The 50 Best Beers and the 25 Best Brewers –

In my recent copy of Zymurgy’ there was an article touting the 50 best beers in America as voted by members of the American Homebrewer’s Association. My first thought when I saw the tag line on the cover was……..”How many have I sampled?”….So, how did I do? Lets go down in rank order. I have enjoyed at least one of the following beers.

  • 1. Pliny the Elder by Russian River….hard to find but oh so worth the effort
  • 3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  • 7. Arrogant Bastard Ale
  • 8. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
  • T9. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • T9. Stone Ruination
  • T12. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra
  • 15. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • T17. Firestone Walker Double Jack
  • 20. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
  • T21. Bear Republic Racer 5
  • T27. Deschutes Black Butte Porter
  • T27. Green Flash West Coast IPA
  • 30. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  • 36. Lagunitas IPA
  • 37. Stone IPA
  • 38. Odell IPA
  • T42. Russian River Blind Pig IPA
  • 45. Firestone Walker Parabola
  • T48. Green Flash Palate Wrecker
  • T48. Lagunitas Brown Shugga’

I will add my 2 cents – The Firestone Walker Parabola is the most amazing beer I have ever sampled, a barrel aged Imperial Stout…it has very limited distribution and limited production. I am certain that it would have garnered far more votes if sampled by more folks…. My wife surprised me last week with a bottle of the 2011 Parabola found in a specialty beer and wine shop in Bakersfield California – Imbibe is the store name. It will be a special occasion in the future when I crack the top! I grabbed the last available bottle of the 2011 and took a 2013 to mature in my Houston beer cellar ( converted freezer currently set ay 54 degrees F)

I have under my belt – literally and figuratively, 21 of the top 50 beers voted on by members of the American Homebrewer’s Association and published in the July/August 2013 issue of Zymurgy.

They also asked members to rank the Commercial Craft Breweries across the US…..I am either a lush or ???? I have sampled the offerings of many of these breweries. By member’s vote listed below are those in my experience base;

  • 1. Stone Brewing Company
  • 2. Russian River Brewing Company
  • 3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
  • 4. Dogfish Head Brewery
  • 6. Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • 8. Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • 9. New Belgium Brewing Company
  • 10. Deschutes Brewery
  • 11 Odell Brewing Company
  • 15. Green Flash Brewing Company
  • 16. The Boston Beer Company
  • 17. Boulevard Brewing Company
  • 18. Goose Island Beer Company

I have 13 of the top 25….I need to do some beer swapping to complete my list! .This should be a doable challenge….

Three Superb Beers

Three Superb Beers

This trip has included several brewery visits – Island Brewing in Carpenteria, 3 times and another tonight with my granddaughter – yes she is of legal age to drink in California, the Santa Barbara Brewery, several visits to Lengthwise Brewery in Bakersfield and I hope to sample something at Anacapa Brewery in Ventura around lunch time. I was close to both San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles but there are only so many days available on this trip and heard the Sirens’ call from the breweries in these two towns. (dangerous and beautiful creatures these Sirens be)

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly



Drinking Beer in Carpenteria

Travel and work – it certainly can have a negative impact on my beer drinking! It is not all bad, I am in California for work and I have my weekends free. I was in Carpenteria last weekend, a nice beach town between Ventura and Santa Barbara. I am not much for laying on the beach and picking up the color of a well boiled lobster so my daughter Lisa and I walked down to the Island Brewing Company. It is a nice little brewery and tap room next to the tracks and near the Amtrak station.
This isn’t my first rodeo nor my first visit to this brewery. They have a very nice selection of beers, a casual and comfortable taproom and an outside seating area. Oh yes, the prices are very reasonable!!!! They also bottle the beers as well as sell growlers.
The timing was right and the brewery was hosting a tour of the back brewing area. The owner’s daughter was giving the tour. She is very knowledgeable and easy to talk to. While in the taproom I enjoyed the Paradise Ale, a pint of the cask ale – a raspberry wheat beer – a bit sweet but still very tasty and the Jubilee Ale! Not a bad beer in the bunch. Lisa tried the Blonde, the Paradise and a Shandy – half Tropical Lager and Lemonade.


I have sampled their Blackbird Porter in the past….a very tasty beer but better suited for the last beer of the evening while sitting at home! It is a wonderful beer!

Lisa says - head this way to find fresh beer.

Lisa says – head this way to find fresh beer.

Here is the tap room…..

The taps and yummy board!

The taps and yummy board!


On the walk back to the beach I had to make a pit stop. The picture is a little blurry….iPhones aren’t bad but you have to look close at this one to see the details.

Down near the beach I stepped into the State park lavatory . While standing there killing time I looked up and saw a frustrated sea gull - lost opportunity to bomb me!

Down near the beach I stepped into the State park lavatory . While standing there killing time I looked up and saw a frustrated sea gull – lost opportunity to bomb me!

I hope to have time to visit Anacapa Brewing in Ventura, or Firestone in Paso Robles and if time permits San Luis Brewing in San Luis Obispo. Bakersfield even has beer, yes I know that might surprise you….Lengthwise is my favorite pub and brewery in town. I hope to share a little more over the next week on my California adventures.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,



Old Sacramento

I have been delinquent in my efforts as of late. Rest assured though, I am still enjoying my beers! Last night I added to my beers sampled list!

I am working for a few days up in the Sacramento area. Sunday night I had a familiar beer, Bear Republic Racer 5 – a good beer but one I have sampled before…….the menu was limited. Last night we went downtown to Old Sacramento for dinner.

We ate dinner on the Delta paddle wheeler in the Bar & Grill. Very nice food and a new beer for my taste buds. I had a Big Daddy IPA from Speakeasy Ales and Lagers in San Francisco. It was crisp and nicely hopped. I loved the hint of a floral nose and a very pleasant bitterness in the mouth. It had a great feel in the mouth! I will try it again!!!! It is a keeper!

Pardon the errors- submitted via my iPhone.
Drink local Nd drink responsibly!