Which craft breweries make some of the most unique beers in america?

Finding America's Most Unique Craft Breweries: Fiddlehead Brewing Company. Each year, the Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group that represents more than 4,800 breweries, releases two lists of the top U.S. beer companies. UU.

Members of the Association (and others) by previous year's sales volume. One list covers companies in general, including Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, while the other focuses on craft breweries. That's the basis of this list. For an alternative ranking, based on social media engagement and not sales, see the 35 most popular craft breweries in the United States.

Working hard in the purgatory of beer production following the repeal of prohibition, all that began to change when President Jimmy Carter signed a small but innovative bill that legalized home brewing. It took a little time, but that eventually led to the creation of several new craft breweries in the 1980s. Many of the breweries that started in this period were not created by professionals, but by people ready to take their home brewing to the next level. The trend grew slowly, and by the 2000s, microbreweries had expanded across much of the United States.

While there are some really great breweries out there, these are some of the best in the country. Like other breweries that opened their doors during the 80s and 90s, Ballast Point began as a gathering of homebrewers who wanted to come together and work on something bigger. When formulating their plan within the San Diego Home Brew Mart, they began experimenting with different styles, ingredients, and techniques, which helped create the Sculpin IPA. Bells is a pillar in the craft beer world.

It is one of the original craft breweries in the United States. It opened in Comstock (just outside Kalamazoo), Michigan, in 1985, making it a true pioneer in the beer industry. It has several well-rated beers, but few can compete with the importance of its Two Hearted Ale, which is a Michigan river that legendary author Ernest Hemingway wrote about. And in an interesting fact, Bells is the owner of Upper Hand Brewery, which is a different brewery located on the state's Upper Peninsula.

This year's list included brewery names like Toppling Goliath, Elysian Brewing, Left Hand, and the number one Dogfish Head brewery. Other popular naming methods include using an aspect of the brewery's geographical location. Nearly all craft breweries start by serving a local area, so it makes sense to name it after a local city, river, or even state (like Alaska Brewing Company). Many of the beers made by major craft breweries are also given creative names.

Purple Haze, Buffalo Sweat and Men's Room are characteristics of the intriguing names that many craft beers receive, which only ask customers to try the flavor behind the name. That's why the first beers that promoted microbrewing were a pale ale with hops, a Viennese lager made entirely of malt, and a resurrected steam beer. For a time, it ranked first in the Beer Advocate beer rankings, thanks to its Dark Lord beer, which is made with Mexican vanilla, coffee and sugar. It's not surprising, then, that their beers include a Hatchery series (which includes Golden Summer Ale and Chocolate Milk Stout) and a Woodlands Project series, an example of which is PNP Plums, an acid beer made with Italian plums and aged for two years in French oak.

Whether you call these beers “culinary” or “complementary”, today most breweries offer beers made with coffee, vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup, peppers, and just about anything else you can dream of. By now, it's becoming a common joke (or an insult, depending on how you look at things) that craft beer is just beer with a lot of crap. The art and attention to detail found in craft beer attract loyal fans from ever wider areas and have been an important part of why craft beer has more than doubled its market share in less than 10 years. If beer drinkers want a uniform, basic-flavored beer, they can get it at one of the big brand breweries for a much lower price.

Belgium, more than anywhere else, is known for the quality of its beer and its variety, making it the perfect mentor for anyone who loves beer and wants to have the freedom to experiment. The brewery now produces beer in all kinds of styles, but the only way to buy the beer is to visit the brewery. Among the beers produced by the different facilities are Ommegang Abbey Dubbel (a Trappist style dark beer), Firestone Parabola (an imperial Russian dark beer) and Boulevard Radler (a seasonal citrus beer made with ginger and lemon). Founded in a garage in 1995, Three Floyds grew to become a successful microbrewery, whose Dark Lord Imperial Stout was once named America's best beer by the Beer Advocate (and the brewery's Dreadnaught IPA was named the fourth best).

While the various Sue beers helped put the brewery on the map, it is the Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout that is now one of the most requested beers, not only by the brewery but by any brewery in the United States. Some brewers add fruits or spices, others age their beer in barrels, and others brew imperial beers (IPA) with a higher alcohol content and a stronger flavor. If you liked the world of craft beer before it took hold, you might remember finding bottles of Ommegang displayed alongside Chimay and other Belgian beers at World Market and other international import stores. However, only when Cilurzo took over Russian River Brewing, his double IPAs, such as Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, began to really influence the beer industry and brought us to the point where IPAs are now “the craft beer style”.