loved by critics and customers alike. This beer, with a focus on American hops, has become an exemplary pale ale. It is included in the top 20 popular beers in the USA. “When we first brewed pale ale in 1980, we knew it was very different from what was on sale at the time, but this is what we serious homebrewers and our friends wanted to drink,” says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “We never imagined that our pale ale would last that long and have such an impact. We continue to brew according to our recipe – using a ton of whole Cascade hops and 100% 2-row malt, and bottle-maturing. We had a vision of how pale ale should be, we followed high standards and did not compromise. ”
“Innovation is good, but I admire Ken Grossman’s discipline that keeps the flagship beer constant,” says Gregory Hall. Even on the scale of our list, the success of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was undeniable – it is the only beer that most experts have included on their lists. This is truly a well-deserved victory.