Arguing about the best breweries in American is popular sport for beer nerds—we’ve all found ourselves three pints in at the bar, blabbering about the influence of Russian River versus the consistency of Sierra Nevada with the same intensity as sports buffs talking about MJ versus LeBron. But as these debates—and the endless Internet lists that they spawn—rage on, it becomes clear that there’s a lot more nuance to the argument than simply who brews the best beer, period. What’s really important to drinkers is who brews the best beer in the style that they prefer to drink.
The creativity that has made American craft brewing such a game-changer on the world scene has also made it tough to navigate, with new breweries launching almost daily with double-digit catalogs. As the market evolves, specialization should be celebrated; after all, the brewery that nails its saisons might not make the best lagers, just as a great rapper isn’t necessarily going to make the next country smash (unless he’s Nelly).
To help cut through the noise, we gathered our team of beer writers to address the question: Which brewery is dominating a particular style of beer right now? Whether you’re an IPA fiend, a stout enthusiast, or someone who loves mouth-puckering sours, these are the breweries that deserve your full attention.