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These Are the Best Beers & Breweries in the US, According to Drinkers

Best of lists are a tricky enterprise. To do them well is no small feat, and it usually ends in debates and complaints because there aren't many people who would build a list the exact same way. Nonetheless, when they're done well, they're a fun...

best beers in america
Courtesy of Bell's Brewing

Best of lists are a tricky enterprise. To do them well is no small feat, and it usually ends in debates and complaints because there aren't many people who would build a list the exact same way. Nonetheless, when they're done well, they're a fun survey of the landscape. (Like this list of great summer beers, outstanding stouts, or the best IPAs in the country.) One that's always worth a glance is the American Homebrewer's Association's "Best Beers in America" list. It asks readers of Zymurgy magazine -- AHA members -- about what they think are the best beers and breweries in the country. 

The 2019 list has been released and for the third straight year, Bell's Two Hearted Ale sits atop the mountain. It's a useful look at the great beers made by American craft brewers. Only a handful of breweries on the list fail to qualify as small and independent craft breweries, with a few from Founders and one from Goose Island being the lone exceptions. 

“Receiving this honor once, twice even was incredible. But a third time? I am speechless and incredibly thankful to the homebrewing community and everyone who has helped make this beer what it is today,” Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s, said in a statement. The brewery also took top honors in the AHA's list of "Top Breweries."

It's nice to see so many flagship beers getting the love they deserve on this list, even if it's a little hop-heavy and skewed toward states often associated with craft beer like Colorado, California, Michigan, and North Carolina. Sure, you might quibble over some spots, but don't you kind of want one of everything on this list right now?

Here's the full list of the best beers and breweries as selected by the AHA membership. (A couple of these -- BCBS, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Julius, All Day IPA -- also appeared on Thrillist's list of the 25 beers that changed America.)

Top-Ranked Beer
T24. Russian River Blind Pig IPA
T24. Odell IPA
23. North Coast Old Rasputin
T21. The Alchemist Focal Banger
T21. Allagash White
20. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
T18. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
T18. Lawson's Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine
T16. New Holland Dragon's Milk
T16. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
15. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
14. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
T12. Three Floyds Zombie Dust
T12. Tree House Julius
11. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
T9. WeldWerks Juicy Bits
T9. Founders Breakfast Stout
T7. Bell's Hopslam
T7. Founders All Day IPA
6. Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout
5. The Alchemist Heady Topper
4. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
2. Russian River Pliny the Elder
1. Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Top Breweries
T24. Surly Brewing Company (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
T24. Goose Island Beer (Chicago, Illinois)
23. Left Hand Brewing Company (Longmont, Colorado)
22. Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine)
21. Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado)
20. Tröegs Independent Brewing (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
T18. Oskar Blues Brewery (Longmont, Colorado; Brevard, North Carolina; Austin, Texas)
T18. Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California; Chicago, Illinois)
17. Three Floyds Brewing Company (Munster, Indiana)
16. New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado; Asheville, North Carolina)
15. New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wisconsin)
T12. WeldWerks Brewing CO. (Greeley, Colorado)
T12. Cigar City Brewing (Tampa Bay, Florida)
T12. Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri)
T10. Stone Brewing (Escondido, California)
T10. Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, California)
T8. Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, Colorado)
T8. Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)
7. The Alchemist (Stowe, Vermont)
6. Tree House Brewing Company (Charlton, Massachusetts)
5. Dogfish Head Craft (Milton, Delaware)
4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California; Mills River, North Carolina)
3. Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa and Windsor, California)
2. Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
1. Bell's Brewery (Comstock, Michigan)

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.