Geeks love lists -- in theory, if not always in practice. Film geeks eagerly anticipate the decennial release of Sight and Sound magazine's lists of the greatest films of all time. Board game geeks love to track their favorite releases on the "Top Game" list on BoardGameGeek.com. Wikipedia geeks have even compiled a site on their favorite encyclopedia called "List of Lists of Lists!"
Few groups of geeks are as devoted to their geekdom as craft beer fans. And true to form, they love to make lists of the best beers out there. The two most influential lists of this type are probably the Top 50 on RateBeer.com and the Top 250 on Beer Advocate. But you could argue that both those lists are a little bit too geeky for normal beer drinkers. Few of the beers ranked near the top are distributed across the country, or even year-round, so they can be frustrating guides to the craft beer world.
That's where Zymurgy magazine's annual list of the best commercial beers in America comes in. The magazine, which is put out by the American Homebrewer's Association, conducts a poll of its members each year asking for their favorite beers. And though the results sometimes overlap a bit with the RateBeer and Beer Advocate lists, they tend to skew a bit more mass-market. Many more of the beers on the Zymurgy list are widely available across the country.
The magazine just released its list for 2013; scroll down to see what their members liked best. In case you're curious, we've marked the beers that are among the top 50 on RateBeer with an asterisk (*) and those that are among the top 50 on Beer Advocate with a caret (^).
48 (tie). Ommegang Three Philosophers
48 (tie). Lagunitas Brown Shugga'
48 (tie). Green Flash Palate Wrecker
48 (tie). Deschutes the Abyss *^
46 (tie). Ommegang Hennepin Saison Ale
46 (tie). Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
45. Firestone Walker Parabola *^
42 (tie). Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous
42 (tie). Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A.
42 (tie). Odell Myrcenary
39 (tie). Russian River Pliny the Younger *^
39 (tie). Left Hand Milk Stout
39 (tie). Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
38. Odell IPA
37. Stone IPA
36. Lagunitas IPA
35. Avery the Maharaja
32 (tie). Russian River Supplication ^
32 (tie). New Belgium La Folie
32 (tie). Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
31. Russian River Consecration ^
30. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
27 (tie). Troegs Nugget Nectar
27 (tie). Green Flash West Coast IPA
27 (tie). Deschutes Black Butte Porter
26. Surly Furious
25. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout *^
23 (tie). Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin'
23 (tie). Firestone Walker Union Jack
21 (tie). Three Floyds Zombie Dust ^
21 (tie). Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
20. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
19. Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
17 (tie). Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout *^
17 (tie). Firestone Walker Double Jack
16. The Alchemist Heady Topper *^
15. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
12 (tie). Stone Enjoy By IPA ^
12 (tie). Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
12 (tie). North Coast Old Rasputin
...and click through below for the top 11 craft beers in Zymurgy's list: