Picking your favorite beer is like picking your favorite child, totally impossible. Each has its own unique characteristics that you love them for. When it comes down to it, though, would you choose bitter? Or would you opt for sweet? Beer that is, not your child. As regions across the country are pumping out some phenomenal brews, beer connoisseurs are taking pride in their locally sourced beers. So much pride, that they would put their favorite pints of choice up against the rest when it came down to it. So if you had to choose, what would it be?
Challenging beer lovers to name their favorite, Zymurgy - an American Homebrewers Association publication - takes a yearly poll to figure out what beers America can't get enough of. Readers are asked to list their top 20 favorite beers that are available commercially in the United States. The results are then tallied and broken down by state. Did your favorite beer make the cut this year? Take a look at the results.
Alabama: Rebellion (Yellowhammer Brewery) and Shadowcaster Porter (Folklore Brewing & Meadery LLC)
Alaska: A Deal with the Devil (Anchorage Brewing Co.) and Alaskan Smoked Porter & Alaskan Amber (Alaskan Brewing Co.)
Arizona: Achocolypse (Prescott Brewing Co.) and Tower Station (Mother Road Brewing Co.)
Arkansas: Cream Stout Ozark Beer (Ozark Beer Co.)
California: Pliny the Elder (Russian River Brewing Co.)
Colorado: Milk Stout Nitro (Left Hand Brewing)
Connecticut: Imperial Stout Trooper (New England Brewing Co.)
Delaware: 90 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head Brewery)
District of Columbia: On the Wings of Armageddon (DC Brau Brewing) and NSFW (Atlas Brew Works)
Florida: Jai Alai IPA (Cigar City Brewing Co.)
Georgia: Tropicalia (Creature Comforts Brewing Co)
Hawaii: Maui Coconut Porter (Maui Brewing Co.) and Pipeline Porter & Koko Brown, Kona Brewing Company
Idaho: Rabbit Punch (RAM Restaurant & Brewery) and Sour Porter (Barbarian Brewing)
Illinois: Bourbon County Brand Stout (Goose Island Beer Co.)
Indiana: Zombie Dust (Three Floyds Brewing Co.)
Iowa: psuedoSue (Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.)
Kansas: Buffalo Sweat (Tallgrass Brewing Co.)
Kentucky: West Sixth IPA (West Sixth Brewing)
Louisiana: Miel Sauvage (Bayou Teche Brewing)
Maine: Dinner (Main Beer Co.)
Maryland: Raging Bitch Belgian IPA (Flying Dog Brewery)
Massachusetts: Julius (Tree House Brewing Co.)
Michigan: Two Hearted Ale (Bell's Brewery)
Minnesota: Abrasive Ale & Todd the Axe Man (Surly Brewing Co.)
Mississippi: Southern Pecan (Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co.)
Missouri: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (Boulevard Brewing Co.)
Montana: Single Hop Ale (Bitter Root Brewing Co.)
Nebraska: Hop God (Nebraska Brewing Co.)
Nevada: Dirty Wookie (The Brewer's Cabinet)
New Hampshire: Utopian (Moonlight Meadery)
New Jersey: Head High (Kane Brewing)
New Mexico: Elevated IPA (La Cumbre Brewing Co.)
New York: Choklat Oranj (Southern Tier Brewing Co.)
North Carolina: Pernicious IPA (Wicked Weed Brewing Co.)
North Dakota: N/A
Ohio: Hop JuJu Imperial IPA (Fat Heads Brewery)
Oklahoma: Bomb! (Prairie Artisan Ales)
Oregon: Fresh Squeezed IPA (Deschutes Brewery)
Pennsylvania: Nugget Nectar (Troegs Brewing Co.)
Rhode Island: Captains Daughter (Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island)
South Carolina: Huger Street IPA (Palmetto Brewing Co.)
South Dakota: Blue Eyed Girl (Firehouse Brewing) and Chokecherry Brown Ale (Miner Brewing Co.)
Tennessee: Hefeweizen (Yazoo Brewing Co.)
Texas: Atrial Rubicite (Jester King Craft Brewery)
Utah: Big Bad Baptist (EPIC Brewing Co.)
Vermont: Heady Topper (The Alchemist)
Virginia: Christmas Morning (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery)
Washington: Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star (Fremont Brewing)
West Virginia: N/A
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Belgian Red (New Glarus Brewing Co.)
Wyoming: 2?--4 DIPA (Melvin Brewing)
You may have noticed some states were torn between favorites. Hawaii loves their Maui Coconut Porter, but they also can't deny their love for Kona Brewing's Pipeline Porter and Koko Brown. And Minnesota loves Surly, but can't decide on one over the other. And West Virginia and North Dakota? Unfortunately there wasn't enough data to determine a favorite. Maybe they're liquor drinkers?
A few results were as expected. Heady Topper still reigns supreme in Vermont, Zombie Dust is an Indiana favorite, and everyone in Florida wants to sip on cans of Jai Alai. What's also not surprising is Pliny the Elder being a California favorite. But what is, is that when it came to voting on the best beer in America, Pliny took a backseat to Michigan's pride and joy, Bell's Two Hearted Ale. With the expansion of Bell's distribution across the country, this American style IPA is winning over hearts left and right.
What has also won over the hearts of beer lovers is Jester King's Atrial Rubicite. The sensational barrel aged sour beer is loaded with fresh raspberries, several hundreds of pounds in fact. The addition of raspberries was a big leap for Jester King as it's the first barrel-aged sour beer they added fruit to, and boy are we glad they did.
If you need some beer-spiration for your next cross country road trip, I recommend hitting up these breweries and trying each states favorite. After all, it's best to do what the locals do. Drink damn good beer.
Check out Zymurgy for a full list of the Top Breweries and Best Portfolio.