In the last 18 months, more than 6,500 new breweries registered on RateBeer, the largest beer-rating website on the internet. Among them are the distinguished few recently named the 10 “Best New Brewers in the World,” a list that’s unique because it depends on user-generated reviews rather than a panel of judges.
Notably, seven of the breweries are from the United States; the other three are based in the Netherlands (Tommie Sjef Wild Ales), Poland (Brokreacja) and Belgium (Bokkereyder). And though the American bias isn’t particularly surprising — according to the site, “the majority of reviewers and beers [are] American” — it’s still impressive given that only 30 percent of the site’s Top Beer Raters are from the United States.
If anything, the site, its user base and the awards are collective proof that beer is a field where Americans have excelled in recent years, and one they’ll only continue to push forward. These are the new brewers responsible.
Suarez Family Brewery
Opened last summer, Suarez Family Brewery is a self-described “mom and pop production brewery” based in the Hudson Valley. Its driven by the vision of Dan Suarez, an alumnus of Hill Farmstead, who focuses on balanced, low-ABV pilsners, ales and mixed-fermentation “country beers” — those that he and his team “purposefully inoculate with multiple organisms” before resting in oak casks.
Moonraker Brewing Company
Few breweries make a finer Northeast-style IPA than Moonraker Brewing, whose flagship brew, Yojo IPA, also won the RateBeer award for best new beer. The catch? The brewery, led by Brewmaster Zack Frasher, is based in northern California — not the Northeast.
Opened last year on the Burlington waterfront, Foam is the brainchild of five craft beer insiders, including Todd Haire, whose résumé includes positions at Magic Hat and Switchback. Like many of the Vermont greats, Foam is focused on hop-driven ales, saisons and mixed-culture sours, served on premises to prioritize freshness.
Civil Society Brewing
Florida’s craft beer clout is on the up thanks to rising stars like J. Wakefield and Cycle Brewing. But joining them this year on the state’s list of notables was Civil Society, a brewery co-founded by MLB pitcher Chris Volstad, whose focus on juicy ales has caught the attention of hop hunters up and down the Atlantic coastline.
Great Notion Brewing
Great Notion’s another west coast brewery with a knack for Northeast IPAs. But its head brewers — James Dugan and Andy Miller — also share a passion for oak-aged sours conditioned with Oregon-grown fruit. Though the brewery has yet to can any of its beers, fresh crowlers have become a hot commodity on trading forums online.
The Veil Brewing Co.
Matt Tarpey might just be the most impressive brewer in the country. A former musician with little interest, and no experience, in beer, he joined the team at O’Connor Brewing in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2012 simply seeking some job stability. That’s exactly what he didn’t get: In the few short years since then, he found his way to Cantillon, The Alchemist and Hill Farmstead before returning to Virginia to open The Veil. His specialty lies in complex, quaffable, almost-silky IPAs.
Founded by Chase Healey, who spent four years as brewmaster at Prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa, Oklahoma, American Solera was named the number one new brewer in the country thanks to Healy’s work with oak aging. His cellar consists of 16 foeders, puncheons, and wine barrels, giving way to “endless possibilities,” in his words.