Pliny the Elder fan climbs Mt. Everest on beer alone

It’s that time of year again.

The time when the die-hard homebrewers sit back with a cold pint, reminisce over their favorite beers and put pen to paper for a legendary vote of epic proportions.

Bragging rights will be forever held, children will defend the honor of their brewmaster dads in schoolyards around the world and breweries will be invaded by topless groupies looking for autographs from the legends, themselves.

For the past 8 years, Zymurgy magazine has asked homebrewers to vote on their top 20 commercially available beers available in the US.

As I wrote in my post of this ranking last year, if you have any doubt who is best to judge today’s commercial beers other than the homebrewers who tinker away in basements and garages across the country, think again.  We are maniacal in our passion, attuned to the finest nuance of barley and capable of smashing bottles with a mere stare.

This year saw Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing eke out the top spot (by only two votes!) over Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale for the second year in a row.  The big news?  Rahr & Sons Brewing Company.  After not appearing on the top 50 list last year, they placed a whopping 12 beers on this year’s list.

Ladies and gentlemen, with no further adieu, I give you the 2010 Zymurgy Best Beers in America:

Top 50 Beers

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. Stone Arrogant Bastard
4. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
5. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
6. Stone IPA
7. (Tie)

  • Bear Republic Racer 5
  • Guinness
  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration

11. Stone Ruination
12. (Tie)

  • North Coast Old Rasputin
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo
  • Rahr Winter Warmer
  • Rahr Ugly Pug
  • Rahr Iron Thistle

17. (Tie)

  • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
  • New Glarus Belgian Red
  • Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  • Duvel

21. (Tie)

  • Lagunitas IPA
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Rahr Storm Cloud
  • Saison Dupont

25. (Tie)

  • Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
  • Rahr Bucking Bock
  • Ommegang Three Philosophers

28. (Tie)

  • New Belgium Fat Tire
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter
  • Anchor Steam

31. (Tie)

  • Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
  • Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
  • Rahr Summer
  • Rahr Red
  • Rahr Blind Salamander
  • Rahr Blonde
  • Rahr Octoberfest
  • Victory Prima Pils
  • New Belgium La Folie
  • Russian River Consecration

41. (Tie)

  • Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Rahr Buffalo Butt
  • New Belgium 1554
  • Orval
  • Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
  • Rogue Dead Guy
  • Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
  • Deschutes Black Butte Porter

49. (Tie)

  • Surly Furious
  • Dogfish Head Indian Brown
  • Rahr Whiskey Warmer
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru

Brewery Rankings

(Brewery rankings are based on total votes received by each brewery’s beers)

1. Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. Fort Worth Texas
2. Stone Brewing Co. Escondido Calif.
3. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton Del.
4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Chico Calif.
5. Russian River Brewing Co. Santa Rosa Calif.
6. New Belgium Brewing Co. Fort Collins Colo.
7. Bell’s Brewery Kalamazoo Mich.
8. Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) Boston Mass.
9. Deschutes Brewery Bend Ore.
10. Oskar Blues Brewing Co. Lyons Colo.
11. Lagunitas Brewing Co. Petaluma Calif.
12. Rogue Ales Newport Ore.
13. (Tie)

  • Anchor Brewing Co. San Francisco Calif.
  • Avery Brewing Co. Boulder Colo.

15. (Tie)

  • New Glarus Brewing Co. New Glarus Wis.
  • Brewery Ommegang Cooperstown N.Y.

17. North Coast Brewing Co. Fort Bragg Calif.
18. Victory Brewing Co. Downington Pa.
19. Bear Republic Brewing Co. Healdsburg Calif.
20. Odell Brewing Co. Fort Collins Colo.
21. Goose Island Beer Co. Chicago Ill.
22. Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids Mich.
23. (Tie)

  • Three Floyds Brewing Co. Munster Ind.
  • Allagash Brewing Co. Portland Maine

25. Great Divide Brewing Co. Denver Colo.

Get your Greyhound bus pass out and start making the rounds, beer hounds.  Support your local breweries!

The take-away for me?  I got to get me some Rahr & Sons…that or they got an army of ballot-box stuffers.  Before this poll, I had never heard of them.  But now, it’ll be a name I hunt down like a bounty hunter.

Just call me the Craft Beer Boba Fett.

Take that, macrobrews! Papa needs his bottle!

Share!

16 Responses to “Pliny Wins Again & Rahr Starts Taking Names”

  1. Apparently I’ve got to get my hands on some Rahr as well. Wow. Although the whole list came into question when I saw Fat Tire tied for 28 above Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron, La Fin du Monde, Orval, etc.–even New Belgium’s own 1554. No offense to Fat Tire but I don’t think it hangs with those beers. But it sure has a great following so they’re doing something right. I hate to be the jerk that starts the bickering over the list but that definitely caught my attention. And though I haven’t had all the beers on that list, I’m pretty sure Bells Hopslam should have been included somewhere.

  2. RT @DeschutesBeer: Black Butte Porter is one of the top 50 best brews in America in Zymurgy Magazine for 2010. http://bit.ly/choA4v

  3. RT @DeschutesBeer: Black Butte Porter is one of the top 50 best brews in America in Zymurgy Magazine for 2010. http://bit.ly/choA4v

  4. Beeradise says:

    Overall a pretty good list. However, I was a bit surprised to see New Belgium’s Fat Tire – yet see nothing from Anderson Valley Brewing Company.
    Now I need to work on trying out the few on this list I haven’t had yet.

  5. NE Brewer says:

    Overall, the poll looks good. I think there was ballot stuffing by Rahr since their reviews on Beer Advocate are so much lower than the names I recognize on the list and no one outside of Texas seems to have heard of this brewery.

    One reason why Fat Tire is rated so high is that Zymurgy asked for a list of your top twenty BUT there apparently is no weight given/difference from ranking a beer 1 versus 20. It’s a vote for each beer regardless of location on your list. Thus, since Fat Tire is national even if it’s ranked low on a bunch of ballots, that’s still 1 vote for Fat Tire. For instance, I ranked DFH Palo Santo inside the top 10 and NB 1554 19th but for the data collection each received the same value.

  6. michele says:

    I keep going back to the number threes all the time . . . Dead Guy Ale will always have a special place in my palate, as we have the same name: dead/lamorte.

  7. johnny says:

    guinness? really? there are so many other better stouts out there. left hand, samuel smith, rogue, goose island, brooklyn…

  8. michele says:

    RT @grapesandgrains: Check it out, beer geeks. The coveted award for the Top 50 Beers of 2010. Crack open a bottle and read my latest: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  9. Swell says:

    RT @grapesandgrains: Check it out, beer geeks. The coveted award for the Top 50 Beers of 2010. Crack open a bottle and read my latest: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  10. Best bears of the year? RT @grapesandgrains Check it out, beer geeks. The coveted award for the Top 50 Beers of 2010: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  11. Kevin says:

    RT @grapesandgrains: Check it out, beer geeks. The coveted award for the Top 50 Beers of 2010. Crack open a bottle and read my latest: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  12. Sara says:

    Bells Two Hearted is 2! Yay #michiganbeer! RT @grapesandgrains Check it out, beer geeks.Top 50 Beers of 2010. http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  13. Grizzly !RT: @YelpBrooklyn Best bears of the year? RT @grapesandgrains Check it: The coveted award for Top 50 Beers: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  14. Grizzly! RT: @YelpBrooklyn Best bears of the year? RT @grapesandgrains Check it: The coveted award for Top 50 Beers: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  15. Insanely good RT @sarabethw Bells 2-Hearted is 2! Yay #michiganbeer! RT @grapesandgrains Beer geeks:Top 50 Beers: http://bit.ly/bNlnji

  16. Great comments, y’all, and there were definitely some beauties left off this list. I wonder what Rahr gave the homebrewers who voted for them in return? A kegerator? A 5-barrel pilot system? I’d pretty much lie down in traffic on 5th Avenue with “Rahr & Sons” painted on my chest for one of those…

Leave a Reply