You can't browse the news these days without reading something about beer. Whether it's covering a new brewery in your area or the fate of big beer companies as craft beer sales rise, beer is everywhere. And when beer is everywhere, naturally, people begin to ask about the best. When it comes to the best beer towns and best beer cities in the U.S., we've covered the best choices for your beer vacation. But to rank the 50 states? We haven't done that just yet, but luckily for us, Thrillist recently released their rankings for the best beer states in the U.S.
Andy Kryza and Matt Lynch put their know-how together and sorted out which state is offering up the best beers around, and the results are somewhat surprising for Texans. Before we get into the rankings, here's the criteria in their own words: "Quantity and quality are both important, but quality's a bit MORE important. If you're a small state turning out a disproportionate amount of great beer, it did not go unrecognized. We also gave a boost to states who played a historical role in American beer as we know it today."
The Texas Factor
As a Texas publication, it's only natural for us to cling to the Lone Star State's ranking. And while it did make the Top 20, Texas only ranked 16 of all 50 states. While that's nothing to shake a stick at, we do have to wonder if it might have deserved a higher slot. Of course quality matters more than quantity, but there are at least five breweries that are doing inventive, delicious things in the great state of Texas. After all, we didn't rank third in medals at Great American Beer Fest 2017 for nothing.
While there are breweries that aren't quite receiving national attention for their creations, here are our three picks for some of the best breweries in Texas right now that are flying under the radar. After all, everyone knows that Saint Arnold Brewing Co. and Jester King are boss.
You might've heard of the Beer From Out Here, and for good reason. The brewery in Alpine is the first outpost, with a new brewery coming to San Antonio later this year. After trying the classic Tejas Negra and Tejas Clara, you'll be just as convinced that they need to open a third, fourth, and fifth brewery around the state.
Their seasonal varieties are the stuff brewers dram of, and the Dark Sky Double Chocolate Porter is surprisingly delicious for a brewery deep in the heart of Texas.
Blue Owl prides itself on creating some of the tastiest sour-mashing beers out there, and they live up to hype. Their year-round varieties, available at their Austin brewery, include Little Boss, a sour session wheat, and Spirit Animal, a sour pale ale. Chances are, if someone's had Blue Owl, they've tried one of those two that are widely available in the Austin area.
However, the special releases are where I think Blue Owl shines the most. Their Dapper Devil, a raspberry Belgian strong ale, isn't just the prettiest dang beer you'll pour in your glass, but it's also incredibly tasty for its 8.9% ABV status. Bright and dry with raspberry notes, this is one beer that I've come to crave.
I first tried Buffalo Bayou, a Houston brewery, at the 2017 Texas Craft Brewers Festival and was completely blown away by their outstanding flavors. While we picked Amaretto by Morning as one of the most inventive names at the festival, it was by far one of the best beers on tap. A cream ale that tasted like it was made for waiting in barbecue lines, it wasn't overpowering with coffee, but offered the slightest hint.
Since then, I've tried their 1836, a copper ale, and Sam's Daily. It's hard to find a brewery that consistently pulls off American cream ales, but Buffalo Bayou knows what's good.
Check out the full list of rankings below and to read the reasoning, head on over to Thrillist.
49. West Virginia
48. North Dakota
45. Rhode Island
44. South Dakota
40. New Hampshire
35. South Carolina
33. New Jersey
24. New Mexico
17. North Carolina
11. New York
Do you agree with these rankings? Let us know!