1. New Belgium Brewing Company, 60pts
Founded: 1991, Fort Collins
Far from your ordinary brewery, NBB was founded by Jeff Lebesch in 1991 after he gained inspiration on a bike tour through Belgium. Although he was made fun of for the fat tires he had on his bike, no one is laughing at him now that he is gaining fat stacks -- the company had over $180 million in sales last year. NBB is also known for being 100% employee owned, and getting 90% of their power from the wind. Too bad your house can’t say the same. From their flagship standbys to their ever-interesting Lips of Faith releases, they keep growing for a reason.
Key Beers: Somersault, Abbey Belgian Ale, Fat Tire
Here's how we awarded the points:
Awards for individual beers
Each beer in the Beer Advocate 250 or RateBeer 100: 3pts
Medals in The Great American Beer Festival or World Beer Cup since 2004: 3pts Gold, 2pts Silver, 1pt Bronze
Recognition for breweries overall
Prominent outlets have published Best Breweries in America lists of different lengths, so we awarded 10 points for a top-10 finish, 9 points for an 11-20 finish, and so forth (no list is longer than 100) for appearances on recent best brewery lists from RateBeer, Paste, and The Daily Meal.