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A Map of the United States of Good Beer: The best brewery in each state

February 7, 2011 | By Abraham | 69 comments

Click the map to see the full image with a list of the breweries…

Do you agree with the brewery listed as best from your state?

Also, since each state only got one brewery mentioned, a lot of good ones were left out. What would you recommend from your area?

For Minnesota, Summit probably deserves it’s #1 ranking, but Surly is pretty dang good, too. If I had to choose just one beer from Minnesota, though, I’d say Grain Belt, no question.

69 Comments

  1. Scott says:

    For Texas: St. Arnold is pretty good, and definitely the largest, but may possibly be outmatched by Real Ale IMO. Other TX notables: Rahr, Live Oak, (512), and some other various smaller guys.

    1. Tyler says:

      Agree. Like St Arnold, love Real Ale. It’s always great having Shiner as a go-to, but Real Ale wins.

      Also, for Colorado, I’ll take Oskar Blues in a fight against anyone.

    2. Festus says:

      I’m told the best beer in the land is Three Floyds out of Indiana.

      I live in New York- Three Heads – The Kind IPA
      Middle Ages – Wailing Wench Ale
      California – Stone – Arrogant Bastard
      Lagunitas – Lucky 13.alt
      Pennsylvania – Stoudts – All American Ale
      Maryland – Heavy Seas – Loose Cannon

      and Smuttynose, Dogfish Head, Harpoon-UFO, Great Lakes – Ohio are all good too.

  2. Barnabas says:

    Illinois and Wisconsin are right on. New Glarus is one of my favorites but can only be purchased in Wisconsin. They don’t export.

    Bell’s from Michigan is fantastic too, so I would say those three are all good choices.

    1. Jacob Young says:

      I’m right around the corner from Victory (literally, I can stop by after work = awesome), and it’s certainly the best in PA.

      Stoudts is also pretty good, same for Sly Fox.

  3. Joey says:

    I can’t argue with New Glarus for Wisconsin. I’m not familiar enough with all of the Minnesota beers to have much of an opinion, in spite of having lived here for long enough to think of myself as more of a Minnesotan than a Wisconsinite. I need to rectify that…

    1. Ty says:

      Surly is the brewery of note for Minnesota! Summit has a fine tradition, but Surly is one of the most impressive up-and-coming breweries in the country. They’re beer is exceptional and they know how to market it.

    1. drew dog says:

      Georgia? what is that? they should try Terrapin or SweetWater. Upland in Indiana? did they forget that Three Floyds is in Indiana? Two Brothers over Goose Island? just some others that stick out to me

  4. Chris says:

    Maybe it’s too big to qualify as a community beer, but Shiner is a pretty great Texas beer. Shiner Blonde is one of my favorites….

  5. Tyler says:

    From GA. Wild Heaven is my favorite but they’re like 4 months old and only have 2 beers. Hard to give them the title over Terrapin on just 2 offerings. I expect that as they expand their line up, they will continue to excel though…

  6. Remley says:

    Big Sky Brewing is the most popular in Montana but not the best tasting, in my opinion. I’d recommend Red Lodge Ales, Harvest Moon, and the Montana Brewing Company for tasty beer you can get anywhere in the state, since they bottle their brews. However, if you’re in Billings and just want a pint (or a growler) nothing beats Carter’s Brewery. They make the best IPAs and porters around.

    I also think Deschutes Brewing in Oregon deserves some attention. I like it better than Full Sail.

  7. Jake Meador says:

    Just passed through Alabama and Tennessee, the Good People IPA was excellent, as was the Yazoo City Pale Ale. For Minnesota I have to put Surly or Brau Brothers ahead of Summit. New Glarus is spot on for Wisconsin and Bells is great for Michigan. I haven’t been able to try to Lucky Bucke yet, even though I’m a native Nebraskan. I know the Lincoln beer scene quite well but Omaha is a blank page to me. Empyrean from Lincoln is quite good though.

  8. Peter says:

    I disagree with Minnesota – Surly Brewing makes far better beers than Summit. Surly Abrasive Ale is probably the most superior beer that comes out of Minnesota. Summit makes okay beers year round and their seasonals are fairly good.

    I also disagree with Oregon because Deschutes wins hands down, no doubt.

    Agree with Wisconsin. New Glarus makes great beers. California has too many to say that Lagunitas is the best because Stone Brewing is in Escondido which make amazing beers.

    Rhode Island’s Coastal Extreme is a great brewery that I hope expands further this way. Great beers but very local right now.

  9. Kevin says:

    Texas needs to be corrected – Shiner Brewing Co from Shiner Texas is a staple. Guaranteed that they sell more beer than Saint Arnold.

    1. Jon says:

      disagree-Looks like this list is for micro brewery’s. Shiner is not a micro brewery. Plus I like Saint Arnolds better anyway. Their cask ale is the best.

  10. Vince says:

    For Colorado – New Belgium is definitely one of the better breweries but there are so many good ones (Avery, Left Hand, Odell, Funkwerks, Boulder etc.).

  11. nate downey says:

    California has so many good breweries, so it’s tough to pick. Sierra Nevada certainly is the top dog but Stone could make a good case as well.

    Weird thing about that infographic: South Carolina’s Coast Brewing may be good, but the photo is of California’s own North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale.

  12. Mando Mikey says:

    Minnesota is pretty tough. I feel like Summit and Grain Belt are the most well known micro’s of the area, but I personally enjoy both Surly and Flat Earth better, at least on a comparison of the beers themselves. I was just at the Summit tour and was pretty impressed by their setup. They do some impressive stuff, so I definitely won’t say that they’re undeserving, but probably just better known than Surly or Flat Earth.

  13. steviferg says:

    As a born & raised St. Louisan, I have to put Schlafly out there over KC’s Boulevard. Though the majority of the residents of Missouri would say Anheuser-Busch. But that’s just a sad commentary on our residents, not on our ability to make beer. I live in Columbia now, and we have a great little brewing pub called Flat Branch. Others have come and gone, but Flat Branch consistently turns out great beer and excellent food.

    1. Jon says:

      Boulevard is much better than Schlafly IMO but don’t think much of Boulevard either. The Irish beer that Boulevard makes is decent, other than that I have not found a Boulevard beer that was all that good. Schafly is some of the worst beer I have ever tried.

  14. Dustin says:

    For Washington, Mac and Jacks is the brewery of choice in my book. Though Derrin is correct, Redhook is an Emerald City favorite as well..

  15. Ryan says:

    I’m not sure about the whole “sustainably brewed, independently owned, community-oriented craft beer” bit. It seems like it may be hard to tell which breweries really qualify.

    I am sure that Abita is a good choice for Louisiana and Saint Arnold’s makes some of my favorite beers in Texas. The Spoetzl Brewery may get the nod though just because you can find Shiner everywhere in Texas alongside the usual swill which means there is always something available that is actually good to drink.

  16. Melissa Dow says:

    Well, I don’t think you can buy it outside Idaho, but the Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company makes a few ridiculously good beers along with some pretty nasty ones. On the good side, Vanilla Bourbon Stout; deep and malty, with chocolaty-espresso aroma. On the bad, an over-sweet huckleberry ale.

    I agree with everybody about Shiner for TX, though. And Deschutes would be my Oregon vote – Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond, anybody?

    (Till, Shiner exports. I’ve been able to get it here in Idaho, and my sister recently bought some in New Mexico)

    1. Madam Von Sassypants says:

      Full Sail wins because it’s employee-owned and probably the most eco-friendly brewery in the state.

      Plus their Amber, Session and Session Black, and some of their reserve beers are AMAZING.

    2. Jon says:

      I have not ever had the chance to try Deschutes but have had Full Sail which is not bad. Out of the Oregon beers I have tried I like BridgePort the best. Now the search is on for Deschutes……hope I can find it near Kansas City.

  17. d says:

    Idaho: River Bend, Sockeye, Grand Teton… still worth mentioning though is the recently-closed Couer d’Alene Brewing Company

  18. Scott says:

    Though I love Shiner, I feel like something like this is more so aiming at craft brewers (which statistically, Shiner isn’t craft). Shiner has bigger fish to fry.

    Also, while we’re at it, in my honest opinion, Shiner doesn’t really produce anything worth writing home about that isn’t the Bock. I always look at Shiner as “Shiner Bock and everything else”. Granted, “Cheer” is pretty cool.

    St. Arnold on the other hand produces multiple year round beers that are really great (Lawnmower, Elissa, & Amber are my favorites), and some REALLY awesome seasonals (Oktoberfest [my personal favorite Oktoberfest], Pils, Christmas, etc.) AND the Divine series that St. Arnold does is really fun and awesome, too.

    So that’s kind of my Shiner vs. St. Arnold thoughts. Love them both very dearly, though.

    Lastly, food for thought… the best beer I’ve drank that was produced in Texas may very well be either Real Ale’s “The Kraken” or the Rahr Winter Warmer. Sayin.

  19. Erika says:

    Kona is not small or privately owned, I would suggest Maui Brewing Company. I think they were trying to focus on the smaller breweries, so comments about Shiner/Redhook/Deschutes, all those are great breweries, but maybe going even smaller!

  20. Jon R. says:

    I think New Belgium for CO is a mistake. There’s far too many other incredible choices here for New Belgium to be the choice. Left Hand, Boulder Brewing, Grand Lake Brewing, Bristol, Oskar Blues, and many others in my opinion are superior to New Belgium. Mind you, I don’t think New Belgium make bad beer. It really is quite good, but with the selection available to us here in CO it’s definitely not the best.

  21. joe says:

    Everyone in CA pines over Sierra Nevada, Lost Coast put out better tasting and a wider variety of beers. But for a great tasting Extra Pale Ale you have to try Steelhead from Mad River Brewing.

    1. J242 says:

      Eh, Flying Dog is good and all but I just don’t think they can compete against Dogfish Head… ALl a matter of preference I suppose. :)

  22. Sierra says:

    Nevada – BJ’s? Really? I mean, it’s good, but Great Basin Brewing makes damn good beer and is a true local beer. I think BJ’s is a franchise based out of state?

    Massachusetts – my vote would be for Berkshire Brewing Co.

  23. Everett says:

    For New York, I’ve never had Sixpoint but is it really better than Brooklyn Brewery? Hard to believe but if it’s true, I gotta get some of that.

      1. Trenton B says:

        Ommegang is incredible. For those in Mpls, you can get Ommegang by the liter at the Peanut Bar under Williams in Uptown.

  24. Michael says:

    I’m in Georgia and I’ve never heard of “Wild Heaven”. I simply can’t believe it tops Sweetwater Brewery: http://www.sweetwaterbrew.com

    While their flagship brew (Sweetwater 420) is nothing to brag about (the after-taste makes you want to kill yourself), their Sweet Georgia Brown, Motor Boat, and Happy Ending are all worth whatever you’re charged for drinking them.

  25. IBushIV says:

    I think Texas should be represented by Shiner. It is the biggest craft brewery and I believe it is the oldest one in Texas

  26. IBushIV says:

    For PA, Yuengling should be representing. Not sure if it is considered a craft beer, though their production is quite low and it is the oldest brewery in the US.

  27. J242 says:

    Fail for Washington, Oregon, California AND Maryland!
    Washington: Redhook, hands down. Never even heard of epic out here and I go to our oktoberfest religiously and multiple tastings.
    Oregon: Bridgeport any day. I’ve toured Full Sail’s brewery down on Hood Canal and everything tasted the same. Plus they brew all of Weinhard’s stuff for the West Coast using the same hops & barley. If you think Henry’s is “great beer” you’ll love it but then you aren’t a true beer lover.
    California: Stone Brewing all the way. Once you try their “Old Guardian” barleywine “style” ale you’ll never go back and the Epic IPA is sublime and you can’t forget their “Arrogant Bastard”… ;)
    Maryland: Flying dog is okay but Dogfish Head totally owns them and twice on sundays.

  28. Kyle Moore says:

    So many thoughts…

    Odell’s from Colorado is the best in the US, not just Colorado. Teton Ale from Idaho is superb. New Glarus is a great beer, a gift to my groomsmen 17 years ago. Flying dog has several tasty choices. Wind River Brewery from Pinedale WY is terrific, and I highly recommend the burger with the brisket on it. Stone makes great CA beer. Deschutes is solid, and I really like Yeungling for PA.
    But, Utah… Now that is the tough choice… Squatters for the SLC pub. Wasatch for the Park City locale, and Red Rock in SLC for the food and beer combo.

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