Why they have a cult following: Aside from having one of the best IPAs in the country (they won last year), Breakside's lead brewer takes his ambitious nature to maybe-absurd levels, sometimes putting out as many as 100 different beers a year, ranging from spot-on sours to chili beers and, once, a brew made by throwing fresh strawberry rhubarb pies into the mash. The only thing more ridiculous than the idea was how good it was.
Our favorite beer: Both the Wanderlust and the standard-bearer IPA both got high marks from our IPA-loving Ben Robinson. No strawberry rhubarb pie beers in the bunch, sadly.
Why they have a cult following: When a supremely popular brewery's beers are only available in one state, that's an instant recipe for cult status. New Glarus and Alchemist are good examples of that, and Short's is another. And Short's does not make your typical specialty beers, like a stout aged in a bourbon barrel. Nope, Short's makes Pistachio Cream Ales and a Strawberry "Short's" Cake golden ale and a Bloody Mary beer. They do not mess around.
Our favorite beer: Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head, told us their Key Lime Pie was worth trying, and he was not wrong. The key lime flavors in the beer were way more subtle than I expected them to be.
Why they have a cult following: Being one of the best breweries in the Northeast is certainly cause for a cult following, and the fact that it's difficult to track down bottles like the Double Sunshine IPA and Maple Imperial Stout (which was pouring at GABF) doesn't hurt either. Take that, Canada! We can do maple beers too.
Our favorite beer: The lines were non-stop at the Vermont craft beer staple, and after drinking their Sunshine IPA at the booth, it was easy to tell why. They also poured the yet-to-be-released Vermont maple syrup-enhanced barleywine Double or Nothing.
Why they have a cult following: Proving that Four Peaks has a fervent fan base, the brewery was a #13 seed in our Best Craft Brewery in America bracket challenge and then proceeded to win the whole damn thing. Their Scottish Ale Kilt Lifter has won six GABF medals dating back to 1998, and the Hop Knot IPA certainly has a following as well.
Our favorite beer: The White Ale is a refreshing witbier with bright orange notes, which is also what you hear when Ed Sheeran plays a song.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Lee Breslouer is a senior writer at Thrillist and also had some great beer at Colorado's Left Hand. Follow him to beer-scented tweets at: @LeeBreslouer.