It’s hard to believe that in 2009 there were only 1,600 craft breweries in the good ole US of A. When we fast forward just 12 years later to 2021 we’re now seeing over 9,000 operating craft breweries across the country.
Craft beer is not only giving consumers a whole new tasting experience, but the culture of the craft brewery scene is highly sought-after. Craft breweries are places where couples, friends, and families can mingle, relax, and enjoy chill vibes, usually with good music and solid food as well.
To identify the 5 best American craft beers, we’ve leaned on BeerAdvocate. These guys have been the benchmark setter for beer reviews since 1996 and they are one of the oldest beer communities, so they know their stuff.
As of today, the top 5 best American craft beers in terms of the average rating are as follows:
1. Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout
The Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Iowa is currently ranked #1 with over 717 ratings and a whopping 4.83/5 average.
This beer is sporting notes of “chocolate chip pancakes drenched with maple syrup served with espresso and a shot of bourbon, all in one sip.” When you have a dessert in a bottle coming in at 12% ABV, it’s no wonder this American Imperial Stout is popular.
Americans love their pancakes and Goliath just made them in beer form.
2. Marshmallow Handjee
The Marshmallow Handjee from 3 Floyds Brewing Company in Indiana comes in at #2 with over 1,439 ratings and a 4.73/5 average.
With one reviewer explaining their rating as “just because it can’t be perfect, I guess, but it’s damn close,” this Russian Imperial Stout has been aged in bourbon barrels with extra vanilla beans. This beer comes in at a whopping 15% ABV. When most beers across the board are around 4.5% ABV — woo!
3. Abraxas – Barrel-Aged
The Abraxas – Barrel-Aged from Perennial Artisan Ales in Missouri takes the third spot with over 1,474 ratings and a 4.73/5 average.
This Imperial Stout comes in with an 11% ABV and has been aged in Rittenhouse rye barrels for twelve months. Twelve months for a beer! It’s got notes of cacao nibs, vanilla beans, ancho chiles, and cinnamon sticks too!
4. Vanilla Bean Assassin
The Vanilla Beach Assassin is another one from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Iowa making headlines. Two beers in the top five from the same brewery is quite impressive — go Iowa! Beer #4 has over 90 ratings with a 4.79/5 score.
This is another Imperial Stout on the list, but this one is aged in whiskey barrels with extra vanilla beans. Coming in at 12.8% ABV, reviews for this beer compliment its thick mouthfeel and full-flavored body.
5. Heady Topper
Rounding out the top five is Heady Topper from The Alchemist in Vermont. This beer has over 12,403 ratings with a 4.71/5 rating and is an American Double IPA coming in at 8% ABV.
The Heady Topper reviews state that it’s “so drinkable, it’s scary.” With people highlighting that “sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the can.” That sounds like quite the endorsement!
You can’t say we Americans don’t like our flavor bombs!
In this industry, new trends and flavors are happening all the time, so keep an eye out for the next popular thing!