Beer in Review

Feature by | Jan 2010 | Issue #36

Illustration by Lisa MacCallum

Lists. Love ’em or hate ’em, they pique interest, coax conversation and generate awareness. This year’s “Beer in Review” was pulled from over one million BeerAdvocate member reviews of tens of thousands of listings to collectively acknowledge some of the best brewers, beers and places to have a pint in the world. We also threw in a couple of twists. Cheers and enjoy (or not) the lists!

Illustration by Lisa MacCallum

All-Time Top Beers On Planet Earth
Argue all you want, but it’s hard to deny their collective deliciousness.

1. Trappist Westvleteren 12
Quadrupel (Quad) / 10.2%
Brouwerij Westvleteren
(Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) (Westvleteren, Belgium)

2. Pliny The Elder
American Double / Imperial IPA / 8.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

3. The Abyss
American Double / Imperial Stout / 11.0%
Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)

4. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
American Double / Imperial Stout / 11.2%
Founders Brewing Company
(Grand Rapids, Michigan)

5. Pliny The Younger
American Double / Imperial IPA / 11.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

6. Trappistes Rochefort 10
Quadrupel (Quad) / 11.3%
Brasserie de Rochefort
(Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy) (Rochefort, Belgium)

7. Dark Lord Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 13.0%
Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
(Munster, Indiana)

8. Founders Breakfast Stout
American Double / Imperial Stout / 8.3%
Founders Brewing Company
(Grand Rapids, Michigan)

9. Trappist Westvleteren 8
Dubbel / 8.0%
Brouwerij Westvleteren
(Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) (Westvleteren, Belgium)

10. Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 10.5%
Stone Brewing Company
(Escondido, California)

11. St. Bernardus Abt 12
Quadrupel (Quad) / 10.5%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
(Watou, Belgium)

12. AleSmith Speedway Stout
American Double / Imperial Stout / 12.0%
AleSmith Brewing Company
(San Diego, California)

13. Péché Mortel (Imperial Stout Au Cafe)
American Double / Imperial Stout / 9.5%
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
(Montréal, Quebec)

14. Dreadnaught IPA
American Double / Imperial IPA / 9.5%
Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
(Munster, Indiana)

15. Bell’s HopSlam Ale
American Double / Imperial IPA / 10.0%
Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
(Kalamazoo, Michigan)

16. Sculpin India Pale Ale
American IPA / 7.0%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
(San Diego, California)

17. Masala Mama India Pale Ale
American IPA / 6.0%
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
(Minneapolis, Minnesota)

18. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
Hefeweizen / 5.4%
Brauerei Weihenstephan
(Freising, Germany)

19. Tröegs Nugget Nectar
American Amber / Red Ale / 7.5%
Tröegs Brewing Company
(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

20. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
Doppelbock / 6.7%
Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying
(Aying, Germany)

21. Bourbon County Stout
American Double / Imperial Stout / 13.0%
Goose Island
(Chicago, Illinois)

22. Supplication
American Wild Ale / 7.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

23. Portsmouth Kate the Great – Russian Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 9.5%
Portsmouth Brewery
(Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

24. Darkness
Russian Imperial Stout / 9.6%
Surly Brewing Company
(Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)

25. Duvel
Belgian Strong Pale Ale / 8.5%
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV
(Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium)

Illustration by Lisa MacCallum

Most-Wanted Beers
The tickers have spoken! (And they really, really want these.)

1. Portsmouth Kate the Great – Russian Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 9.5%
Portsmouth Brewery
(Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

2. Dark Lord Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 13.0%
Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
(Munster, Indiana)

3. Trappist Westvleteren 12
Quadrupel (Quad) / 10.2%
Brouwerij Westvleteren
(Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) (Westvleteren, Belgium)

4. Pliny The Younger
American Double / Imperial IPA / 11.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

5. Pliny The Elder
American Double / Imperial IPA / 8.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

6. Darkness
Russian Imperial Stout / 10.3%
Surly Brewing Company
(Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)

7. The Abyss
American Double / Imperial Stout / 11.0%
Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)

8. Sexual Chocolate
Russian Imperial Stout / 10.0%
Foothills Brewing Company
(Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

9. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
American Double / Imperial Stout / 11.2%
Founders Brewing Company
(Grand Rapids, Michigan)

10. Supplication
American Wild Ale / 7.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

11. Black Tuesday
American Double / Imperial Stout / 19.5%
The Bruery
(Placentia, California)

12. Dreadnaught IPA
American Double / Imperial IPA / 9.5%
Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
(Munster, Indiana)

13. Cable Car
American Wild Ale / 7.0%
The Lost Abbey
(San Marcos, California)

14. The Angel’s Share – Bourbon Barrel-Aged
American Strong Ale / 12.0%
The Lost Abbey
(San Marcos, California)

15. AleSmith Speedway Stout – Barrel Aged
American Double / Imperial Stout / 12.5%
AleSmith Brewing Company
(San Diego, California)

16. Furious
American IPA / 6.2%
Surly Brewing Company
(Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)

17. Temptation
American Wild Ale / 7.25%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

18. Trappist Westvleteren 8
Dubbel / 8.0%
Brouwerij Westvleteren
(Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) (Westvleteren, Belgium)

19. Beatification
American Wild Ale / 6.0%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

20. Sanctification
American Wild Ale / 6.25%
Russian River Brewing Company
(Santa Rosa, California)

21. Sculpin India Pale Ale
American IPA / 7.0%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
(San Diego, California)

22. Masala Mama India Pale Ale
American IPA / 6.0%
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
(Minneapolis, Minnesota)

23. Bell’s HopSlam Ale
American Double / Imperial IPA / 10.0%
Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
(Kalamazoo, Michigan)

24. Older Viscosity
American Double / Imperial Stout / 12.1%
Port Brewing Company / Pizza Port
(San Marcos, California)

25. Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout
Russian Imperial Stout / 9.0%
Great Lakes Brewing Company
(Cleveland, Ohio)

Illustration by Lisa MacCallum

Top Beers That Get No Respect
No matter how hard they try, they just don’t get no respect.

1. Bud Light
Light Lager / 4.2%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

2. Michelob Ultra
Light Lager / 4.2%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

3. Coors Light
Light Lager / 4.2%
Coors Brewing Company
(Golden, Colorado)

4. Natural Light
Light Lager / 4.2%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

5. Corona Light
Light Lager / 3.7%
Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.
(Mexico City, Mexico)

6. Corona Extra
American Adjunct Lager / 4.6%
Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.
(Mexico City, Mexico)

7. Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer
Chile Beer / 4.2%
Chili Beer Co.
(Cave Creek, Arizona)

8. Keystone Light
Light Lager / 4.2%
Coors Brewing Company
(Golden, Colorado)

9. Miller Lite
Light Lager / 4.2%
Miller Brewing Co.
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

10. Busch Light
Light Lager / 4.1%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

11. Budweiser Select
Light Lager / 4.3%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

12. Busch Beer
American Adjunct Lager / 4.6%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

13. Wild Blue (Blueberry Lager)
Fruit / Vegetable Beer / 8.0%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

14. Miller Chill
American Adjunct Lager / 4.2%
Miller Brewing Co.
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

15. Natural Ice
American Adjunct Lager / 5.9%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

16. Budweiser
American Adjunct Lager / 5.0%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

17. Milwaukee’s Best
American Adjunct Lager / 4.3%
Miller Brewing Co.
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

18. Miller Genuine Draft
American Adjunct Lager / 4.7%
Miller Brewing Co.
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

19. Bud Ice
American Adjunct Lager / 5.5%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

20. Icehouse
American Adjunct Lager / 5.5%
Miller Brewing Co.
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

21. Amstel Light
Light Lager / 3.5%
Amstel Brouwerij B. V.
(Amsterdam, Netherlands)

22. Olde English 800
American Malt Liquor / 5.9%
Miller Brewing Co.
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

23. Bud Light Lime
Light Lager / 4.2%
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

24. Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity)
American Malt Liquor / 8.1%
Steel Brewing Co.
(Irwindale, CA)

25. Rolling Rock Extra Pale
American Adjunct Lager / 4.6%
Latrobe Brewing Co.
(St. Louis, Missouri)

All-Time Top Brewers
Simply put, this list speaks volumes.

1. Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, California)
2. Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub (Munster, Indiana)
3. Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York)
4. Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, California)
5. Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado)
6. Tröegs Brewing Company (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
7. Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)
8. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, California)
9. Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, Ohio)
10. Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)
11. Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
12. North Coast Brewing Co. (Fort Bragg, California)
13. Smuttynose Brewing Company (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
14. Bear Republic Brewing Co. (Healdsburg, California)
15. Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
16. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delware)
17. Goose Island (Chicago, Illinois)
18. Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon)
19. Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California)
20. Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, New York)
21. Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer’s on the Bay (Newport, Oregon)
22. Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, New York)
23. New Belgium Brewing Inc. (Fort Collins, Colorado)
24. Anchor Brewing Company (San Francisco, California)
25. Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) (Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom (England))

Top Places to Have a Pint
Prepare to pull up a stool and empty your wallet on their fine offerings.

1. Ebenezer’s Pub (Lovell, Maine)
2. Brick Store Pub (Decatur, Georgia)
3. HopCat (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
4. Beachwood BBQ (Seal Beach, California)
5. Kulminator (Antwerpen, Belgium)
6. The Publick House & Monk’s Cell (Brookline, Massachusetts)
7. The Moan and Dove (Amherst, Massachusetts)
8. The Dirty Truth (Northampton, Massachusetts)
9. ‘t Brugs Beertje (Brugge, Belgium)
10. Spuyten Duyvil (Brooklyn, New York)
11. Monk’s Café (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
12. Stub & Herb’s (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
13. Hopleaf Bar (Chicago, Illinois)
14. O’Brien’s Pub (San Diego, California)
15. The Alchemist Pub and Brewery (Waterbury, Vermont)
16. Blind Tiger Ale House (New York, New York)
17. Mahar’s Public Bar (Albany, New York)
18. American Flatbread Burlington Hearth (Burlington, Vermont)
19. Toronado – San Francisco (San Francisco, California)
20. Birreria Paradiso (District of Columbia)
21. Novare Res Bier Café (Portland, Maine)
22. Pizza Port-Carlsbad Brewery (Carlsbad, California)
23. Deep Ellum (Allston, Massachusetts)
24. Max’s Taphouse (Baltimore, Maryland)
25. Falling Rock Tap House (Denver, Colorado)

Illustration by Lisa MacCallum

Alström Bros’ Top Beers
In no real order, these are the brews that made us stop, think and drink in 2009.

1. Hell
Kellerbier / 5.1%
Surly Brewing Co.
(Brooklyn Center, Massachusetts)

2. Audacity of Hops (2009 Symposium Ale)
Belgian IPA / 8.5%
Mayflower Brewing Co.
(Plymouth, Massachusetts)

3. Tastes Like Burning (Ralph Wiggum’s Revenge)
Smoked Beer Aged in Tabasco Barrels / 6.3%
Ithaca Beer Co.
(Ithaca, New York)

4. Huma-Lupa-Licious
American IPA / 6.6%
Short’s Brewing Co.
(Bellaire, Michigan)

5. Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel
Doppelbock / 7.0%
Klosterbrauerei Andechs
(Andechs, Germany)

6. Up Up Down Down Left Right
Left Right BA Select American Brown Ale / 8.0%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
(Milton, Delaware)

7. Life & Limb
American Strong Ale / 10.2%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
(Chico, California)

8. Vagabond
American Wild Ale / 10.0%
Allagash Brewing Co.
(Portland, Maine)

9. Sgt. Pepper
Saison w/ Black Pepper / 6.0%
Cambridge Brewing Co.
(Cambridge, Massachusetts)

10. Baby Tree
Quad w/ Dried Plums / 8.6%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
(Cambridge, Massachusetts)

11. PB & J
Peanut Butter & Jelly Ale / 8.4%
Short’s Brewing Co.
(Bellaire, Michigan)

12. Jack D’or
American Saison / 6.4%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
(Cambridge, Massachusetts)

13. Canadian Breakfast
Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
w/ Maple Syrup / 9.4%
Founders Brewing Co.
(Grand Rapids, Michigan)

14. IPA
American IPA / 6.33%
Yakima Craft Brewing Co.
(Yakima, Washington)

15. India Pelican Ale
American IPA / 7.5%
Pelican Pub & Brewery
(Pacific City, Oregon)

16. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
American IPA / 7.2%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
(Chico, California)

17. Peruvian Morning
Barrel-Aged Imperial Coffee Stout / 8.0%
Central Waters Brewing Company
(Amherst, Wisconsin)

18. Juliet
Belgian Sour Ale / 6.7%
Goose Island Beer Co.
(Chicago, Illinois)

19. Brute
American Wild Ale / 7.0%
Ithaca Beer Co.
(Ithaca, New York)

20. Exit 11
Hoppy American Wheat Ale / 6.2%
Flying Fish Brewing Company
(Cherry Hill, New Jersey)

21. Sebago Local Harvest Ale
Harvest Ale / 4.8%
Sebago Brewing Company
(Goreham, Maine)

22. Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
American Pale Ale / 5.2%
Half Acre Beer Company
(Chicago, Illinois)

23. Duck Duck Gooze
American Wild Ale / 7.0%
The Lost Abbey
(San Marcos, California)

24. Andechser Hell
Munich Helles / 4.8%
KlosterbrauereiAndechs
(Andechs, Germany)

25. Augustiner Lagerbier Hell
Munich Helles / 5.2%
Augustiner-Bräu Wagner KG
(Munich, Germany) 

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