Zymurgy, the magazine of American Home Brewers Association is for the ninth year publishing their readers 20 favorite beers. The only rule to vote on a beer is that the beer had to be available commercially somewhere in the United Stats. There are actually 48 beers on the list with several in tied place. There were a record amount of entries this year, which shows that the demand for quality craft beer is increasing.
For the third time it’s Russian River Pliny the Elder that is the winner. I have never had the beer so I can’t say anything about it. But if the Zymurgy readers think it’s the best it has to be good. With many beers on the top 20 list only being distributed locally you would think that the regionally or nationally distributed beers would be at the top. That is not the case. Russian River is only distributed in California and scarcely in Pennsylvania. I made a quick analysis of the list and this is what I came up with. California and the west coast breweries have the most beers on the list. Not by much. For individual breweries Dog Fish Head have the most beers on the top 20 list (5 beers) closely followed by Sierra Nevada (4 beers). And there is no doubt that IPA is the most popular style by fare. Stouts/Porters and other British style ales (pale ale, ale, winter ale etc) are almost tied at second place. I’m a little surprised that there were only three Belgium style beers on the list. When I have attended festival I see many people enjoying this beer style. And it’s clear that Zymurgy’s readers are a patriotic crowd. There is not one imported beer on the top 20 list. Out of all the votes Zymurgy created sub lists that are presented on their website. Dogfish Head seem to score high any many of them.
I have said it before on this blog that I’m a little tired of the over hoped IPA trend. I would like to see a more balance and mellow trend that is more true to its original style but still with an experimental touch. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like hopy IPAs. Some of my favorites are on the top 20 list. Ranger from New Belgium and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale would for sure be on my top 20 list. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, New Glarus Belgian Red, Deschutes The Abyss, Oskar Blues Tin Fidy and Victory Prima Pils are also beers that might end up on my 20 list. You can of course always argue a list like this and the value of it other than that it’s fun. Zymurgy magazine is a magazine for home brewers. The flavor if home brewers are a little more developed than with the general public and they are more experimental with the beer they brew. They are also looking for new and interesting flavors in the beer they drink. That is at least what I thought. I actually thought that a top 20 list like this would give some kind of an indication of the coming new trend. But it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like they will stay with the trend that has been going on for a few years, which is hopy often high in alcohol IPAs from the west coast. Or maybe this is the indication that this trend will continue for another few years.