Elysian was one of the most talked-about breweries in the country before being purchased by AnheuserBusch earlier this year. But regardless of who's paying the bills, Elysian's innovative use of pumpkins at their now-famous Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, exploitation of New Zealand hops in Space Dust IPA, and inspired comic book and record label team-ups with Fantagraphics and Sub Pop Records help them stand among the best.
Worldly beer experts often argue the best pilsners, Helles, and Oktoberfests come out of Germany or the Czech Republic. And while they may be right, the miniature Chuckanut Brewery in the small city of Bellingham makes lagers to rival them. In fact, Chuckanut makes the finest lagers in America. Founded by Will Kemper of the famous Thomas Kemper soda empire, Chuckanut's lagers often blow away the competition -- in 2009, they scored Best Small Brewpub & Brewer in the nation at the Great American Beer Fest. Sadly their beer can be difficult to find, even in Seattle.