Headquarters: San Marcos, Calif.
Our Favorite Beer: The Angels Share
We’re not sure how one of the best Trappist-style breweries outside of Belgium was birthed at a place called Pizza Port in Southern California, but who are we to question God’s plans. “Inspired Beer for Sinners and Saints Alike,” The Lost Abbey is clearly on the right side between good and evil beer.
Headquarters: Easton, Penn.
Our Favorite Beer: Imperial Pumpkin Ale, QUAD
Weyerbacher’s philosophy seems to be that bigger taste always equals better. And while that’s not always true, it seems to be when they’re in charge. The Imperial Pumpkin Ale tastes like each bottle is made with a slice of pumpkin pie. And during the recent hop shortage, Dan and Sue Weirback grew their own for the limited-run Harvest Ale. It’s also a great example of how you can’t judge a beer by it’s desktop-published logo.
Headquarters: Munster, Ind.
Our Favorite Beer: Dreadnaught IPA
I say the Dreadnaught IPA is our favorite of their 60 beers only because none of us have ever been privileged enough to have the Gargantuan Russian Stout, available only on “Dark Lord Day,” the last Saturday in April. Despite the ominous name, some of the proceeds go towards charity.
Headquarters: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Our Favorite Beer: Pliny the Elder
Lactobacillius, Pediococcus and Brettanomyces might all sound like contagions, but the pair of bacteria and the yeast are all integral to brewmaster/owner Vinnie Cilurzo’s process of barrel-aging his beers.
Headquarters: San Diego, Calif.
Our Favorite Beer: Speedway Stout
Though it doesn’t get near the attention of its neighbor Stone, AleSmith is the culmination of everything good about homebrewing. They took their already amazing 12% ABV Speedway Stout and aged it in Bourbon barrels for their Brewer’s Reserve.