When you think of what makes a beer great, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The most straightforward answer would be the taste! However, for some people, this may not be the only reason. Beer has been around long enough to make it one of the oldest beverages produced by humans. Written records show it during the time of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, while chemical tests have unveiled traces in ancient pottery as far back as seven thousand years ago in what we know now as Iran. With the process of brewing dating so far back, it is fair to say that some breweries have their process down to a science. Let’s take a look at thirty of the top breweries from around the world. Who knows, you might find a new favorite after checking these out.
Founded by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø in Copenhagen, Denmark, this “phantom brewery” makes the list as it is not only producing and exporting exceptional micro-brews, but has also released over eight hundred different beers. Mikkel and co-founder Kristian Klarup Keller also collaborate with fellow brewers to create some fantastic one-off as well as refined recipes. What makes this company exceptional is that the recipes are sent off to some of the best breweries in the world and the finished product is sent back for tasting and official selection. This process of selection ensures the highest standard of quality.
This unique brewery has been labeled as nomadic with its origins stemming from Denmark. Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, the founder, has been producing top-notch beers out of Evil Twin since 2010. What is truly unique is the fact that Jeppe is the identical twin brother to founder of Mikkeller, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. Jeppe is certainly giving Mikkel a run for his money as the competition is fierce between these two. So intense that for some time, it may have caused a divide between the two. Much like Mikkel, Jeppe is a true professional when it comes to great beer and is regarded highly by fellow professionals.
Magic Hat Brewing Company
With production beginning in 1994, this South Burlington, Vermont brewery is at the top of its game when it comes to infusing delicate flavors like that of the apricot into their recipes. The atmosphere of the brewery is akin to the Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. What makes this brewery especially impressive is their dedication to not only crafting amazing beers but also their commitment to keeping some of them local. Certain brews are held solely to the state of Vermont, which means that if you want to try all the flavors, then you will have to pay a visit to the brewery. However, with a unique atmosphere and their attention to taste, you may not ever want to leave.
Oxbow Brewing Company
This Newcastle, Maine brewery thrives among some of the most exquisite landscapes the state has to offer. Similar to the way that nature carves the bends in the rivers near Oxbow, their beers are all products of a long and well-thought process that could take months possibly years to produce a quality recipe that this brewing company can stand behind. With a real vision and passion for creating farmhouse ales, this brewery exists inside of a converted barn where all their beers are brewed using spring water pulled from an artesian well on the property.
Cycle Brewing based out of Saint Petersburg, Florida named for the founder’s love of cycling as well as its suggestion of gears changing. Doug Dozark established this company with a passion for crafting infamous beers such as Rare DOS and Ich Bin Ein Rainbow Jelly Donut. With success throughout their lines of ales, Doug decided to focus more on barrel-aged beverages. Now with more than 400 barrels, Cycle is dedicating some serious time and effort into expanding its line of barrel-aged beers and hosts a whole one-day festival showcasing these in their taphouse.
International award winning AleSmith Brewing was established in San Diego, California in 1995. Since then, this brewery has hit the ground running as they focus on handcrafted ales influenced strongly by the classics throughout Europe. This artisan microbrewery is rooted throughout the craft brewing and amateur communities. Surely this company has their finger on the pulse of the beer drinking community as they have the awards and the fierce dedication of their followers driving them to continuously raise the bar in the tastiest ways.
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Located in Greensboro, Vermont this brewery was conceptualized while founder Shaun Hill was participating in a high school science fair. With a new found love for fermentation, Shaun spent time honing his craft and learning from peers via homebrew clubs, Vermont breweries and then traveling to Copenhagen. Once he had sharpened his skills, he returned to his family farm and began production, releasing the first beer from Hill Farmstead Brewery in 2010. When speaking about his passion for crafting fine ales, Shaun remarked that what keeps him awake at night are still the same from his early start. One of his biggest motivators, a fear that he may wake up one day and have to empty every tank of beer throughout the brewery.
Other Half Brewery
Established in Brooklyn, New York founders Andrew Burman, Samuel Richardson, and Matt Monahan exploded onto the scene with their dedication to producing hoppy brews including their trademark double IPAs. Other Half is not fooling around when it comes to crafting beer that meets and exceeds their vision for excellence based solely on elevating the industry as a whole one beer at a time. Laser-like commitment has given rise to collaboration in their home state as well as across the world.
Founded in 2011 by Karl Grandin and Henok Fentie, this Swedish brewing company takes on a similar approach to crafting fine ales as Evil Twin and Mikkeller. Using a more nomadic approach to brewing allows Omnipollo to focus on the quality of their recipes. This method has allowed them to brew experimental beers across the world and stay true to their vision of remaining grounded, tuned in, and ever curious while doing their best to change the perception of beer.
Trillium Brewing Company
Trillium Brewing Company is named for the lily that founders Esther and JC Tetreault felt best represented the qualities they felt were necessary for both their lives and beer including strength, beauty, balance, and simplicity. They established the brewery based on plans hatched during the organization of their wedding while considering what they would do moving forward in their lives together. Trillium is not just a brewery to these two. They have built up this business and community to share in the experience that they have designed after a way of life. With a serious amount of attention to the quality of the farmhouse ales that they have crafted, it is always a focus for Trillium to incorporate local ingredients. Based in Boston, Massachusetts this brewing company is truly dedicated to providing a unique and high-quality product.
When it comes to one-of-a-kind breweries, look no further. Starkenberger Brewery located in Tarrenz, Austria dates back to 1810 while being occupied by the French. Aside from the delicious Brauerei Schloss Starkenberg, this brewery has gained much attention from their location at Starkenburg Castle. Deep inside the castle are pools which are filled with yeast residues that collect during the production of their beer. What makes these pools incredible is that they allow people to bathe in the beer lager which is waste from the production thought to have properties that are beneficial for the treatment of some skin disorders such as psoriasis.
Yuengling is the oldest brewing company still in operation within the United States. This brewery is a top craft beer company but also ranks among the top 25 best-selling beers of all breweries throughout the U.S. with 2.2 million barrels of lager sold during 2017 earning it a spot as number 18. Born in a time ruled by the dreams of immigrants seeking out opportunity in a new land, this brewery emerged through sheer will and dedication to building a legacy. Its catalog of beers and their success is the result of over six generations of beer experts who developed and maintained the quality of product that all beer drinkers should expect.
Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren
Located in Belgium, this abbey tops the list as one of the most exciting breweries operating currently. This Cistercian monastery, established in 1831, has a unique history including the construction of its first brewery in 1839. This particular brewery is unique because it is one of only six establishments legally permitted to label their beverage as “Trappist beer.” Much like champagne which gets its name from the region of France, “Trappist beer” is only afforded to beers brewed in a Trappist abbey. Their brew is largely sought after as it is widely considered one of the best beers in the world. However, as the monastery restricts their volume to only selling enough to survive off the income, this beer has limited availability. Its scarcity combined with its reputation makes this a tough beer to obtain.
Focused on establishing a brewery producing small batches, Tim Sciascia, Connor Casey, and Kelly Caveney founded Cellarmaker. Their approach gives this brewing company its character as they concentrate on creating exciting flavors by abandoning the commonly used concept of set production schedules. As a result of the experimental nature of their beers, they can play with the ingredients to produce and deliver a truly unique product.
BierVision Monstein Brewery
Recognized as one of the highest altitude breweries in Europe, BierVision Monstein Brewery is located in a picturesque Swiss village with a population of only one-hundred ninety. Reviews from beer enthusiasts and travelers paint a vivid picture of arriving in Monstein and the welcoming atmosphere extended to all. Not only do tours allow visitors to learn about the brewery but there is also a strong focus on local architecture and history. Guests also have the opportunity to try their beer in various stages of the fermentation process to highlight the whole experience
Boasting its claim as the world’s highest urban craft-brewery, Level33 pairs views of Singapore’s Marina Bay as well as skyline with refreshing craft beers. Not to mention, they operate in a penthouse of the revered business address of the Marina Bay Financial Center. This exceptional environment makes Level33 a must see for any beer enthusiast traveling in Asia.
This brewery has a long history of production starting with one of the oldest rights to brewing in the world obtained during the 1300s. The Count of Abensberg granted the original establishment this privilege, and since then Kuchlbauer has honored the right through a steadfast dedication to craftsmanship. The quality of the beer produced here is most certainly also due to their focus on using supplies from the surrounding regions such as local well water and raw ingredients. Since 1904, the company’s philosophy as developed by Michael Selleck has remained, “Beer is a product to be savored which is not manufactured but is created.”
This unique brewery allows visitors the opportunity to learn through actively brewing their beer. This engagement allowing beer enthusiasts to be a part of the process and investment puts Kiuchi Brewery in a category all its own.
Malt Shovel Brewery
Named in recognition to Australia’s first brewer, the Malt Shovel Brewery sticks with their love of Jack Squire’s journey from convict to redemption. This brewery and their dedication to quality have consistently brought their beers to the highest levels of competition where they continue winning.
Brasserie Auval Brewing Co.
This Canadian brewery sought out the opportunity to bring balance to their craft through the move to farming their ingredients. This brewery farm allowed them access to a fresh supply of raw materials which sets Brasserie Auval on a level all its own.
Located in Berkeley, California the Trumer Pils brewery is committed to delivering this classic Austrian pilsner to beer enthusiasts throughout the United States. Brewing is a process that Trumer Pils takes very seriously adhering strictly to the Reinheitsgebot, which is a regulation of the ingredients in beer throughout Germany. As a result of Trumer Pils’ dedication to their craft, they have won over fourteen awards throughout their operation. History may show Trumer Pils as the winningest craft pilsner within the U.S.
Tree House Brewing
The name represents a unique staple of the original Tree House Brewery, an actual tree house that guest can climb when visiting. What makes this brewery special is its dedication to producing a diverse offering of beers that change with the season, ingredients, and at the whim of the brewers’ moods. Because of their approach to refining recipes and their courage to embrace change, Tree House Brewing encourages feedback from their audience. Whether it is an issue with flavor or carbonation loss due to packaging, they want to hear from you. One thing is sure, Tree House is committed to the pursuit of making their product “better” every single batch.
Founded in 2009 this brewery was founded by Bryan Greenhagen and named after the mystic or “endless” knot which accurately represents Mystic’s brewing process. As a fermentation scientist, Bryan dedicates his time crafting his beers through rigorous research and development. While there is a diverse offering from Mystic Brewery, there is an acknowledgment of tradition and heritage locked in every bottle. Winner of a gold medal in the 2013 Great American Beer Festival and 2015 Rising Star Award from StarChefs.com, this brewery is worthy of all its accolades.
Cloudwater Brew Co.
Cloudwater Brew Co. thrives on a business model that invites change rather than sticking to a strict schedule which is rare in this industry where offerings often include a set number of production beers available throughout the year. However, in connection to the changing seasons, Cloudwater utilizes only hops that are fresh and readily available. Embracing change on this level has allowed this brewery to stand in a category all its own.
Goose Island Brewery
This Chicago, Illinois brewery hails from its humble beginnings as a brewpub in 1988. Goose Island Brewery is guided by a combination of respect for their culture and the history of beer. Through their innovation, passion in brewing, and sustainability in facilities, Goose Island strives to lead the craft beer industry. It is clear that the standard which is observed by this brewing company makes a big difference in the taste of their beer. From a single brewpub to selling internationally, Goose Island is surely making strides of achieving their goals.
Cigar City, located in Tampa, Florida, produces many diverse beers which have caught the attention of quite a few beer enthusiasts in the past. However, the truth in what they do is their passion for craftsmanship paired with the acknowledgment that their product isn’t for everyone. Knowing that they are not out to please everybody allows this brewery to dedicate their time to cultivating beer for those who enjoy their offering, through their philosophy that quality can only be achieved by supplying top tier ingredients to top tier people in a space where they can genuinely pursue their craft.
In the small town of Rochefort, Belgium located approximately halfway between Brussels and Luxembourg is the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy-Rochefort. It is inside this abbey where “Trappist beer” is produced using water drawn from a well on site. Brewing within the abbey has been underway since 1595 with a short delay between 1794 and 1887 due to closing. The quality of beverage crafted here shines through the reviews of beer enthusiasts around the world. A special ingredient of Rochefort’s beer is the uniquely mutated strain of yeast stored on site and used during production. One might say that this yeast is the “holy grail” of their brewery.
Anchored in the seaside community of Portland, Maine, Rising Tide is a family-owned brewery that focuses on supporting farmers through their efforts to source ingredients locally. Not only will you find that beverages here pair well with local cuisine, but all beers produced by Rising Tide are “living” as they are unpasteurized and unfiltered. Their commitment to sustainability makes this brewery exceptional. Efforts include composting appropriate materials through a local curbside collection service, recapturing and recycling of hot water from the knockout, LED reducing their energy output, unusable yeast and spent grain donation to local farms, and the use of easily recyclable packaging.
Drawing inspiration from the smaller breweries which pepper the Southern Belgium and Northern France countrysides, Brewery Vivant produces high-quality beer with a focus on sourcing ingredients locally. Experimenting with these ingredients also lends a massive hand to pairing their exceptional beers with meals from the area. Sustainability is a core value for the brewery they achieved standards high above any other United States production brewery. In 2012 they were awarded the LEED certification as a result of their commitment to environmental and social performance, transparency, and accountability. However, one of the most exciting characteristics of their Michigan location is its setting, a refurbished funeral home. One could surmise that their beer is indeed “to die for.”
Revision Brewing Co.
With over fourteen medals won in 2018 alone, it is easy to see that Revision Brewing Co. is one of the premier breweries in the world. Located in Sparks, Nevada, Revision was founded in 2017 to allow Jeremy Warren to pursue his vision for crafting some of the best beers to date. Given his experience and the success of Revision Brewing Co., it is no surprise that this brewery is quickly growing in popularity.