The world of craft beer is ever-expanding. There are well over 6,500 breweries and brewpubs in the U.S. alone. That number skyrockets to tens-of-thousands when you look worldwide. It’s a good time to be drinking beer. With all of those options, we have to ask, what are the best breweries in the world?
Woah. That’s a loaded question. Breweries — especially local craft — can be very regional. Let’s face it, most of us will never visit the vast majority of the thousands of breweries in the U.S. much less the rest of the world. Still, it’s a fun exercise to parse which breweries shake out as the best of the best according to folks who actually drink and love beer.
The below ten entries aren’t just randomly picked. This is a compilation done by beer reviewing site RateBeer. This list was compiled from 4.2 million customer and industry reviews with more than 33,000 brewers/breweries considered. These are the new breweries that beer lovers think are the best of the best in 2020. It’s a great, international selection of some serious suds. And, hopefully, it’ll inspire you to seek out some good beer either on the road in 2020 or in your own backyard.
10. St. Mars of the Desert, U.K.
This Sheffield, England craft brewery is a small family-owned operation. The 1,000-liter brewery focuses on a schedule of craft like New England IPAs and traditional Belgian classics. They even installed a 1,200-liter reconditioned oak foeder (large barrel) for fermenting and aging their beers. You’ll have to hit up their taproom to sample beers directly off the keg or take home cans.
The Beer To Try: St. Mars of the Desert Jack D’Or Reincarnation Number 2
This well-hopped saison hits some big fruit notes. Orange and cloves lead the way. Bready malts mingle with hints of pine resin and plummy spiced fruits. Yeast is present but not overwhelming as a dry end brings it all home.
9. Duration Brewing, U.K.
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Feeling a little numb about leaving the EU today especially given a very substantial amount of our project funding came in the form of a Leader grant – EU funds to support us bringing jobs to rural areas . We would never deny anyone their beliefs or force ours on others. It is what it is and forwards we must go. Life and time travels in circles and nothing is ever the end. All is transitory and all is to be navigated, debated and explored . In our outlook we look for union and collaboration and this feels best without the limitation of borders. We take a world view to learn and give to others in a continual exchange. We truly appreciate difference and how the broad cultures of regionality have allowed beer to form differently with scarcity, available ingredients and taste and techniques specific to each location. Favoured beer styles evolving inherently different and unique place to place nurtured by the individuality of the people and cultures that developed them. Nuanced beers are beautiful beers. . Variety in beer is what gives us the broad spectrum for discovery. Unity is what allows us to discover that variety. We believe modern beer brings people together, provides a common ground and a way for us all to explore and celebrate difference and we feel that in itself beautiful and positive . You may say that we are dreamers, but we’re not the only ones. I hope one day you will join us, and the world will live as one . #loveisntpolitical Photography by @henrywsmuller
Duration Brewery brews their beers from “nature with purpose.” The brewery in West Norfolk, England focuses on a farmhouse brewing experience that puts just as much weight behind brewing up a glass of great beer as being a positive part of their community.
The Beer To Try: Turtles All The Way Down
Style: American Pale Ale
This nod to Sturgill Simpson is a West-Coast-leaning pale ale with an earthy underbelly. Dry grass and resin mix with notes of clear and bright citrus and a moment of tropical juice. This is a refreshing sip that leaves a note of dry fizz next to the lingering juice.
8. Dok Brewing Company, Belgium
Dok Brewing Company is an innovative Belgian brewery in a rad location at Dok Nord in Ghent (an indoor/outdoor market place built into an old waterfront industrial block). The microbrewery focuses on Belgian tradition while always pushing the envelope of what that tradition can mean in the present. Their beers aren’t just Belgian classics though. You’ll also find brews like “San Diego Pale Ale” or “Double Dry Hopped NEIPA” or classic German “Kölsch.” It’s an eclectic mix.
The Beer To Try: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Saison
With breweries like this, you always want to try whatever the alchemists on the brew floor are brewing up right now. Currently, this saison is pouring from the taps and leans into tradition while barreling into the future of the style. Expect a good haze that leads towards tropic notes of guava and passion fruit juice with hints of wheat and cloves. There’s a nice funk tartness on the dry end that’s super refreshing.
7. La Source Beer Co., Belgium
This tiny Belgian brewpub is one of those you’re going to have to get to Belgium for (or at least a good beer bar in Europe). The brewery just opened up shop last fall and serves some seriously well-made Belgian and European styled beers from their home brewery in Brussels.
The Beer To Try: Couleuvre Sour DIPA
Wild, in this case, means the use of wild yeasts in the fermentation that bring a uniqueness to the brew that cannot be matched elsewhere. This beer leans into the sour while cutting it with dank and juice from the hops. This is a craft lover’s beer with serious funky depth and real hop beauty layered throughout.
6. Blech.Brut, Germany
Starting a mobile craft brewery in Bamberg — one of the world’s most renowned brewery towns — takes a lot of gumption. Your beer has to be stellar to make an impact in the world of smoked lagers and sharp pils. That’s why Blech.Brut stands out. They’re pushing the limits of beer in a beer town and having a good time doing it.
The Beer To Try: Lockvogel
Germany and lager go hand-in-hand. A great craft lager can be a revelation for non-beer lovers or folks who haven’t caught on to the craft beer world. It’s amazingly accessible, light, and yet very complex. This version is hopped with five varieties of hops bringing a fashionable yet delicious sense of orange zest, dank, and grassy notes with a nice hint of juice lurking in the backend. The low(ish) ABV and refreshing nature make this a quaffable glass of beer.
5. Brasserie Atrium, Belgium
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Beaucoup des (bonnes) choses ce sont passées cette première année! Nous vous attendons ce week-end pour notre fête d’anniversaire! J-2!!! Vendredi 6/12 17-24h Samedi 7/12 14h30-24h 1 Dj, 4 groupes, des tacos, et de l’Atrium! Que demander de plus? #brasserieatrium #craftbrewery #taproom #atriumuzik #atriumbdsymuzik #marcheenfamenne #ruedesbrasseurs
Brasserie Atrium is run by two people who deeply care about beer. Their brewery in the small village of Marche-en-Famenne in the south of Belgium is a destination worth getting to if you’re planning a beer tour of the country. The brewery focuses on tastes more than styles as the brewers look to make unique drinking experiences with each beer they brew.
The Beer To Try: The One
This beer won a slew of awards in 2019 and marks the greatness of the brewery. The brew uses coriander seeds to add depth to the drink. There’s a clear sense of black pepper and clove spiciness mingling with the juicy fruits. A hint of brine mixes well with the wheat, lemon tartness, and funky sourness.
4. Maltgarden, Poland
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🔥 The Middle Of Silence – Peanut Butter Imperial Milk Stout With Coffee 🔥 Living In The Jar – Peanut Butter Cheesecake Rye Imperial Stout 🔥 Dessert Vibes – Cinnamon Fudge Brownie Rye Imperial Stout #maltgarden #craftbrewery #imperialstout #pastrystout #peanutbutterbeer #cinnamon #cheesecake #fudgebrownies #beerstagram #beergeek #polishcraftbeer #piworzemieślnicze #browarrzemieślniczy #beer #piwo
Polish craft is starting to dominate the beer conversation amongst craft aficionados worldwide. The former Soviet-bloc nation has made a tremendous comeback in its beer scene and Maltgarden is helping to lead that charge. Still, this is a beer you’re going to need to be in Europe to try. Either way, if you’re a stout, porter, or IPA lover, this is the brewery for you.
The Beer To Try: The Middle Of Silence
Style: Imperial Stout
This is a big beer with an ABV so high that it’d be best suited when poured like a glass of wine. The milk stout is cut with both peanut butter and coffee and aged until it’s a thick and delicious dark beer worthy of chasing down. Salted caramel sits next to roasted espresso beans and notes of freshly ground peanut butter. The alcohol is buried deep in the back as the salty, sweet, and bitter components shine up top.
3. Browar Funky Fluid, Poland
Two Polish craft breweries in the top five is a testament to the scene’s pertinence. This Warsaw craft brewery blends Polish brewing ingenuity with advancements in the styles of craft beers to create unique expression across the board. The beers tend to lean more into the classic American craft styles with Polish ingredients, making them familiar yet new.
The Beer To Try: Funky Fluid Quiet Storm
The fruit is bold here. Passionfruit, guava, and mango lead the way with a clear sense of soured yogurt leaning into an ever-so-slight creaminess. That’s all cut by the bold fruit and hint of citrus zest with a mineral background and a full sense of dry yeasts.
2. Nightmare Brewing Company, U.S.A.
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Two of the first beers that started it all have been rebrewed and have been distributed to the masses. . Drawn & Quartered – 10% IIPA Quadruple Dry Hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Enigma, Galaxy and Citra . Windlass of Erasmus – 6.5% Gose w/ Blackberries, Blackcurrants and Black Sea Salt . Seek out the freshness in: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, LA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, NV, OH, OR . Pairs well with: Shadow of Intent – The Mausoleum of Liars & Oceano – Lucid Reality . . . . #Nightmare #NightmareBrewing #NightmareBrewingCo #DrawnandQuartered #WindlassofErasmus #ShadowofIntent #Oceano #Deathcore #DeathMetal #MetalAsFuck #🤘🏼💀🤘🏼 #NoFilter #thatstheactualcolorofthebeers
Nightmare Brewing Company in New York was the only American craft brewery to break into the top ten this year. The horror and death metal-themed brewery goes big with their “Phantom Brews” and leans into horror imagery and execution history. The branding aside, this brewery is concocting some serious suds and made its way all the way to the number two spot in the world.
The Beer To Try: Nightmare Scaphism
Style: Imperial Stout
This beer is a killer. It’s aged with milk sugar and honey then steeped with Tahitian vanilla and cacao nibs to give it serious depth. Expect dark fruits, dark chocolate bitterness, figs, and plums mingling with roasted coffee, mild spice, rich vanilla, and a cherry tartness.
1. Mount St. Bernard Abbey Brewery, U.K.
The best new brewery in the world is brewing Belgian style ale in a Trappist monastery in England. The brewers are the monks who live by the rule of Saint Benedict. That is, they work for God, the land, and the community. Luckily for us, making beer is a big part of their duties at Mount St. Bernard Abbey.
The Beer To Try: Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale
Style: Strong Dark Ale
The monks brew one beer and they brew it well. Notes of dark chocolate mingles with rich fig and and sharp pepper. There’s a clear sense of the malt base with a sweetbread edge. Hints of toffee and licorice lurk in the background. Red fruit and port wine bring about a bold end to the sip.