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Who is your favorite California brewer?

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by highdesertdrinker, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Advocate (670) Arizona Nov 5, 2012 Beer Trader

    I vote for the 800 lb. gorilla, Sierra Nevada. I have not had the pleasure of trying anything from Russian River but they tell me it's good.;)
  2. Everything I've had from Ballast Point has been great.
  3. dianimal

    dianimal Advocate (550) California Apr 18, 2012

    I really like several brews from Lagunitas. Green Flash comes in second (hard to pick just one!).
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  4. joeebbs

    joeebbs Savant (360) Pennsylvania Apr 29, 2009

    I'm an Anchor nut so that's what I have to go with. Are they making whales? No. But the beer they do make is a quality product.
    BrewerRev likes this.
  5. brother_kenneth

    brother_kenneth Advocate (620) Virginia Oct 22, 2012 Beer Trader

    Russian River, but a close runner-up is Bruery.
  6. Lagunitas....Brown Shugga is awesome and Holiday Sucks was outstanding, can't wait to get my hands on it this year.
  7. PittBeerGirl

    PittBeerGirl Advocate (695) Ohio Feb 27, 2007

    Russian River
    Favorite CA brewer that I have access to: Alesmith- who are a close 2nd regardless
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  8. Despite my crazed obsessive avi, Firestone and Alesmith can do no wrong.

    Following those two, I'd put RR, Lagunitas then Ballast Point to round off my top 5.
  9. Firestone Walker for quality. Lagunitas for Price/availability.

    (I visited russian river brewpub on vacation but due to unavailability of their beer they're out)
  10. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Advocate (670) Arizona Nov 5, 2012 Beer Trader

    I love these replies of the small locals and I'm taking notes!
    dianimal likes this.
  11. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (680) Illinois Nov 10, 2012 Beer Trader

    The Bruery.
  12. EdTheEdge

    EdTheEdge Champion (755) California Mar 26, 2011

    No love for Mission?
  13. nc41

    nc41 Champion (855) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008 Beer Trader

    Alpine for IPA's, they're outstanding.
    jp7161, j47paco and dianimal like this.
  14. Durb777

    Durb777 Savant (460) Illinois Nov 30, 2011 Beer Trader

    It's a tie for me between Russian River and Firestone Walker
  15. I buy equal amounts Stone, Lagunitas, and Firestone Walker.
  16. RochefortChris

    RochefortChris Champion (860) North Carolina Oct 2, 2012 Beer Trader

    North Coast. Old Raspy and Pranqster are excellent beers among others they make. Green Flash receives honorable mention.
  17. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Advocate (660) California Jan 2, 2010 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Russian River.

    honorable mentions to Alpine, Bruery, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Kern River, Firestone and Stone

    Damn we are stacked!
  18. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Savant (310) Ohio Oct 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    dianimal likes this.
  19. In the context of top CA breweries, Mission is like the bastard child...You don't talk about it much.
    Beerontwowheels likes this.
  20. BradtheGreat7

    BradtheGreat7 Savant (340) Ohio Jul 22, 2011

    You can't pick just 1 Californian brewery. I was asked recently by a few of my friends to make a top 100 breweries in the world list. Here are the California breweries ranked IMO in order throughout that list.
    Russian River - #1 California/ #3 world
    Stone - #2 Ca/ #7 world
    Alesmith - #3 Ca./ #8 world
    Sierra Nevada - #4 Ca./ #12 world
    Green Flash - #5 Ca./ #17 world
    Bear Republic - #6 Ca./ #20 world
    Firestone Walker - #7 Ca./ #21 world
    North Coast - #8 Ca./ #45 world
    Lagunitas - #9 Ca./ #51 world

    Of course this ranking is my own personal based on literature and beers I've had or reviews based on people I consider to have knowledge in craft beer. No one has to agree. It was just my personal ranking.
  21. Russian River
    Sierra Nevada

    Firestone Walker I'd only mention strictly for their Barrel Aged beers.
    kpacedo likes this.
  22. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    I'm going with Ballast Point and FW.
  23. Firestone Walker followed closely by The Bruery & Alpine.

    I don't drink enough Lost Abbey or Russian River to put them before the 3 above.
  24. jrnyc

    jrnyc Champion (870) New York Mar 21, 2010 Beer Trader

    Stone. Many beers they make I like. Awesome marketing, great facility and huge proponent of fresh beer.
    pinkgrenade likes this.
  25. Jules11788

    Jules11788 Savant (420) California Feb 15, 2011

    Um... ALPINE
  26. BradtheGreat7

    BradtheGreat7 Savant (340) Ohio Jul 22, 2011

    I failed to mention 2 more in my top 100.
    Alpine - #10 ca./ #79 world
    The Bruery - #11 Ca./ #97 world
  27. Everything i've had from Alesmith and the Bruery has been delicious. I gotta get me some Russian River.
  28. DocJitsu

    DocJitsu Savant (440) California Dec 28, 2009

    I have to say AJ Stoll because he's a friend of mine, an up-and-comer, a red hot brewer, a multiple award winner, and he feeds me lots of good beers right out of his own pint glass. He is the primary brewer at Figueroa Mountain. Fig Mtn. will soon be taking over the world (we should be so lucky).
    rhertan likes this.
  29. plemori

    plemori Zealot (80) Wisconsin Apr 18, 2012

    The Bruery and Stone
  30. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

  31. Russian River and the Bruery...not sure which one I like more tho...
  32. jmgrub

    jmgrub Savant (475) California Nov 20, 2010

    CA_Infidel2o9 likes this.
  33. HighWine

    HighWine Savant (440) Illinois Dec 11, 2010 Beer Trader

    Port/Lost Abbey. Great hops, Belgian styles, stouts, imperials,...
  34. Russian River, Green Flash, Ballast Point, and Lagunitas!
  35. El Cajon Brewing Company. The beers are flawless, the food is to die for, and it pleases me to no end that it is a family business with a true sense of love and admiration that the brothers who own it have for each other.
  36. Sante Adairius Rustic Ales.

    Russian River, Alpine and about 25 more aren't bad either.
    bulletrain76 likes this.
  37. Retsinis

    Retsinis Advocate (605) California Sep 25, 2009 Subscriber

    Favorite (1) ? Too many. Also it's tough to compare in some ways, since some are hard to come by, but fantastic, other's are conistently good, and rather abudant. Some do sours well, or IPA's, both, experimental. My Favorite (s) let's see, in no particular order.

    The Bruery - RS member for several years now, loving the majority of it.
    Firestone Walker - Parabola, Sticky Monkey, Anniversary blends, Double Jack, DDBA, etc.
    Russian River - Ffac, Pliney (both) Temptation, Supplication, Consecration, on and on as well.
    Hangar 24 - Barrel Roll series, canning, etc.
    Drakes - Aroma Coma, Drakonic Stout, etc.
    Bear Republic - Racer 5, X (fresh) Big bear black stout.
    Alesmith - Decadence, Speedway, Nautical Nut Brown, etc.
    Lost Coast (mainly for downtown brown, draft, mmm)
    Ballast Point - Victory at Sea, Sea Monster, Sculpin, etc.
    Alpine - Nelson, Duet, Exponential, long list of many more, etc.
    Pizza Port Chain - beer buddies, pizza, great beer, sticky monster, Knight Rider, so many more, etc.
    Sierra Neveda - Consitent established line, 30th Anniy's, Ovila series, Tumbler, Narwhal, Ruthless Rye etc.
    Beachwood BBQ
    Port/Lost Abbey
    Kern River

    Smaller and newer upstarts that will be great to watch as the years go:

    Mike Hess
    Enegren Brewing
    Figueroa Mountain
    Island Brewing (well, not new, but small for a 12+ year brewery)
    Surf Brewing
    El Segundo
    Kinetic Brewing
    Bravery Brewing
    Black Market

    I'm forgetting a ton, TON here. This is a huge state, I've driven end to end via the 5, 101, PCH, by train from Bakersfield, to Madera, Modesto, Martinez, to Napa valley, through Eureka, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Kern, Chico, Fresno, Barstow, Needles, San Diego, Redlands, Temecula, Berkely, Morro Bay, Yosemite, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, north south east, west, etc. so many more cities I'm not mentioning, trying local breweries, the large, small, and in between, and there are well over 300 breweries in the state, and I've probably got well over a hundred to go, but needless to say, we live in a great state of beer, my favorite brewery, is probably the next one.
    davemont and jmgrub like this.
  38. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    I'm gonna have to go with Stone.

    Followed by:
    Sierra Nevada
    Bear Republic
    Ballast Point
    Firestone Walker
    Knee Deep
    Green Flash
    Lost Abbey
    Dust Bowl
    The Bruery

    Damn, i just realized we have some awesome shiot! And i haven't even tried:

    Kern River
    and have only tried Pliny from Russian River
    and Sticky Zipper from Oakland Brewing (Glorious!)
  39. Minus Speedway Stout, which IMHO is the best non-barrel aged stout out there PERIOD...how does Alesmith beat out SN & even Firestone??? Respectfullly, please explain.
    I like you....but you're crazy.