Craft beer has been gaining popularity over the past few decades. It’s very easy to see why most of the beer consumed in the United States are produced by large corporations with sprawling networks of beer factories called breweries.
If you’ve ever seen a large scale brewery, it is simply an example of modern manufacturing technology. Everything is large scale, you can smell the barley and hops from a mile away, and there are often trucks coming in and out of the facility. It is definitely a large scale industrial affair.
Of course, just like with anything that is manufactured at such a scale, you would have to settle for a certain level of quality. Now, of course, some mass-manufactured beer brands have a better reputation for taste than others, but at the end of the day, there’s something lost in the translation. There’s a tremendous amount of attention to detail and customization and localization that go out the window when you produce beer on such a massive level.
This is why craft beer brands have been getting a lot of attention. People are looking for something that is special or that is unique to their neighborhood, city district, or even the corner of the state they live in. There’s just something about local flavors that get people excited.
Also, when beer is produced in smaller batches, the brewmaster has a lot more time to finely calibrate and design the taste of each batch. Craft beer really took off just around the time young adults and millennials have started to make their presence felt in the national beer market in the United States.
Members of this generation are more discriminating when it comes to the flavor profile as well as beer styles and flavor diversity. It’s no surprise then that given this change in consumer presence, the beer market has become more localized and more willing to cater to individual tastes.
Hand in hand with this development, there’s also been an accompanying rise in the media profile and consumer awareness of craft breweries and craft beer brands. For lack of a better word, the following are fast-rising national craft beer brands that have made quite a name for themselves in a highly competitive and often fragmented and hyper-localized 29.3 billion dollar industry.
The size of the industry continues to grow as more consumers look for alternatives to traditional mass-produced industrial beer.
The top craft beer brands for 2021
Deschutes Brewery Obsidian Stout
Critics fawn over these brands because they like the perfect blend of flavors like roast chocolate and espresso malts and hops. Many critics claim that this is the best stout available in the US market hands down.
It comes in with an average alcohol content of 6.4%.
Brewed in Maine, this craft beer brand is turning a lot of heads among beer aficionados throughout the 50 states. It’s easy to see why. It is a Belgian style wheat beer that is able to maintain a good balance between a spice flavor and citrus.
It uses curacao orange peels and coriander. It definitely delivers a lot of unexpected flavor and personality with each mouthful.
Stone Black is Beautiful Stout
Produced by The Stone Brewing company, this stout has the base recipe used by another beer called Weathered Souls. You can say it’s an expansion of that base beer recipe. It has hints of pecan and flaked rye.
What makes this stout quite a head-turner, as far as the craft beer intelligentsia goes is due to its aging process. It’s aged partially in bourbon barrels.
Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
Produced by the Half Acre Brewing company out of the great state of Illinois, this beer manages to balance faint floral notes and citrus hints with the nice aroma courtesy of its hops. The typical alcohol content of this ale is 5.2%.
Red Trolley Irish Red
Brewed by Karl Strauss, this craft beer offers the perfect mix of hops and hints of caramelized malts and toffee flavor. There are also subtle tones of raisins and currants that you have to be on the lookout for. Its alcohol content is 5.8%.
Produced by the Westbrook Brewing company, this is a traditional German beer. What makes it very interesting in the flavor department is its hints of coriander and salt. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s able to achieve a perfect balance between salty and sour notes.
Its alcohol content is 4%.
Stillwater Artisanal Ales Extra Dry
This ale mimics the dry taste of Japanese rice wine, sake. It’s easy to see why. It’s brewed with rice to achieve that subtle dry flavor. The price you pay though is lower alcohol content. It comes in at just 3.8% alcohol.
Odell Sippin’ Pretty
This brew has a unique fruity blend of guava, elderberry, and acai berry. To top it all off, it also has an accent of pink sea salt. So you get a nice little tart finish and it’s easy to see why this beer is quite popular among people who want to be seen sipping beer because it has a bright ruby color and has a nice fruity sour ale taste.
It comes in at a 4.5% alcohol content.
This light lager, as you can tell by the name, comes from New York City. It comes complete with herbal saaz hops and has quite a bit of a nice spicy profile to it. When it comes to its malts, the brewers did not spare any expense because it is sourced from premium German malts.
Another point of distinction for this brew is that it is unfiltered. So if you’re looking for a light lager that has a clean, bitter taste, you should definitely get a bottle of this brew.
The flavors of this beer are filled with caramel and roasted pumpkin, hence the name. It also contains floral hops and pumpkin pie spice. It has a deep orange color and flavorful aromas that have a caramel finish.
This is also a fairly strong beer because it comes in at 8.8% alcohol.