The People Have Spoken!

Feature by | Dec 2008 | Issue #23

Consumer opinions. You either love or hate ’em, along with the eccentric personalities and blunt subjectivity that often come along for the ride, but there’s no denying their collective voice, purchasing power and direct support of the beer industry. If thousands of passionate people say something is good, chances are it’s going to be good, and the word is going to get around.

Speaking of which, over the past year, tens of thousands of BeerAdvocate.com members have been casting opinions on spending their hard-earned cash on their favorite (and not so favorite) beers, breweries and places to grab a brew. To celebrate this collective journey of passion and palate… we bring you our annual “Best of BeerAdvocate”—the magazine edition.

Cheers to every BA who participated!
—The Alström Bros.


All-Time Top Beers on Planet Earth
New beers come and go. These are the ones that stuck around.

1. Trappistes Rochefort 10
Quadrupel (Quad) / 11.30%
Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, Belgium)

2. Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 10.80%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

3. St. Bernardus Abt 12
Quadrupel (Quad) / 10.50%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV (Watou, Belgium)

4. Founders Breakfast Stout
American Double / Imperial Stout / 8.30%
Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

5. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
Doppelbock / 6.70%
Brauerei Aying (Aying, Germany)

6. Dreadnaught IPA
American Double / Imperial IPA / 9.50%
Three Floyds Brewing Company (Munster, Indiana)

7. Storm King Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 9.10%
Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)

8. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
Hefeweizen / 5.40%
Brauerei Weihenstephan (Freising, Germany)

9. Two Hearted Ale
American IPA / 7.00%
Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

10. 90 Minute IPA
American Double / Imperial IPA / 9.00%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (United States)

11. Stone Ruination IPA
American Double / Imperial IPA / 7.70%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

12. Bell’s HopSlam Ale
American Double / Imperial IPA / 10.00%
Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

13. La Fin Du Monde
Tripel / 9.00%
Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec)

14. Aventinus
Weizenbock / 8.00%
Private Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Kelheim, Germany)

15. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 9.00%
North Coast Brewing Company (Fort Bragg, California)

16. Duvel
Belgian Strong Pale Ale / 8.50%
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV (Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium)

17. Stone IPA (India Pale Ale)
American IPA / 6.90%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

18. Double Bastard Ale
American Strong Ale / 10.00%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

19. Chocolate Stout
American Stout / 6.00%
Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon)

20. Hop Rod Rye
American IPA / 8.00%
Bear Republic Brewing Company (Healdsburg, California)

21. Tröegs Nugget Nectar
American Amber / Red Ale / 7.50%
Tröegs Brewing Company (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

22. Arrogant Bastard Ale
American Strong Ale / 7.20%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

23. Trappistes Rochefort 8
Belgian Strong Dark Ale / 9.20%
Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, Belgium)

24. Shakespeare Stout
American Stout / 6.00%
Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon)

25. Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
Belgian Strong Dark Ale / 9.00%
Bières de Chimay (Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont, Belgium)



Top Buzzed-About Beers

The geek tweakers and wallet breakers of 2008

1. Devil Over A Barrel – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Imperial Oatmeal Porter
American Porter / 8.00%
Tyranena Brewing Company (Lake Mills, Wisconsin)

2. The Angel’s Share – Brandy Barrel Aged
American Strong Ale / 12.00%
The Lost Abbey (San Marcos, California)

3. Isabelle Proximus
American Wild Ale / 7.00%
The Lost Abbey (San Marcos, California)

4. Black Butte XX
American Porter / 11.00%
Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)

5. Smuttynose Baltic Porter (Big Beer Series)
Baltic Porter / 8.70%
Smuttynose Brewing Company (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

6. Ola Dubh Special 30 Reserve
Old Ale / 8.00%
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. (Alva, Scotland)

7. TEN
American Strong Ale / 10.00%
Ithaca Beer Company (Ithaca, New York)

8. Big Head San Diego Style Ale
American Double / Imperial IPA / 11.00%
Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

9. Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale
American IPA / 6.70%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California)

10. Sinners Blend 2008
Belgian Strong Dark Ale
The Lost Abbey (San Marcos, California)

11. Unplugged Imperial Weizen
Hefeweizen / 19.60%
New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wisconsin)

12. Dirty Old Man: Brewers Gone Wild!
Baltic Porter / 7.90%
Tyranena Brewing Company (Lake Mills, Wisconsin)

13. AleSmith Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter
American Porter / 10.00%
AleSmith Brewing Company (San Diego, California)

14. Ale To The Chief
American Double / Imperial IPA / 8.75%
Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado)

15. Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale
American Pale Ale (APA) / 6.70%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California)

16. Unibroue 17
Belgian Strong Dark Ale / 10.00%
Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec)

17. Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #6
American Barleywine / 10.00%
Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Houston, Texas)

18. Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
American Stout / 9.20%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

19. Ommegang Rouge
Flanders Red Ale / 5.50%
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York)

20. Top Sail Imperial Porter (Bourbon Barrel Aged 2008)
American Porter / 9.85%
Full Sail Brewing Company (Hood River, Oregon)

21. Ola Dubh Special 16 Reserve
Old Ale / 8.00%
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. (Alva, Scotland)

22. Blackheart
English IPA / 9.00%
Three Floyds Brewing Company / Brewery & Pub (Munster, Indiana)

23. The Dissident
Flanders Oud Bruin / 9.00%
Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)

24. Ola Dubh Special 12 Reserve
Old Ale / 8.00%
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. (Alva, Scotland)

25. Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
Belgian IPA / 8.00%
Brouwerij Het Anker (Mechelen, Belgium)



Top Session Lagers

What the world needs now is more 6-percent-and-under lagers, but here’s a good place to start.

1. Black Bavarian
Schwarzbier / 5.86%
Sprecher Brewing Company (Glendale, Wisconsin)

2. Prima Pils
German Pilsner / 5.30%
Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)

3. Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
Dortmunder / Export Lager / 5.80%
Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, Ohio)

4. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen
Rauchbier / 5.40%
Brauerei Heller-Trum (Bamberg, Germany)

5. Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
Munich Dunkel Lager / 5.00%
Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying (Aying, Germany)

6. Mönchshof Schwarzbier
Schwarzbier / 4.90%
Kulmbacher Brauerei AG (Kulmbach, Germany)

7. Köstritzer Schwarzbier
Schwarzbier / 4.80%
Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co. (Bad Köstritz /
Thüringen, Germany)

8. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Vienna Lager / 4.75%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel
Adams) (Boston, Massachusetts)

9. Anchor Steam Beer
California Common / Steam Beer / 4.90%
Anchor Brewing Company (San Francisco, California)

10. Ayinger Jahrhundert Bier
Munich Helles Lager / 5.50%
Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying (Aying, Germany)

11. Brooklyn Lager
American Amber / Red Lager / 5.20%
Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, New York)

12. Weihenstephaner Original
Munich Helles Lager / 5.10%
Brauerei Weihenstephan (Freising, Germany)

13. Samuel Adams Black Lager
Schwarzbier / 4.90%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) (Boston, Massachusetts)

14. Stoudt’s Pils
German Pilsner / 5.40%
Stoudts Brewing Co. (Adamstown, Pennsylvania)

15. Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Munich Helles Lager / 4.30%
Brauerei Heller-Trum (Bamberg, Germany)

16. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen
Rauchbier / 5.20%
Brauerei Heller-Trum (Bamberg, Germany)

17. Penn Dark
Munich Dunkel Lager / 5.00%
Pennsylvania Brewing Company (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

18. Pikeland Pils
German Pilsner / 4.90%
Sly Fox Brewing Company (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania)

19. Riverwest Stein Beer
American Amber / Red Lager / 5.68%
Lakefront Brewery, Inc. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

20. Mahr’s Ungespundet-hefetrüb
Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier / 5.20%
Mahrs Bräu (Bamberg, Germany)

21. Edel-Pils
German Pilsner / 5.30%
New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wisconsin)

22. Samuel Smith’s Organically Produced Lager Beer
Euro Pale Lager / 5.00%
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) (Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

23. Hofbräu Original
Munich Helles Lager / 5.10%
Staatliches Hofbräuhaus (Hofbräu München) (München, Germany)

24. Coney Island Lager
American Amber / Red Lager / 5.50%
Shmaltz Brewing Company (He’Brew) (San Francisco, California)

25. Saranac Black Forest
Schwarzbier / 5.50%
Matt Brewing Company, The (Utica, New York)


All-Time Top Breweries on Planet Earth
According to the numbers, the most popular and highest-rated brewers—ever.

1. Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

2. Three Floyds Brewing Company / Brewery & Pub (Munster, Indiana)

3. Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)

4. Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York)

5. AleSmith Brewing Company (San Diego, California)

6. Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, California)

7. Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)

8. Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine)

9. Bear Republic Brewing Company (Healdsburg, California)

10. Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, Ohio)

11. Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV (Watou, Belgium)

12. Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, New York)

13. Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

14. Tröegs Brewing Company (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

15. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California)

16. Bières de Chimay (Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont, Belgium)

17. Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, New York)

18. Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

19. Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon)

20. Smuttynose Brewing Company (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

21. New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wisconsin)

22. Goose Island (Chicago, Illinois)

23. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Deleware)

24. New Belgium Brewing Inc. (Fort Collins, Colorado)

25. Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado)


Top Beer Bars on Planet Earth
“Beer geek paychecks cashed here.”

1. Ebenezer’s Pub (Lovell, Maine)

2. Brick Store Pub (Decatur, Georgia)

3. HopCat (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

4. Kulminator (Antwerpen, Belgium)

5. The Dirty Truth (Northampton, Massachusetts)

6. Capone’s Restaurant (Norristown, Pennsylvania)

7. The Publick House & Monk’s Cell (Brookline, Massachusetts)

8. The Map Room (Chicago, Illinois)

9. Beachwood BBQ (Seal Beach, California)

10. The Moan and Dove (Amherst, Massachusetts)

11. Spuyten Duyvil (Brooklyn, New York)

12. Dilly Deli Wines & Gourmet (Mariemont, Ohio)

13. Hopleaf Bar (Chicago, Illinois)

14. Cock & Bull Pub (Sarasota, Florida)

15. O’Brien’s Pub (San Diego, California)

16. Zeno’s Pub (State College, Pennsylvania)

17. Blind Tiger Ale House (New York, New York) [closed]

18. ‘t Brugs Beertje (Brugge, Belgium)

19. Birreria Paradiso (Washington DC)

20. Capital Ale House (Richmond, Virginia)

21. Hollingshead’s Delicatessen (Orange, California)

22. The Biercafé at Belmont Station (Portland, Oregon)

23. Smokeless Joe (Toronto, Ontario) [closed]

24. The Muddy Pig (St. Paul, Minnesota)

25. Monk’s Café (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)



Top Big-Ass Stouts

Believe the hype, but don’t waste your money on eBay.

1. Dark Lord Imperial Stout / 13.00%
Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub (Munster, Indiana)

2. The Abyss / 11.00%
Deschutes Brewery, Inc. (Bend, Oregon)

3. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout / 10.00%
Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

4. Kate The Great – Russian Imperial Stout / 9.50%
Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

5. AleSmith Speedway Stout / 12.00%
AleSmith Brewing Company (San Diego, California)

6. Péché Mortel (Imperial Stout Au Cafe) / 9.50%
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel (Montréal, Quebec)

7. Stone Imperial Russian Stout / 10.80%
Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)

8. Founders Breakfast Stout / 8.30%
Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

9. Darkness / 10.30%
Surly Brewing Company (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)

10. Bourbon County Stout / 13.00%
Goose Island (Chicago, Illinois)

11. Older Viscosity / 12.10%
Port Brewing Company / Pizza Port (United States)

12. Black Albert / 13.00%
De Struise Brouwers (De Panne, Belgium)

13. Choklat (Imperial Stout) / 11.00%
Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, New York)

14. Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout / 9.50%
Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)

15. Storm King Stout / 9.10%
Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)

16. Sexual Chocolate / 10.00%
Foothills Brewing Company (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

17. Ten FIDY / 10.00%
Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery (Lyons, Colorado)

18. Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #5 / 10.00%
Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Houston, Texas)

19. Yeti Imperial Stout / 9.50%
Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)

20. B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout / 9.40%
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery (Akron, Ohio)

21. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout / 9.00%
North Coast Brewing Co. (Fort Bragg, California)

22. Founders Imperial Stout / 10.00%
Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

23. Rogue Imperial Stout / 11.00%
Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer’s on the Bay (Newport, Oregon)

24. Bell’s Expedition Stout / 10.50%
Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

25. Siberian Night Imperial Stout / 9.00%
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company (Independence, Ohio)

All lists were pulled and calculated using reviews by tens of thousands of BeerAdvocate.com members—no data was harmed in the process. Don’t see your favorite beer, brewery or bar? Create a free account and cast your opinions at BeerAdvocate.com today.