2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BEST BREWING COMPANIES
A Taste of America | Who Are the Top Breweries and Where to Find Them Brewing Beer
Anyone who enjoys a cold beer at the end of the day can appreciate the art of beer making. You might enjoy a full-bodied malt with a hint of caramel or truly appreciate a brewery that adds in the fresh taste of seasonal fruits.
Beer brewing is a tradition that’s been handed down for centuries by those who love drinking and making beer. It’s one of the oldest beverages humans have created, dating back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in the fifth millennium BC.
Award Emblem: Top 8 Best Breweries In America
These top 8 beer companies on our list have all perfected their beer production over the years and have garnered many fans that love their lagers, ales, and stouts. They’re considered some of the best breweries in the country.
Each region of America has its own traditions, flavors, and roots, so whether you’re a Southerner, live in New England, or call the West your home, we’ve found a great beer company that’s in your neck of the woods.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of beer and what makes each of these top beer companies special. We’ll also note which beer companies offer tours and where you can get started if you want to be a beer maker too.
AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 8 Best Breweries in America
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the breweries names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that brewery):
- D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.
- Deschutes Brewery
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc.
- New Belgium Brewing Company
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
- Surly Brewing Co.
- SweetWater Brewing Company, Inc.
- The Boston Beer Company
Top 8 Best Brewing Companies | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Year They Started Beer Brewing
Home Brewery Location
Do They Give Beer Making Tours?
D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Fort Collins, CO
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Surly Brewing Co.
SweetWater Brewing Company, Inc.
The Boston Beer Company
Table: Top 8 Best Brewing Companies | Above list is sorted alphabetically
Brewery Best FAQ | What Are the Main Types of Beer Made in Beer Production?
Everyone’s got their favorite flavor of beer produced from breweries, whether it’s a seasonal ale or a creamy roasted porter. But you may just enjoy the end result from brewing beer, but not be sure exactly what the differences are.
Image Source: Company Brewing at Its Best
Here’s a rundown of the main types of beers you’ll find from the best breweries.
Ales are full-bodied, and breweries brew them with top fermenting yeast at cellar temperature. They can come in many varieties with aromas of fruit and malt and are generally complex. They’re usually darker than lager when you find them at a brewery.
Beer companies will age a lager longer, usually several months, which gives it a crisp, smooth finish. It’s also stored at near-freezing temperatures. The taste can range from sweet to bitter, and this type of beer is often considered the most popular in the world.
When a beer company makes malts, this type of beer will generally be darker and sweeter than the others with hints of toffee, caramel, or nuts. When making beer of this type, it can be brewed to be light- or full-bodied.
Stouts & Porters
In beer brewing, these two types are very similar, but do have some slight diffences. The Stout is less sweet and has a rich, creamy head and is colored by barley. The Porter is very dark and often fruity and is made by top fermentation.
Brewery Best FAQ | Where Can I Learn about Brewing Beer Myself?
Just about all of the top beer companies began because the founders had a love of beer making. For example, the Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams Boston Lager started when the great-great-grandson of Louis Koch found his beer recipe and duplicated it.
So if you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own craft beer company, here are a few resources to help you learn more about becoming a great beer maker.
- American Brewers Guild
- How to Brew Book
- The CraftBeer.com Beer 1o1 Course
- Portland State University Business of Craft Brewing Course
- Prud’homme Beer Certification®
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Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best American Breweries
Below, please find a detailed review of each brewery on our list of best brewing companies. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these American beer companies to score so highly in our selection ranking.
D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. Review
When most people first hear the name Yuengling, they mistake it for a foreign beer company. But D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. is all American, and actually holds the honor of being America’s oldest brewery, brewing beer since 1829, when Andrew Jackson was newly elected president.
Image Source: Yuengling | Best Breweries
The Yuengling Brewery has remained family owned and operated over the last 185 years. They do their beer brewing in two breweries, one in Pottsville, PA, and the other in Tampa, FL. They distribute their beer through retailers in 18 US states and the District of Columbia.
Excellent Low-Cal Lager
If you want to reduce your calorie intake but don’t want to drink a weak tasting beer, then Yuengling Light Lager won’t disappoint.
At only 99 calories, this beer maker still gives you a full flavor profile to enjoy while allowing you to watch your waistline too.
Award-Winning Company Brewing
You can identify the best breweries by the awards and accolades that their beer brewing garners. D. G. Yuengling & Son has won serveral, including:
- Impact Hot Brand Award
- U.S. Open Beer Champtionship Medals
- International Beer Fest Medals
- IRI Power Brand Ranking
Main Brews from Their Beer Making
- Yuengling Premium Beer
- Yuengling Porter
- Yuengling Original Black & Tan
- Yuengling Traditional Lager
- Yuengling Light Lager
- Lord Chesterfield Ale
- Yuengling Light Beer
Deschutes Brewery Review
Deschutes Brewery was started in the great Northwest. Their beer production began in a small public house in downtown Bend, Oregon, in 1988. The company brewing capacity has grown leaps and bounds since that time, and they have plans to add East Coast beer production in the next few years.
Deschutes is one of the family and employee-owned top beer companies and their beer is distributed widely. This beer maker sells in an impressive 28 states, the District of Columbia, and in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.
Bold Beer Experiments
The beer brewing team at Deschutes doesn’t shy away from trying new ways of beer making. Their Reserve Series promotes their “high-risk, high-reward” mantra as they make small batches of experimental and “outrageously coddled” beers.
They’ve Got a Mobile Pub
Wish you could visit Deschutes Brewery in person, but you live way over in Ohio? Well, no worries, because their Steet Pub will be rolling into Cincinnati in June.
This outdoor pub visits different towns for one day bringing the art of brewing beer, Deschutes style, to fans around the country. A portion of the proceeds go to local charities.
Main Brews from Their Beer Making
- Deschutes Black Butte Porter
- Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
- Deschutes Inversion IPA (India Pale Ale)
- Deschutes Obsidian Stout
- Deschutes Pacific Wonderland Lager
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc. Review
Located in the second smallest state in the country with a Steampunk Treehouse out front in Milton, Delaware, is Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc. This one of the best breweries to explore if you like your beer with a side of “slightly 0ff-center.”
Image Source: Dogfish Head | Awesome Breweries
This independent, family-controlled beer company began brewing beer in 1995 and has grown to more than 250 employees. The unique name “Dogfish Head” comes from a real place that’s dear to the heart of their founder, Sam Calagione.
A Beer to Please Everyone
If you like beer companies who are always bringing out new and exciting flavors, then Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is for you. They have 22 beers on their company brewing 2017 release calendar.
They Have a Distillery Too
Beer is great, but if you happen to enjoy finely distilled spirits made from 100% scratch, this is one of the brewing companies that gives you the best of both worlds.
A Few Rarity Brews From Their Beer Brewing
- Dogfish Head Urkontinent
- Dogfish Head Red & White
- Dogfish Head Fall on Me
- Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Noble Rot
- Dogfish Head Piercing Pils
New Belgium Brewing Company Review
The story of New Belgium Brewing Company begins with a ride in 1988 on a bike with fat tires through the villages of Belgium visiting some of greatest breweries. Founder Jeff Lebesch returned home to Fort Collins, CO, with dreams of his own beer making.
This is one of the beer companies that is 100% employee owned. Once they outgrew just one brewery, they opened a second one the East Coast in Ashville, NC.
One of the Most Popular Craft Brands
Top beer companies have brands that become a nationwide phenomenon, and their Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale has done just that. It was named after that iconic bike ride through Belgium and was one of the very first beers from this craft beer company.
If you’re watching your gluten intake, this is one of the brewing companies that is sensitive to your needs. They have two gluten-reduced beers, which include Glutiny Golden Ale and Glutiny Pale Ale.
Some Year-Round Brews from Their Beer Brewing
- New Belgium Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale
- New Belgium VooDoo Ranger IPA
- New Belgium Citradelic Tangerine IPA
- New Belgium Pilsner
- New Belgium 1554 Black Lager
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Review
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., founded in 1980 in Chico, CA, is another of the craft beer companies that did so well they have beer production on both coasts now. Their East Coast brewery is in Mills River, NC.
After starting out with a simple goal, to focus company brewing of the kinds of beers they wanted to drink, their love of American hops and their passion helped this beer company take off. They now distribute in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Image Source: Sierra Nevada | Great Breweries
Sustainability to the Max
Many brewing companies promote sustainability in their beer making, but Sierra Nevada Brewing goes the extra mile. Besides installing solar panels and microturbine technology to generate electricity for their breweries, they also use recyclable packaging.
Beer Camp® Collaborations
The joy of beer brewing is meant to be shared and celebrated, and that’s the spirit behind their Beer Camp®. They bring craft brewers and fans from around the country together for some delicious beer making collaborations.
Some Year-Round Brews From Their Breweries
- Sierra Nevada Sidecar® Orange Pale Ale
- Sierra Nevada Torpedo®
- Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo®
- Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter® IPA
- Sierra Nevada Nooner® Pilsner
Surly Brewing Co. Review
The next one of the breweries on our list may be the youngest, but they make up for it in attitude. Surly Brewing Co. was started from an obsession with home-crafted brewing beer found in catalogs, and by 2005 the family abrasives business was now turned into beer production central.
The Surly brewery is located in Minneapolis, MN, and they’re no stranger to state politics. They helped establish a law making it possible for smaller beer companies to sell pints of beer in their breweries, allowing many other brewing companies in the state to open taprooms.
Image Source: Surly Brewing Co. | Best Breweries
Do you like the thought of a brewery that offers a harmonized pairing of great beer and great food?
That’s exactly what the Surly Brewer’s Table celebrated. With their final serving on August 5th, this beer brewing restaurant focused on pairing exceptional food with exemplary beer, setting a high standard of excellence for food and beer pairings.
Although the Brewer's Table has since closed, fans of their food and beer pairings can still enjoy the Beer Hall, serving a wide range of creative and flavorful dishes alongside expertly crafted beer.
They Love the Dark Side
For fans of the best breweries making dark beers, they take their Darkness line of beer very seriously. Their Darkness 2016 Russian Imperial Stout includes flavors of chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee, and is offered in regular and barrel-aged.
Some Year-Round Brews from Their Company Brewing
- Surly Brewing Co. Bender Oatmeal Brown Ale
- Surly Brewing Co. Coffee Bender Brown Ale
- Surly Brewing Co. Todd the Axe Man West Coast Style IPA
- Surly Brewing Co. Xtra-Citra Pale Ale
- Surly Brewing Co. Cynic Belgian-Style Pale Ale
- Surly Brewing Co. Furious IPA
- Surly Brewing Co. Hell Lager
SweetWater Brewing Company, Inc. Review
For the next of our top brewing companies we go from chilly Minnesota down to “HOT-Lanta,” or Atlanta, GA, to be exact. SweetWater Brewing Company, Inc. has become well known throughout the South ever since their company brewing began in 1997.
When the two cofounders decided they had an interest in brewing companies, they made sure they had a good education for making beer. They attended the American Brewers Guild to learn things like “Fermentation Science.”
Image Source: SweetWater Brewing | Great Beer Companies
Catch N’ Release Brews
SweetWater Brewing Company is definitely a brewery that has its own unique personality. Both a love of fishing and their southern roots are definitely on display.
A Brewery with a Heart
Many of the great brewing companies are also closely tied to their community and make an effort to give back. SweetWater Brewing Company is commited to helping several worthy causes such as:
- Save Our Water
- Camp Twin Lakes
- The Giving Kitchen
- Atlanta Humane Society
Some Year-Round Brews from This Beer Company
- SweetWater Brewing Company Extra Pale Ale 420
- SweetWater Brewing Company Blue
- SweetWater Brewing Company Georgia Brown
- SweetWater Brewing Company Hash Session IPA
- SweetWater Brewing Company Goin’ Coastal IPA with Pineapple
The Boston Beer Company Review
The last on our list of top brewing companies is actually most well known for their most famous beer. The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 with a generations-old family recipe for beer making. And they’re still known best for that beer, named Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
Although the Boston Beer Company is now public and trades on the New York Stock Exchange (SAM), they still have kept the independent spirit of craft beer companies. Other alcoholic beverages they sell include Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Truly Spiked & Sparkling.
The Little Guy Who Could
While they’re one of the big American beer companies today, this beer maker came from humble beginnings. You can read all about the “David and Goliath” story and get inspired from “Quench Your Own Thirst” by Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams.
They Support Craft Breweries
Not one to keep all the benefits of their successful breweries to themselves, the Boston Beer Company established subsidiary A&S Brewing to be a craft beer making incubator. They have the following breweries already under that company:
- The Traveler Beer Co.
- Angel City Brewery
- Coney Island Brewing
- Concrete Beach Brewery
Brewmasters Collection Brews from Their Breweries
- Samuel Adams Boston Ale
- Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout
- Sanuel Adams Downtime Pilsner
- Sanuel Adams Irish Red
- Samuel Adams Light
Conclusion—Top 8 Best American Brewing Companies
Whether you like your beer on the dark side, light and fruity, or a little offbeat, these top 8 American craft beer breweries make some of the best tasting beer you’ll find anywhere.
And it turns out that beer companies often do a whole lot more than just brewing beer. Many of them have restaurants, special event halls to rent, and they take pride in giving back to their communities in multiple ways.
The next time you’re looking for something fun do to, you just might want to take one of their brewery tours and see what making beer is all about. All these great brewing companies definitely put their heart and passion into their extraordinary beers.
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