Your Top 3 Most Influential Breweries

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by readyski, Jun 18, 2014.

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  1. Nyc45669

    Nyc45669 Initiate (0) Jul 17, 2013 New York

    Thinking of something that everyone didn't mention. I'd say Uinta, Main brewing company and Fegley's.
  2. Alex-Alkis

    Alex-Alkis Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2014 Sweden

    Boston Beer Co. becuase they almost entirely introduced the US to craft brewing.
    Other breweries that really got me intrested in the world of beer is Sierra Nevada and Englands oldest brewery, Shepherds Neame.
  3. Andrew041180

    Andrew041180 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2013 Massachusetts

    Sam Adams - introduction to craft. Also an introduction to brewery tours and tasting fresh beer. At one time the best beer I had ever tasted was day-old Boston Lager from the brewery. Still one of my fondest beer-related memories.

    Dogfish Head - gateway to IPAs, which is now the style that I drink most frequently.
    Allagash - While I don't drink it as frequently as, say Sierra Nevada, it's led me to appreciate some of the best and most unique-tasting beers that I've ever had.
  4. gueuzedreg

    gueuzedreg Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2013 Colorado

    CCB/Perennial- stouts are nuts
    3F/Cantillon- they cure my lambic fix
    Toppling Goliath- they are pushing craft in crazy ways
    robear and johnyb like this.
  5. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,015) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Timothy Taylor - Landlord was an eye opener
    Rochefort - opened up the world of both Belgiums, and beers on the higher end of the ABV scale
    Hill Farmstead - took US brewing to the next level IMO (during the period in which I've been to exposed to the US beer scene - I'm sure for others, this space could be filled by SN, RR or many others)
    AlcahueteJ and cavedave like this.
  6. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,401) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    Samuel Adams - Winter Ale and Summer Ale basically turned me on to craft beer while I was in college.

    Ommegang - First beer I ever fell in love with was their Abbey Ale and lots of great memories from when I used to attend their BCTC festival annually.

    Cantillon - Couldn't get through more than two sips the first few times I tried lambics, now I search them out.
  7. Andrew041180

    Andrew041180 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2013 Massachusetts

    I did, but oddly enough for a completely different reason. 60 & 90 Minute were gateways for me. I never really tried much of their experimental stuff.

    If the OP had asked for 4 breweries I would have also mentioned Weihenstephaner for the same reasons that you mention Ayinger. Just in my case one led me to the other.
  8. ZachKelly

    ZachKelly Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2012 Virginia

    Flying Dog - getting me into it.
    Odell's - blowing my mind and the gates wide open.
    Lagunitas/Stone/Firestone - for consistently making the best beers available on a somewhat national scale and never letting me down.
  9. kwakwhore

    kwakwhore Initiate (0) Nov 1, 2004 North Carolina

    I would include Samuel Smith on that list too.
  10. marquis

    marquis Champion (802) Nov 20, 2005 England

    Fuller's is more than a gateway beer, it's also a destination one.
  11. robear

    robear Initiate (0) May 24, 2014 Wisconsin

    1. New Glarus- growing up in Wisconsin, I drank the occasional Leinie's in high school. Back then, before the majority of their beer was brewed in Milwaukee, the Chippewa Falls brewery was still putting out pretty good beer (shandy hadn't been introduced yet, thank god.) After HS, I discovered "craft" beer via New Glarus Spotted Cow pitchers for $3. I'm not sure anyone in Eau Claire really knew what "craft beer" meant, but we loved that NG was brewed and distributed ONLY in Wisconsin. Since then I've gained a severe appreciation for the way they make beer, the way they run a business, and the physical brewery itself. It's a must-visit beer destination up there with HF, TG, RR. Not nearly as many whales as those places, but a true sense of pride, tradition, and intelligence.

    2. Ballast Point- I bought my first home brew kit from Ballast Point's Home Brew Mart. Back then they were brewing quite a bit in back- this was the original production brewery for BP after all. It was also the birthplace of many of their beers including Sculpin. Nothing beats a home brew shop with a tasting room in the back. BP was also responsible for introducing me to many different styles of craft beer. They're beers are always solid. They've expanded into multiple locations now, including a restaurant with a pilot brewery, so they've been "Stone-ified" a bit (which is almost a requirement to compete in San Diego). The original brew mart still sells home brew supplies and runs an experimental brewery in the back. They also serve full pints now.

    3. Alpine Beer Co. I'll always remember my first visit to Alpine. I'd had many of their beers on tap at Toronado and I'd heard many, many stories about Pat, Steve, and the pub at the brewery. The place is tiny, taking up two ends of a small "strip mall". The brewery is on one end, the pub on the other. The whole place has a small town DIY feel to it. The sense I always get going up there is "How do they do it in this small, out-dated space?" I've seen plenty of state-of-the-art breweries making sub-par beer, and here's Alpine making pure magic on what is essentially used equipment. They revolutionized the way I think of "hoppy" beer.

    4. Pizza Port. Honorable mention to the small chain of restaurant/breweries in San Diego County.
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  12. MisterBisco

    MisterBisco Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2009 New York

    Hoegaarden for their Grand Cru, which was the first beer that blew my mind.
    Stone for Ruination IPA, which made me realize that I loved American IPAs.
    And Goose Island for their Bourbon County, which set the bar for me in identifying my perfect beer.
  13. elektrikjester

    elektrikjester Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2008 Georgia

    It's always good to come home.
  14. DrRambis

    DrRambis Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2014 New Jersey

    Interesting question...breweries that have influenced my own taste preferences. Stone was the 1st IPA I had and I loved it from the get go. Left hand milk stout elevated me out of the Guinness days (still my favorite beer to put down quickly). FW like many others was my foray into barrel aging. I used to be a strait ale fan but Jacks Abby restored the credibility of lagers for me. And Schneider-weisse (mostly aventinus) brought me into the world of German beers, know I love a good clean hefe, and westmalle showed me the beauty and simplicity of the belgians. Many others along the way and I can't wait for my horizons to continue to expand. Almost forgot about the breury...Thanks to oude tart the sour life is a sweet ride
  15. CaptainFleeker

    CaptainFleeker Defender (660) Aug 27, 2012 Illinois

    Funky Buddha
  16. Grant214905

    Grant214905 Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2014 Texas

    Not in order.

    1. Founders
    2. Deschutes
    3. Firestone Walker

    Shout out to shiner for getting me started on "craft" beers.

    Runners up.

    4. Ballast Point
    5. Stone
    6. Clown Shoes
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  17. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    Free State Brewery, my hometown local brewpub. Opening in 1989, being the first legal brewery in Kansas to open after the repeal of Prohibition, and it was a business that I could be proud of, and they opened at a time when the craft beer revolution hadn't yet fully exploded. I can't imagine my path as a beer drinker without Free State.

    Boulevard, for expanding my mind as to what even craft beer could be. Pale Ale was the first time I branched out from my college dorm staples of buying pretty cheap beer by the case. When I tried my first one, I was shocked by how bitter it was (lol), but a part of me was like "whoa--this tastes... interesting". Then when they started their Smokestack line in 2007, it was the first time I really started to gain a true appreciation for the vast history of Belgian beer styles. Two Jokers blew my mind.

    Lastly, Cantillon, for jumpstarting my love of sour beers after my visit to Brussels several years ago. Influential in that I can't get enough of that mouth-puckering goodness, as well as the fact that my wallet has never quite been the same.
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  18. 4ingredients

    4ingredients Initiate (0) May 22, 2009 Massachusetts

    Sam Adams
    Firestone Walker
  19. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2013 Iowa

    Boulevard - Unfiltered Wheat was my introduction into craft beer back in the late 90's.
    Rogue - Dead Guy and Hazelnut Brown Nectar were the first two beers I found in college that moved me to "darker" beers.
    Stone - First trip to San Diego with family in early 2002 I discovered Arrogant Bastard Ale. I bought it because of the label and was blown away by the amount of hops in it. Have been a lover of hops ever since.
  20. ckeegan04

    ckeegan04 Meyvn (1,414) Feb 21, 2008 Texas

    1. Sierra Nevada - For getting me into better beer.
    2. Yazoo - For being the local beer with an awesome taproom when I was really diving into the hobby.
    3. Russian River - For opening my eyes to what beer can be beyond IPAs, Pilsners and stouts.
  21. Anyportinastorm

    Anyportinastorm Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2009 Oregon

    Bell's introduced me to craft beer and St. George got me drinking local when I lived in Virginia. And oddly enough Lindeman's; my mom has always really liked their framboise and that led me to discovering gueuzes.
  22. Eduk8traz

    Eduk8traz Initiate (118) Nov 13, 2010 Arizona

    1. Stone
    2. Firestone Walker
    3. The Bruery
  23. Spinaltapped

    Spinaltapped Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2013 Illinois

    Goose Island, Sierra Nevada, and Stone.
  24. Mersh

    Mersh Initiate (0) Mar 10, 2013 Connecticut

    Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada are tied for getting me into craft beer.
    New England Brewing Company for showing the how great local beer can be.
    Stone Brewing for really paving a new path for the diversity of craft beer and the abundance of hops that truly can be used.
  25. orcrist_cleaver

    orcrist_cleaver Poo-Bah (1,936) May 3, 2014 New York
    Society Trader

    #1: I have to say that my most influential brewery was located around where I went to college. Sweetwater led the charge in this area; I mean how could Sweetwater 420 not appeal to the college crowd. Great marketing schwag and creativity really helped me to get captivated by the craft beer scene. I love me some Sweetwater Festive, and have old college buddies mail it up every year.
    #2: I could go any number of directions with this one, but I'd have to say Sloop because it introduced me into the world of nanobreweries. I remember when their shit was only available at dinky farmer's markets. The fashionability of drinking locally sourced beer has taken me by storm.
    #3: Juxtaposing my second most would be Aecht Schlenkera because it opened me up to the depth of flavors in beer that brewers in the U.S. just haven't mastered or adhere themselves to. Loved going here when I studied abroad in Europe.
    Honorable mention is to whoever makes Natty Light because they brought fun to my late adolescence.
  26. raulstotle12

    raulstotle12 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2014 California

  27. SteveB24

    SteveB24 Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2013 New York

    Sierra navada- craft beer gateway
    Stone- developed my appreciation for tremendous hop character
    Sixpoint- Changed the way i viewed canned beers
  28. ItsYourBoyBlue

    ItsYourBoyBlue Zealot (573) Feb 23, 2014 Washington

    Sam Adams - My introduction to craft beer.
    Firestone Walker - Got me started with DBA and Union Jack, then moved me into barrel aged deliciousness.
    The Bruery - Sour In The Rye opened my eyes to sours.
  29. jwheeler87

    jwheeler87 Initiate (0) Oct 27, 2011 Massachusetts

    Sam Adams- Got me into craft beer, and introduced me to tons of different styles.
    Stone- Got me hooked on hops and imperial stouts.
    Firestone Walker- Showed me how complex barrel aging and blending can make a beer.
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  30. JDubbelStout

    JDubbelStout Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2014 California

    1 - Lagunitas
    2 - Deschutes
    3 - Firestone Walker

    Runners up - North Coast, Anderson Valley, and Dogfish Head
  31. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,859) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'm going to look at this from a foundational point of view, so I am thinking back to the 80s with these:

    Dinkel Acker- for the longest time their Pils and Dunkel were 'the good stuff', and helped me cut my teeth on more flavorful beers.
    Samuel Smith's- the Taddy Porter was the first beer I actively searched out. They also helped open the door to the world of beers beyond 'light' and 'dark'.

    Sierra Nevada
    - the first time I had one of their beers I 'got it', and couldn't wait to see what was coming down the road from there.
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  32. spoony

    spoony Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2012 Colorado

    In no particular order:

    St. Bernardus--For exposing me to Belgian styles and flavors.
    New Belgium--For exposing me to sours (thanks, La Folie)
    Big Sky/Rock Bottom--For supplying me with beer while in college.
  33. stephens101

    stephens101 Poo-Bah (2,680) May 5, 2006 Oklahoma

    Avery for bigger beers.
    Great Divide for hoppy beers (Hercules and Titan were two of my first favorite IPA/DIPA's).
    JK for wilder beers.

    Boulevard gets honorable mention for consistently flavorful beers.
  34. MiWolfman

    MiWolfman Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2013 Michigan

    Like some Sam Adams was my intro into craft beer. Founders was first true craft beers that enjoyed. Than Greenbush was the brewery that became my favorite.
  35. WadeBridgman

    WadeBridgman Initiate (0) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    Sierra Nevada/Bells. Torpedo and Two Hearted opened up and paved the way for my beer love when I was younger.
    Stone because they broadened my beer horizon I will always love Arrogant Bastard and their IPA.
    FFF because I enjoy almost everything they make.
  36. mabermud

    mabermud Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2006 Washington

    Pete's Wicked Ale - Taught me there was something other than the macros.
    Sam Adams - Taught me there was a unique beer, other than the macros, that was better than Pete's Wicked Ale.
    Stone - Taught me there was a unique beer, other than the macros, that was better than Pete's Wicked Ale and Sam Adams.
  37. upsbeernut

    upsbeernut Aspirant (276) Sep 22, 2011 Georgia

    Sierra Nevada, stone, and lagunitas
    #77 upsbeernut, Jun 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  38. upsbeernut

    upsbeernut Aspirant (276) Sep 22, 2011 Georgia

    You cheated I had a hard enough time with three. Ballast point , founders, and bells were hard to leave out. Good job!
  39. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    In no particular order...

    Goose Island-->From their simple, classic Honkers Ale, to affordable, high-quality Belgian styles (Matilda, Pere Jacques, Sofie, Pepe Nero, etc) to their rare, barrel-aged, and now sour stuff. Absolute class, across the board.

    Black Sheep-->This IS what English real ale can, and should be. Knock-your-socks-off good, yet done in an understated, 'don't notice me' sort of way.

    Boulevard/Schlafly-->This is a newer add, as it's something I've (re)discovered lately. Between their 'everyday'/standard brews, which range from ok to great, to their one-off and special release varieties, some of which are stellar, these two breweries have reminded me that I don't have to track down Hillstead/RR/Alchemist/etc/etc/etc...I spent a lot of time worrying about trying all the 'best' beers...turns out, there's a few truly life-changing quaffables out there, and a whole lot of hype. There's a crap-ton of delicious, high-quality beer sitting in your own back-yard. Life's too short to be constantly running after fads. Enjoy what you have, and toast the moment!

    Honorable mentions: St. Bernardus, Chimay, and FW...yo stuff be good enough to make a grown man cry...
    Flibber likes this.
  40. Rav4pudge

    Rav4pudge Initiate (0) Apr 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Firestone walker made me love ba beers.....that's mostly what I drink......stone for having a plethora of great ales and founders for most of my stouts......KBS and breakfast stout
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