These Are the Best Beers & Breweries in 2020, According to Drinkers
This year's list looks a lot like last year's list.
There probably isn't any kind of "best of" list that gets created without complaint and debate. That's part of the ritual, especially when the list is created through a survey. Still, one that's usually worth a glace is the American Homebrewers Association's "Best Beers in America." It's an annual list that compiles the opinions of Zymurgy magazine readers (who are AHA members) on the best beers and brewers in the US.
In 2020, there aren't many surprises, unless you expected something to change, in which case, surprise! They didn't. For the fourth straight year, Bell's Two Hearted Ale is perched atop the summit. Additionally, just like last year, Bell's Brewery is the top brewery in the land. It's also the only brewery with more than one beer in the top ten. Its Hop Slam finished fifth.
For now, Zymurgy has released the top ten in both categories, with the full top 25 to be revealed in the magazine's next print issue. Inside both top ten lists (there are actually 11 breweries listed), the vast majority qualify as "small and independent craft breweries" with the exception of Founders Brewing and New Belgium Brewing, which was acquired by Lion Little World Beverages, a subsidiary of Kirin, in a deal struck late last year.
"Being honored with this again, is beyond words," Larry Bell, President ad Founder of Bell's, said. "With the year we’ve all had, this is a huge win we can all celebrate. To my staff, to our partners, to the homebrewers, to everyone who celebrates this beer; thank you from the bottom of my heart." Prior to Two Hearted taking the crown, it sat behind Pliny the Elder, which held the top spot for seven years. It now sits second on the list.
The top three spots remain unchanged from last year. However, inside the top ten, there's a fair amount of change with four beers getting displaced. Last year, Founders Brewing had four beers inside the top ten. A year after it settled a racial discrimination lawsuit that prompted boycotts, it has just one among those ranks. Its Canadian Breakfast Stout, Breakfast Stout, and All Day IPA have all been bumped out, as has WeldWerks Juicy Bits. The newcomers, listed below, are beers from North Coast, Deschutes, Boulevard, and Three Floyds.
Here are the best beers and breweries in the US as selected by the AHA membership. Only one of which appeared in Thrillist's 25 Beers That Changed America. (Though, when the full list is unveiled, there most likely be more than that.)
1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
2. Russian River Pliny the Elder
3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
4. The Alchemist Heady Topper
5. Bell’s Hopslam
6. Three Floyds Zombie Dust
T7. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
T7. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
9. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
10. North Coast Old Rasputin
1. Bell’s Brewery
2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3. Russian River Brewing Co.
4. Founders Brewing Co.
5. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
6. Tree House Brewing Co.
7. Deschutes Brewery
8. The Alchemist Brewery
9. New Belgium Brewing Co.
T10. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
T10. Stone Brewing