BelgoHoptologistWhen Bo posted the top ten beers in the world I cried.  Then my taste buds put on sack cloth and ashes in mourning for all those who thought that list seemed reasonable. For those that found Michelob Ultra or Negra Modelo‘s selection an affirmation of your beer palate, know that I am not judging all your soul when I say, “If those are the best beers on the planet then Mark Driscoll & Joel Osteen are the frontier of Christian Theology.”

I loved a bunch of the lists that Bo’s post solicited in the comments.  I made my own top 10 brew list but it got to 23 so I decided to go for top ten American craft breweries.

Top 5 SoCal Breweries

  • Monkish Brewing Company. If I got just one brewery on my stranded island it would be Monkish. Henry, the head brewer, is a master of the Abbey ale & taking the style to new depths of flavor.  If you like a Monk making beer then his Tripel, the Feminist, will make your face happy.  The Crux, an elder flower Belgian single, is my growler’s favorite beer.  I am seriously concerned about my taste buds the day I can’t get a Monkish tap-room visit in less than 5 minutes.  If you visit LA & tweet me about visiting there is a high percentage I will join you.
  • Ballast Point. It’s rare I love a breweries light brews (the Pale ale, Kolsch, lager) & their bigger brews (IPAs & crazy dark porters). Ballast point does it for me all day.  I tried to think of my favorite brew of theirs and couldn’t decide but if I see it on draft I don’t even ask which beer it is because they are all yummy.  Now that they are canning you can even rock the Sculpin IPA in a sweet coozie.  If you get a chance to taste their double IPA the Dorado… do it!
  • The Bruery I love their beer. The Mischief is my favorite Belgian Golden, their Saisons are scrump, and the crazy high gravity barrel options are mind blowing. If you can get a hold of the White Chocolate brew, get a baby sitter! Plus the Deacon Brian White rocks the tap room.
  • Strand Brewing Company. I love Amarillo hops. My favorite place to get a growler of Amarillo hops is Strand.  The 24th Street Pale Ale is my go-to when SoCal gets above 80 degrees on the beach & the Atticus IPA is perfectly hopped to hit the spot but not so much you can’t enjoy a second pint.  When they started bottling I started mailing it to HBC Deacons who like trading delicious beers. #peerpressure
  • Lost Abbey. This brewery is a non-stop quality producer.  It’s constantly producing flavor combinations I never anticipated that are uber-tasty. Beyond the crazy collection of specialty brews, if your local BevMo or Total Wine has their Red Barn then you are lucky. It is a farmhouse spectacular.

Top 5 Out of SoCal Craft Breweries

  • Victory Brewing Company. If Victory only made their Prima Pils they would still be on the list. Why? Because when I can get it my plans may change. It is ohhh so good.  I have tried a bunch of their brews and they all rock.  The Pale Ale, Saison, and Golden Monkey are ones you can’t miss.
  • Foothills Brewing Company. I joined the Foothills Mug Club the week it opened up when I lived in Winston Salem, NC.  I am mug club #82 (my birth year). This was the first craft brewery I came to love.  Whenever I am in NC I try to visit and love to find their stuff in the bottle these days.
  • Prairie Artisan Ales I have no idea why this brewery in Oklahoma is uber-delicious but they are. I was worried I over paid when their Funky Galaxy showed up at my favorite bottle store.  Then I drank it.  Since then I feel like a jack-pot winner when I find a bottle.  When my favorite OKC Deacon mails me something special I do a dance.  The Prairie Hop is the best hoppy saison I have had.
  • Stillwater Artisanal Ales. This is the US of A’s best craft brewer. I would list my favorites but I have had 13 different brews & all of them are amazing. Be smart and get one for yourself…. but now that Cellar Door, Existent, & Stateside Saison are in bottle 4 packs there’s little excuse!
  • Knee Deep Brewing. California is known for the heavy hopped on light malt brews.  This Northern California brewery is my personal hop-heavy brewery & it will rock the hops all over your palate.  I love the Hoptologist & the Belgian version.  Their Hop Shortage & Simtra 3x IPA are also packed full of hop candy.

That was a painful exercise but if it leads you to disregard that offensive list the BoDaddy posted then it is a success.

I would love to know the HBC Deacons’ favorite craft breweries. Do share!