These days it seems that making things great again is the fashionable thing to do, and we wouldn’t want to leave American beer out of the trend.
As a matter of fact, there are plenty of high-quality brews and breweries that are worthy of recognition, it should not have taken a political renaissance for us to give them their due.
With no further blather, let’s get into the American brewers who are bringing well-earned shine back to the American beer scene.
Using the Brewers Association’s annual awards as our guide, here are some of America’s finest:
1. Very Small Brewing Company of the Year
This is perhaps the most relatable category on the list, as anybody who has ever tried to whip up a batch in their garage would be considered a very small brewer. But, being honest, this is a category people work very hard to earn recognition for, and in the case of Brown Truck Brewery in High Point, N.C., they have.
Congratulations Team Brown Truck, you are part of making American brewing great again.
Brew of Note: No. 1 Double India Pale Ale
Pale ales are generally something that people either love or hate. They can be divisive, but if you have decided that they are up your alley or you just want to give a good pale ale a try, to see what you have been missing, then this is the one to try. Of course, you have to be in the area near High Point to try this relatively new brewery’s original creation, but at 10.2% ABV and 6.5 pounds of hops used in each barrel, it packs a punch that will have you wanting more.
2. Small Brewing Company of the Year
To be honest, we are not quite sure what separates a small brewery from a very small brewery, but we have to imagine it has to do with square footage and the number of batches brewed.
This award goes to Uberbrew hailing from Billings, Montana. The Uber Crew, as they have dubbed themselves, set themselves apart from the competition by developing a craft beer that the judges deemed superior to their peers.
Brew of Note: White Noise
If you want to find a beer that is guaranteed to set itself apart from your average brew, then go to the winner’s list, determined by the same panel that helped to inform this list. Uberbrew’s White Noise is an American Style Wheat Beer, and took home the gold medal this year in the category. With an ABV range of 4-5.5%, this delicious brew will allow you to extend the night on something a bit lighter than a pale ale.
3. Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year
Karl Strauss Brewing Company, located in San Diego, took home the award for excellence in the category of Mid-Size breweries for 2016.
Who knew that Ron Burgundy was not the only gem to come out of sunny San Diego?
Brew of Note: Tequila Barrel-Aged Imperial Pilsner
Karl Strauss is respected in the brewing community because of their consistent quality, relative longevity of success, and a wide array of options that is guaranteed to offer something for every palate. One of the standouts in their collection is their Tequila Barrel-Aged Pilsner, which remains in a reposado barrel for 16 months before being bottled. Ever had a beer with a “smoky tequila finish”? We are guessing not, and we are also guessing that you want to try it, right?
4. Large Brewing Company of the Year
Pabst Brewing Company, located in Los Angeles is headed by Gregory Deuhs, and his team of brewers did enough to earn the honors of top large brewery in the country.
This is no small honor, obviously. Breweries and their companion bars have re-emerged as a prominent and popular subculture in America, and with new laws intended to increases the prominence of small business, this trend will only continue.
With that said, to be named the most excellent large brewing company in the entire nation is more impressive an accomplishment than some may realize.
Kudos to Pabst Brewing Company, they surely faced stiff competition and emerged as the sole winner in this surely competitive category.
Brew of Note: Too many to count
Pabst Brewing Company is not known for high-brow craft beers, like most of the others on this list. In fact, they are known for virtually the opposite, and one could argue that they specialize in producing the many beers made for the common man and woman out there. Whether getting off of work and heading from the steel mill or GM factory or just pinching pennies in college, you have probably had some of Pabst’s finest brews. These include, but are not limited to, the likes of Old Milwaukee, Lone Star, Schlitz, Stag, McSorely’s, and of course, PBR.
Amber Waves of Hops?
Made in America is a stamp of pride that all of these breweries proudly bear. Whether right or left, elephant or donkey, we can all drink to that.