1. Almanac Beer Co.
Location: San Francisco, CA
About the brewery: Founders and former home-brewers Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan started Almanac in 2010, crafting unique seasonal beers that use local Northern California produce, partnering with a different small farm each year to supply their fruit. Almanac operates under a partner brewing arrangement, meaning that they don’t have their own brewing equipment yet, but honestly -- who needs it when you're getting rated the best brewery in NorCal even without it?
Experts say: “They basically said, ‘We’re going to have a barrel program and it’s going to be better than yours.’ They have truly brought a culinary flare to brewing.” -- Drew Hall, The Beer Hall
Experts’ favorite brews: Dogpatch Sour, Ichibier, Autumn 2011 Farmhouse Pale.
Alex Lovell is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and maybe drank beers from all of these breweries while writing this. Offer to buy him a beer on Twitter.