And as picked by the U.S. homebrewing community, Michigan is home to the country’s top two breweries.
The results are in — Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was named number one in the annual Best Beers in America survey conducted by Zymurgy magazine. Now running in its 16th year, the survey asks members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), which publishes Zymurgy, to choose up to five of their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the U.S.
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Bell’s earned the #1 spot in the Top-Ranked Beers category with Two Hearted and the No. 4 spot for Hopslam Ale. This is the second consecutive year that Two Hearted has claimed this honor. It came in second to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder for seven straight years previously.
“This is an incredible honor, one that means a great deal to me personally and to everyone at the brewery,” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery. “We have never sacrificed quality and this is a testament to the hard work and dedication from everyone involved in getting this beer to our fans.”
Making a list in such a competition, where the judges are the perfect mix of authority and aficionado, should honor any brewery in an exceptional way. With many professional craft brewers having started as homebrewers themselves, that acknowledgement will certainly resonate throughout the brewing community.
“As brewers, the members of American Homebrewers Association can discern the subtle differences between a good beer and an outstanding beer,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “Zymurgy’s Best Beers in America survey showcases which commercial beers are truly the best of the best out there, and all the breweries who made the list should be proud.”
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Here are the highlights from the survey.
Top-Ranked Beers (T indicates tie; *indicates small and independent craft brewer)
- Bell’s Two Hearted Ale*
- Russian River Pliny the Elder*
- The Alchemist Heady Topper*
- Bell’s Hopslam*
- (T5) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale*
- (T5) Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
- (T5) Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
- Three Floyds Zombie Dust*
- Founders Breakfast Stout
- (T10) WeldWerks Juicy Bits*
- (T10) Founders All Day IPA
- Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Comstock, Mich.*
- Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
- Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.*
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. and Mills River, N.C.*
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.*
- (T6) Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.*
- (T6) Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.*
- Stone Brewing, Escondido, Calif.*
- The Alchemist, Stowe, Vt.*
- Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, Ind.*
Top-Ranked Beer Portfolios
- Stone Brewing (33 beers)*
- Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (29 beers)*
- (T3) New Belgium Brewing (24 beers)*
- (T3) Founders Brewing Co. (24 beers)
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (23 beers)*
- (T6) Avery Brewing Co. (22 beers)
- (T6) Hill Farmstead Brewery (22 beers)*
- (T7) Boulevard Brewing Co. (20 beers)*
- (T7) Trillium Brewing Co. (20 beers)*
- (T9) Bell’s Brewery (19 beers)*
- (T9) Deschutes Brewery (19 beers)*
- (T9) Odell Brewing (19 beers)*
- (T9) Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (19 beers)*
- (T9) The Bruery (19 beers)*
- (T9) Three Floyds Brewing (19 beers)
The complete list is available at HomebrewersAssociation.org.
For homebrewers interested in replicating some of the winningest beers at home, the AHA provides clone recipes in Zymurgy and online, including Two Hearted Ale, Pliny the Elder and much more, which can be accessed via the recipes section of the AHA website.