Top Three Small Breweries (15K bbl or less)
Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, North Carolina) Over the years, Burial has evolved into a craft-brewery paragon, making world-class beer across a variety of styles with a healthy dose of attitude, fierce independence, and artful quirkiness. With an intensely diverse focus on everything from hazy IPAs to traditional lagers to pastry stouts and mixed-fermentation farmhouse beers, they refuse to be pigeonholed and have grown from jacks-of-all-trades to masters of them. Truly, they’re one of the most exciting breweries in craft beer today.
Pinthouse Pizza (Austin, Texas) When Pinthouse first appeared on my radar, my initial thought was “another brewpub pizza chain.” Then I tasted the beer. Brewing director Joe Mohrfeld, an Odell Brewing alum, is doing spectacular work in the Lone Star State, creating beers that are as characterful as they are drinkable. Their thoughtful approach to designing beers that are both relevant to their local audience and broadly identifiable—such as the hazy IPA, Electric Jellyfish—is underpinned by a deliberate approach to brewing ingredients that’s hard to find in other breweries their size.
Alvarado Street Brewery (Monterey and Salinas, California) Another contender for the all-around crown, these young guns from Central California have grown incredibly fast by carving out a niche with expressive, yeast-driven IPAs and fruit-forward kettle sours. But their launch this year of side brand Yeast of Eden—focusing on wild, spontaneous, and mixed-culture beers—and their consistent lager program producing great beers such as Peninsula Pilsner showcase a genuine love for beer and a dedication to the craft driven by constant iteration and improvement.