According to the Brewers Association, an average of 1.5 new breweries open every day in the U.S. alone, and RateBeer had over 3,800 new worldwide brewers registered on its site this past year. The first Western-style craft microbrewery (Zmajska Pivovara) opened in Croatia, as one example, and hipster cities like Brooklyn are still gathering places for beer lovers and home brewers who hope to make a name for themselves in beer making. (In 1960, Brooklyn produced nearly 10 percent of the nation’s beer. A beer renaissance in the city saw eight new breweries last year.)
While young brewers are still cutting their teeth, established producers are continuing to churn out award-winning beers and raising standards all around. The market has gotten so competitive that Jim Kotch, the man who introduced craft beer to mainstream America as the face of Sam Adams, has been described as “losing his edge.” Today, beer drinkers want more than just carbonated dry malt and barley.
Shaun E. Hill, owner and operator of Hill Farmstead in Vermont, regularly has people waiting at the front door of his retail brew shop at opening time. “Oh man, I can’t even go out there,” he told Vanity Fair. “It’s just too much. I wish it wasn’t like that…is the line out the door?” What makes a brewery like Hill Farmstead a standout in a sea of them? Accessibility, for one. Fans appreciate a brewery they can set foot in, one they can visit for a taste of what’s brewing. Variety is key, too. Everyone loves the annuals, but a healthy selection of seasonal beers that highlight trends in the market keep a brewery relevant and on the experimental cutting edge.
To arrive at the list of the 10 best breweries in the world, we considered public reviews (which include Yelp, RateBeer, Ranker, and Beer Advocate), accolades and awards earned by the brewery, and variety of beer offerings with focus on diversity and originality. Here, then, is our list of what we believe to be the 10 best breweries in the world.
#10 Haacht Brewery, Boortmeerbeek, Belgium
An independent family-run brewery with over 110 years of beer-making history, Haacht Brewery is one of Belgium’s best. Last year, their Tongerlo Blond took home the World’s Best award for Best Beer, Best Pale, and Best Beer Gold Europe category from the World Beer Awards.
#9 Evil Twin Brewing, Copenhagen/Brooklyn
Long considered a gypsy brewery, Evil Twin finally put down roots in Brooklyn. Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, a Danish beer lover, started brewing beer in Copenhagen in 2006 with his twin brother, then spent time squatting in a slew of other brands’ breweries before conceptualizing his own. He still brings his show on the road to develop beers for restaurants like the NoMad and others, but it’s in Brooklyn that he creates popular brews like Sour Bikini (a sour ale) and Imperial Doughnut Break, served at his Brooklyn bar, Tørst.