Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has made some of the most popular beers including their first, pale ale, since the early 1980's. (Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee/TNS)
Photo: Randy Pench/TNS
Photo: Randy Pench/TNS

Pliny the Elder knocked from top of American beer heap in new rankings

For the first time in nine years, Pliny the Elder is no longer judged to be the best beer in the United States.

New rankings from a survey conducted by Zymurgy magazine — published by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) — and released last week, listed a new king of beers, though Pliny and its parent Russian River Brewing Co. continued to fare exceptionally well. California in general was well-represented among breweries and beers judged to be the cream of the crop. 

The rankings, based on voting by AHA members, were in three categories: top-ranked beers; top-ranked breweries; and top-ranked beer portfolios. 

Chosen as the country’s best beer in the 15th annual judging was Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, from Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Mich. Right behind at No. 2 was Pliny the Elder, which had reigned for eight straight years. 

Celebration Ale from Chico’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., came in tied for eighth, one notch ahead of Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing, a San Diego brewery whose co-founder Pete A’Hearn earned his master brewer’s certificate from UC Davis. 

Russian River Brewing Co., packed as usual with patrons, is considered one the country's best breweries and produces, in Pliny the Elder, one of the best beers. (Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee/TNS)
Photo: Randy Pench/TNS

Lagunitas Brewing Co. was in the top 10 at No. 9. 

Finally, the brewing company considered to possess the best portfolio of beers was Stone Brewing, a Southern California company that produces 31 beers. Bell’s Brewery was second, followed by Firestone Walker Brewing Co., headquartered n the Paso Robles area, Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas, tied for No. 5 with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. 

Complete rankings can be found on the AHA website.

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