America is now home to 5,000 breweries, each making dozens of new beers per year. While you might be impressed that I tried a little over 1,000 different brews in 2016, those 16,000 fluid ounces are really only a small fraction of what was released—making the task of compiling an all-encompassing "Best Beers of The Year" list that much harder.
Still, my background affords me some unique opportunities. I am a hard-drinking writer who lives in Brooklyn; who travels “for work” quite a bit; who keeps tabs on what other people are decrying great, and then tries to try those beers; who is fortunate enough to be mailed countless “samples” from countless breweries; who is able to attend many of the country’s best beer festivals; and who just so happens to be friends with the kind of dudes who mule whales out of breweries like it’s their job (which, sometimes, it actually is). What I’m saying is, TL;DR, I have access to a lot of great stuff.
This was the year in which I fell in love with the Hudson Valley’s emerging beer scene. A year in which I learned to quit worrying and love the classic, old-world styles that have fallen out of favor. A year in which barrel-aged sours became a lot more interesting than barrel-aged stouts. A year in which breweries tried to cram as many adjuncts and as much fruit as they could into each and every beer, many of which didn't need a freakin' mango in them. And a year that we reached the IPA monoculture, making the industry's most important style boring (wow, where’d you come up with the idea to make it Citra dry-hopped?).
Even if you're adamant that my list lacks something specific, I think if you taste the following ten beers, you too will find something truly magnificent about each of them. These are all ambitious and intriguing beers, made by true craftsman who've hit the sweet spot with their product: brews that appeal to both the geeks and Average Joes.
With that, here is a countdown of the ten best beers of 2016.