Craft Beer Surprise: Midwest, New England Beers Are Best

Three West Coast states — California, Oregon and Washington — were leaders in the craft beer explosion, and their numerous breweries are renowned for brewing great beers. An analysis of the Top 100 of the Top 250 beers ranked on the Beer Advocate website, though, reveals some surprising results: New England and the Midwest rule the roost when it comes to the world’s best beers.

Thirty-four beers brewed in New England and 23 brewed in the Midwest are listed in the Top 100. Beers brewed in California, Oregon and Washington captured 21 of the Top 100 spots, and only two beers brewed in Colorado, a state renowned for excellent brews, made the exalted list.

Iowa’s Toppling Goliath Brewing Company grabs the crown for the best beers with its Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout ranked No. 1 and Vanilla Bean Assassin ranked No. 2. Both are American imperial stouts with respective ABVs of 12% and 12.8%.

Two other American imperial stouts, 3 Floyds Brewing Company’s Marshmallow Handjee and Perennial Artisan Ales’ Abraxas, rank No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. 3 Floyds is based in Indiana, and Perennial is based in Missouri.

The No. 5 beer — Heady Topper, an imperial IPA from The Alchemist in Vermont — breaks through the stout dominance at the top of the list.

New England’s overall dominance of the Top 100 beers is primarily dependent on the many excellent IPAs brewed by Massachusetts’ Tree House Brewing Company. Tree House has 10 of its IPAs in the Top 50, and three more IPAs and a stout in the Top 100.

All beers on Beer Advocate’s Top 250 list are “basically a blend of beers that stand the test of time with recently trending beers,” says Todd Alström, the website’s founder. “It’s ever-changing and always a subject of debate, but, love or hate it, the list represents what many consider to be some of the best beers in the world right now.”

The following are the Top 25 on Beer Advocate’s list.

1) Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout, Iowa’s Toppling Goliath

2) Vanilla Bean Assassin, Iowa’s Toppling Goliath

3) Marshmallow Handjee, Indiana’s 3 Floyds

4) Abraxas, Missouri’s Perennial Artisan Ales

5) Heady Topper, Vermont’s The Alchemist

6) Blessed, Alaska’s Anchorage Brewing Company

7) Mornin’ Delight, Iowa’s Toppling Goliath

8) King Julius, Massachusetts’ Tree House

9) King JJJuliusss, Massachusetts’ Tree House

10) Zenne Y Frontera, Belgium’s Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen

11) Pliny The Younger, California’s Russian River Brewing Company

12) Barrel Aged Imperial German Chocolate Cupcake Stout, Florida’s Angry Chair Brewing

13) Fundamental Observation, California’s Bottle Logic Brewing

14) Very Hazy, Massachusetts’ Tree House

15) A Deal With The Devil, Triple Oak-Aged, Alaska’s Anchorage Brewing

16) Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Ilinois’ Goose Island Beer Company

17) A Deal With The Devil, Double Oak-Aged, Alaska’s Anchorage Brewing

18) Very GGGreennn, Massachusetts’ Tree House

19) Chemtrailmix, Rye Barrel, Indiana’s 3 Floyds

20) V.S.O.J., Illinois’ Revolution Brewing

21) Juice Machine, Massachusetts’ Tree House

22) Anabasis, Missouri’s Side Project Brewing

23) It Was All A Dream, Florida’s J. Wakefield Brewing

24) Julius, Massachusetts’ Tree House

25) Fou’ Founem, Belgium’s Brasserie Cantillon

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