Sorachi Ace and White Blackbird Listed in Top 101 Beers in America
There’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker. There’s also never been a more confusing time. Over the past five years, the number of craft breweries has more than doubled, to nearly 3,500, cranking out countless new ales, lagers, porters, and stouts in all 50 states. The question, of course: Which ones should you drink? Men’s Journal is on the case. For the past six months, we’ve been consulting with regional experts, quizzing the judges of best-beer contests, and soliciting favorites from the regulars at neighborhood microbreweries and then selflessly sampling those recommendations ourselves.
The result is the ultimate American beer tour our picks for the best two beers in every state, plus one from Washington, D.C. That’s 101 brews from a Hawaiian porter brewed with coconut to a Kentucky strong ale aged in barrels straight off the bourbon trail to a Wisconsin sour beer steeped in local cherries. Our advice: try your own state’s offerings first. “The number one thing always has been freshness the fact that beer does not spend months from brewery to consumers glass,” says Ray Daniels founder of the Cicerone program, the beer equivalent of a sommelier certification. “In the early 2000s still most American thought of beer as yellow and fizzy today that’s no longer true. People want to find something local and try it.”
Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: Belgian Saison
Brooklyn was a graveyard of breweries when Brooklyn Brewery opened in 1996. At the borough’s peak, it was responsible for 10 percent of America’s beer with the likes of Schaefer and Rheingold. Brooklyn Brewery led the charge back with its lager serving as a gateway into new worlds of flavor for beer geeks across the northeast. But today, Brooklyn Brewery’s industry-leading beer is Sorachi Ace. The Belgian-inspired saison puts subtle American twists on an old world style. The beer gets its name and its signature citrus and lemongrass aroma and flavor from the Sorachi Ace hop. The character from this unique hop is the perfect complement for the base beer, a spicy Belgian saison that crackles with flavor and aggressive carbonation thanks to a refermentation with champagne yeast inside the bottle. The finish is as crisp and dry as any of its famous Belgian cousins.
Brewer: Wild Heaven Craft Beer
Style: Belgian Saison
Terrapin Brewing put Georgia on the craft beer map, but brewers like Wild Heaven and Creature Comforts are beginning to lead the way for innovative and refined brewing. “This risque little saison is made with pink peppercorns and Chardonnay-marinated Korean pears,” Hop City’s Torres says of the Decatur brewery’s year-round farmhouse ale.
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