TPFI don’t get it…

Since, literally, Day One of writing The Pour Fool, I’ve had requests for “Best Of” lists. I know we all enjoy making ’em, reading ’em, getting irritated by ’em, and endlessly debating the irrational things but…there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight; no rational limit at which we say, “Okay, I think I have enough lists.

“Best Of”, unless you have every existing example of those things you’re judging, is never really going to be the Best Of it. It will always be incomplete. GABF, for all its huge rep and massive interest, doesn’t reflect the “best” beers made in the US, simply because there are always breweries out there doing work that’s equal to or better than what’s there on the judging tables in Denver.

But we want lists and I get a tsunami of emails asking for them, so….

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to roll out lists. After that’s done, probably the only one you’ll find here is Best of The Northwest, my annual roster of the best of what I’ve tasted in the previous year. That comes about mid-November/Mid-December…ish, and is one of the most popular things I do in this bloglet. Also sticking around will be an annual list of Top Emerging Beer Towns, as The Pour Fool is all about making sure you don’t miss new producers, new regions, new styles and people, and those newly-revealed wonders that get overlooked in the headlong rush to praise only the anointed beer, brewery, or brewer. Those two will continue. Random list making, probably not.

So, starting off with the one most requested, here’s The Fool’s List of America’s Top 40 Breweries. Why forty? Because I thought it would be more fun than doing 25 or even nine, as with the list I read yesterday, on another website. Some you’ll agree with, some you’ll read and say “Whaaaaat?“, and some will make you say, “Who?

Remember, as always: This is ONE guy’s opinions and, while it’s certainly based on more experience than many, many such lists, it’s still just opinions. Whatever you think of it, you’re more than welcome to give me feedback, either below or via the email button on the front page.


Cigar City brewmaster Wayne Wambles (r), on the scent of new wonders

Cigar City brewmaster Wayne Wambles (r), on the scent

1.  Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, Florida

Patrick Rue, blending another miracle

Patrick Rue, blending another miracle

2.  The Bruery, Placentia, California

3.  Crux Fermentation Project, Bend, Oregon

4.  Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon

Tie-5.  Stone Brewing, San Diego, California

Tie-5.  Anchorage Brewing, Anchorage, Alaska

Tie-5: The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, California

6.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Denver, Colorado

7.  Reuben’s Brews, Seattle, Washington

Jester King

Jester King “Detritivore”

8.  Jester King Brewing, Austin, Texas

9.  Great Divide Brewing, Denver, Colorado

10.  Bells Brewery, Kalamazoo, Michigan

11.  Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, Delaware

12.  Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, Missouri

13.  Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, California

14.  21st Amendment Brewing, San Francisco, California

Ninkasi classic,

Ninkasi classic, “Tricerahops”

15.  Ninkasi Brewing, Eugene, Oregon

16.  The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vermont

17.  Troeg’s Brewing, Hershey, Pennsylvania

18.  Maine Beer Company, Portland, Maine

19.  Allagash Brewing, Portland, Maine

Dave Logsdon, where the Magic Happens

Dave Logsdon, where the Magic Happens

20.  Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, Oregon

21.  Victory Brewing, Downington, Pennsylvania

22.  pFriem Family Brewers, Hood River, Oregon

23.  Sound Brewery, Poulsbo, Washington

24.  Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, Michigan

23. Devil’s Backbone Brewing, Roseland, Virginia

11220771_908641465861372_4462254429255221217_o25.  Hopworks Urban Brewery, Portland, Oregon

26.  Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Gilbert, Arizona

27.  Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, Missouri

28.  Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, Indiana

29.  Green Flash Brewing, San Diego, California

Boneyard Brewing; That's Dedication!

Boneyard Brewing; That’s Dedication!

30.  Boneyard Brewing, Bend, Oregon

31. DeGarde Brewing, Tillamook, Oregon

32.  Toppling Goliath Brewing, Decorah, Iowa

33.  Half Acre Brewing, Chicago, Illinois

Three Taverns brewmaster, Joran Van Ginderachter

Three Taverns brewmaster, Joran Van Ginderachter

34.  Three Taverns Brewing, Atlanta, Georgia

35.  Tired Hands Brewing, Ardmore, Pennsylvania

36.  Jackie O’s Brewing, Athens, Ohio

37.  Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, Ohio

38.  Fort George Brewing, Astoria, Oregon

39.  Epic Brewing, Salt Lake City, Utah


Bend Brewing, Bend, Oregon

Peg’s Cantina, Gulfport, Florida

Foothills Brewing, Asheville, North Carolina

Hill Farmstead Brewing, Greensboro Bend, Vermont

Upright Brewing, Portland, Oregon

Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Atlanta, Georgia

Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, Massachusetts

Funky Buddha Brewery, Oakland Park, Florida

Funkwerks, Fort Collins, Colorado

Holy Mountain Brewing, Seattle, Washington

Grimm Brothers Brewing, Loveland, Colorado

Strange Craft Beers, Denver, Colorado

Yazoo Brewing, Nashville, Tennessee

Hoppin’ Frog Brewing, Akron, Ohio

La Cumbre Brewing, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rapp Brewing, Seminole, Florida

Selkirk Abbey Brewing, Post Falls, Idaho

River North Brewing, Denver, Colorado

Old Schoolhouse Brewing, Winthrop, Washington

Smuttynose Brewing, Hampton, New Hampshire

Spacer1 (2)


Spacer1 (2)

5 thoughts on “The Lists, Part One: America’s Top 40 Breweries!

  1. Pingback: Tomme Arthur: A Long-Overdue Appreciation | ThePourFool

  2. To John’s point about Jolly Pumpkin: They certainly should be, as much as I love most of their beers. But there are a few that I really think just didn’t work and what all the breweries on this list have in common is consistency. JP just misses, for me. As for Dave’s pointing out Lost Abbey, I blew it. It absolutely SHOULD be on the list, and pretty far up. I’m going to fix that now (one of the perks of the job: I can keep from looking like a jackass forever) No disrespect at all meant to Tomme Arthur, a guy I’d put in my top three American brewers.

    Liked by 1 person

Speak yer piece, Pilgrim.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s