Headquarters: Boston, Mass.
Our Favorite Beer: Imperial White
You’d be forgiven for assuming the Sam Adams made this list because of their size or role in establishing craft brewing in the U.S. But they’re here because they continue to create really good beer, most recently adding a Dunkelweizen and Coastal Wheat to their regular line-up. We’re most excited about their new Imperial products, though, especially the delicious Imperial White.
Headquarters: Newport, Ore.
Our Favorite Beers: XS Imperial Stout, XS Old Crustacean
John Maier, bewmaster for Rogue, uses the company’s proprietary yeast strain in every on of its 60+ ales. The company has expanded in spirits as well as operating brewpubs in Oregon, Washington and California.
Headquarters: Bend, Ore.
Our Favorite Beer: The Abyss
First a brewpub on the Deshutes River, Gary Fish’s brewery soon became a full-fledged operation, distributing its beer throughout the West. Their Reserve Series rank among the best small-batch brews, particularly the 11% ABV Abyss. We just wish they would extend their reach to Georgia.
Headquarters: Petulama, Calif.
Our Favorite Beer: Maximus
Lagunitas Maximus is the epitome of the West Coast IPA, and among American craft beer, there’s not much higher of an honor to bestow. Nothing but water, hops, yeast and malted barley, but sometimes that’s all you need. Bonus points for a series of beers commemorating every album by Frank Zappa.
Headquarters: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Our Favorite Beers: Expedition Stout and Two Hearted Ale
When Larry Bell turned his home-brewing supply shop into a full fledged brewery in the 1980s, there wasn’t much happening in craft brewing east of Colorado. His company remains the standard for Midwest brewing, with beer well-suited for every Michigan season, especially those winter months when an Expedition Stout can make you scoff at the chilly weather.