For everyone who lives in Northern California, it’s well-known that we have some of the best craft beer in the world. For us, it’s no secret. But now, the whole world knows.
RateBeer released its annual list of the Top 100 Brewers in the World and NorCal had a strong showing with six breweries on the list. Of those six, two made the top ten. Let’s take a look at the NorCal breweries recognized on the annual list:
2. Russian River Brewing Co.
Coming in at number two on the prestigious list is this NorCal craft beer staple and a brewery that is becoming world-renown for it’s award-winning Pliny the Elder beer. Russian River, with locations in Santa Rosa and Windsor, is quickly becoming a big-hitter in the craft beer world, illustrated by its annual release of Pliny the Younger that draws a crowd of thousands.
Finding a Russian River beer is not the easiest task, as they brew reasonably small batches of their flagship beers. But if you get the opportunity to try their tasty suds, you won’t be disappointed. But its Pliny beers have bought worldwide attention to this small NorCal brewery, and that’s why it nearly tops this list of the world’s best brewers.
6. Moksa Brewing Co.
Moksa is the new kid on the craft beer block, but the Rocklin brewery has been making waves in just over a year of operation. The brewery already offers up to 24 beers in house, and has received praise and awards for both its Zesty Time and Hazy IPA. Now, it’s being recognized as the sixth best brewer in the world.
The head brewer Derek Gallanosa came to Rocklin from San Diego local-favorite Abnormal Beer Co. and the public has responded. Moksa was also recognized by Hop Culture as one of the top 12 new breweries in the country. In just over a year of operation, this new brewery is showing it can brew with the best of them.
25. Sierra Nevada
No surprise here. NorCal’s brewery giant has been disrupting the beer industry for decades, brought on primarily by its world-famous Pale Ale. Founded and located in Chico by Ken Grossman, the brewery offers seasonal staples like Summerfest and Celebration, along with its popular new brews like Hazy Little Things and Wild Little Thing.
What can be said about Sierra Nevada that isn’t already common knowledge? Grossman and his NorCal brewery altered the state of the beer industry by consistently providing quality beers to the masses all over the world. There’s probably some fatigue with this worldwide giant, which is why it ranks just 25th on this list.
49. Cellarmaker Brewing Co.
If you’re not in tune to the craft beer scene in San Francisco, you’ve probably never heard of Cellarmaker. This brewery is known for its outstandingly hoppy IPA’s and serves them with square pizza in its popular taprooms in the city. And while the brewery may be small, its beer packs a BIG punch.
The Cellarmaker brewers are known to keep their taps rotating, offering three to four beers at a time instead of relying on “flagship” craft beers. If you visit the taphouse, you’ll find a rotating variety of IPA’s, Sours and single hop delights. The brewers are constantly renovating and creating new fantastic beers, which is why they made number 49 this elite list.
77. Almanac Beer Co.
Opening in 2016, Almanac Beer Co. swept through NorCal’s craft beer scene with its “Farm to Barrel” motto and delicious selection of beer. Its popular Alameda taphouse brought its beer to the forefront, providing constant pours of a variety of oak-aged lagers, barrel-aged sours, decadent stouts, and hazy IPAs.
Almanac’s brave beers are being received positively by the public, including the recently brewed Hypernova Volume One, which was brewed with close to 125 pounds of fruit per barrel. This brewery’s ability to create rare, delicious beer is what makes it a top 100 brewer in the world.
100. Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Squeaking into the end of the list is the craft brewery that probably has the best reputation other than Sierra Nevada in NorCal. Lagunita’s classic India Pale Ale is world-famous, and the brewery’s unique approach to beer and funky marketing has made it one of the most recognizable bottles in the world.
This Petaluma beer-maker has become a foundation in the community, with probably the best “taphouse” in NorCal to go with its IPA, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and 12th of Never beers. They were brewing great beer during the craft beer revolution, and rose to the top of the industry with its quality beer. Just on legacy alone, this brewery should probably rank better than number 100 on this list.
What’s your favorite beer brewed in Northern California? See our 10 Best Craft Beers Brewed in Northern California.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine