What's the Best Craft Brewery in America? You Tell Us
Today on The Daily Meal
What was once just a trend is now a full-blown, happening movement that's swept the country: craft beer. Ask just about anyone with an of-age license and taste buds, and people will have an opinion about who makes the best beer around. And despite the fact that craft beer still makes up just less than 7 percent of the total beer market in the U.S., the number of craft breweries has imploded in just the past decade: now at 2,360 operating breweries in 2012, according to the Brewer's Association.
Which is why we want to know: what is America's best craft brewery? You can narrow it down by the most medals won, or the most beers sold, but a great craft brewery is more than that. It's a commitment to quality, of course — that can't be ignored. But we at The Daily Meal think a great craft brewery "taps" into its hometown roots and delivers a beer that brings people together. Whether it's your classic lager or your favorite summer seasonal, the best craft breweries will engage both the "craft beer curious" and the connoisseurs and satiate everyone's palates.
But of course, while we have our own ideas of who the leaders are in craft brewing, we want to know who your picks are — what are the craft breweries that you'll order no matter what at the bar? We asked some of the country's top craft beer experts to share with us who they think are the craft breweries making waves. Some breweries (we won't tell you which ones) were nominated over and over again, and some breweries were hometown favorites that our panelists themselves admitted were obscure. But no matter how big (Sierra Nevada) or small (Chicago's Piece Pizzeria and Brewery) they are, these craft breweries our panelists believe should be recognized.
Over the past week, dozens of authorities in the craft beer space have assisted us in nominating the best craft breweries in the country. Now whittled down to the top 25, we are asking YOU to cast your vote and decide what, you feel, is the best craft brewery in America. You can select your five favorites among the nominees, and in one week, we will unveil who YOU chose as America’s Best Craft Brewery.
Each one of these 72 breweries, from 21 different states from coast to coast, is already a winner — and we know it's difficult to choose just one favorite. (One panelist noted that choosing a favorite American craft brewery is as hard as choosing a favorite film, or a favorite Beatles song — nearly impossible.) But we want you readers to weigh in and tell us: what is your favorite craft brewery?
Click here to take the survey and tell us which breweries deserve to be recognized (American Idol-style), because we want to recognize who we think is the best.
A huge thanks to our craft beer experts who helped narrow down the 2,000-plus operating craft breweries in America to just 72 — virtual cheers to all!
Click here to take the survey and tell us you think is America's best craft brewery!
Michael Agnew, certified ciccerone and blogger for A Perfect Pint
Brian Aldrich, Seacoast Beverage Lab
Rick Armon, staff writer (and beer blogger) for Akron Beacon Journal
Don Ayres, writer at San Diego Craft Beer Examiner
Michael Atwood, editor at Hoosier Beer Geek
Tom Bedell, freelance writer
Evan Benn, staff writer at the Miami-Herald
Tom Bobak, editor-in-chief at <American Craft Beer LLC
Marc Bona, writer at The Plain Dealer
Joe Bonwich, food critic at the St. Louis Dispatch
William Bostwick, writer at GQ
Nick Brennan, writer at Chicago Craft Beer Examiner
Lou Bustamante, contributor to SF Weekly
Dave Butler, owner and writer of Fermentedly Challenged
Lew Bryson, blogger at Seen Through a Glass
Bryan Carey, writer at Houston Craft Beer Examiner
Jim Clarke, beer and wine writer and wine director at Armani Ristorante
Bill DeBaun, co-editor at DC Beer
Christian DeBenedetti, editorial director at the Weekly Pint
Niko DeMordaunt, San Francisco craft beer writer
Karla Dudley, editor-in-chief of Taps "The Beer Magazine"
Mat Falco, founder and publisher of Philly Beer Scene
Megan Flynn, publisher and editor-in-chief of Beer West Mag
Liz Garibay, blogger at Tales, Taverns & Towns
Clare Goggin Sivits, writer and editor at BeerGoggins.com
Justin Grant, writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Barfly, and The Beer Chronicles
Chuck Hallett, blogger at Barley Mowat
Markus Haas, director of publishing systems for the San Antonio Express-News
Lee Heidel, editor at Brew/Drink/Run
Maggie Hoffman, drinks editor at Serious Eats
Tim Hynds, visuals editor and beer writer for the Sioux City Journal
Ezra Johnson-Greenough, founder of The New School
Kendall Jones, writer for the Washington Beer Blog
Geoff Kaiser, Seattle correspondent & tasting panel organizer for the Northwest Brewing News
Peter LaFrance, author of Beer Basics and Cooking & Eating with Beer
John Liberty, entertainment reporter for the Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive Media Group
Terry Lozoff, writer for Drink Insider
Jason Morgan, editor and founding partner of Craft Brewing Business
Sean Nordquist, writer at Beer for the Daddy
Derrick Peterman, writer at Ramblings of a Beer Runner
Stephen Rich, writer at Definition Ale
Tom Rotunno, senior editor and assignment desk manager for CNBC TV and writer of the business of beer for CNBC.com.
Josh Rubin, business reporter for the Toronto Star
Em Sauter, writer for Pints and Panels
Luke Sykora, senior editor for Wine and Spirits magazine
Mike Sweeney, writer for STL Hops
John Thompson, beer blogger at the Baltimore Post-Examiner
Tom Thornton, food & drink editor at Austinist
Bob Townsend, editor at Southern Brew News
Chris Van Ordern, co-editor at DC Beer
John Verive, writer at Beer of Tomorrow
Gerard Walen, editor at Road Trips for Beer
Tom Wilmes, writer at Boulder Beer Guy
Marc Wisdom, writer at The Jax Beer Guy
Xania Woodman, senior editor at Vegas Seven Magazine and contributing editor at Vegas Rated Magazine
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