10 Best Breweries In The World

Rating the best breweries in the world—even the top 100 breweries—is impossible. America now has over 8,000 breweries, up from fewer than 1,600 just twenty years ago; the United Kingdom has seen its count explode to over 2,000. And those are just the two numbers I know off the top of my head: From Sweden to Argentina, craft breweries are still popping up everywhere. But that hasn’t stopped the crowdsourced beer rating website RateBeer from trying to tease out the best breweries out there.

And here were go (with ownership notes included by RateBeer, which itself is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev). The top ten breweries—out of the entire top 100 that can be found here—are…

List of top 10 best breweries in the world

10. Firestone Walker Brewing (California)

9. Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (California)

8. Cloudwater Brew Co (Greater Manchester)

7. Founders Brewing Company (Michigan)

6. AleSmith Brewing Company (California)

5. Cigar City Brewing (Florida)

4. Tree House Brewing Company (Massachusetts)

3. Trillium Brewing Company (Massachusetts)

2. Side Project Brewing (Missouri)

1. Hill Farmstead Brewery (Vermont)

Detailed information of 10 best breweries in the world

10. Firestone Walker Brewing (California)

Photo: Firestone Walker Brewery Company
Photo: Firestone Walker Brewery Company

Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a brewery in Paso Robles, Central Coast California, and Buellton, California. Firestone Walker is California's fourth-largest craft brewery and is known for producing hoppy ales. Firestone Walker was the sixteenth largest craft brewery in the U.S. in beer sales volume in 2014.

The company utilizes a patented variation of the Burton Union system developed in England in the 1800s in its oak barrel fermentation process.

Firestone Walker was WorldBeer Cup Champion Brewery for mid-sized breweries in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2012.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company was formed in 1996 in Santa Barbara County by David Walker and Adam Firestone, son of Brooks Firestone and great-great grandson of Harvey Firestone who started the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. The brewery started on the Firestone family vineyard in Los Olivos, California and moved to Paso Robles in 2001.

The company has expanded twice in six years. In 2001, they purchased former SLO Brewing Company located in Paso Robles and added 17 interior fermenters, four 500 bbl exterior fermenters, a KHS keg line, and Krones bottling line.The company later acquired Humboldt Brewing Company and changed the name to Nectar Ales in 2005. In 2006, its Firestone Pale Ale was named "Best Beer in America" by Men's Journal and in 2008, the company released Union Jack, an India Pale Ale. Firestone Walker began the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival in 2011, which brings together select breweries from around the United States and other countries that do not distribute to the West Coast. In 2012, the company sold Nectar Ales to Total Beverage Solution.

In 2015, Firestone Walker sold to Duvel Moortgat Brewery, a Belgian-operated brewery known for their Belgian strong pale ale.

Firestone Walker began canning beer in 2015, using a German-engineered KHS canning line built on the Paso Robles brewery campus that can produce and fill 400 cans per minute.

9. Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (California)

Photo: Brewpublic
Photo: Brewpublic

Co-owners Tim Clifford and Adair Paterno founded the brewery in 2012 with just US$10,000, and today it is one of he US’ most hyped craft producers. SARA has garnered reputation for everything from hops-forward IPAs to mixed-fermentation brews, while some of its beers have been known to re-sell for hundreds of dollars on the mysterious world of the craft beer secondary market.

8. Cloudwater Brew Co (Greater Manchester)

Photo: Beer Today
Photo: Beer Today

Cloudwater Brew Co is an independent craft brewery based in Manchester, England. Established in 2014, the brewery began making beer the following year and quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its products. In 2017 and 2018, Cloudwater was ranked among the ten best breweries in the world by beer scoring website RateBeer, becoming the only UK brewery ever to be featured. Several Cloudwater beers have also received accolades at the same awards.

Besides beer, the brewery also produces its own range of non-alcoholic sodas, as well as operating brewery tap rooms in Manchester and London and organising an annual beer festival, Friends & Family & Beer. Cloudwater Brew Co is a member of the Society of Independent Brewers.

7. Founders Brewing Company (Michigan)

Photo: Brewbound
Photo: Brewbound

Canal Street Brewing Co., L.L.C., doing business as Founders Brewing Company, is a brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, known for producing several highly rated and award-winning craft-style ales, including KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout), Centennial IPA, Dirty Bastard, and Founders Porter. Since its founding as a craft brewery in the mid 1990s, it has grown to become the 15th largest brewery in the United States, and a prominent member of the West Michigan brewing industry. It is now majority-owned by Mahou San Miguel of Spain.

6. AleSmith Brewing Company (California)

Photo: CraftBeer
Photo: CraftBeer

AleSmith regularly makes it into the top 10. Starting out life in a small single-unit space in San Diego 1995, it is also the oldest brewery to make it into RateBeer’s top 10.

“Grand master” beer judge Peter Zien bought the brewery and became its brewmaster in 2002, and since then has gone on to open a second, larger brewery and tasting room for visitors.

Zien is also known for international collaborations, and in 2015 handed over the original brewery to Danish outfit Mikkeller, transforming it into one of the European drinks maker’s US outposts.

5. Cigar City Brewing (Florida)

Photo: WordPress
Photo: WordPress

Steeped in the unique culture and history of Tampa, Florida, Cigar City Brewing began handcrafting award-winning beer in 2009. Cigar City Brewing’s ales and lagers bring to mind the sun and citrus for which Florida is known, while taking cues from the cigar industry upon which Tampa was built. Behind all of Cigar City Brewing’s liquid is the philosophy that quality is achieved by giving first rate ingredients to first rate people in a space where they are free to pursue their passion.

******READ MORE: Top 10 Oldest Breweries In The World

4. Tree House Brewing Company (Massachusetts)

Photo: It's a Brew Life
Photo: It's a Brew Life

Tree House Brewing Company began in a small red barn in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Since day one our goal has been to present you with reliably delightful beer that can contribute positively to life’s precious moments, and serve them in a cheerful, communal environment. Having grown from a five-gallon Coleman cooler brewhouse to a state-of-the-art 60 BBL, German-engineered brewhouse, Tree House, an independent brewer-owned brewery, is driven by the same people with the same energy and the same intent to bring you joy as it was nine years ago.

3. Trillium Brewing Company (Massachusetts)

Photo: Time Out
Photo: Time Out

Trillium Brewing was founded in March of 2013 by JC and Esther Tetreault with the desire to create a New England Farmhouse-inspired experience through the lens of craft beer. Launched with three employees and the support of family, friends, and community, our little brewery located at 369 Congress Street in Boston’s then-sleepy Fort Point neighborhood has grown to a team of nearly 300. Every member of our organization has incredible drive and purpose, working passionately each day to elevate the quality of the Trillium experience.

2. Side Project Brewing (Missouri)

Photo: Side Project Brewing
Photo: Side Project Brewing

Cory and Karen met working in a fine dining restaurant and discovered they shared a love for learning about wine and beer and traveling around the world to visit those wineries and breweries. This passion led to an experimentation in apartment homebrewing, where Cory handled the brewing operations and Karen kept the Brew Notes.

After moving to St. Louis together in 2007, Karen started a career in beer sales and Cory began selling wine. Cory eventually became a professional brewer before he and Karen applied that love of wine and Belgian-style beers to create Side Project Brewing and sold their very first Side Project beer in 2013. They opened The Side Project Cellar in 2014 and as their incredible team of staff members grew, they all worked to open the Side Project Brewing Tasting Room in 2016.

1. Hill Farmstead Brewery (Vermont)

Photo: Mikkeler
Photo: Mikkeler

Hill Farmstead Brewery is the culmination of many years of travel and insight—of experience and education—of friendships and explorations. It is the revival and continuation of 220 years of Hill heritage and handcrafted history in North Greensboro, Vermont.

The Hill family legacy in the Northeast Kingdom spans 8 generations, stretching back to the arrival in Greensboro of father and son, Peleg Hill Sr. and Peleg Hill Jr., in 1788. The history of the Hill family includes the founding of Greensboro and North Greensboro, the building of its first roads, mills, and its first tavern in 1809. That tavern—owned and operated by Aaron Hill—has direct connections to modern day Hill Farmstead Brewery, with our logo taking inspiration from that original tavern sign.

Over the decades, numerous family members have worked the land in and around Greensboro, including Shaun Hill's grandfather and his 13 siblings, all of whom were born and raised on the land upon which sits Hill Farmstead Brewery today. For much of its history, this swath of land has been working dairy and crop farming and continues in active agricultural use, producing forage hay for Tom Hill's cows.

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