02 July 2014

AHA's Best Beer List

The American Homebrewers Association recently released their top 50 beers of 2014. The list is determined by a vote of AHA members like myself, who write down our favorite 50 beers. Let me tell you, sometimes it's hard to come up with 50.

But it's a subjective list. A few years ago, while Rahr & Sons was shut down but the snowmageddon, somehow, they managed to get their entire line on the top 50 list, which put them at the top of the Breweries list.

Naturally, beer geeks were offended. How, they asked, could a small regional brewery get so many beers on the list? When they aren't producing?

The same way Pliny the Elder does.

Lots of people voted for it. (I called it ballot box stuffing on the AHA forum, and got my post deleted. Apparently, you can't refer to actual cases of ballot stuffing on the forum.)

As a result, it's hard to take the top 50 list seriously. (Especially since they didn't quote me for the first time in three years!)

There are a lot of great beers on the list. I have had several of them. I do, however, question the inclusion of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. It is undoubtedly the worst beer every to wear the craft beer label. It is nasty. But, somehow, it shows up on the list.

I noticed that 24 of the fifty beers were IPA variants. I also noticed a couple of beers that can only be purchased a few days a year.

But these aren't the best beers in America.  They are the most popular. Among a certain subset of drinkers. And, with a few exceptions, they are regional breweries without national distribution. Just like Rahr & Sons. And no one on the AHA forums is bitching about it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:24

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