I do not come to bury Pliny the Elder, one of the damn finest beers in all the land, but at this point I really have to question the Zymurgy voting process and/or the adventurous spirit/geographics of its readers. Because, for the eighth year running, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder has been tapped for the top spot on Zymurgy magazine’s list of the Best Commercial Beers in America.
Even if this were objectively true, and maybe it is, at least lie to avoid the sheer boredom of this outcome. Right? I mean, there have been so many awesome beers produced over the course of eight years. None could unseat Plinty?
But then again, I’m not one to root for dynasties, so I’ll just shut up now.
Members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) — which publishes Zymurgy — were able to choose up to 20 of their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the United States in an online voting system. More than 18,000 votes poured in.
“The members of the American Homebrewers Association, made up of experienced homebrewers who participate in this annual poll, are among the most knowledgeable craft beer drinkers in the nation,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “It is no surprise that the beers and breweries they select as the best in their opinion reflect the highest quality beers available from the best brewers out there. The consistency with which some of the beers in the poll win is a testament to the value of quality over hype.”
“We just don’t expect this each year, especially in this age of great beer and new breweries,” said Russian River co-owner and brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo. “We know we have to earn our customers’ loyalty and business. We are very thankful for everyone who spends their hard-earned money on our beer.”
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. The Alchemist Heady Topper
4. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
5. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
6. Founders Breakfast Stout
7. Three Floyds Zombie Dust
8. Bell’s Hopslam
9. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
T10. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
T10. Stone Enjoy By IPA
1. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.
2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
3. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich.
4. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif.
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. and Mills River, N.C.
6. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.
7. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, Calif.
8. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
9. Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, Calif. and Chicago, Ill.
10. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.
Top-Ranked Beer Portfolios
1. Stone Brewing Co., 67 beers
T2. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., 47 beers
T2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 47 beers
4. Avery Brewing Co., 42 beers
5. New Belgium Brewing, 41 beers
6. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, 39 beers
T7. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, 38 beers
T7. The Bruery, 38 beers
9. Boulevard Brewing Co., 37 beers
10. Founders Brewing Co., 33 beers
The complete list of Zymurgy’s Best Beers in America is available at HomebrewersAssociation.org.