[map via Aleheads.com]
Thrillist has a piece over at Yahoo news ranking all 50 states by the quality and variety of beer they produce.
Rankings are as fun as they are controversial. This list comes just in time for college football season, so it’s not surprising to see Alabama in the Top 25.
Homebrewing, the essential root of all the damn beautiful stuff in this story, has been legal in Alabama for barely over a year. So that’s crazy. Before that, a noble band of beermen toiled under the banner Free The Hops for almost a decade to get the legal ABV limit for any brewery raised from 6%. But after all that, the boom’s finally on, with the number of breweries doubling basically every year. One of the big deals: Good People, which has really cool cans, and fills them with a splendid double IPA called Snake Handler that would’ve gotten them all very arrested three years ago.
It is a truly meteoric rise from our point of view. Alabama would have been undeniably in the bottom 5 just 6 years ago before Good People kicked off a cultural sea change.
The top 4 are the usual suspects (Michigan, Colorado, California, and Oregon), and I suppose you could shuffle those any way you want and make a case for it. Point being: if you love beer, you’ll be home in any of them. It’s hard to disagree with those being at the top of the pile.
I found at least a few nits to pick with this list. I’ve found no single offering from any brewery in Louisiana that would have them ranked as high as they are here (27). Meanwhile, Tallgrass alone only lands Kanasas in the 30s while Dogfish Head catapults Delaware into the prime rank of 19. I’m not saying Tallgrass is better than Dogfish Head (though you really should try their Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat Stout), but that seems like a pretty wide gulf between two small states largely defined by a single brewery. New Hampshire in the bottom 10 just seems crazy to me. I think you’d be hard pressed to find 5 beer drinkers out of 100 that would rather drink in Wyoming or Arkansas.
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